Online Dating… Are We All Just Really Window Shopping?

Now that I’m back at it in the online dating world, I’ve started taking a closer look at my online dating patterns. Is it just the holiday months that make me feel like online dating is similar to window shopping or is that really what we’re all doing?


I’ve always said I think it’s hard to date around the holidays. People are feeling lonely, physically cold, frustrated that they are ending their year alone, but aren’t ready to jump into anything serious. Who wants to buy a gift for someone they’ve been dating for 2 weeks?

So, I don’t know if it’s the time of year or just the general outlook on dating now, but I feel like even when we’ve found someone that has some promise we’re all out there looking for the next best thing…

I remember being in high school and shopping for a dress for Homecoming. It was summer and I found an amazing dress while we were on vacation in San Francisco. My mom insisted that I get the dress. I told her it was bad luck to get the dress… if I had a dress, then I was jinxing myself and no one would ask me! Also, what if I found something better? In this instance, my mom was the wise one. I got the dress, got asked to Homecoming and it all worked out. But, if it was up to me, I would have been shopping for the perfect dress the morning of the dance.

I’m starting to feel like this is the exact same thing happening in the dating world. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I got set up on an amazing date.  (We went on 3 more dates until he blew me off via text message right after Thanksgiving – post to come!)  While we were hanging out I was struggling with whether or not I should be swiping right while I was just starting to date this new guy. We hadn’t had any talks about being exclusive, hadn’t slept together, and had only gone out a few times, but I continued to question… should I just be content with this going well in my life or should I be looking for something else if this doesn’t work out?

This post is feeling very Sex and The City with all the questions, but really… should we settle when we think we’re in a good place or should be looking for something better in case it doesn’t work out? BTW, I know what the answer is and what I should do, but honestly, how does everyone else deal with this situation? So far nothing has worked out, so is looking (not necessarily acting on anything, just looking) really harmful? Sound off below. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on this one.


  1. When I’m dating someone and I get a hint of the “I wonder if there’s anyone else better for me out there”, it’s the moment I realize I should probably break up who I’m dating. Not because I’ve actually found someone, but because I’m not completely smitten by the person I’m with, and I probably should be. At least that early on. Me wondering, what else is out there, is a sign of doubt or hesitation, and if I stayed in the currently relationship, sure, it would be fine, we’d go on a few more dates and it would probably be a decent relationship, but I know I’d ultimately be settling.
    I encourage the person I’m dating to have the same thoughts. If she thinks there is someone out there she is better off with, she should go be with him, even if she hasn’t found him yet. I don’t want to be dragged along as second place until she finds something better.

  2. What a surprise … I have a thought on the topic 🙂

    This post fits into perfectly with what I’ve always accused guys of: Shiny Ball Syndrome. There’s always going to be someone that’s cuter / smarter / sexier / etc. But here’s the thing. Settling is one thing, seeking perfection is another. I’m no more perfect than anyone else, in fact, far less so.

    When I did all of my online dating I set a rule for myself. If I’m going out with a woman on a 4th date, DO NOT go out on any other dates with anyone else. This isn’t about exclusivity, sex or anything else. For me it was simple. If I kept meeting new women just by human nature alone, I’d find something about that new person that was “better” than the old one, and might forget that the original woman had the new one beat in every other category.

    By doing this, I gave myself a chance to really see if things could work with that ONE woman rather than continuing to do comparisons. And under NO circumstances would I say anything to her about being exclusive or expecting that she was.

    I’ve been married for almost 5 years now. I’m sure that both my wife and I might see someone on the street who might be hotter than our partner… but it doesn’t matter at all. I picked the perfect woman for me…

  3. I wholeheartedly agree – there’s a difference between seeking perfection, and settling for what doesn’t make you happy. After years of the ups/downs of dating, you can’t help but keep your eyes open even when you’ve found a possible match… because you wouldn’t be human if you didn’t wonder, will this, too, end up being a disappointment? Should I be keeping my options open?

    I think you know in your gut when you’re trying to fit the proverbial square peg into the round hole – and when you’re still just getting to know someone and figuring out if this is a direction in which you’d like to head.

    As for the concept of window shopping… why do you assume no one wants to jump into anything serious just because it’s the holidays? I totally understand that the time of the year tends to create a separate level of emotions – but I’d like to think that someone who is serious about finding a wonderful girl like you accepts that it can happen at any given time, location, or circumstance! And when that does happen… you may be cautious, you may still look around a bit… but you’ll know pretty quickly if he’s worth the commitment. As always, good luck – you’ve got a cheering section rooting for you!

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