Getting back on the online dating train

by Dating Goddess on June 22, 2010

After one has been dating for a while, the excitement and novelty of meeting new people wears off. Couple that with too many one-time-only encounters, and you become more guarded with your time and emotions.

At least I know this is true for me, and I’m guessing it is for others who have been searching for their next mate for years.

I’ve slowed down considerably my dating activities. The last new man I went out with was 8 months ago. And while we became fast friends, I know it will never advance beyond that. He’s got some deal breakers that are insurmountable for me and he knows it. So we enjoy a bi-weekly chat, but it’s become an unpaid mutual business coaching session.

I’d pulled back on my online dating activities, as I was getting too many men contacting me who were geographically, economically, educationally, or emotionally not a match. So it was with mixed emotions that I decided to rejoin Match.com this week.

Over a year ago I canceled my subscription because the same faces were appearing over again and I had already either ruled them out, had contacted them to no response, or met them and felt no connection. I felt I’d exhausted that pool.

So why did I rejoin? Match.com merged with Yahoo Personals so  thought there may be some new possibilities. I searched for local men in my age range and hundreds of new faces emerged. After reactivating my profile, I immediately got a handful of contacts. So I renewed. I then searched by even more specific criteria, and lots of possible matches appeared. I’ve been merrily emailing and responding to emails.

We’ll see if this time my efforts are more fruitful.

I stay in the online dating game because I have met some wonderful men, even if many of them are geographically undesirable. I’m meeting one in a few weeks when I’m in his area since we’ve been talking weekly for a few months. In a few months, I will finally meet another who’s flirted with me for a year. Why bother with these men who will most likely never turn into romantic mates? Because they are interesting, articulate, intelligent, funny and good conversationalists. We’ve met in an unlikely way yet found enough commonalities to keep us delighting in our banter and discussions.

Will my foray back into Match.com yield my King Charming? Stay tuned!
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For more information on the ins and out of Internet dating, get your copy of Winning at the Online Dating Game: Stack the Deck in Your Favor.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark June 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Dealbreakers. How many do we have? DG mentions education and money (“economically”) as reasons why she rules out some men.

One of the smartest and most creative people I know is a good friend who never got beyond high school, but is better read than most people I know with graduate degrees. And while I understand that none of us want to financially support a potential mate, does it really matter that much if a splendid person only makes $25,000 a year and can’t afford to travel?

I am wondering about dealbreakers. Mine are simple. I don’t want to support someone economically because I struggle with that myself. I don’t want to be with someone with anger issues. And I want to be with someone intelligent and interesting and cute. That’s about it. I’m not worried about education level and how much money that person has. I’m at a point in my life where I’m happy just hanging out with someone I love, catching a movie now and then, cooking together, taking a walk, seeing a play, etc. I’d love to travel but if that doesn’t happen, it won’t be a source of unhappiness. I’ll be far unhappier being alone than I will if I don’t travel.

Dating Goddess June 24, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Mark, thanks for weighing in.

I don’t think I have that many deal breakers, really. But economics is one. I spent 20 years with a man who was always $20K in debt, and had no urgency about getting out. So it put a crimp in doing basic things like painting the house, landscaping, new roof, etc. Not major remodeling, but things that really needed to be done. He never had the money, so I paid more than my share. I began to resent it. I don’t want to repeat that. A man has to pull his own weight. I don’t want to be a sugar mama.

The men who’ve come into my circle lately all seem to have major financial hardships even though they are fun, intelligent, etc. But I’m just not willing to get involved with someone with a $100K back tax issue, or major back child support liability, etc. So perhaps I’m a snob, but I do want someone who’s financially responsible.

I’ve written before about how education isn’t a deal breaker, however being literate is. I know a college education doesn’t ensure good grammar, etc., but it sure helps. I’ve dated college drop outs who were incredibly smart and accomplished — yes, we can use the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs examples here (although of course I’ve not dated either of them).

So, yes I’m willing to bend on some things, but being financially responsible is a big one in my book.

Julie June 24, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I think a deal breaker for some guys is extra weight on a woman. I say at middle age, be no more than 20 lbs above your ideal weight if you’re gonna put yourself on the market in such a harsh, demanding forum (online dating). I just think it’s making it that much more difficult to find someone online when you aren’t looking your absolute best, unfortunately.

Cathy J June 25, 2010 at 1:42 am

Best wishes DG.

Mark – I agree. The most intelligent people I know are continuous self-educators. Thankfully for me as I have done a few rounds at tertiary level!

Economically, I don’t believe you need to be the same but definitely heading in the right direction especially with regard to agreeing on priorities such as powwering forward or just happy to mosey along in debt – as long as people have similar money values it does seem to work!

Re extra weight – that may mean how overweight! Most men seem to like a bit of extra weight on a woman however when it affects their health, of course that can be an additional consideration (and same for a woman about a man.) Again matching those values. eg if someone is overweight but not bothered about it, exercises every day, mostly eats healthy and enjoys wine with dinner – fine – however deal breakers for that person may be a total non-drinker or someone who eats junkfood every day.

So matching values in priority areas definitely make for an easier life.

