Online dating, we’ve all tried it and we probably all have at least one horror story to go with it.
It’s not easy, especially as a demisexual. We want connection in a disconnected world. Is it wishful thinking? Can we find the emotional connection we desire?
The truth is, some do and some don’t. This post is geared toward the ones who do.
Like most things, dating is a personal choice.
How a person decides to go about finding a partner, entering a relationship and who that person is will be as varied and unique as the people themselves.
There is nothing saying a demisexual can’t date, nor is there anything saying a demisexual must date. The criteria for being demisexual is that fact that an emotional connection needs to be present before sexual attraction develops.
When a demisexual says they want to date, the underlying expectation is that they will be dating someone with whom they have an emotional connection.
Demisexuals and Online Dating Culture
Dating is hard for a demisexual. The focus always seems to be on physical intimacy. For the most part demisexuals are interested in spending a nice evening getting to know each other without the pressure of what happens after.
We’re looking for a connections and we have very little interest in the more physical part of dating without an emotional connection to back it up.
When you go on date after date only to arrive at home disappointed that all anyone seems to want is a one night stand or no-strings attached fun, it can be frustrating.
A demisexual on a date is looking for an emotional connection, they want to get to know the person before things go further. Is that really too much to ask?
The truth is, we can’t change anybody else. We can’t make people want different things and there is nothing we can do to guarantee the person we go on a date with will be interested in more than just physical release.
But, many are. Many people we meet on dating sites may be just as frustrated as we are. They may crave emotional connection and desire a committed and long term relationship.
But, with no meaningful connections and the ability to feel sexual attraction without an emotional bond, these people may rely on what they can get, what others are so freely offering.
I know things are frustrating and it might seem as though you’ll never find someone who wants the same connection you do. You might be burnt out, overwhelmed and ready to throw in the towel but don’t do that just yet.
In these situations, it’s completely understand to feel like you’ll never find the connection you’re looking for. To convince yourself that it doesn’t exist.
But that can’t be right. At the very least there has to be another demisexual person or two on the dating sites and apps that are so popular these days. Why can’t we find each other?
The Downfalls of Online Dating for Demisexuals
As a society we hid behind our computers, our phone screens, usernames and perfectly staged pictures. We all do it, we know everyone else does it yet we end up feelings like we don’t measure up.
Our online personas stunt our offline confidence. We don’t measure up to the online version of ourselves! How distressing is that?
It’s hard to reach out and let ourselves be vulnerable in real life, where someone else can witness our downfall. Thus, we hold ourselves back. We never reach out to that barista who always remembers our order and goes out of their way to ask about our plans for the weekend.
We swipe and we click until every picture is the embodiment of some perception, some ideal being. It’s dehumanizing and impersonal. Even in situations where there is an inkling of a connection, and we move the relationship offline, we self conscious, insecure and awkward.\
Chances are we don’t know how to act, what to say, what to do, how to get to know someone face to face. Thus, we come off as closed and unavailable – certainly not the foundation of a strong emotional bond.
Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s not reasonable to expect anyone to delete their apps and go about finding a relationship like it’s the 1920. Online dating is a part of our culture. It’s a social norm, a ritual, a rite of passage to an extent and it’s not going to go away any time soon.
The good news is there are a few things we can do to build the connection we desire without breaking the mold and going against the grain of society.
Online Dating Tips for Demisexuals
1. Be Intentional
You know how when you’re talking to some or when you get a match, you generally send the same message? It’s a habit.
It’s the same way when we say how are you to someone in passing. We don’t really care about the answer, they don’t really care about the answer, we’re just doing a dance of socially customary niceties.
We lose interest in the person and conversation before it even began.
Imagine how different interactions, online and in real life, would be if we asked meaningful questions and took the time to truly listen and intentionally respond.
Would they respond in kind? I bet they would.
So next time you find yourself frantically swiping through profiles, slow down. Read what they have to say about themselves, be intentional in your decision to match or not to match.
When you send or receive a message be intentional with your words and questions. Try to start a conversation and really get to know the person.
You never, maybe the next time you meet someone, it will be because of mutual interest, not convenience.
