Another one bites the dust

by Dating Goddess on June 27, 2010

With apologies to Queen (but without the violence of their song), I share that another one bites the dust. Number 102. The result of my latest foray into Match.com.

After a few email exchanges, we talked for an hour and I mentioned the next evening I was going to a public street fair within walking distance of my house. He said, “I may go to that and look for you.” Uh huh. Great way to set up something certain, as 30,000 people attend this event.

He called me from the event and asked if I was there yet. I said I was leaving in 15 minutes. He said he’d “look for me.” Right. In a crowd of thousands you’re going to find someone you’ve never met. I didn’t press for a more certain location, as I figured he must not be too interested if he didn’t want to set a specific spot.

Ten minutes later he called to say he was in a nice bar and had a table. Finally, some certainty! A plan! What a concept. I said I’d be there in a few minutes.

He was smart, tall, educated and successful. But I’m afraid we just didn’t have enough in common. In fact, we are polar opposites politically, not that I don’t enjoy a spirited discussion. But I’m not fond of arguments that aren’t likely to yield either of us changing our opinions.

He wasn’t odious or disrespectful and even bought me a glass of wine. But his regular interjection of curse words and his repeating himself grew tiring. He did ask me a few questions, and I interjected my thoughts when he didn’t.

The drink evolved to a light dinner at an inexpensive ethnic restaurant down the street. When the bill came, I got out my wallet, as my male buddies have coached me to do on a first encounter. He said my share was $14. OK. That’s usually a screaming sign that there’s no interest in a repeat rendezvous.

We walked back to where our destinations required a split. He hugged me and said, “Talk to you soon.” Which generally means, “Have a nice life.” Which is okay, as I wasn’t really feeling it either.

One of the hardest things about midlife dating is keeping your optimism in the face of a number of going-nowhere encounters. The interaction isn’t horrible, it’s just not great. Ambivalence. It’s the all-too-common reality of this exercise. So I keep my hopes up and respond to the next man knocking on my in-box.

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One of the benefits of online dating is it allows you to get to know several people concurrently and not be considered a two-timer. Learn how to ethically go out with several people in Multidating Responsibly: Play the Field Without Being A Player.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Unmatched June 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I’m coming to the conclusion that most of the guys you find online at midlife are duds. I live here in Washington, DC, and I meet so many accomplished, impressive single women here who get involved in their community and actively pursue cultural interests. Yet when I go to most events, the turnout skews female (or if there are men, they tend to be married to women who are also participating). And online you find guys who aren’t all that interesting, and even worse, they’re often desperate on top of that. And let’s not even get into what people lie about.

I’ve recently decided that I’m just going to focus on making quality friends whom I meet through activities that we participate in together. I just don’t see the point in going out of my way to meet someone whom I haven’t already interacted with at least casually.

Dating Goddess June 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Hi Unmatched:

I don’t think I would say they were duds, just not matches for me. Perhaps that is what a dud is, but they were generally nice enough guys, just not what I’m looking for. I, too, am expanding my outreach and attending more events where I think my kind of guys might attend, but so far, no matches, but I’m not quitting!

Julie June 28, 2010 at 7:48 am

My friend who is a therapist says she sees this so much – so often she’s convinced that there are many more quality women online than there are men. In general online men are ambivalent for one reason by or another by mid-life so they gravitate towards online… it’s a way to for them to feel like they’re trying when they’re not. Looking back, I did see that a lot. (her conclusion from talking to women for so many years who havent had any luck online). Finding a great guy online “is like finding a needle in a haystack” (her opinion). It certainly gave me a completely different perspective about the whole thing… made me feel like perhaps too many guys with bad attitudes are online… doesnt mean one should stop trying… I just kept that in mind as a possibility.

Katie June 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Glad you’re not quitting. Douglas MacArthur said: “Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

Dawn V June 28, 2010 at 7:08 pm

I too had another less than satisfying Match date this weekend. He suggested meeting for happy hour at 5pm and then made a crack about not drinking before sunset when I ordered a glass of wine. Getting him to talk was like pulling teeth. I’m not sure why he even asked me out. When the longest hour in history ended he stuck his hand out and said “it was nice to meet you” and we went our separate ways. I’m quite sure he had just about as miserable a time as I did. How do you go about meeting people without going through this torture? I walk away from these encounters feeling battered, bruised and like I want to hide. After yet another awful Match dating experience I find myself not wanting to answer the person who has currently written to me because it seems as though I am just continually setting myself to be rejected.

Dating Goddess June 28, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Dawn:

Having had one too many of those excruciating first encounters, I now vet a guy through at least one phone call before agreeing to meet. That has filtered out a lot of self-absorbed or non-conversational guys. It doesn’t, however, guarantee there will be a spark when you do meet, but at least you have a sense of his conversational skills. So while my guy wasn’t a dud conversationally, as we’d had a good chat on the phone, in person we discovered we really didn’t have much in common.

