Online Dating: The ‘Candy Shop Syndrome’ And Disappointed Men

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez


As mentioned before, men appear to complain a lot on dating sites out of sheer frustration caused mainly by a mismatch of the reality with their optimistic expectations: such as frustration in finding dates, having women respond to them, having undeveloped communication, being constantly blocked, and not finding someone to match them. 

However, one thing many guys are forgetting is this: If you are walking down the street and 500 people are heading towards you, chances are that you will fancy probably ONE of that whole group, or perhaps none. This is no different with the Internet. Just because a lot of people gather in one place doesn’t mean one will instantly find a partner. It takes an awful lot of patient searching and talking to others to finally reach someone who might fit the bill. In bygone days, when travel was not so common, and networking didn’t exist, people were limited to their towns and villages and had to take what they could find, hence the many failed and unhappy marriages of yesteryear because people were mismatched. Today, everyone has to do their own work in finding that partner as all the usual community avenues are closed. 

However, forgetting that aspect, the main reason why many men are not getting much back is because they don’t know what they want! Thus they wouldn’t recognise it if it got up and whacked them across the cheeks. Many men (and women) approach dating sites with what I call the ‘candy shop’ syndrome. “There are LOTS of sweets, so which one shall I choose?” Being so excited, they forget that some sweets can make them ill, but they still choose randomly without a thought, because many have this IDEAL in their heads that does not match the reality of who they are and what they want. They are foiled every time because the women they seek cannot align with the guys they see, so the ideal cannot become reality. 

The first law of getting to know someone else is to know who we are. When we live in denial about our bodies (like our height or weight), what we like, or what makes us tick and when we are willing to compromise what we value for expediency, it is difficult to attract someone who is honest. We will just keep attracting others in denial, too. Not surprisingly, things do not get off the ground, or they go pear-shaped soon afterwards. 

For example, when I was dating, the number of men who didn’t bother to read my profile, simply went by my pictures and then raced towards me was pretty sad. They then became annoyed if I didn’t respond favourably. I guess that is what was happening to many other women: unsuitable men believing that just because they fancy a woman, she must fancy them in return! 

The Law of Attraction

Dating sites work by the Law of Attraction. You will attract who you are, whether honest or lying, well-meaning or superficial. If you are attracting a certain type, YOUR persona and actions are drawing them to you, perhaps because you are not being transparent, you have not made your expectations clear, perhaps settling for anything, being possibly in denial about who you are, or behaving like they do. 

I know that women perhaps have it easier on dating sites, but I had the reverse problem to the men: too much attention and offers of dates! And I really didn’t think it was just because I was a woman. I know I am good looking too (and was also in my 50s, which should have stopped a lot of ageist men!). But, my secret of success was that I knew what made me happy (like my dancing), and didn’t go there if I didn’t see any mention of it. If I have any doubts at all, I didn’t let a round peg fit a square hole! I swiftly moved on to someone else. 

It meant I had mainly pleasurable contacts, I was always courteous with a reply, I tried not to whinge about anything and, if one approach wasn’t working, I quickly tried something else to widen my search pool and the number of potential contacts. As they say, only an insane person keeps doing things exactly the same way and expects different results, so I regularly reviewed my situation! Make sure your profile and actions are clear. Will you settle for anything, in your need for attention, or do you know who you are, or the main things you want? If you don’t, sadly, someone else will always set the agenda for you, and leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated and unhappy. 


PREMIUM: Starting A New Relationship? Four Key Questions To Ask Yourself At This Time

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It is always an exciting, and also a fearful, time when we are seeking a new date or partner. We are excited by the feeling it gives us, by the possibilities that can reveal themselves and by the potential for finding a true soulmate. However,  that is the time to have the feet firmly planted on the ground so that the heartache is reduced to a minimum by taking some simple preventative steps first. 

Having that special chemistry in all its forms (which is explained below) is crucial to any relationship, and the best way to test its strength is to ask yourself four questions, while your new relationship kicks off. The answers to them will give you a clear indication of where you are both heading, if anywhere! 

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Problem Point: What Is Love, And How Do You Know When You’re ‘In Love’?

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Question. Being only 16 years old, I just wanted to know what is love is. If I felt I was in love with someone, I would have to know what love is in order to be certain, and truthfully, I have no idea what it is.

A. Being a romantic ideal, Love can mean all kinds of things to different people. But on the most basic level, Love is simply the care, value and appreciation for another. That person becomes precious to us for whatever reason we feel – like the love for our family and relatives, those who are significant to us; the platonic love for our friends and those whose company we enjoy, and the intimate love we share with our dates and partners.  Thus Love appears on various levels, but the one that seems to occupy most people is the intimate romantic, emotional or sexual love.

