Can Online Dating Lead to Love?

I hopped on a few dating sites today after taking a break from them for over a year.  I was immediately reminded of all the reasons I haven’t been online seeking love.  I had so many messages to weed through that it was a bit overwhelming at first.  I soon came to realize that about a third of them were from those guys that hit on everyone and are immediately kicked off the site due to their content or sending personal contact infor through the site (one would think they would have learned this by now).

Many of the rest were one line wonders, which always perplex me.  Do men really think a “hi” will get them in good graces with anyone of substance?  And then there were the abundance of emails that simply stated something about my looks.  These always make me cringe.  Did they even read my profile?  If they had, they would know better than to send something like this since I warn them I will immediately delete those emails.  My feeling is that if they cannot take the time to see who I am as a human being, and not just what I look like, then I don’t have time to talk to them, either.

So now I was down to the last third or so.  In reading the emails and looking at the profiles, I had mixed feelings.  There are many reasons I have not been checking my dating sites for over a year, and this was a big reminder why.  Out of all the emails I received, I only replied to less than a handful – actually, only 3 to be exact.  These men I would definitely like to meet.  However, since I have not been online in over a year, some of the emails were from almost a year ago.  Okay, my bad.  In my defense, I was extremely frustrated with the men I was meeting from these sites and needed a break.

It left me wondering if love can actually be found online.  I believe it can.  The reason I believe this is because I have met some fabulous men online and have had some wonderful relationships with men I met online.  I am keeping the faith that the right one for me is out there.  I will be keeping my options open, but will not compromise who I am in finding love online.  What this means is that there will be many, many emails sent to me wasting my time that I will never respond to.  As in everything in in life, I will focus on the goal, which is getting to the right man out of the many who write saying they are interested.  For those I pass over – trust me guys, after reading some of your profiles, I know for a fact you would never be interested in me (the actual person).  While we all have our “lists” of what we are looking for, my negotiable items are many with the right person; but some things would never work.  As warmer weather is here, I am once again giving this another chance.  After all, I do believe the right one is out there somewhere!

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The Marriage Dilemma

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I recently attended a singles networking event and discussion.  The topic was interesting enough, but as we went around the room I came to realize that the way I feel about relationships and marriage was quite different than others in the room.  This could be partly because I was probably the youngest person in the room.  But as I listened to others speak, I became saddened by the state of being single today.

You see, as I listened, it became abundantly clear that everyone in the room except me would be perfectly happy to either find someone to date and get along with, have a long-term relationship with, or live with.  None of these options are acceptable to me.  I want to get married.  Of course, one must go through some of the above to get there, but the singles in this room made it very clear that they had no desire to get married (again).  I left feeling very disenchanted with even the thought of dating.  Were my expectations unrealistic for someone of a certain age?  While I was younger than those present, I am considered what is solidly middle-aged.  Could someone like me find love again?  I will say, I still hold out that God has someone for me.

Listening to the conversations, most in the room have been in marriages that lasted for some length of time or were recently back in the dating scene.  As for me, I have been looking for marriage for well over 20 years, with little success.  Over the years, I have met many wonderful men and been in relationships with several.  However, it seems as though finding the RIGHT one for me has proven more challenging than I could have ever imagined.

Friends have told me things like my standards are too high, or that I should give someone a chance that clearly has qualities I would never want in my life.  So as the topic turned to things we look for in the opposite sex, this brought me back to all of those conversations with my friends.  So, are my expectations unrealistic?  As I listened to others talk about what they are looking for, I came to realize that their expectations were different because they were not looking at it from a marriage standpoint, and I was.  Since most of my friends hold the same view on marriage as those in the room, their expectations would be that of those present, also.

