I come to all of you with my hanging head bowed down, shoulders slumped…I have a very dirty and shameful secret. It is about my filthy habit. Just now, I spent an hour engaging in an incredibly depravedact of self-indulgence, an act that has no other purpose but pleasure and self-love. I was lured into such an act through email solicitations, the type that incites fantasies about women. As I was doing this, I kept telling myself to stop. I knew it was against my convictions and values. I just couldn’t stop though. For whatever reason, perhaps curiosity, the urge to fill a void in my life…whatever the reason, I just kept going through the motions. And then finally, when I was done, I shook my head. I felt so disgraceful, my honor had been tainted. I had broken the pact I made with myself.

Hi. My name is Wistful Writer, and I am addicted to Internet dating.

As we all know, I have deemed Internet dating to be nothing much but a scam. Okay, maybe that’s a bit harsh, but it doesn’t really work the way it was meant to. I made a pact with myself: I will not return to the world of online dating. With the strength of my convictions on such matters, it would reason that I would just leave the damn thing alone. Alas, that is not the case.Every so often, I will receive emails from the various dating sites that I have long since abandoned. Match.com emails me monthly about my new matches, Chemistry very occasionally lets me know of some gal’s new profile, and eHarmony periodically sends me a flood of hopeful emails with names and some boilerplate profiles based on their questionnaire, written to sound as if they were written by the lady herself.So considering that I am still single, still alone, still lonely…and still intermittently looking, these solicitous emails are rather tempting. These emails reinject the idea of romance into my life. They throw me off balance. It appeals to the hopeless romantic in me that says, “You just never know, your One True Love could be waiting for you right now.” When I wake up, the first thing I do is check my email on my iPhone. And when you have sixtoeight emails from eHarmony telling you about all these ladies who have been matched up with you, it’s a little hard to ignore them. Curiosity takes over. I open the email, and then I start reading about Annette from New York City who’s 20 years old and 5’2″. She likes spending time watching movies and eating in and some of her best qualities include being able to create romance in a relationship, caring for her partner, and being optimistic. All these green lights light up, giving me a green to go. I wonder what she looks like, what she’d be like on our first date. My mind wanders through the rosy hallways of potential romance, indulging in fanciful imagination.

In some ways, it’s even worse when I do start participating during free communication weekends. I just go through the motions just to see if I will get a response. And that violates my sense of discretion: I do not want to act as though online dating is a game. It is not a numbers game, it never was. Yet here I am, sending out communication requests to a hundred women, even though I invested no more than a glance at their profiles. Granted the response rate is usually close to nil, I still should not operate with such a point of view.

Ultimately, I do not want to get sucked back into the world of online dating. Six months that bore no results convinced me that online dating is a very expensive and fruitless endeavor. Of course you can’t really put a price on the possibility of finding the soulmate who you’ll marry and spend the rest of your life with, but between this economy and my already shaky finances, Internet dating just doesn’t seem very valuable to me at the moment.

Even so, using these dating sites feels almost like an addiction. I always feel that temptation to return. And every time there is a solicitation, I consider it, if but for a brief moment. Sometimes I start to entertain the idea. And then I read my articles again…I remind myself that Internet dating doesn’t work. I remind myself that being alone may be hard, but it is neither impossible nor unbearable. I will find solace in my solitude, all over again.