The Fragile Male Ego Has Ruined Online Dating

But it doesn't stop there...

Shannon Ashley
Nov 24, 2018 · 7 min read
Photo by Josh Felise on Unsplash

Virtually every woman who’s ever tried online dating in the past decade has encountered the dangerously fragile male ego. Online dating isn't what it used to be back when it first began and was email-based. Back then, people answered questions and wrote letters. Today, it's all about mobile apps and messaging. And the men are decidedly more fragile and entitled.

It doesn’t matter which app you use--Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble, FetLife and more all host their own mix of men who feel so entitled to a woman--any woman--that they are not ashamed to curse out a female who tells them she’s not interested.

A few years ago, when I got burned out by messages on OkCupid, I kept hearing good things about Bumble. On Bumble, women take the lead. The ball is in your court. Or so I heard.

Okay, cool. So I tried Bumble.

Guess what? The fragile men will still find you. On one of my first days, I matched with a sports writer in Chattanooga who after a few pleasantries and getting to know you questions began giving me shit for not having a witty pickup line for him.

“Sorry, dude. I’m interested in getting to know a person first and going from there. But I’m pretty burnt out on dating games and awkwardly forced flirting. I have to warm up to people, but I get it if that’s not your thing.”

It surely was not his thing, and he made sure I knew it.

He lectured me that I shouldn’t even be on the app if I wasn’t willing to “play the game.” He went onto say that since the ball was in my court, it was my job to impress him.


I'm a romantic and an idealist but I'm also a single mom in my 30s. That means I am so over trying to impress a guy. Nor do I want him to try to impress me. The problem with the whole arrangement is that nobody acts like themselves.

Call me crazy, but I don't want to fall for a shitty guy on his best behavior only to find out months or years down the road that it was all an act. Been there, done that. Likewise, I don't want to pretend I'm any different than I am so a guy can fall for a fake version of me and then feel like he got a bait and switch when the real me is discovered.

Who wants to do any of that? Not me, no thank you.

But explaining myself wasn't enough for the sports writer. Giving him an out wasn't alright either. He could have just walked away, but was instead compelled to "tell me how it was."

For him, it was personal. I wasted his time--even though I was trying to save everyone time. Basically, he accused me of being a tease although I'd been very upfront about my relationship style (demisexual). I wasn't pretending to like him, but I was trying to figure out if I could.

His over-the-top reaction when things didn't go his way made it easy for me to see that no, I couldn't date the guy because I didn't like him.

And so it often goes with online dating. A girl disappoints a guy before they even really know each other and he goes out of his way to let her know that it's not alright with him. Except that the disappointment is 100% on him for holding unreasonable expectations from a basic stranger who owes him nothing.

Why do so many men believe that women owe them something?

Men with fragile egos flip out at the mere possibility of a woman rejecting them. Not long after the sports writer, I made the mistake of giving a guy on Bumble my number to text. It's a common enough request--a man says they'd prefer texting via SMS instead of the dating app. I used to say sure, why not.

After a couple of days trying to chat, but never really hitting a groove, I knew I was not feeling it. It was too hard to get more than a one-word answer from him, so we weren't actually getting to know each other. I wrote that I wasn’t feeling a connection and wouldn’t keep texting. I apologized for the trouble but said I preferred to be honest.

My message was not well received. He went off on me about how I was a bitch. When I didn’t respond he just kept texting. He went on to say he didn’t even remember who I was anyway, and that I must be ugly. Of course. He said this was my problem and that it explained why I was single.

Um okay?

You might think that would be the end of it, but no. He sent me dick pics twice a day for a week. I just sent his messages to my spam folder. But it was really gross, and I deleted Bumble from my phone.

When men behave badly, women are conditioned to not only accept it, but expect it.

I find it ironic that crazy is so often used to describe spurned women, when the egos of fragile men have been much more commonly irrational. Yes, women can display this same behavior. Yet men have made this shit a genuine trend.

What amazes me is how many people continue to make excuses and space for these men. Fragile male egos aren't simply a nuisance. They are a danger. These men change the way women conduct themselves online. Being angrily text bombed can be scary.

But men have safety in numbers and social media. I was stunned the other day when a woman complained that her post talking about a sexual assault was taken down by Facebook because she wrote, "Men are pigs."

Honestly? I wouldn't personally make a post that called men pigs. I wouldn't. But I could write that some men are pigs.

What’s ironic is that Facebook has never to my knowledge taken down hate speech against fat people. I’ve reported men calling fat women pigs or whales or worse quite frequently and Facebook always tells me that’s not against their community standards.

But shattering the fragile male ego? That’s a bit too much.

It all points to a much larger problem.

As a culture, we haven't successfully taught enough men how to manage their own expectations, disappointment, and emotions. Obviously. That's why we've got incels proudly trolling any woman who takes on these issues. If a good man steps up to talk about the fragile male ego among his peers, those same incels will have no problem shaming him too.

It's a cringe-worthy and incredibly widespread case of men behaving badly. Men who should know enough to be embarrassed by their actions. But they're not. And we’re not consistently telling men that this is unacceptable behavior.

It’s frightening, because who’s to say a man who so spectacularly escalates with hateful words in a message won't escalate with violence in real life? Getting angry texts from a man you hardly know because you didn't get back to him quickly enough for his liking isn't only annoying--it's scary. Because we don't know where the escalation will end.

There's so much talk lately about the way assault allegations can ruin a man's life. People are so worried about the unhinged woman who claims a false report. Meanwhile, men are getting away with murder because we don't stop them earlier when they first show their true colors.

The sentences we give to men who hurt women says a lot about how little we value the victims. Like this stellar example--a former judge in Ohio has been recently arrested for murdering his ex-wife. The same man previously spent a mere 9 months in prison for beating her so badly she required facial reconstruction surgery. That beating was done in front of her kids, and so was the murder.

Could this murder have been prevented if the punishment were more severe? We'll never know, but this time he wounded an officer, so I'm betting his overall sentence will be much harsher as a result. Of course, this is also in Ohio--a state where certain lawmakers care more about forcing women to carry their pregnancies rather than protecting those women from harm.

Abuse should not be tolerated or expected.

Some people might think it's a leap to connect the dots of the fragile male ego from online dating meltdowns to domestic abuse and murder. I say that every time we fail to curtail this bad behavior in dating, we're only encouraging greater abuse. Unwarranted tirades are abusive, and if a person has no qualms about attacking a stranger for somehow getting their hopes up? What do you think they're going to do to a partner they claim to love?

These men aren't just ruining online dating. They're pushing progress and women's rights backward every time we indulge the behavior as so typical it's benign. It's not benign. This level of entitlement is a cancer in our society.

And yes--it's luckily not all men who walk around peacocking these fragile, abusive egos. Thank goodness. Yet, it is way too many men who are unable to process the slightest whiff of rejection in a remotely healthy way.

And it's not funny, it's frightening.

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

Single mama, fulltime writer, exvangelical. It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. Top Writer.

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.

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