Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Have his cake

One of the biggest misconceptions about online dating is that every guy with a profile is just looking for sex. That just isn't true. There are guys who are ready for an honest, healthy relationship. They want love, and are ready to commit to one woman.

(I haven't actually met any, but I know people who have.)

The guys I meet are either ready to jump into a dysfunctional relationship, just want a pen-pal, looking to date around, want something casual, or just want to hook-up (you know - super-casual).

I'm not judging. We've all been any one of these guys at one point or another. It doesn't make them bad people - it just means the two of you are not in the same place. Of course, knowing that doesn't make meeting the wrong people (or the right people at the wrong time) any less frustrating or confusing. For me, it's the guy who perfers something casual that is the most confusing.

He's usually not a bad guy. He often won't date around. He can be very sweet and nice and respectful. The two of you might have a lot in common and a great time together.

But usually, he won't commit to plans, either. In fact, he doesn't even make them with much more than a few hours notice. He calls or texts semi-often, but you never talk long. Conversations probably center around superficial anecdotes from the past, or basic day-to-day stuff. He won't really let you in, and he won't be looking for you to let him in, either.

What can be confusing is - why not? If everything is good, why not let it go to the next level?

That's how relationship-minded people think. If everything works, why not just let it turn into a relationship? But this guy doesn't think that way. His focus and dating agenda is completely different. He wants to hang out. He wants affection and warmth and companionship. In fact, he pretty much wants all that comes with a relationship - except the commitment.

It has nothing to do with you. Whether it's his past relationships, or something about his current situation, or just his personality - it's all him.

I'm not saying it's wrong. If you want to stick around, you should. All relationships start somewhere; many start off casual. It can work if you go in eyes open, knowing it (likely) has an expiration date. You have to realize that you'll have to put on the brakes when you reach the point where casual no longer works for you.

I actually get the casual thing. I like it, even. The confusing part to me? When you do put on the brakes, this guy might actually get offended! Why would you just stop calling? Sure, he did - but why would you? Why are you seeing someone else (even though he is, too)? Why are you still signing on to the dating site (which he only knows because he does the same)? Why would you just walk away when things were going so well? Why can't you give him another chance?

If you buy into this thinking, you might start to feel as though you did something wrong.

You didn't.

The simple answer to all those questions is - it's what he wanted.

Abrupt endings, seeing others, no second chances are all a part of a casual relationship. He can't have it both ways. He can't expect you to commit, or behave as though you have, if he's not willing to do the same. The trick with any relationship, no matter how serious or casual, is balance. Once there's a double-standard, and the rules apply to one person but not the other - the balance is gone, and the problems begin.

This guy wants to have his cake, and eat it too. I suppose that's OK for some, but I prefer more balance in my relationships.

And in my dessert.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Greatest fear

My parents divorced when I was just a little kid. So young, I don't have any memories of them as a couple.

My mother eventually remarried - and then divorced again. She gave up on marriage after that, but not love. She has dated and had relationships. My dad, on the other hand, never did. As far as I know, he's never dated. If he has, it was never anyone important enough to meet the family.

When I first got divorced, my greatest fear was that I would never find love again. Not because it wasn't out there. I was afraid I would close myself off; out of fear, or anger, or because I was just plain tired of being hurt.

In the year since Trooper left, I have noticed a few changes. First, I was more closed off. I wasn't letting anyone get close. Once I did, I found that I was more skeptical of love and relationships. I trusted less, and walked away more. I didn't care the way I once did.

Over time, I have noticed something else. I am OK. I am happy, even. I no longer worry about being closed off, or not finding love. I'm not shutting people out; I am more selective about who I let in. I've come to a point where I believe that if I am meant to be with someone, it'll happen - and if I'm not, it won't.

I've learned that I am OK with being on my own. I enjoy being single. I even resent (just a little) when dates interfere with my alone time, or time with friends.

I don't want to share. I don't want to look for a relationship. But it isn't because I'm closed off to the idea. It's because I know what I do want - and I am OK with saying no to anything less.

I'm no different from anyone else. I want to be happy. Like most, I believe that a good relationship is a part of being happy. I'll never shy away from a chance at a good, honest, healthy, happy relationship. I believe in love and romance, and want it in my life.

Yet somehow, during this last year of rejection, bad dates, hilarious moments, and false starts - I learned that it is just as easy (maybe even easier) to be happy on my own. I've been reminded that the best a good relationship can do is add to the happiness you create for yourself.

I no longer have any reason to fear that I won't find love, or happiness, because I know my life is full of both. I no longer fear I won't find someone who makes me happy.

Now, my greatest fear is that I'll find someone who gets in the way of the happiness I've created.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Since you asked...

