Thursday, July 31, 2014

No one can predict true love

Did you know OK Cupid has a blog? I had forgotten, but that's probably because they just published the first new post in three years. No wonder they sent a blast email to announce! The post details some "experiments" the popular dating site has done on users, concerning the importance of photos versus profile text, match score, etc. Interesting stuff, actually.

" I’m the first to admit it: we might be popular, we might create a lot of great relationships, we might blah blah blah. But OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing. Neither does any other website."

No kidding. Most of us have known this for a while. Well, except for that one guy who, despite me pointing out some glaring differences between us, insisted that "an 87% match is nothing to ignore."

Yes it is - and that blog post proves it.

"The ultimate question at OkCupid is, does this thing even work? By all our internal measures, the “match percentage” we calculate for users is very good at predicting relationships."

I would agree. OKCupid said I was 90% matched with Trooper, and 98% matched with Big. While neither relationship lasted, each was successful in its own way.

OKCupid uses a series of questions to match users. Some are personality questions, some seem like IQ questions. Of course some are sex questions.

If a user doesn't answer any, I still find we are at least a 10% match. I can only assume that represents the fact that we match in some basic ways (he's a guy who dates women, he is the right age, and lives in the right area).

If users do decide to tackle the questions, it isn't enough to respond. To "improve match accuracy" users also need to indicate which answers they consider acceptable, and assign a level of importance to the question. Of course, answers depend an awful lot on each person's interpretation. So while you might not "match" on a particular question, if you took the time to discuss the issue, you might find you actually agree.

Like everything else on dating sites, I've found match scores need to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Sites may be good at predicting the success of initial conversations, or how those first dates will go, but no one can predict chemistry or real attraction.

No one can predict true love.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Moving on

Him: How have you been?

Me: Good. We were talking a month ago and you just disappeared. What happened?

Him: I was MIA for a while. I'm back now.

Me: Gotcha. I saw you online, so I figured you'd just moved on.

Him: I have the app and I never logged out so it looked like I was online but I wasn't.


I've used that excuse. I've told people I was going to delete my profile and asked if we could text, to avoid being "seen" online. I've hidden my profile, but still used it to contact new people. I've told people "I just signed in to delete messages."

Eventually, I grew tired of inventing excuses. I got frustrated with a dating process that requires me to explain my every move to a guy I just met. I learned when to move on. (Hint: If I'm still online looking, or irritated by a question, it's probably time.)

I truly don't care if we were talking, and you met someone who you found more interesting. It happens, and it happens even more often when meeting people online. But I do believe you have to own that decision - even if it turns out to be the wrong one.

He's not the only one. I dated another guy briefly last fall. One day, we were talking. The next, he texted to let me know he'd met someone and decided to be exclusive, so he was deleting my contact info. We were still friends on Facebook - and a month later, he messaged me to let me know it had not worked out. When I pointed out that he was clearly not that into me, he got very cranky - and unfriended me.

So when he messaged me again recently, I reviewed this all again. His take was that all happened in the past. My take was that may be, but it's still an indication that we are not a good fit. He asked if I wanted to start over, or move on.

Definitely moving on.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

No excuse

I read a few blogs by "relationship experts." While I don't think anyone can really be an expert in relationships, sometimes a different perspective is interesting. I don't always agree with what they say, but what do I know, anyway?

But this atricle Men look for sex and find love.... deserves a pause.

"Just because we think you’re attractive and we show you a good time doesn’t mean we’re actually INTERESTED. It just means we’re being “in the moment”."

OK. Just. Stop. Listen, I'm a 40-year-old woman whose motto is "boys have cooties." I know all about gender stereotypes. Women are crazy, men are stupid, etc, etc. Stereotypes exist for a reason - and they are often true. No one gets that more than I.

But living up (or in this case down) to a stereotype isn't an excuse. Being a woman does not excuse me from being crazy - and being a man does not excuse someone from being a jerk.

Mr. Katz points out that men who want a real relationship also want sex, plain and simple. So what's a guy to do?