Romantic love can be difficult to explain, or even be defined, because people have their own individual reactions to it. However, falling in love appears to be triggered by four major factors: attraction (physical, emotional and intellectual), a feeling of comfort (which encourages security, trust and happiness), a feeling of value (that the person respects and cares for you; that you really matter to them) and a feeling of excitement (that triggers the sexual and affection part of a relationship). It follows that if any of those aspects are missing there really isn’t any ‘love’ per se, it would mainly be just a crush or infatuation – a phase that would soon pass. 

For example, if you meet someone and there is no feeling of value (perhaps because he/she is mean in appreciating you, or they even abuse you) there is no love there at all. Or if you do not feel completely comfortable and happy in their presence, that’s not love either. If you cannot communicate together, or feel any emotional bond, it is really difficult to love in those situations. Furthermore, if you really don’t feel any excitement when you think of that person or share their company, it’s likely that you would be just platonic friends, not lovers, because the sexual attraction would be missing.

Someone also has to love her/himself first before they can love another. That takes maturity and understanding which a younger person usually doesn’t have. That is why relationships among teenagers rarely last a long time.

Photo by Elias Maurer

How do you Know you’re ‘in Love’?

Love is always determined by feelings and emotions, and early attachment. The feeling of love might be difficult to describe but it is an overwhelming one. You think about the person a lot, you want to be with them as often as possible, you tend to think only pleasant things about them, you feel both passion and fulfilment when you are in their presence and you feel joyful most of the time. You just want to smile when you are in their presence or when you think of them. That’s how love makes us feel, totally light headed and very happy. If you don’t feel happy when you think of that person, you are not in love with them. You might love them like a relative etc., without much passion, but being in love is a different happy feeling.

Love is also totally unconditional. It does not need to be proved in any shape or form, nor does it need to be validated by anything else. True love stands on its own, always. We either feel it or we don’t. We might do little things to express it openly, but they are not necessary. They are just forms of expression that demonstrate how we feel. For example, when we love our children, they do not have to be good to get that love, neither do we have to prove it to them that we love them. That love simply stands on its own. It just is. In a nutshell, when we truly love, we really value the presence of that person and they become very significant to our lives.

People who desire proof of love tend to be very insecure in themselves for whatever reasons. Love is probably something they don’t quite understand or appreciate, which perhaps make them feel uncomfortable. Depending on their upbringing, they probably know how to care for someone and value him/her as a partner, but to actually ‘love’ them, in the actual sense of the word, might be another matter. That person might not have been loved in a demonstrative way before and does not know how to deal with it, or she/he might doubt their own love for their partner, and thus put their guilt on to them. 

One way of dealing with such insecurity is this: when someone asks you to ‘prove’ your love to them, ask him/her if he really loves you. If they say ‘yes’, ask them how they prove it to you? What does love mean for them? You could both be interpreting ‘love’ differently. The responses should give you a measure of how they see love and what they expect from someone who loves them. People are obviously, different so perhaps you have to learn about each other, and how you both perceive love, before you can fully understand and appreciate one other.


LISTEN FREE! Why Real Friendship and Dating Do Not Go Together

How often have you ended dating with someone and then promised each other to be ‘friends’ afterwards? Is that a good foundation for real friendship, or just to sugar-coat any rejection? Is real friendship possible after any intimacy? This podcast explains why that is a futile hope.

RELATED BOOK7 Steps to Finding, and Keeping, ‘The One’

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Life Lines on Attraction…..from James Allen

Writing these profound words in 1864, well ahead of his time, James Allen  meant that we cannot attract what we are not, otherwise we wouldn’t get on with that person. Simply put, the law of attraction dictates that we will never find what we’re looking for, unless we possess it first!  Soon the person who provides it for us will get tired of just giving and getting nothing in return, which then leads to a perpetual cycle of failed friendships and relationships. 

For example, if you are having problems with people who lie, cheat, etc., unfortunately it starts with you, depending on the emotional and interactive patterns you develop as coping mechanisms to deal with adversity, the expectations you have of others, and your desire for perfection.

If your relationships are not proving as satisfactory as you would like, it could be that you, too, are not genuine, but superficial; you perhaps expect too much of others and then feel let down when they don’t deliver, or you are seeking people to reflect your values instead of just being themselves. Your search for perfection, and the ideal love, is perhaps blinding you to other unsavoury aspects of their personality. 

If you are attracting certain types of people who cause you anxiety, it is likely there is something in you that aligns with those ‘undesirable’ qualities.  So what signals are you giving like a beacon which are a drawing certain types towards you? Unless you know what they are, you will keep getting the same results.

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Today’s Thought: The Power of Self-Value

When you are seeking a partner, it is easy to believe that the relationship is about you getting along with them, and vice versa. But it isn’t. A relationship starts with how you see yourself: whether worthy or unworthy, because others can only take their cue from you in how they treat you, too.

Loving ourselves builds our self-worth. We are more likely to appreciate the wonderful beings we are and value our presence more when we feel good about us. Self-worth comes through constant gratitude for who we are, being thankful that we even have a life when many others do not, and slowly appreciating our many blessings, despite any perceived faults. By appreciating ourselves daily and routinely, we will realise and accept that the other person is as human as we are, not above or below us, and they can only say NO. But, equally, they could also say ‘yes’!