A few random thoughts for a Friday...
  • I go on so many dates, last week I actually confused my counselor. He was having trouble keeping up with the dates I was talking about. Next time, I may bring a flow-chart for him to reference. 
  • There's probably no quicker way to get rid of me than to call me "boring" or say I'm no fun. Someday, maybe I'll share why.
  • If we've already talked and we weren't a good match, please don't send me a message thinking that since I'm "still on here" maybe I want to talk now. If it didn't work before, it probably won't work now. In fact, now I will have trouble respecting you, because clearly you don't respect yourself. Why would you settle for someone who wasn't interested in the first place? You deserve better.
  • One of the worst parts of having your email hacked is when it sends emails to guys you once dated, reminding them that you exist, when you prefer that they just forget.

Thank goodness.
Found it here

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Worst date ever

A friend sent me a link to this Huffington Post article, about a bad date. If you look closely at the photo, the man has built himself a Fortress of Solitude - out of Olive Garden menus.

That's right - in a restaurant - in public - an adult man is hiding from his date.

Maybe he should wear this shirt on all dates?
 Now, I admit - this is a bad date. But I have to say - it's not much worse than being on a date, wishing you could build a fort to keep the person out - and not having enough menus to do so.

I do have to wonder - if the date was this miserable, why stay? 

Not just him - what about her?! Why sit there with someone who so obviously doesn't want your company? Why allow him to create a scene so ridiculous it was immortalized on twitter? In the photo, she's playing on her phone. Understandable, since she's being ignored - but then why stay? Why not just leave while he's (obviously) not looking?

I've hung in there on some bad dates. Whether it was out of etiquette, a sense of decency, or just old-fashioned guilt, I've stuck it out through dates that ranged from awkward and boring to just plain awful.

But if someone treated me like this? I'm pretty sure I'd take my breadsticks and go home.

I'd write him a note, though - on the back of the bill.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Old habits die hard

It's no surprise to anyone who visits here regularly that I am a big believer in taking the occasional break from dating. There are varying degress of a break - from becoming a full-on hermit, to just hiding an online profile. What you need may change from time to time, but the fact remains - anyone who is single for a while needs a break, every now and then.

I have personally found that a break is never more necessary than just after a relationship ends. I have found that if I move too quickly, I tend to transfer those old feelings to the new relationship - which doesn't ever work out well.

I am working on a few things in counseling that I know affect how I view, choose, and treat relationships. One of those things is finding balance between ignorning potential red flags and not walking away when I should, and searching for problems and perhaps walking away too soon.

In explaining some of my recent dating adventures, I told my counselor about this one man with whom I "ended things" after four dates. The guy had some control issues, and at first, I thought maybe it was just nerves, so I was trying to see if those were kinks that would work themselves out.

Things like offering to hold my purse while I used the restroom at a movie theater (????), checking with me to make sure I had turned my phone off before the movie (multiple times), commenting on my punctuality (or lack thereof) and asking if my dad knew about him (after four dates?!?). One may have been OK; maybe even two. But all of those things added up to someone with whom I didn't couldn't feel a connection.

My counselor was surprised at some of this behavior. He asked if this guy is divorced (he is) and for how long. When he found out my date had been divorced for over 6 years, my counselor asked if he was new to dating. Surprised, I said, "Yes, he is." Curious, I asked how he knew.

My counselor pointed out that people who either rush from one relationship to the next, or take a long break and become "rusty," have a tendency to pick up where they left off in the last relationship.

For example, a guy whose last relationship experience was the tail-end of an unhappy marriage will pick up with the next woman in that same place. He'll approach and deal with this new person as if she has the attributes with which he's accustomed to dealing (being late, wanting him to do everything, being rude). 

So I wondered, did I walk away from this person too quickly? Is that something that would eventually work itself out? 

My counselor said no - and that actually, he was impressed that I made the decision to walk away without feeling guilty (something else I'm trying to address). His feeling is that this person is probably not in the same place as I am, in terms of looking for a relationship. He said knowing to look for, and find, signs of important differences, is key to figuring out when I should stay, and when I should leave.

See - eventually, I was bound to break some bad habits and start to get something right.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Learn to be confident, not cocky

A few years ago, I realized I suffer from terminal shyness. My dislike absolute hatred for walking into certain situations solo, talking to new people, and learning new places was a huge obstacle. Having dated Big for so long, I was able to avoid the issue. Once I started trying to meet new people, I realized it was a problem.

I forced myself to move past my shyness. I decided I would find uncomfortable situations and participate. Whether that meant going to a meetup full of strangers, having dinner in a restaurant alone, or talking to strangers at an event - I was going to find, and do, new things until I fought my way out of the debilitating shyness.

I absolutely have empathy for people who are in the same situation. Empathy - not sympathy. My personal feeling is that if I can find a way to overcome 30+ years of shyness - to the point where new friends don't even believe I am shy - then anyone should be able to help himself with the same issue.