My book, “Check Him Out Before Going Out: Head Off Dud Dates” talks more about what I’ve learned to ask to prevent fewer of the odious meetings you describe.

BTW, if I’ve misjudged, I now know that 30 minutes is sufficient to spend with someone you quickly decide is in no way a match. You have shown politeness, and can excuse yourself to go to your “next commitment” — even if that commitment is to yourself and a good book.

Mark June 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm

These uncomfortable and unenjoyable first-time meetings are just the price you sometimes pay when you use online dating services. DG’s idea of a phone call isn’t a bad idea, but as she says, even that doesn’t really give you much indication of what the face-to-face will be like.

It’s just going to happen sometimes, but there are plenty of success stories, too. Lots of people do meet eventual partners through online dating.

Midlife dating, and especially online dating, can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Lisa June 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I am 47, never married, and have done on line dating–match.com, etc.–on and off for over 10 years. At this point in my life, I just do not think I can do it anymore. It’s the same men who appear over and over. Of course, I have appeared over and over too, so…… Anyway, I just feel exhausted by the process. I have one good friend I met on line, which is very nice, but after 13 years, you’d think I would have found a boyfriend for even a month or two. But such has not been the case for me. I think when someone said that on-line men are ambivalent and that there are so many more interesting women out there than men is so true. I think I created a very creative and engaging profile, and often men would go on and on about how great it was, how great I was, etc–all this flattery bs. and then Iwould never hear from them again. Anyway, to make the story of a decade of on-line dating short, I am still single. Most of the men on match seem pleasant enough but rather dull, at least in my city. Some of them seem angry, bitter, or just scary odd! I have met some very nice people, and I would have gone out again with some of them, but they did not seem to have any interest. Maybe I am just doing something totally wrong. Or maybe the men on match are just totally messed up. I guess with creativity comes a few quirks, but all I want is a spark of creativity, a curious nature, a passion for something, a sense of adventure ( I go on solo bike trips all over the world), a sense of humor, a sense of self, a sense of responsibility, a compassion for others. I don’t care about education level, income level (yet they must be responsible), etc. etc. I just want someone smart, playful, creative, and adventurous. I do not think that is asking for too too much. Why is it so hard to find? I would always recommend on-line dating. I know someone who met his wife on e-harmony, and my sister is dating a guy she met on line, but I think if you are a little out of the mainstream in terms of interests, etc. it is very difficult to find someone. Enough venting! On to living my own life.

Karen June 30, 2010 at 3:49 am

My worst string of first-dates was when I signed up for an expensive dating service–because they didn’t let you communicate with the guy before going on a date with him. It was soooo boring to be “trapped” in a dinner with a guy who was obnoxious or obviously unsuited for me. I found Match.com far better, because at least you could email/call and check out political inclinations, check their education claim by inspecting their spelling and grammar, and you could screen out those who just sent lame come-ons.

Like DG I occasionally met men who I felt “had potential” (or not) but they were oddly blah during the date, seemed distracted and didn’t even try to be very polite, and then they didn’t follow up. Like they weren’t even trying! I didn’t take it personally.

I think these guys are probably 1) still reeling from losing their last relationship yet trying to “prove” something by “dating”, 2) online-only “cheaters” looking for a bit of a flirt by computer but scared and determined not to be “tempted” even though they may reluctantly agree to meet you in person, or 3) seriously depressed people who couldn’t have fun even at an amusement part/football game/great movie even if you weren’t there and they were with their ideal woman.

I don’t think the problem is that these guys just don’t like me much in person–because I think that normally even a man who wasn’t “hot” for me would at least still be polite or at least interested in joking around or talking about himself ad nauseum so he could enjoy the evening anyway. At least, that’s what I’d do if I found myself sharing the company of some person who I didn’t care much about for a few hours. Like if you’re on a business trip with colleagues who you hardly know–at least you can try to have a good time talking with them while you’re eating dinner at the conference or whatever.

And Lisa–when I was on Match, I had my best luck with tracking down men using the “search” function–I searched for things like Bach and certain books that I like, and then I’d “wink” at some of those guys. I found 2 men that way who I dated very happily for a while–but neither man was “matched” by the computer, and neither had the courage to wink at me first. So I’d recommend making the first move.

Mark June 30, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I’ve said this a number of times on this forum, but it bears repeating: Try to join groups that will let you meet people face-to-face.

I know that for people in small towns, this is harder to do. It works best for larger urban areas. I’ve had a lot of luck with Yahoo Meetup Groups (I mention them enough I sound like a viral marketeer, ha ha).

It’s nice to get out of the house, mix with people, and you never know — you might run into someone also looking.

In other words, don’t give up online stuff, but mix it up a bit and see if you can’t figure out a way to put yourself out there in public in a situation with other folks who are also interested in making new friends.

