Handsome Matt Oates opens up about how online dating introduced him to some dubious fellas, but says he won’t let them put him off finding Mr Right. 

Not so long back I began to gain back my own self confidence and decided to throw myself into the murky waters of online dating. This was a huge thing for me. I have NEVER dated before. Growing up I had a few one night stands, each of which painted a bad image of what gay men would be like if I ever put myself out there. I remember one particular encounter with a guy who was so vile, egotistical and clueless it was almost enough to turn me straight!

These experiences shaped how not only I viewed other gay men but completely turned me away from dipping my toe back into the dating world ever again. But as time has gone by and I have come to see that are some really genuine, great guys out there and I now feel ready to see where things might lead.

Being terrified of rejection it made sense to me to dive back into the world of Grindr, Scruff and Tinder. In reality I’m a hopeless romantic and would ‘ideally’ prefer to meet someone the old fashioned way. I loved the idea that destiny would get me bumping into the love of my life on a street corner one day and we would live happily ever after.

But with no sign of him coming along any time soon, i need to take matters into my own hands. Dating apps on the surface seem great, you get connected to tonnes of guys you might never normally meet and not only that you get to see them and get a brief idea of what they are about before you even speak to them. Great right? But aren’t they just reinforcing the idea its ok to judge a book by its cover?

We see one picture of a guy and straight away decide weather or not your interested, only then might you take the time to read their profile and again you make a snap judgement. All this without even talking to them. Not only this but it appears these apps are now flooded with guys who are just looking for sex…..nothing else – which i found out the hard way.

Initially it seemed great, I was getting lots of attention and messages from some really great guys, but they all live a million miles away with no hope of anything but an online romance.

After weeding out the weird ones and the ones just after sex I got talking to a really great guy. We had similar interests, he was funny, good looking and he was happy to meet for a coffee, too good to be true right? We met up and the first thing I noticed was – and don’t get me wrong, looks are not everything – he had clearly used old pictures online. This I can look past, because regardless of how old the pictures are, I’m guess he would still be the funny guy I spoke to online.

But as I began talking about what I thought were our shared interests, he stopped me in my tracks only to reveal he had lied and only told me what I wanted to hear. About then all of a sudden alarm bells were ringing so loud, I’m surprised a fire truck didn’t show up. It became very clear that this guy was only after one thing and thought lies were the best way to get it. Needless to say I didn’t see the guy again.

But should these bad experiences scare me off the dating scene for good? Hell no! Nor should it scare anyone off. You can’t tar everyone with the same brush. There are just as many good guys out there as there are dickheads.

Learn from the bad dates and use them to your advantage when the next guy comes along. I’m not saying all these dating apps are awful, or that all the guys on there are bad, you just have to be careful and maybe they aren’t the way to go forward for yourself. There is someone out there for everyone, and who knows maybe your Mr Perfect is just around the next corner.