One thing that helped me get out of my own way was a sincere, fervent drive to not give the appearance that I lacked confidence or needed to control and plan every step. Especially when meeting new dates; I wanted to come across as easy-going and self-assured. I forced myself to exhibit those attributes, even when I didn't feel them. Fake it 'til you make it.

It's kind of like the saying "never let 'em see you sweat." I had a problem with worrying and needing to plan every single step, because I lacked the confidence it takes to just go with the flow. I had the problem - but I didn't want anyone to know. It has always perplexed me why some people don't worry at all about how desperate, worried, or controlling they seem, and how they don't realize that it's all tied back to a lack of confidence or self-esteem.

Not too long ago, I went on a date with a guy who had been insisting we get together for about a week. Even after I pointed out that I really didn't think we had a whole lot in common, he kept coming up with reasons why we should meet. Finally, I agreed to an afternoon coffee date.

At his suggestion, we decided to meet at 2 pm. He told me he'd text me at noon to confirm. Now - I understand wanting to confirm. No one likes to be stood up. Honestly, that's one reason why I choose coffee shops for first dates. I can just sit and sip my hot chocolate alone as if that was my plan all along, and I won't feel (or appear to be) stood up.

But confirming the confirmation text? That seemed a bit much.

Confirm he did - and he changed the time, moving it back 30 minutes. That put me ahead of schedule, so I got there early and grabbed a table. This particular coffee shop has a couple of smaller rooms off the main sitting area, so I texted my date and let him know where I was seated. I was so happily immersed in hot chocolate and Pinterest, I didn't even realize he was late, until my phone buzzed:
Are there any tables in the bigger room?
First of all - beggers can't be choosers. You suggested a time, then changed it, and now you're late. Before you've even met me, you're criticizing my table choice. If you wanted a particular seat, you should have gotten here earlier and grabbed it yourself.

That's what I was thinking - what I said was:
A few minutes later:
What table ya at?
The shop is carved into three sections. They are rooms, so one does have to look to see who is sitting where. I had already told him I wasn't in the main sitting area, and that I was in the smaller room to the right. He had asked if there were tables in the larger room to the left - suggesting he knew what room I meant. So why ask again? 

I repeated myself and said I was the only woman sitting at a table alone. His response:
I'm not sure if he thought I was going to come looking for him, or if I would offer to come meet him at his table. Neither happened. I told him again. I was ready to leave and just say forget it, when he finally located me - 15 minutes after he said he'd meet me.

I don't know if he was being rude, or shy, or nervous, or controlling - or maybe all of the above. I do know that even if we'd had a chance at a connection, by the time he sat down, it was gone.

Being confident and taking charge is not the same thing as being cocky and controlling. It's hard to learn the difference - but the lesson is well worth the trouble.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Who should ask who?

OK, so I normally don't tackle age-old questions when it comes to dating. I think we can all agree that, for the most part, concepts like don't kiss on the first date and the guy always pays are out-dated and not in line with "modern" dating issues. These questions don't come up for me too often, and I suspect the same is true for a lot of singles, so I just don't go there.

So, you can probably imagine my surprise when a friend (male) suggested it was better for me to wait for a guy I like to ask me out, rather than taking the initiative and asking him myself.

I checked, and it was still 2013 when we were having this conversation - which was taking place via email - so the rules of engagement circa 1956 didn't apply.

But does that matter? Are there some dating rules that stand the test of time, no matter how old they (or we) get?

It is true that the idea a guy should always pay comes from a time when it made sense - because women didn't have their own money. Now we do - and sometimes, we even out-earn our dates. The idea that a guy should always
Found it here
shoulder that responsibility doesn't make as much sense as it once did.

Of course, to go along with the idea that a guy should always pay was the idea that a woman "owed him something" in return. Women who gave it up early on were sluts - but they got the expensive dates. If a woman wanted to be "wife material" she had to wave off those advances. Something about a cow and buying milk.

But that was also when becoming a wife was always the goal of dating. That's not necessarily always true these days. Not too long ago, a friend was invited on what would be a very expensive dinner date. Her mom said to her, "He'll want something, you know." My friend's response was, "Did it ever occur to you I might want something too?" (Side note: That was not the answer her mom was hoping for. I doubt she'll ask too many more dating questions.)

It's true, though - the older you get, the more in charge you feel about your own sexuality and relationships. It isn't something you're "giving away" - you're participating! That being the case, why does it matter who pays for what, so long as everyone is happy?

While there has been a shift in the culture, the purpose of dating is largely still the same: To meet someone, and find a relationship (though the details and terms of the desired relationship might be different for each date).

Since you have to find someone who likes you in order for them to stick around long enough to form that relationship (whatever it may be), most of us put our dating energy towards making a good impression - particularly when things are just starting out.