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I’m Attracted to Someone, who Doesn’t Feel as Strongly. Can Chemistry Grow Over Time?

Have you met someone whom you really like but sense that they might not like you as much, and wondered if they could grow yo like you in time if you show them your feelings? This podcast gives a possible answer to the dilemma.

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Today’s Thought: What Are You Attracting?

Many people believe that to find their ideal partner they simply have to look for the right physically attractive person and everything will be fine. But whoever we are drawn towards are also drawn to us because of the vibes we are giving off. If we are suspicious, wary, or lacking in empathy or cold in approach, sadly that’s exactly what we will attract in others because, quite simply, like attracts like.

Today’s Thought: Do Opposites Attract?

We hear a lot of anecdotes about people who seem so opposite in every way find deep attraction. What excites the parties appears to be the superficial DIFFERENCE between them.  However, behind the obvious differences, something else is always operating between those couples at a deeper level to make the relationship work. Otherwise it would be a very frustrating partnership.

No matter what is happening superficially, differences with looks, beauty, personality, activities etc, people will only connect if their basic values are in tandem. Real opposites represent conflict from the beginning because there would be little alignment in needs and objectives. This would keep the parties going in different directions.

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How Do Romantic Relationships Start to Deteriorate?

Photo by JD Mason

This happens mainly through partners being taken for granted, a growing disrespect for what they value, and ultimately neglect. These trends tend to manifest themselves in three ways: the attraction between the couple starts to fade, expectations become unfulfilled and disappointing, causing increasing resentment, and mutual activities gradually ceasing between the couple.

ATTRACTION is not just about physical looks. It also is governed by intellectual and communicative elements and, particularly, emotional alignment. When these are out of sync, that’s a relationship heading for the rocks. There is nothing fulfilling about a relationship devoid of attraction. In fact, a growing feeling of not being attractive to a partner is the biggest cause of low self esteem, and feelings of unworthiness, within relationships.

Some of the saddest relationships are those of couples who have been together a while and most of the chemistry has gone. They are living quiet lives of desperation with one another, perhaps can’t even bear to communicate with each other, yet having to live in the same house and keep up the pretence because they fear change, fear the consequences, and fear starting over.

EXPECTATIONS: Although the underlying causes for each break-up are unknown, the most common issues triggering the most conflict are the unrealistic expectations of partners.

Expectations are transmitted directly by what we hear, and indirectly by what we see. A new relationship in the same space, especially where two people are trying o create a new life together, brings expectations to life and will develop problems when those expectations are unreasonable. Our desire for security and perfection breeds the most unrealistic expectations which we then wait upon, in vain, to be fulfilled by our partners. Of course, they won’t, and the first stirrings of dissatisfaction begin, gradually leading to many conflicts.

It is a good habit to stop for a moment when you’re disappointed, ask yourself what you expected and compare it to what you actually received. The difference in fulfilment and expectation will reveal the gap in perception between you and your date/partner, as well as the room for resentment. Noting the degree of discrepancy, that may be unconsciously affecting your relationship, will help you to adjust future expectations instead of continuing to hope for futile change.

MUTUAL ACTIVITIES: Two important signs of a relationship deteriorating on the physical level tend to herald the growing distance between the couple, signalling the total loss of attraction and alignment.

Image by Steve Buissinne

A. Cultivating Outside Friendships. This includes telling family or friends about your problems but not addressing them with your partner. Talking to others at times of conflict is not a productive way to handle problems, and it can result in additional problems emerging. For instance, your partner may feel betrayed that you have revealed sensitive information to others that has caused him/her to be embarrassed or uncomfortable around them. Also, if you paint a negative picture of your partner or your relationship, others may get a distorted view, which may change their attitudes and behaviour toward you both. Worse still, others are likely to remember your conflicts long after you and your partner have gone past them, which can only damage friendships.

B. Drifting Apart. At some point in time partners stop doing the things they used to do together and slowly move apart, through boredom or falling out of love, which is a natural consequence of individual evolution. They begin to seek different friends, develop new interests and grow in different directions, depending on their feeling of fulfilment. However, though new directions are inevitable, drifting apart is not. Couples can grow together by taking an interest in, and encouraging, each other; making sure they keep up with one another and maintain the attraction. The best way for that is by doing as many things together, while allowing some space for individual pursuits.

Separation can creep upon a couple unawares, especially when they become ‘too busy’ with work and other commitments to spend quality time together and to just care about each other’s activities. If you cannot remember, right this minute, the last time you shared an activity together, one which you both enjoyed, there is danger looming ahead.

A relationship is not just about two individuals sharing space together. It is about physical and emotional attachment. Once these these main attachments are no longer there, communication goes, too, along with affection and, ultimately, sex.

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