I had several conversations this week with people about Dating After 40 and online dating and I wanted to address several things that came up in the conversations. Most of the single people I know have at least dabbled in online dating with varied degrees of success. This weekend I was speaking with some men on their experiences with online dating. They have many of the same complaints as women do, but take a surprisingly more tolerant view on some issues than I do. We were discussing how some people lie about their age. To me, this is a major issue on two levels:
1) I cannot start a relationship with someone who is not honest about something so basic as who they really are.
2) I generally do not date much older than me because I find the men look and act much older than me.
To me, this is wasting my time. The men I spoke with were surprisingly a lot more tolerant, to a point. They did not place the same emphasis on starting with a lie as I do. I found this interesting. While I do not think either view is wrong, I do find it to be something to consider. What are we all looking for out here? It seems like many of the same people are on the dating sites year after year. How could they possibly not have found someone who is compatible and who they enjoy spending time with? This has been an ongoing point of contention with me because I love meeting people and genuinely enjoy the dates I go on. I love getting to know someone and learning new things and new perspectives on things through the conversations I have. There are many times that we really want to know more about our dates, but we never hear from them again. We could have the best date, and the phone never rings.
So why is it so hard to get from online to an actual relationship? It is something I have thought a lot about. One point I would like to make is that online dating is kind of like ordering dinner – it depends on what mood we are in. I am convinced that many view this form of dating as a smorgasbord of choices – and they are either afraid of making the wrong one or they take advantage of the choices and never take the time to know one person. One thing is for sure – we cannot develop anything lasting from one date. That is only where it starts. We need to really take time to get to know someone if we are to be successful in finding a potential life partner. First dates are kind of like job interviews – people can present themselves a certain way, but it is hard to really know what they are all about from one date. If you use online dating sites, more than likely you are talking to more than one person – so are men. From my personal experience, when I have been interested on someone I do not bother going online and/or answering emails from other prospective date. I focus on the guy I am interested in. Again, from my experience, the men I have dated continue the conversations they are having because they are afraid of what they may be missing. To this day, I do not understand what they think they are missing.
So what are we all looking for that we are not finding? Is it that we are not taking the time to really know people anymore? Relationships do take time to develop, and it seems like everyone is in so much of a hurry with the demands of their lives that we cannot slow down long enough to develop proper relationships anymore. Based on my interviews, online dating is frustrating for both men and women. We all want love in our lives. We go online with high expectations that maybe, just maybe, that special someone is there. We leave there frustrated and jaded. But yet, we all know someone who found their ideal person online, so we do know there is hope and we keep that hope alive in our hearts. As frustrating as it is, we put ourselves out there and guard our fragile hearts with shields of armor. We may not all find our Mr. Maybe, but even if we don’t we need to enjoy the journey. There are many great and wonderful men out there, even if they are not the right one for us. I, for one, genuinely enjoy meeting them and getting to know them. Sure, there will be the occasional nightmare date (hopefully not too many), but if we look at most of our dates with an open mind, we will know in our hearts that meeting wonderful men along the way is not a bad thing, and they are really the pebbles we leave along our trail to our destiny. So stop being frustrated! Enjoy the journey!