So, back to my friend's comment: Will I make a bad impression if I ask a guy out? I may think that it shouldn't matter - and I may have even gone on countless dates with guys who agree. But if it matters to this guy, and I'm trying to make a good impression - then I guess it is important.

Honestly, the guy in question is a little older, and very, very chivalrous, to the point of being traditional. On our first date, he opened doors - car and building - every single time one needed opening. He offered to pay for everything. He helped me with my coat, and he even insisted on walking on the curb-side of the sidewalk (a chivalrous behavior most men don't even know, much less do).

To someone like that...who asks who might matter more than it would to others. So in this case, my friend may have been on to something. Maybe I do need to let this guy do the asking - but not because I'm a woman.

Because the guy is a gentleman.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Since you asked...

Like I said, I've been trolling profiles. Sometimes I come across a profile that deserves a mention, but not necessarily its own post. Why? Since you asked...

~ When looking at one profile, I caught myself wondering if it would be OK to email the guy - not to ask if he was interested, but to ask if he could introduce me to the handsome friend in one of his group pictures. (I eventually decided that probably wasn't OK.)

~ Lafter is not a word, and I can't think of any reason for any man (or woman) to use it in a profile. Or anywhere else. Ever.

~ Is horseshoer really a job?

~ If you say you love taking drives to "know where" and in the next sentence say you "occasionally pick up a book," I'm going to assume you pick them up to kill bugs or level off tables. There's no way you're actually reading. At least not English.

~ Keeping an active online dating profile when you're married just because you "like to look at the photos" is a good way to get yourself reported, and probably booted off the dating site (which may be why I couldn't find the profile again). (I get that searching profiles for blog material isn't all that different. Plus, hey - online dating sites are freakin' hysterical! I'm not judging the practice. I'm just asking that you be smart enough to hide your profile, and not announce your intentions. I have friends who do this well.)

~ Stop saying you're lonely. It comes across as desperate, and not at all attractive - except to other lonely, desperate people.

~ What are you trying to prove by instagramming your profile photos? I don't care what you would look like if I was taking your photo in 1977 with a polaroid camera. I just want to be able to recognize you when we meet for coffee.

Found Here

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guess I had it coming

After the nonsense I've had going on, it was only a matter of time before I messed up my dating karma.

First, a few weeks ago, Bachelor #1 asked to see me. It had been a couple of weeks, and I honestly thought he had just lost interest - and was honestly OK. I said yes, but the more I thought about it, the less I wanted to go on a date just for the sake of having a date. We don't want the same things and he's clearly only interested in seeing what he can get. Not to mention, our compatibility is questionable at best.

So I canceled. I gave him several days notice, and told him a family obligation had come up that I couldn't ignore. I wanted to get out of the date without upsetting him, being mean, or writing him off completely. It was lame and cowardly and I know better.

So when he asked to go out the following weekend, it was no surprise when he texted just a few hours before I was supposed to pick him up and canceled - saying "something came up" with his family. Hey, it was a taste of my own medicine, which I can accept. (Side note: What I don't accept is the booty call attempt I got the following day. We have not spoken since. If he contacts me again, he will feel the full impact of my honesty.)

Not to be outdone, Mr. 1:30 am Booty Call (from that same post) stopped talking to me entirely the next day. He texted to say hi, I replied - and haven't heard from him since. I suppose he was annoyed that I never responded to his late night/early morning message. I was offended - but two wrongs never make a right, and I should have replied in the morning. Since I didn't, I really can't be upset that he has since written me off.

You may remember that I mentioned Chef had also emailed me. He asked if I would get together with him, and we made tentative plans, which I legitimately had to cancel. I offered a couple of alternate dates, and he replied by saying he's completely busy, maybe another time.

It's not right to cancel plans, blow someone off, or just fade away. I know that because it's been done to me plenty, and quite frankly, it sucks. Moments like these remind me that it is no more excusable when I do something similar, whether or not I intended to hurt any feelings.

These moments also serve as a lesson that I shouldn't be so hard on guys who do the same to me. Maybe they didn't care about my feelings - or maybe they were really just tired, or sick, or scared, or unsure.

Either way, anybody can make a mistake. Maybe I need to make remembering that my dating karma.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Status matters

First, let me say that I know this isn't true of everyone. It's my own prejudice, and I recognize it may cost me some good connections. I'm not judging any one person, or individual situations - just telling my side.

OK, now that that's out of the way...

Dating sites are all a little different, but one thing they have in common is the basics. They all ask you to complete a list of one-word answers, usually from a drop-down menu, to give an overview of who you are and what you want. Age, gender, city, occupation, sometimes birthday (or astrological sign) - and usually, your status.

By status, I mean are you single (as in, never been married), divorced, or widowed? Some sites, particularly those who also ask if you're looking for a relationship or just hook-ups, might even let you say you're "available" or even show your status as married. Yep, it's rare, but you do find people who are looking for casual sex and are upfront about the fact that they are married.