So why is it that most people my age want marriage?  I have asked many, and most state they have been through the wringer with their exes and don’t want to do that again.  Others state that they “don’t need a piece of paper to justify their relationship.”  Again, I disagree.  If someone truly loves me and does want to spend his life with me, he should not hesitate at that piece of paper.  If he does, I would question his commitment to me.  Now I realize some would argue this point, but I stand firmly on my belief.  It is okay if you disagree.  You see, to me marriage is sacred.  It is far more than a piece of paper and a level of commitment.  While others may not see it this way, I do.  So I will trust in my belief that the right man is out there for me.  I cannot and will not settle for less than I deserve.  I am not asking for unrealistic expectations, but simply for love and a man who is okay with making the commitment of “I do.”

For those who have said to me that marriage is not all its cracked up to be.  Well, maybe that was your marriage.  Allow me to have my own and make my own judgment on that.

Dating During the Holidays

 Let’s face it.  The Holidays can be challenging for many singles for a variety of reasons.  Dating during these busy and sometimes stressful times can also prove challenging.  While I will not say I have answers to these issues, I would like to share some of the challenges I encounter.  By sharing, I hope this may help some other who feel as I do!

Loneliness

Singles can feel lonely on any given day, but during the Holidays this can be amplified by basic Holiday activities.  For me, watching families just out enjoying shopping, or enjoying other Holiday fun can send me into a downward spiral that I don’t want to go down.  While I am genuinely happy for these families, and especially my friends, when I see the joy they have with their families, it hits me hard that I want this also, and don’t have it.  If I dwell on this too long, I am in trouble.  The Holidays tend to make me think of all the things I don’t have that are so valuable.  

When I was younger, I was so focused on having the husband, family,  good job, the latest fashions, nice house and nice car.  Out of all of those things, there were only two that were really worth spending my time on.  Since I felt education was the key to getting all of those material things I wanted in life, I lost focus of the things that mattered to me the most – a husband and family.  I spent 10 years in the prime of my life in college to get my education while working my way up the corporate ladder.  That did not leave me time to establish a solid relationship and several were destroyed in that time because they could not be properly nurtured.  I wasted so much time on the things that really did not matter and not enough on the ones that did.  The Holidays have a way of forcing me to think of these things when I watch others enjoying the families they have, and yearning for the one I don’t have.

Bittersweet Family Gatherings

While I love seeing my family and thoroughly enjoy the time with them, there is a real disconnect at family gatherings for me.  I listen to their banter of Christmas morning, the thrill of the children, the gifts received by the adults, and can only wish I had someone to share those memories with.  The Holidays are essentially very sad for me – and I haven’t even touched on New Years, yet!  New Years Gatherings are extremely stressful, with everyone toasting with their significant others, and kissing at New Year’s Eve and bringing in the new year with a new-found hope for their future together.  While I know my New Year will hold promises I have not yet imagined, I cannot help but be brought to my knees at the thought of having another year alone without love in my life.  Many of my single friends don’t really understand the deep desire and longing I have for being married.  Many have spent years in marriage.  I have not.  At family gatherings, I feel a little left out and forgotten.  I don’t have stories to share of Christmas morning, and I have received gifts from no one.

Someone to Enjoy Holiday Events With

Another stressful thing is going to Holiday events alone, being a third wheel, or just not going at all because you have no one to go with.  Sure, many people go to events with friends, and that is great!  I do, too!  However, some events are just not the same without a special love in your life to enjoy them with.  For someone who yearns for love, the Holidays can be a very lonely and stressful time.

Some Things that Can Help

As briefly mentioned above, there are some things you can do to alleviate the stress and loneliness. Spending time with friends enjoying festivities certainly helps.  You can find Holiday singles mixers to meet others just like you!  You could do what I do and keep really busy, so you don’t have time to think about it.  While most of us try to embrace being single and making the best of it, there are times when it can get to us.  We all put on our brave faces and go out into the world, but brave faces do not change the way we feel inside.  .

Since this post is a little different than most of my posts, and the intention is to help others by letting them know they are not alone in how they feel, I would love to hear some things you do to manage the stress of being single during the Holidays.

 

Are You Too Busy to Date?

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How Busy is too Busy?

