Friday, September 14, 2012

The groans and grins of online dating

Image from We Love Dates
Ugh.

That's how I'm feeling about online dating right now.  It's so time consuming, and sometimes it feels like a waste of time.  I jumped back into it not long ago as a kneejerk reaction to being painfully rejected.  And now that I'm in, I have to stick with it.  At least for as long as my subscription lasts. (Don't worry, it's not that long.)

I'm still not convinced this is the best way for me to meet someone. But it's really hard to meet someone local. I live in a small town.  I don't really know anyone outside of work. None of my friends seem keen on introducing me to anyone (for understandable reasons I have discussed with them).  So, what other option is there?  I'm not against staying single. I love my own company and my independence. But I also think it'd be nice to share my awesome life with someone. So I'm also open to the possibility if I meet the right person.  Yeah, there's that whole meeting thing again.

So, Online dating it is, I guess.  Why do I keep doing this to myself?  Oh, that's right.  Because I'm a hopeless romantic.  I know it can work.  Earlier this week, Amber shared her online dating success story over on Life of Love.  My friend, Ashley, met her long-time boyfriend online. My best friend, Bruna, met her now husband online.  So did my Mary Kay director.  This list could go on forever.  They say one out of five couples meet online these days (three of five for gay couples).  So I know it works.  And I totally believe what happens for others will someday happen for me.  Trust me -- I feel pretty stupid believing that sometimes.

This isn't my first time through this process, in some ways it feels new.  Probably because it's been a really long time. I'm older now, and my answers and expectations are different. I'm also getting way more responses this time around than ever before.  I'm overwhelmed with the quantity, but a bit underwhelmed with the quality. Very few of the guys actually interest me, but I honestly think that's because of me, not them. I think I jumped back in too soon.  But I can't change that now.  I'm in.

So I'm choosing to make the best of it and learning more about dating and myself in the process.  Here are the bad (groans) and good (grins) things I've picked up along the way.

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Groans


[-] There's no excuse for not having a photo on your profile. Everyone has a digital camera or camera on their smart phone.  No picture at all is  lame enough, but it's even weirder if all you have is a picture of food, a picture of your pet or a photo from somewhere you've traveled (without you in it).  Simply put, if you don't have a picture of yourself, I wonder what you're hiding.

[-] Don't hound me for my phone number.  If you ask me for my number, and I don't respond with it right away, please don't assume I didn't see your request.  Trust me, I'm a pretty good reader.  I saw it. I haven't given it to you because I don't want to.  I'll give it to you when I want you to have it.

[-] Be respectful with my number. Once I finally do give you my digits, don't text me constantly throughout the day. I've probably told you my work schedule. Try to adhere to that.  And if I've replied saying, "Sorry, I'm busy right now," that means I am busy and I will get in touch with you when I'm not.  Please don't continue to text me every few hours after that.  I will eventually stop answering.

[-] Don't mock something in my interests. Light teasing is fine. I can even handle a little smack talk if you root for a rival team. But if I feel like you're overtly making fun of something I've indicated I'm passionate about, I'm probably going to shut you out.

[-] Check out our age difference before you contact me. If you're closer to my dad's age than mine OR if you were barely walking when I was learning to drive, I'm probably not going to date you.  Maybe that's judgmental and narrow-minded of me, but ... just no.  And, yes, I've been contacted by men who are 49 and 19.

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Grins

[+] Being honest will reap better results.  I've never been overtly deceiving in my profiles in the past, but I don't think I was answering the questions honestly.  For some reason, I believed I needed to answer a certain way to generate interest.  I figured I needed to conceal the fact that I have cats, want to get married, enjoy trashy reality TV, etc. so I wouldn't scare someone off.  When I filled out my profile this time, I let it all fly.  This is me -- take it or leave it. The resulting matches have been much better than ever before.

[+] I'm not going to apologize for knowing what I don't want. I know what things are deal breakers in a relationship for me.  I won't list them here.  I don't have to justify them for anyone.  I know what I'll tolerate and what is a huge turnoff.  And I won't back down.  

[+] I can learn a lot about someone by asking about their friendships.  I understand that people move around and change, and sometimes that breaks down friendships. But if you don't have a friend that you've known longer than a few years, I'm going to wonder about your character and loyalty.

[+] Taking a chance on someone who's not "my type" can be eye-opening. I've been fighting the urge to dismiss just about every match that I didn't immediately get excited about.  If they take the time to contact me (and their messages aren't creepy), I at least owe them a conversation or two. They may not look like "my type" on paper, but sometimes there's a connection anyway.

[+] There really are some decent guys out there. I've seen and read about some really bad guys.  Men - you need some better PR, because those bad apples (you know who they are) are creating a major stink over the rest of you.  It's refreshing to know they don't represent everyone. It warms my heart when a guy talks about his family, a cause he's passionate about or a personal goal he's working toward. My faith has been restored.  At least a little.

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Have you tried online dating?
What were your impressions (good and bad)?
If you have a good online love story, I'd love to hear it.




5 comments:

  1. LOVE this!!! :) I'm with you on the no picture thing... If people didn't have a picture, I did not even bother talking to them... ALSO, love the piece on Honesty... I brought up kids with Shay on our first meeting (he wanted 4 I will NOT have more than 2. Maybe a little too early for most, however, he may have been DEAD set on 4...) AND the fact that I wanted a SERIOUS relationship. I was not getting any younger and I was tired of dating losers and wasting my time... It paid off afterall, so I can't complain!! haha... LOVE YOU!

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  2. I'm so glad you posted this!

    My advice is keep doing what you're doing. It always felt to me that there were so many bad seeds, and I wondered if I'd ever actually meet someone worthwhile. I think that online dating takes a lot of patience to actually find someone GOOD.

    I love that you took a chance on someone who isn't "your type" - I'm always telling my best friend to do this. I don't think you should shut certain people out (especially if they can hold a decent convo, like you said) because you could be missing out on something great!

    Good luck girl, I'm always here if you want to talk/vent about it. :)

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  3. The biggest problem I've encountered (as you're probably already well aware) is the high volume of flakes. Sure, the conversation period is fun, and it helps break the monotony of the day. But the part that really crushed my self-esteem was meeting someone for the first time, feeling like I had a good time and it went well (even if it wasn't a love connection) and then never hearing anything from that person ever again. I had 4 or 5 of those in a row. It's like the unspoken rule of online dating; just stop talking to someone instead of saying, "You're awesome, but I don't think it was a connection." I don't like that.

    On the bright side, what I do really like about online dating is I feel like it gives me power over my choices. Plus, like you mentioned, it gives you an opportunity to talk to (or even meet) guys you may have otherwise passed up. I don't think it's ALL bad, nor do I think it's ALL good. But it's definitely better than nothing, which is what happens when pretty, successful ladies like you and I sit back and don't go after what we want.

    Hang in there. I know it looks like it's so easy for everyone else. And that can be frustrating.

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  4. This was so interesting to read. I've never tried online dating, as I went the more traditional route of meeting my husband at a bar.. Ha. Ha.
    I think you're awesome for knowing what you want :)

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  5. Love this, Micah! Stick in there, it will happen! <3 <3

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