I (obviously) avoid people who say they're married. If "available" is an option, I usually avoid those people, too. Seems to me available means they are otherwise involved, but still looking for other options.

I stick to single, divorced, or widowed men. I generally don't start conversations with men who say they're separated. (I say generally because I don't rule it out completely, it just isn't my preference.) Separated suggests a few things, all of which are red flags to me.

One, you may have just ended your marriage - which means you're not in a mental place to have the kind of relationship I want. I can respect that; it takes time to recover from a marriage. I'm just not looking to sign up to be anyone's rebound.

Even if you think you are ready - you're not. Trust me, I know, I've been where you are. You'll find someone to help you through, I just don't want to be her.

If you didn't just end your marriage, but you are still separated, then I have to wonder why. Is your ex fighting you on something? Will there be drama? Are you not quite over her? Are you in a bad money situation? Are you just plain lazy or afraid to make decisions?

I was not separated and dating long. In fact, I only went on a few dates while I was still separated - and none of them were while my ex was sleeping on the sofa. As soon as I realized I truly wanted to date, I made arrangments to finalize the divorce. I had no drama, no custody issues, and I was not married to a jerk. I realize I was quite lucky - but even if you are not, where there's a will, there's a way.

If you really want to graduate from separated to divorced, you'll make it happen. If you don't - then you're probably not the guy for me.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Give online dating a bad name

Another item in the growing list of trends I see on dating sites, is the guy who changes his profile name (and sometimes main picture) on a regular basis.

I had one guy approach me under one name. We chatted. I told him I wasn't interested. He approached me again a few weeks later. I tried to respond with a thank you, and found he had blocked me, so I couldn't send him a message. Then he emailed me under a new user name - but was using the same pictures. I asked him about it and he told me he'd had trouble with that account, and had to close it and open a new one.

Last week, he popped up in my search results under another new name. We're not talking, and I want to keep it that way, so I can't ask, but...what the heck?!

Another guy who approached me during Lent has previously changed his age, and his ethnicity. I noticed that because sometimes he'd show up in my search results, and other times he wouldn't (it was the age). The other day, he popped up as a new match. It was a new name, but I recognized the photo. I also noted that in his latest profile, he says he has a Masters degree; previously, he had an Associates.

He was a bit of a jerk - so I'm also not going to ask him what's up.

I can tell you that I have been a member of Plenty of Fish for four years - and have never had to change my profile name.

So either these guys are up to no good, or they have the worst luck when it comes to internet safety. Both of them were overbearing and a little mean. The one guy was only interested in talking about sex.

My guess is, they are being reported as violating the site's terms of use, and their accounts are being closed by Plenty of Fish. So they're opening a new account, and probably going to just repeat the same behavior, until they get reported again.

It's guys like this who give online dating a bad name.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A model of a bad profile

I've hidden all my profiles. I have enough problems with the people who already know how to reach me offline.

But that doesn't stop me from trolling dating sites looking for blog material. Last night, a profile on Plenty of Fish caught my eye. Specifically, the headline: I'm not a model, I just look like one! [Side Note: Not really.]

His marital status is separated, and his intent says he wants to date, but isn't looking for anything serious. He's 37, has kids, indicates he does not want more. His interest list includes Facebook (???). His profile is actually written semi-well.

His profile:
I've been on and off this thing about 4 times now. I'm sure you have seen me on here before and read my profile. [Because, obviously he's just so attractive and memorable, you wouldn't be able to stay away.] I am finally going through a divorce as of 2/18/13. I should be divorced in about 2 months. Before, I was the guy who wasn't even legally separated and still living with his wife. [And on a dating site?] Although, she slept on the couch [Mental note: If things don't work out, he makes you sleep on the couch.] and we both dated and did our thing. It kind of hindered my dating [Marriage does that.] but maybe I used it as an excuse to not get too emotionally attached or available to anyone. [Including his WIFE, apparently.]
Here's what I want. I want a woman who is between the ages of 28-38 years old. I'm not going to date anyone over 40 anymore. Especially, if you are older than my oldest sister who is 43. Yeah the sex is good but your kids are either teenagers or not even close to my age [I imagine he means he wants his date's kids to be close to the ages of his own kids. Or maybe he's found that women in their 40s have kids in their 20s, and he considers 20s too close to his own age.] and that does matter.
Please no stalkers, stage 5 clingers, and please please if you are lucky enough to make it to my Facebook [LUCKY ENOUGH?!] and it doesn't work out; do not contact my other woman friends to see if it was them I left you for [So 'it doesn't work out' always means he ended things.] or to search for answers. [If this is the kind of woman he usually attracts, he is probably crazy. Crazy attracts crazy. Or, perhaps he is the type of guy who takes perfectly normal, sane women and turns them into crazy.]
If you are looking for a sweet [Who makes women sleep on the sofa.], sensitive [Who refers to women as 'stalkers' and 'clingers.'], adventurous, funny and charming guy [Who believes women are 'lucky' to be with him.] than [That should be 'then.'] I'm your man.
If you'd like to get "lucky enough to make it to his Facebook" email me, and I can send you his profile name. But act fast! You don't want to let this one get away.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A little boring

In case you're one of the people worried that single gals are always completely lonely and bored, listen to how my weekend went.