"How should I notify a woman that I am not serious about her before we start a physical relationship? What’s better? A written warning? Or perhaps a canned speech that while I find my date attractive and will gladly sleep with her for a few weeks, I’m actively continuing to pursue other women in the meantime? How’s that gonna go over?"

Newsflash: Women are exactly the same. Some may want a real connection, but in that moment - pardon the bluntness - just want to get laid.

It doesn't make anyone bad, or wrong. It makes everyone, men and women alike, human.

So what's a guy to do? He should be upfront. He should tell the woman his true interests and intent as far as his "relationship" with her is concerned. How's that going to go over? Well, some women will get pissed off. Some will be hurt. Some just might want the same, and everyone is happy.

Instead, men "say nothing and hope you don't get too attached." Or, they say what they think you want to hear, so they keep getting sex.

Those are both strategies to protect that guy's future comfort and happiness. Which is understandable. It's also the exact opposite of living in the moment.

"Why don’t we go to Adultfriendfinder for easy, no-strings-attached sex? Because it’s kind of skeezy. Because there’s no challenge and no human connection. Because we actually want someone that we can talk to, vent to, and hang out with."

Listen, I've already shared a bit about my feelings on AFF. Are there skeezy men out there? Sure. I bet there are skeezy women, too.

But at least it's honest. They want sex without commitment, and say so right upfront. There's no game, no illusion. No one is being misled.

No-strings-attached sex might not be for everyone. Some might find it empty, or unfulfilling, or just plain gross. But there's nothing skeezy about being honest.

Think about it: Who would you rather meet? The guy who just wants sex...and tells you he just wants sex. Or, the guy who just wants sex...and buys you dinner and flowers and says you're amazing and he can't wait to see you again - and then just stops calling one day, when he senses you've become too attached.

Men may "live in the moment" when it comes to things like where they put their car keys, or how late they are for dinner. That's a stereotypical guy thing, and that's fine.

But when a guy plans a strategy to have casual sex, and plans a way to let himself off the hook when his mark falls for his lie, that isn't "just being a guy."

That's being an asshole - and being a guy is no excuse.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Nothing good happens

Trooper used to say, "Nothing good happens after midnight." He was quoting Tony Dungy, an NFL Coach who believed his athletes needed sleep, not parties.

I'm no athlete, but I do know I should not be allowed to access the internet after midnight. I'm far too tired at that hour to make good decisions. Honestly, if I'm awake after midnight, it's probably because I can't sleep. If I'm already upset or worried about something, I really shouldn't go anywhere near the internet.

Nothing good happens then, either.

A few weeks ago, I was feeling particularly bummed. I knew I was in a bad frame of mind, and really needed to shut down and sort out my feelings. Instead, I took to the internet for validation and distraction. Never a good idea.

I wanted to find a new way to meet singles. When I'm in that "poor me, single forever" mindset, meeting people takes priority. This should have been my first clue I was about to jump down the rabbit hole of bad choices.

After a quick google search, and a couple hershey kisses (my answer to alcohol), I joined a site called Adult Friend Finder. DO NOT visit that site from your work browser - don't even Google it. From the name alone, you can guess the point of the site, and why I'm not even adding a link.

A free membership lets you search, but not view profiles. I suspect that's partly because they want to really verify you're old enough to have a credit card before giving full access, and partly because sex sells.

I wasn't going to pay, but then curiosity got the best of me, so I signed up for one month. I did not (and have not) post a photo. I barely completed the profile.

But on a site like this, that doesn't matter. Everyone (men, women, couples...) is looking for one thing, and they have pretty broad standards about where it's found. My faceless profile was bombarded in a matter of minutes.

My first thought was, are they nuts? They don't even know what I look like, or anything. Then when random men just started inviting me over to their apartment, it became clear that they were stupid, or desperate, or have a death wish (in answer to your question - no, I didn't accept random invites from strangers).