2. Know what you Want
Now that we’re being more intentional with our relationship seeking actions we need to be very clear about what we actually want out of the relationship and in a partner.
Why? Well if you don’t know what you’re looking for, how will you know when you’ve found it?
Demisexuals as a group want emotional connection, what that looks like for each of us, isn’t as clear cut.
You might find it easier to build that emotional connection with a person who has similar interests or values to you. Perhaps you’re looking for someone with shared hobbies. Or, someone who will, without question, respect your boundaries.
Alternatively you might be looking for someone who wants to settle down, get married and start working on those 2.8 kids you plan to have within the next year.
It’s entirely up to you to decide what is most important for you and in a relationship.
Take a deep breath. I know, it’s a lot to think about. Dating is not an activity for the faint of heart!
3. Get to know your date
In general, we want to be in a relationship with people we find sexually attractive. As demisexuals we need an emotional connection before that sexual attraction is possible.
So, ask questions share your truths. Don’t be afraid to ask deep questions and really get to know the person you’re out with.
It’s daunting – asking questions, answering them – getting to know someone makes us vulnerable. We don’t know how they’re going to respond to what we tell them.
But, if we want that elusive emotional connection we need to get past the superficial conversations about our pets, favorite vacation spots and our jobs. Those conversations, although comfortable won’t lead to a deep emotional bond.
They’re important, of course they are, but they don’t have enough substance to lead to much more than a casual acquaintanceship. Talk about the things that make you happy, the things you’re passionate about, share your dreams and goals.
Don’t hold back from talking about your values, why you are the way you are. Share your struggles, the ones you don’t include on your dating profile.
4. Mind the Baggage
Baggage is an inevitable part of every relationship. Sharing it is a part of growing and getting to know each other.
Talking about things like feelings, desires, sex and intimacy as uncomfortable as it may be are important parts of building a relationship.
This is especially important for demisexuals as sexual desire and attraction may not come as easily for us as it does our partner.
When push comes to shove, it’s important that we share our ideas, perspectives and desires with regards to these things with our partner. Having a shared understanding of what you both want and can expect from the relationship is critical to longevity.
Remember this isn’t about reestablishing the ideals we’ve been conditioned to think a relationship should embody. We want a genuine connection and that requires sharing our truths and our reality in order to find someone we are compatible with.
Before you enter a relationship or meet someone for the first time, it might be wise to take stock of your behaviours and patterns. It’s important to know ourselves, our insecurities and how the show up in our everyday life.
Perhaps you have a tendency to push your partner away when things get serious because you’re convinced they won’t like you once they truly get to know you.
Or, as many demisexuals have told me, you don’t want to be intimate with someone you’re not attracted to (as nice and good looking as they likely are) so you put it off, making excuses. Eventually you can’t keep putting it off, so you end the relationship before they have a chance to.
It’s unfortunate because some of those people may have been willing to wait a while or not have sex at all. But pressure we put on ourselves to be the partner we think we should be is nearly debilitating.
5. Do it all in Person
Hear me out ok, I know this post is about online dating. But, let’s be honest here, it’s easier to really talk and get to know someone in person.
Eye contact, body language, tone of voice are all important factors in getting to know a person and building that emotional connections you need to take things further.
When we rely on apps and websites to communicate, we tend to get lazy and complacent. Just like we talked about earlier, we fall into bad habits and forget to communicate with intention.
It’s easier in some ways to communicate online. To put yourself out there and potentially be vulnerable. We’ve found ourselves living in a world where we can text almost anybody, but we’re uncomfortable saying hi to the person behind us in line.
Perhaps the best advice I can give anyone looking for an emotional connection in this online dating world is to meet in person before it becomes awkward. Put yourself out there, let yourself feel vulnerable and give that person a chance to shine.
While you’re meeting with the person pay attention to your body language. Do you look interested? Are you smiling? Are you making eye contact?
Just go for it, the worst that happens is it doesn’t work out. You’re strong, you’ll get past that.
Online dating is a great place to find potential partners. However, if the goal is emotional bonding, you’re going to want to meet in person pretty early on and get started.
Have you tried online dating? How did it work for you?