Saturday morning - I was approached by Mr. Crazy-Pants at the gym. He wouldn't take my hints to go away, so I had to leave. I hurried home and immediately hid all of my profiles. On a bright note, I have never moved so quickly during a workout.

Saturday afternoon - After canceling a date on Friday, Bachelor #1 texted to find out how late I would be (I was attending a party out of town). He thought perhaps we could "meet up" after.

Does that sound like an attempt at a booty-call? It did to me - and it annoyed me. A lot.

During the party, I received an email from Chef. Just checking in (after, like, three months). Hopes I will hang out with him sometime.

On the way home from the party, I received an email on Match from a guy I've been trying to connect with for two months. He favorited me, I winked at him, he winked back, I emailed him - and he never responded, until now. Finally some good news! We exchanged phone numbers, but that was all.

I got home from the party around midnight. At 12:30 am, I got a text from a guy who I had never met in person, and only emailed briefly on Plenty of Fish. He'd asked me out for Saturday, so he knew I had plans. Guess he assumed I'd be awake. He suggested we meet out. I declined.

I'm not positive he was attempting a booty call. However, guys, it's worth noting that when you suggest getting together after a certain hour (I'd say about 10 pm) it's always - always - suspect.

While I was lamenting my day by venting to Baking Suit, I got another text. At 1:15 am. From a guy I've been talking with, but haven't met. His text consisted of, "Wyd?" I didn't answer.

Talk about suspect. This totally felt like another attempted booty-call. At this point, I just wanted to cry.

On Sunday, I'd agreed to meet Mr. 12:30am for coffee, though I had no hope we would have a connection. I was right. I was in the coffee shop for less than an hour. While I was in there, I got a text from Mr. Ding-a-Ling, and an email from another guy on Plenty of Fish.

I wished both of them a Happy Sunday. Then I went home and hid under the covers until Monday night.

Sometimes, a little boring is exactly what a single gal needs.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Finding Mr. Wrong

There is a huge misconception that I lead a very boring, uneventful, lonely life. I suppose that's normal when you're single among a lot of very unsingle friends. They are at home with their significant others, or posting loving messages on each other's facebook walls...and I post pictures of my cat. 

Thing is - it isn't true. I'm not bored (though some days I wish I were). I just don't choose to share a lot of that stuff (anywhere other than here, anyway). So, a lot of people who know me but don't really know me think all I do is hang out with my cat and watch Netflix.

The truth is, I find lots of dates. They just aren't with the right guys.

I'm not the only one with that particular problem. It can be annoying, especially those who are new to online dating, or dating in general. I was in a conversation on twitter the other day with a woman who tried the online thing, only to find it stressed her out, going on dates with guys and then having to tell them there was no "spark."

The important thing to remember about online dating sites is they provide a huge collection of single people all in one place. Some of those people are desperate, some have a specific agenda that doesn't involve "dating," and some are perfectly nice people who just aren't a good match for you.

There are also the crazy people, but that's a different post.

It doesn't matter if you're tall, short, skinny, heavy, smart, young, old, dumb... If you're on a dating site, and you're at all active, you will meet a lot of people. Statistics suggest this means you'll meet a lot of the wrong people.

Even if you're not on a dating site - if you date, you're going to go on a lot of dates with Mr. Wrong. Why? Simply because there are a lot of Mr. Wrongs - but only one Mr. Right. Mr. Wrong is just easier to find.

That doesn't mean dating can't still be fun - but it does mean you need to change your perspective a little. You can't look at dates with Mr. Wrong (whether it's your first or your hundreth) as a waste of time or a disappointment. It was probably a fun time; if not, at least it'll make a good story. (You can always email me the story and I'll be happy to share!)

Keep in mind, too, that dating is like anything else: You improve with practice. If you hang around dating sites long enough, you'll learn to tell early on whether someone is worth meeting in person. You'll also learn how to nicely decline invites if you're just not feeling a spark.

Let's face it - meeting Mr. Wrong is easy. It takes some practice to find Mr. Right.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Say goodbye to online dating

No, not me (not yet, anyway).

This is another one of those things I'm seeing more and more of on different dating sites. Instead of deleting, or even just hiding, their online profile, more and more men are opting to change their headline to something like, "I found her!" or "See ya!" and then remove all but the most basic information.