After a while, though, I found that wasn't the case with everyone (some - definitely). Many are really just looking for casual, no-strings-attached fun - and they're being honest about it. Which, in a way, is refreshing. I'd guess about 80-85% of people on sites like Plenty of Fish are looking for the same - they're just not upfront.

Still - the site is a bit much for me. It's overwhelming, and not really geared towards what I want. Plus, it is really, really hard (pun intended) to take a guy seriously when his profile picture is his penis. Just staring at me.

Since I paid for 30 days anyway, I decided to stick around, if for nothing else, than research purposes. I mean, if I don't investigate, how will you all know if you want to join the site?

So, I'm taking one for the team. You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

This was different

We've talked about this guy before. He came back (again) a little over a month ago. Actually, I may have been the one to reach out to him this time. I don't remember now.

Anyway, we ended up getting together on a Saturday. We were actually having a really nice, open, honest conversation (a first). He said something strange to me that night.

"I don't know why you're always running away from me."

It got me thinking - does he perceive our relationship differently than I do? Does he honestly believe I am the one who walks away? Or was this just a line, another way of blaming me?

A week later, we had a rough start when he was out on a Friday. We got talking on the phone, and I was a little upset that he was out with someone else, when he never goes anywhere with me. (OK - I may have also jumped to the conclusion the someone was a woman. Sue me.)

The conversation ended poorly, but he called me the next day to apologize. Then invited me to lunch.

OK, I thought. Perhaps this time really is different. He's admitting he cares for me, he's opening up to me a little more, our conversations are more honest. I let myself start to believe things were going to be different this time.

A few text messages that week...and then nothing. I tried to reach him Friday, then Sunday. I jokingly (well, half joking) asked, "Is this your way of running away from me?" No response.

This has been his way from the start. Jump in, and then abandon the relationship at whatever point he chooses. We might be in the middle of a text conversation, or talking on the phone, or even together. One minute, we're in the middle of something, and the next he's just gone.

Right about now, you're probably wondering why on Earth I'm sharing. I mean, this guy clearly has a pattern of leaving, and I clearly have a pattern of giving him the opportunity. None of this is new, so why share now?

This time was different - because I believed him. I let my guard down, and let him in. So it really threw me when he cut and run.

I guess I wanted to point out that no matter how above it all you think you are, or how jaded or in control - we can all fall hard. I was having a tough time, really getting down on myself. I felt hurt, but also foolish. Shouldn't I know better? Or am I just getting what I deserve, since I let him in?

But that's not really how it works.

When someone treats you poorly, it says way more about him than it does about you. No one should feel silly or foolish for putting herself out there. You fall....and then pick yourself up.

Of course, that doesn't mean you might not do something foolish. And by you, I obviously mean me....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Two pairs

Remember when Trooper took me to Engineer's wedding? He asked me to relay a funny story concerning that wedding. I have a particularly tough post I'm working on (tough to publish, not write), so I figured I'd do this instead.

When I asked Trooper to the wedding, I did not know he was dating anyone. It turns out, he was, and she was someone he'd known previously. Which means the two of them were already connected on Facebook. Which also means she knew he and I used to date, knew my name from his posts, and knew we were still friends.

She texted him that night and asked what he was doing (I believe she wanted to know why he hadn't asked to see her). He was honest and said he was at a wedding. This was not a satisfactory answer. After a little more interrogation, during which she actually asked if he was with me, he admitted he was my "plus one."

I actually felt a little bad. Honestly, had I known he was dating someone and going with me would cause a problem, I would never have asked. Trooper assured me it was not an issue, that was just her personality.

Turns out, her personality includes a lil' crazy.

Apparently, not long after, she ended things. Among other reasons, she was upset he'd taken me to the wedding. At that point, Trooper decided meeting women online wasn't for him. He deleted his dating profiles and decided to give up.

Within a week, he attended a party for an old friend and ran into a former coworker. They've been dating for several months.

Trooper told me that he credits our friendship, and his taking me to that wedding, with bringing him together with this new person, who he really likes. Talk about irony.

He also admitted that now, he owes me two pairs of shoes.