I’ve heard it on good authority (aka, other daters) that OkCupid and Plenty of Fish are known for harboring a deep, dark secret: they’re a hotbed of guys and gals on the rebound. The Rebound is actually not a bad romcom movie title, but a state of “going from one relationship to the next right away to avoid the pain of a breakup” (thank you Urban Dictionary for that concise summary). You’re invested in someone and when that’s taken away from you you’re stuck with a Tupperware full of feelings. And it’s easier to slide those feelings on over to another person than it is to stare at those leftover emotions just sitting in the back of the fridge – never out of sight and thus never out of mind.
So the theory goes that free online-dating sites are ripe with recently single lads and lasses because those sites are well, free. One needn’t invest anything other than time and thought to get a date (whereas sites that require payments are really asking you to invest cash-money in your romantic life). Which in my head seems backwards.
Dating sites that require you give them money in order to meet people also tend to offer amenities (sometimes at an additional charge) that sort of make it under-engaging to online date. Those sites send you people you might like so you don’t have to look for yourself. They do the work for you. To me, this translates to a guy being way less likely to be serious about dating me rather than just dating someone. It’s like getting a generic message in my OkC inbox: it screams that you just want a person, whether or not it’s me is irrelevant. Dating sites that make you do the work appear to ward off rebounders under this light.
To be fair: When I broke up with my long-term boyfriend many years ago, the first place I turned for dating was OkC, and yes, was in another relationship fairly quickly after that, one in which I was probably not ready to be in. When my more recent ex (the fifty first dates inspirer) got all breaky-uppy with me, I did indeed again go back to OkC, but this time after a waiting period until I felt less like I was going to cry on a date.* And that guy who broke up with me had been engaged previously, and was most likely on the rebound…
Hmmm. Wait a second. Does me being on OkC for Fifty/Fifty just fulfill the prophecy of being a rebound site because I suppose in some ways we could argue Fifty/Fifty started out as a rebound idea…but in that case, I’d have to postulate that rebounds are actually good things, showing off that there is hope when you least expect to find it.
*Note: Last year when I was worried about crying on a date, my friend Simone suggested that in case of tears, I could just say I was thinking about a really sad episode of Dawson’s Creek. This was never actually necessary, but I would think about DC during dates because of this conversation and laugh.