This confuses me. It would actually be easier to just hide the profile. Most sites I use will let you do that right from your phone. Those that don't only require a few clicks on the website.
So why do these guys leave their profiles out there? I have a couple of theories.
  • They are too lazy to delete the profile
  • They are too stupid to figure out how
  • They are not really committed to the woman they've met, but want her to think they are (and probably met her on that site)
  • They like the ego boost of getting winks and emails, and don't want to give it up
So, if you see a profile like this, don't feel that you missed out on anything. If he's left the profile up, he's likely a stupid, lazy, insecure, dishonest guy, who is afraid of commitment.

Those are easy to find.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Where in the world is he?

There seems to be a growing trend on dating sites. Or maybe trend isn't the right word. Phenomena, maybe.

Men (maybe women, too, I wouldn't know) seem to be saying they live in one place, to attract people from a particular location...when they actually live in a completely different place.

I'm not talking about men who live outside the US looking for a wife (and presumably a green card), though I see my fair share of that (mostly on Match, FYI).

I'm talking about men who say they live one area of the state, when really they live in another. Take Mr. Ding-a-Ling for example. He put on his dating profile that he lived in a town in Upstate New York (where I live). That was how we met in the first place. At the time (less than a year ago) he told me he was in the middle of moving for work, but had an apartment and everything.

As far as I know, he never moved up here. The other day, I stumbled upon his Plenty of Fish profile - and it says he lives in Pennsylvania.

Not long after him, I met another guy. His profile says he lives in a different nearby town. When we started talking, he admitted he travels for work, and was actually in a mid-western state at the time, but eventally plans to be in this area, and he wants to meet someone when he gets here.

Whenever that happens.

On another site, I met a guy who changes his current city to match whatever the GPS on his phone says. Because he lives in one state, but works in another, and likes to meet people from both areas. He bought me dinner, then became a jerk. Dinner was good, though.

I suppose, as long as the guy is upfront about what he's doing, there really isn't anything wrong with the idea. It's just one more way online dating is useful where "old-fashioned" ways of meeting people would fail.

It's just a little frustrating for those of us who really are just looking to connect with locals, and meet a nice person with whom they can have an actual conversation and eventually maybe even a date.

Crazy thought, right?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Demand respect

So, we know that young men occasionally approach older (not old!) women on dating sites.

Let's talk about the way these men approach women. Messages like "shoot me a text" and "Ur mad pretty" and "wanna see my ****" are standard openers for the 18-25 set.

What I want to know is, where are they learning that this is a good way to approach women? When I am approached, it's usually by men old enough to be their fathers - and they don't come at me that way. So it doesn't make sense that they're learning these methods from their dads.

So what then? Movies? Music? Friends? TV? Video games? Older brothers?

What's even more disturbing is the idea that this approach might actually be working on some women. Why else would they keep it up, if it's not met with at least a little success?

I can't do anything about bad habits passed down by dads or friends, or movies giving kids bad ideas. People are going to think what they're going to think.

But...ladies (especially younger ladies) - please, please don't encourage this behavior by responding in a positive way. In fact - don't respond at all!

There are men who will approach you with respect and courtesy and kindness and intelligence. You deserve these things, and you are right to demand them from any man looking to prove he's worth your time.

If a guy can't show simple courtesy the first time he says hello, imagine what you can expect as he becomes more comfortable? Familiarity brings out a person's worst, not his best. His best is supposed to be for first impressions.

If this is his best, imagine what's in store, just waiting until you've settled into a relationship?

Trust me, you're better off staying single, waiting for the nice guy to come along. He will - and you'll definitely want to respond to his message.

Friday, April 5, 2013

In defense of cougars

I get all kinds of emails about ideas for the blog. Guest post submissions, questions, requests for advice, and near-daily emails from Baking Suit with inspiration from around the interwebz.

One of my favorites is the occasional infographic about dating. Not too long ago, I received an email with a link to this infographic about cougars.

In Defense of Cougar Women - An infographic by Xandria.com

If you're a cougar - happy hunting! If you're a cougar's prey - you lucky guy.

Have an infographic, idea, question, or post you want to share? Email me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Let's see what happens

Do you remember Bachelor #1 from this post? He's still around - sort of.

By sort of, I mean he's around as much as he ever was - which wasn't much. He doesn't text frequently or consistently. He calls even less. We don't see each other any more than once a week, and usually he's too "busy" to spend much time together when we do hang out.

I thought I'd be annoyed by this style of dating, the "let's just see what happens" approach. Truth is - it's somewhat convenient, and helps keep me from setting expectations.

He doesn't set standards for our relationship that he can't meet, or make promises he can't keep. He doesn't pretend we're something we're not, and he doesn't come on strong, then forget to back it up.

He's consistently inconsistent. Which is more honesty than I get from most men. 