Dawn V June 25, 2010 at 6:27 am

It’s interesting to hear both male and female perspectives on the online dating issue. I have subscribed to Match in the past and found it fairly unsuccessful although I think it had more to do with my attitude and place in life than that of the men I dated. The grammar and spelling thing is huge for me and friends have told me that I am being too picky. I’m not suggesting that a man needs an advanced degree, just a working knowledge of the English language and spell check. After all, on an online site your written word is the first impression you make. But hope springs eternal and tonight I’m going out again with a Match date for the first time. One can only hope this a more successful foray into the dating world. Fingers crossed!

Julie June 25, 2010 at 7:31 am

Extra weight – from my own experience, and feedback from so many guys…it seems best to keep it to no more than 20 lbs above ideal weight… when i was online, almost every guy who had been at the online dating game for a while mentioned how disappointed they were with the extra weight on women they were meeting… so I concluded it must be awfully important to men… I wasn’t even looking for it or trying to gather data or anything.

Mark June 25, 2010 at 9:56 am

About spelling, etc., I get put off too at women who have poorly written profiles. It’s surprising too, because most of these same women probably would be careful about their appearance when meeting a man, yet they are so careless about their profiles. Yes, at least spell-check!

About the weight, that also goes both ways, but I believe women are more lenient about it than men. Of course, it’s well-known that men are more visually-oriented when it comes to attraction than are women. It behooves all of us to try to get rid of extra weight anyway, and it will help when you are getting back into the dating game.

DG, I understand the money thing. That makes sense.

I guess another question might be just what are people looking for? Some probably want another try at marriage. Some of us may be happy simply to find someone for long-term dating.

I think some of us get used to living alone, and it’s daunting to think of rearranging our lives and living with someone. While we get a lot if we find the right person, we also give up a lot once we make a decision to be together permanently rather than just share some nights and weekends in a dating relationship.

Karen June 26, 2010 at 3:23 am

Like DG,one of my current big dealbreakers is if he’s irresponsible financially. My 2 ex-husbands were both disasters in that department. They both had good jobs and educations–you’d think that would be enough! But both were really bad with money and also “needed” tons of expensive stuff including cars and international vacations twice a year so that money didn’t go very far.

I’m now trying to raise 2 kids so I have to be very careful with my finances. So I do look for men who are financially responsible, and who don’t have to have the latest gadget or status car.

I’m also very educated myself and I work as a professor. I’ve found that men who aren’t educated to that level (yes, every single guy I’ve dated in that category) get all defensive and nasty–everything is about my education, and lots of “OK, now who’s so smart”? and trying to put me down so they’ll feel better. So I’ve given up dating men who aren’t at a somewhat equivalent professional level for that reason, and it’s a dealbreaker for me if the guy even hints at being defensive about his educational level vs mine.

Beyond that, I’m just looking for a nice guy, really. Someone to hang out with, cooking, hiking, taking walks, go out with, travel a little bit. I like a man to spoil a bit, and I like to be spoiled a bit in return! I’m not necessarily looking to get married–I agree with Mark, I’ve gotten to like the freedom of being “on my own” and of course I’m reluctant to change the current situation because of my kids. But an exclusive long-term relationship with a good man–that would be great!

Mark June 26, 2010 at 10:37 am

That’s interesting, Karen. I believe the adage is that men date down and women date up. It’s not surprising that some men who find themselves dating up when dating you are uncomfortable. That’s too bad.

I wouldn’t give up on men with less education. You just need to find one with good self-esteem.

Dawn V June 27, 2010 at 7:27 am

Do you ever stare a the blank screen trying to think of something even mildly interesting to write to someone on Match? There are times when coming up with a response is harder than dating itself. I just got an email from a gentleman who seems nice enough but there is nothing to latch onto in his profile to chat about. I always respond if I get an email or wink. I figure if a guy puts himself out there he deserves a response even if it’s to say that I don’t think we are a good fit.

Mark June 27, 2010 at 9:52 am

Just tell him how you plan on enjoying your Sunday and ask him how he typically enjoys his days off.

I never got many women approaching me through my profile because most of the time I had one active I didn’t have a picture up. So between that and women typically preferring men to make the first move, it was quite unusual for a woman to contact me out of the blue.

I did get a few, though, and some were from women who had awful profiles. I’d reply, but I’d keep it short and very non-personal.

Dating Goddess June 27, 2010 at 11:02 am

Dawn:

I feel similarly — if someone takes the time to write, even if it’s brief, I respond.

If he seems at all like someone I might like getting to know, I say something like: “Thanks for your note. I’d like to get to know you better. Since your profile is brief, can you fill me in a bit? What are your interests in life? What are you passionate about? What are you looking for in a woman?”

Anything along those lines. Give him some questions he can answer if he wants.

And Mark’s suggestion is a good one. Something that gets him “talking” — albeit via a keyboard!

Dawn V June 28, 2010 at 6:19 am

Mark and DG,

Thank you for the excellent suggestions!

Clare Seche August 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm

I too, am very picky about spelling and grammar. Some of the more recent men I’ve met are friendly, but one stands out: he would ask me questions like wanting to take cooking classes together, or getting together to play strip poker, and I was just very confused! He would want to spend time with me, but then pull away. As someone who’s just wrapped up a very arduous divorce proceeding, I’m not in that big of a hurry to commit to anyone!

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