I’m an online dating veteran.
I say that with neither pride nor shame. “It is what it is,” as the saying goes.
If you’re single these days, the best way to meet someone is through online dating. Really, what are your other options?
- Ask friends if they know any eligible singles? Maybe once or twice, but not on a regular basis.
- Date people at work? Danger, danger.
- Join a singles’ group? Be prepared to meet some creeps.
Personally, I’ve been doing online dating off and on for about two years, since shortly after my second divorce. Initially, I was a little reluctant to do so, but I quickly overcame any stigma. After all, millions of other people are doing the same thing.
I’ve approached online dating as an experiment since the beginning. I’ve kept a record of the names, ages, occupation, race and town of each woman I met in person. Besides the 13 I’ve been on dates with, I’ve corresponded by email or phone with probably 50 or so. Turned out, one of us wasn’t interested in meeting.
Be prepared for plenty of surprises in online dating. You can only trust the photos you see on the dating sites to a degree. Once I went out with a woman who was about five years older and 40 pounds heavier than her photo indicated.
I’ve learned never to go out with a woman who posts only one photo, particularly a studio shot. Lighting and makeup can hide a multitude of flaws.
Hey, I’m no great prize myself. The hair I’ve got left is mostly gray, and I could lose a few pounds. But I post eight or 10 photos in different settings to try to give a true representation of my appearance. I believe in truth in advertising.
Most of my 13 online matches have been “one and done.” That is, neither I nor the woman did any follow-up communication.
Two have been potentially psycho, I’d say. One lived about 100 miles away. I made the mistake of going to driving to her town for our first (and only) date. By the time I’d driven back home later that day, she’d emailed me and talked about coming to see me so she could meet my son, and I could meet hers.
Uh, no. That ain’t happening. Timing is everything.
The other potential psycho started texting me five or six times a day after we decided to meet. There were “good morning” and “good night” texts, along with several inquiring about my day and telling me about hers. Worse, she wrote about how she couldn’t wait for our first kiss! No … We hadn’t even met.
I went ahead with the date. It was short, mercifully. A true “one and done.” The woman wrote me once more about a month later, saying I’d “blown her off.” True.
Let me say, I’ve been blown off as much as I’ve done the blowing off. It’s a fact of life in online dating. You strike out a lot. Get used to it. As a friend once told me, the rejection is anonymous and relatively painless.
After two failed marriages, I’m not sure I ever want to marry again. I don’t even want to get seriously involved with anyone right now. My focus is on raising my 11-year-old son with little dad-girlfriend drama. Online dating is more like a hobby, not a serious pursuit for me.
But, as I said, online dating is full of surprises. My latest surprise: I met a woman (my 13th match) that I like – almost more than I wish. She looks better in person than in her pictures. She’s fun, smart and has a pleasant voice. Her only child is grown, she lives nearby and she has plenty of free time.
I’d grown accustomed to forgettable matches. Maybe this one will turn out to be forgettable too. But for now, the relationship has potential – and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
THE TAKEAWAY: If you try online dating, be prepared for plenty of rejection and bad dates. But also know you might meet someone special – even if you aren’t really looking.