I waited until she closed the bathroom door.
Click. That meant two full minutes until she came out—two full minutes for me to grab my computer, check my online dating profile, and—inevitably, guiltily—slam my laptop shut just as she snuggled up next to me on the sofa.
What was I doing? Just days earlier I had been ready, even eager, to take my profile down for good. After almost a year of searching and scouring every Website in Los Angeles for the perfect match, I had—I thought—finally found her: the One for Me. OFM had it all: intelligence with a streak of creativity, the ability not just to hear but to listen, a searing sense of humor with a tang of sarcasm, and a really great rack. We started seeing each other regularly—quickly moving from making out in my car to doing much more in my bedroom—and talked on the phone every day. Everything was perfect.
Except for this: I still checked my profile once, twice, three times a day. Even when she spent the night. I was an addict, and my drug was online dating.
At first I tried to rationalize my behavior. What's the harm in doing a little casual "people watching," right? Like being at a café or a park. And who doesn't wonder every now and then if maybe they could do a little better than their current mate?
But this was different. On the Internet, I had an actual catalog of available women, listed with their quirks, characteristics, and measurements. Finding someone better was no longer innocent curiosity; it was easy—and it became an obsession. Yes, OFM listened, but what if someone else listened better? True, OFM was smart, but couldn't I find someone smarter? And fine, OFM had a really, really great rack, but don't flat-chested women also have a lot to offer?
Soon, looking became winking, winking became hot-listing, hot-listing became e-mailing, and e-mailing became seeing other people. I never found out if OFM knew. Unlike me, she stopped checking her profile soon after we met. There was no official breakup; I just didn't return calls as quickly, started canceling dates with her so I could try out new potential matches, and eventually we drifted apart. With so many new "opportunities" out there—with the illusion that a life-changing upgrade was just a click away—I couldn't maintain my focus on our relationship.
That was a year ago. I've dated many women since. None of them has quite lived up to OFM ... but there's someone better out there, right? I'm sure of it.
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