The answer to this question depends on who you ask.  As an extremely busy person, I am asked this all the time when communicating with men online.  Usually they will ask probing questions trying to figure out if I will make time for them in my schedule.  The answer is: it depends.

First, I will not cancel any of my plans for a date.  Most of these men, you never hear from again, so they need to find a time that is good for me if they want to meet.  This can be challenging since I keep an extremely full schedule, but it also gives me a very good indication of what the man is all about.  If he is respectful and understanding, then he is worth meeting.  Any man who questions me too much or acts like me being busy is a problem is almost certainly not the man for me.

While some may not agree with me, my take on this is that a man would expect you to understand if he is busy and would expect you to work with his schedule.  What is the difference if it is a women?  There is none – other than that some men expect women to cater to their needs without regard to hers.  For this simple reason, I know right away if someone will work with my lifestyle.  Someone who seems as though he wants all my time and attention prior to even knowing me, will surely be far too needy and clingy for me.

Prioritizing Dating and the Rest of your Life

I have a canned response when someone asks me if I am too busy to date right now. And that response is: “Today everyone is busy and if we all wait until we are not busy to date, we may be dead first.”  It is true, if you think about it.  Who do you know that is NOT busy?  Not very many people can say that.

While I will not cancel anything in my schedule to accommodate a date, I will reprioritize if I meet someone worth a relationship.  This is the part that men do not seem to get.  They see busy and they think there is no room for them.  As in anything important in life, it is all about priorities!  When we first meet someone, they have not earned a place in our schedules before other things in our lives.  When we establish a relationship with someone, that shifts, and they become a higher priority than some of those other things.  For any man to expect a women to cancel other plans to go on a date with them is totally unrealistic, since there is no guarantee you will even like each other.  However, when a relationship is being established and people spend more time together, they have earned a place in our schedules.  I am uncertain as to why men only see busy as no place for them.  It could be selfishness, it could be ego, it could be neediness, or something deeper like control issues.  However, I do know that if someone doesn’t respect my life as it is now, and does not want to work on a common time to meet, it puts up all kinds of red flags for me.

NO ONE is too busy to date if it is something that is important to them.  Stop asking.  If we did not want to be dating, we would not be looking!  Don’t be needy, be a gentleman!  Happy dating!

 

2 Things That Will Scare Men Away

  In our quest for love, sometimes we try so hard we do not realize what we are doing or saying can be counterproductive.  While we need to ask questions in order to determine if our date is someone we want to continue a relationship with, we have to be smart about the questions we ask and the messages we send out.  We need to realize that men are not women, and they do not think like women, either.  There are a few subjects that should be saved for later in a relationship, and some that are just never good to ask.  Here are two that will surely send most men running the other direction:

1. Marriage

This should be a no-brainer.  However, sometimes women forget this because they want to be married and they feel they need to let the man know this, or they are nervous and blurt out things like this to try to make conversation.  While this subject will need to be addressed at some point if that’s the direction you want to go, it is never a good idea to address it within the first few dates.  Most women realize that many men have a fear of marriage for a variety of reasons.  There may be a fear of being “tied down” or not being “free.”  Or some men may feel a loss of control in their lives if they feel they are being pressured or forced into something or feeling a specific way.  My suggestion is to allow the relationship to progress naturally.  There needs to be a certain level of connection to address this subject.  When women put this out, they do not mean they want to marry that particular man or at that particular time, men hear something quite different and if the subject of wanting to be married is approached too soon, they will run the other direction if they are not in a place where they could actually see it with you.  Yes, some of us may want to be married, but we need to keep this conversation to ourselves until we have a deep connection with the man we are having the conversation with!