Anna June 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

I agree most definitely with Mark. Get out and meet people. True, the groups that you join most likely will be mostly women but I found that by being in three meet-up groups , not only do I get out and enjoy myself in the company of great women and make some good girl friends, at the same time I was online dating and truly think it took the “pressure off” because I am having fun socially at the same time during other evenings and those odd bizarre, sometimes difficult dates became good conversation and a good laugh with my girlfriends. I found most of the men I met online were nice, genuine men, we just didn’t hit it off. The weird types were in the minority and I have been very lucky to have found a really great guy from match.com, eight months now and going strong. We met at a time when I was busy, busy with my meet up groups and that also gave me conversation openers whenever I was on dates. Bottom line, my advice is to do both……….get out and join clubs, meet people and have fun and at the same time, stick with online dating.

DG: Delighted to hear you are “back out there” again. You go girl.

Julie June 30, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Mark and Anna – great posts…

A few years ago, immediatelyr after my monthly facial at the ‘day spa’, I walked across the street for dinner. It was a very nice date-worthy type of restaurant, on the quiet side, with a bar where you could also have your meal. I was sitting there at the bar eating when I saw a glass of wine placed next to my plate. I looked up and saw the gentleman who had bought me the drink. We had a very nice evening there chatting… I was 47 and he was 60… I wasn’t ready for 60 at that point in time. But I thought it was pretty cool, if I did say so myself, that I could meet someone by simply going about my life.

At the time I had thoughts something like… “I wonder if this is what is meant by ‘putting yourself out there’ if you want to meet someone.”

Brenda June 30, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I totally agree with the posters above – put yourself in a variety of social situations and just be friendly and be yourself. I have had the same experience with match and eharmony.com as the ladies have mentioned above, and agree with Mark that places where you can actually meet in person seem to work out well, as opposed to the same tired faces hiding behind the computer.

Many of the men I have met from the above dating sites have admitted to me that they are still trying to get over their last girlfriend/wife/etc; I even had a first date with a man who lost his wife to cancer the month before – talk about too fast and no time to grieve!

Online dating should not be the end all and be all but just ONE avenue that you use to meet others…………

I do enjoy dating even at my ripe old age (I believe I am older than DG but maybe not wiser :)) because I learn a lot about myself, what’s important to me and what is not (My list now is whittled down to 5 non-negotiables but even those are very vague) and make the evening fun even if the man is not a great match.

Brenda

Debbie July 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Oh the pain of trying to date after 40! It seems like just when we have gained confidence in ourselves in many ways, our bodies start to fall apart. That leads to self doubt about how someone new will see us physically. But of course, most relationships that are based only on instant attraction fade anyway. Let’s hold our heads up, be confident and keep putting one foot in front of the other. When all the other avenues fail, how about giving a professional matchmaker a try. They interview each client and get a good sense of what you are looking for before any meetings take place. Also, it’s nice to have someone do background checks and make sure the other person isn’t secretly married.

Donna July 16, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Hello Dating Goddess and devotees!
I’m so glad to find your site. I have been looking for information, nay, emotional support, and intellectual support. I get what men need, and I’m definitely in to taking care of one…you know, being the “good wife” and all. I’ve been single for 11 years, dated two duds over 9 years (one was a serial cheater, the other forced to break up with me because his Chinese mother would disown him if we stayed together). As a mom of a 17 year old, I’m finding that one of the most frustrating things is finding a match (currently online at Plenty of Fish.com), that isn’t obsessed with sports, travel, working out five days a week, and that they want their woman to be as available as they are! How crazy is that? Seriously. I’m sorry, but I’m a little preoccupied with being a mother to my son, his best friend who comes over every weekend since he was 8, I have two foreign students who stay with me at any time (ESL from various countries), plus I run my own business, and surviving is the priority. My question/concern/request is how does a woman legitimize limited availability in all those extra activities that men seem to have more time for, in an unforgiving manner, plus, knowing that if you are the bomb, find a man who would understand this and adjust accordingly. I often find that most of the men who check me out are so not in my league (not that I`m high-end, I just like them smart, and most can’t relate to half the stuff I do or say), and thankfully, they pass me over. I find most men in their 40s and 50s are so selfish, absorbed in their own schedules and pleasures, but they’re needing the companionship and the sex. Many of them don’t look after their kids at all or even half time, so they’ve got lots of time to spend elsewhere. Aaahhh, and some of them, they just talk about their desire for ‘satisfaction’. Yes, I know, the weak ones are always weeded out…remain the perpetual optimist, kiss a lot of frogs they say…that’s the attutide we’re supposed to have, but boy is it frustrating.
I’m not kvetching, as much as searching for hope that I’m not being impossible, or ridiculous.

I’d love to hear your perspective.

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