Saturday, January 10, 2015

Online Dating – Making Sense of It

Online Dating – Making Sense of It

Ahhh, online dating. If you are new to this, welcome. If you are not, well, then, you’ll likely find what I write here interesting and perhaps even entertaining.

It seems that the world of online dating can be divided into two groups (excluding, of course, those just looking for sex and those just looking for someone to message with). In the first group, we have the “crack addicts” who are looking for a “crack hit.” In the second group, we have the rest of us who understand that dating, especially at mid-life, is a process.

While neither group is easily identifiable on the surface, the crack addicts quickly reveal themselves through messaging and texting. This group is looking for a mate who can give them a “high” reminiscent of past loves earlier in life, perhaps as long ago as their teens or early twenties. If that sudden burst of chemistry isn’t there, they move on. The problem is that texting and messaging seem to give us all a medium through which to channel relationship excitement. For the crack addict, a flurry of messages is quickly confused with love and chemistry. Because many of the rest of us still find messaging fun and entertaining, many relationships start on the wrong foot and create false, unrealistic expectations due to early messaging exchanges. I’ve had more than one woman tell me she was disappointed that our first date didn’t reach the heights of our messaging excitement.

Then there is the rest of us. The first date is understood as a “meet up.” These should be kept as short as possible, just enough to whet the appetite (avoid longer dates that will then be compared to every other first date you and your partner have ever had, and, trust me, first dates in our fifties never compare to first dates earlier in life). If the other person gongs you after a brief meet-up, you should thank them for paying you the courtesy of revealing just what they are looking for. I mean, unless you’ve misrepresented your height, weight, age, or appearance, please tell me precisely what can be determined in a one-hour time frame about your suitability for another person? Chemistry is developed over a minimum of three dates. Unless you are bumping and grinding on a dance floor or the alcohol is freely flowing, very few of us will be comfortable enough to overtly send sexual signals to another person in the first hour of knowing that person. I mean, come on. What if the other person doesn’t want you to go there? What if the other person is sending you signals that they are all business? Do you just keep trying to flirt anyway? Doesn’t make any sense.

Best to just hang with the person, let them know you are interested, and see after date #1 if they are interested in a date #2. If not, no great shakes. It just means they don’t get it. They want to buy a lollipop, and you feel like you’ve outgrown lollipops. It really isn’t about you. It’s about them.

On the other hand, if they do express an interest in a date #2, don’t pass it up. I can’t tell you how many times the person I went out with on date #2 bore little to no resemblance to the person I met on date #1. Why? See my discussion above about level of comfort on a first date. You think you are nervous about date # 1? You think you have dating hang-ups? What you are thinking and feeling is nothing compared to what the rest of the human population experiences as they prepare for a date.

You should plan on a longer date #2, long enough and with enough face time for both of you to start showing interest in each other, you know, boy-girl interest. It is date #2 where you’ll start getting your first hints about chemistry with the other person. Now if the face time ends up being somewhere private, like one of your homes. Well, then, you’ll know much faster about that chemistry thing. It’s OK to wait for that to happen though. There’s always date #3.

Bottom line:

Crack addicts like their crack hits, and because the high is short-lived, they keep moving on to the next bag of crack. This is the main reason for the one-and-dones in online dating. It’s the rarer bird you are looking for, the one who understands these things take time and patience, and, if you are willing to hang in there and pay attention, who knows, you may just find yourself with someone who appreciates what you have to offer.

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