I will admit...I wonder if we're well-suited for something long-term. For all the reasons I mentioned in the post, I wonder how compatible we'd be for anything more than an occasional date. 

Not to mention, the whole "let's see what happens" approach feels like how you treat a relationship when you're either not sure what you want, or you're not sure you want it with this person. Like I've said before, I'm looking for someone who is sure.

I understand this is how a relationship would develop if you start out as friends - but we met on a dating site. Seems to me if we were sure of each other, we'd skip some of this nonsense. 

The nice thing is, keeping him around staying in touch means I can have the occasional date with someone I know is fun, and with whom I know there is no expectation of anything more. 

I guess we'll just see what happens.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Thanks, but no thanks

When you get an email or a "wink" from someone on most dating sites (Plenty of Fish, Match, OK Cupid - I'm looking at you), there's usually an option to click "No Thanks" or "Not Interested" or whatever.

That click prompts a response that basically tells the person, "Thanks, not interested."

It's, like, the meanest form-email in the history of electronic communication.

I (think I) understand why the option is offered - so that the receiver can feel he responded without actually having to go to the trouble of responding. So he can feel he was "polite."

The thing is - I don't think it's polite at all. I also don't think it should be necessary.

If I saw an interesting guy at a party, and I winked, would he feel obligated to walk over to me and give me
Found Here
some line about how he'd just met someone, but he wishes me luck? No.

Would he need to get an objective third party involved to come over and and tell me he appreciated my interest, but doesn't think we're a good match? Certainly not.

He would turn his head and pretend he hadn't noticed. If we had established eye contact, he'd make sure it was broken. Then he'd purposely ignore me for the rest of the evening.

Is that particularly mature or enlightened? Maybe not - but it has been an effective way to communicate disinterest since Adam first starting ignoring Eve so he could pursue other options.

If I "wink" at someone, or send an email, or say I "want to meet" him or send a message saying "so-and-so is interested" and I never hear back, it's very reasonable for me to assume that person does not feel the same.

Which should be OK. I don't know him and he doesn't know me. Unless the interest is mutual, there's absolutely no reason I ever need to hear from him. He owes me nothing, and there should be no expectations. In fact, if I'm doing this whole thing correctly, I sent the "I'm interested" message, and moved on, practically forgetting about it as soon as I clicked send.

But if he feels the need to respond (or send the automatic response), I'm going to get an email. Then I have to go looking to see what he (or the site) had to say. Now not only do I have to actively participate in  my own rejection- I am going to be reminded that I cared in the first place.

Wouldn't it have been nicer (and more polite) to just to ignore me, and let me go along my merry way?

I know some people prefer a response, and some prefer to send one. I won't ever be able to do anything about that (other than write posts like this pleading with them to be more humane).

So I implore you, dating sites - please remove these auto-response options! Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Great expectations

Something else I learned while I gave up dating for Lent... I have too many expectations.

Expectations should not be confused with standards. I refuse to lower my standards.

By expectations, I mean I have a tendency to meet people hoping it will turn into something. If we have a lot in common, seem attracted to each other, good conversation, etc., I tend to start thinking, "Hey, this could go somewhere."

I set expectations when I shouldn't.

So I need to get better at meeting people with absolutely no ideas about what might happen, or what could happen. No, "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" or "I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but..."

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Just say hi and talk, like I just met someone on the street and have no idea if I'll ever see him again.

Can I do that with a really handsome, smart, funny guy who I just found on a dating site, after coming back to his profile eight times before finally deciding to send him a perfectly crafted email?

Sure, why not?

The real trick will be holding off on the expectations even after we've started talking...then dating...then...

OK, I'll work on it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Post lent observations

Lent is officially over, which means I can go back to stalking online dating profiles, emailing every other guy, and winking at the rest.

Thing is...I kinda don't want to.

First, I will confess...I did reach out to a couple of guys during Lent. This just in: I'm not perfect. That's between me and God.

But in trying to stick to my promise, I did find that I reached out to fewer guys than maybe I otherwise would have. Instead of just willy-nilly winking, I really thought hard about whether or not it was worth the trouble.

In fact, I almost emailed one guy, and then decided I would wait, figuring he'd still be there after Lent. Instead, he emailed me, and we got into what I thought was a really good conversation...

...until he turned out to be a complete jerk. It occurred to me that maybe I really need to be more choosy all the time, not just when I'm challenging myself. I mean, of course you never know until you talk to someone - but being a little picky can't hurt.

I also found that staying away from the dating sites wasn't as difficult as I expected. I am someone who is always on my phone. I often open up the dating site apps out of sheer boredom.

In an effort to stay away, I found other distractions for those moments when I need one. After a while, I realized the other entertainment worked just fine - and I don't really miss the dating apps.

Or the dating, as it turns out. Guess all I needed was a little perspective.