2. His “Type”

Another subject sure to make a man cringe is asking his “type” of woman.  First of all, do you really want an answer to that?  Ladies, if a man answers this one with what pops into his head, I assure you it will not be anything you want to hear or could ever live up to.   A man’s “type” is not necessarily who his ideal mate is.  Men are visual and when you are asking a type, many men will conjure up images of what they want a woman to look like, followed by all of their ideal personality characteristics.  This is hardly a real human, just as your fantasy guy is not real.  Do not make your date squirm, or put yourself through this!  Leave this one alone!  You may be his ideal woman, but he does not yet know it.  Why torture yourself and feed all the insecurities we all carry around?  Learn about each other and allow your relationship to grow naturally.  Do not try to force your way in by trying to meet an ideal that does not exist in real life.

Of course, if you are on a date and you want to send him running, feel free to talk about these.  I do NOT guarantee these subjects will send the wrong guy running.  He could be one of the few guys these subjects do not send running.  But do not chance talking about these to someone who could potentially be the right guy.  You want him to be around to get to know you!  Happy dating!

Soul Mate in the Making

What is a Soul Mate?

There are many variations of the definition of soul mate, but most agree that a soul mate is a person you are drawn to, is perfectly suited for you and who gets you.  Some believe this happens immediately when they meet someone.  However, this past week I heard an interview on television with a matchmaker who says that soul mates are not found; they are made.  I wanted to explore that topic.

In our lives, we meet many people.  Sometimes we meet someone and we have that instant connection.  It feels like we have known them forever when, in fact, we have never met them before.  I have known people who have entered into relationships with someone like this, only to find out later he or she was not at all the person they thought.  I have known others who have entered into relationships like this and it was everything they dreamed of.  So what is it exactly that is different about each of these scenarios?

To start, let’s get one thing straight: sexual attraction and physical attraction alone do not make a soul mate.  Since I have never really bought into this soul mate thing, when I heard the discussion on a soul mate being made, I was intrigued.  Could it be possible that all these years, I was under the impression that a soul mate already existed in the world and it involved some chance encounter to meet him?  Isn’t that what we are taught from childhood fairy tales?   Oh, how we buy into those fables and wish in our hearts this is how the world worked!

Can a Soul Mate be Made?

The thought of a soul mate being made had never occurred to me until I heard this discussion.  Is it possible that we are missing out on potential soul mates because we are going about it all the wrong way?  When I got to thinking, it occurred to me that this may be the key to finding our soul mates.  There are a few key elements that define soul mate and could be developed over time.

1. You Get Each Other

Some people have this experience as soon as they meet someone, and yet in others this develops over time.  This is especially true if we are meeting people online.  We are complete strangers and it does take time to develop this part of a relationship.  As a relationship starts to develop, we either get and like what the other person is about, or we start to not like things about them.  Either way, it takes time to actually get to really know and understand another person.   The more you talk and understand each other the more you start to think and act similarly.   If we are in a relationship and we get each other, like each other and find out we really are in sync with each other, could we be on our way to being soul mates?  Maybe, but there are many other elements to relationships.

2. The Relationship is Intense

Intensity could manifest itself several ways, but usually intensity will prevail in most aspects of the relationship.  An intense sexual relationship is many times part of it, but not the whole enchilada.  Discussions can be intense, as well as the total connection to the other person.  This can be in both good and bad times, so be cognizant of arguments and note that even if intense, soul mates will be focused on resolving the conflict and have the relationship in the forefront of importance.  The intensity of the good should far exceed the intensity of the bad in the relationship.

3. You Feel Connected, Whether Near or Far, Together or Apart

This is where I can see a soul mate being made.  As you grow in the relationship, the level of connection can either increase or not.  If it increases, you develop a connection that cannot be matched by any other in your life.  You can feel totally connected to that person no matter where they are, and you know they are also connected to you.  So as we grow in a relationship, is it possible that if we nurture it the right way, we can develop this soul mate connection?  I think so!  Both parties must be actively striving for the same thing, though.  If they are, this connection can be developed.  This can be so intense that you cannot imagine life without him (or her).

Conclusion

The way we meet people today is far different from the way we met people decades ago.  Today, many resort to online dating – and that means we are meeting complete strangers.  That means that connections in common are not already present, but need to be developed over time by getting to know each other.  We can still find our soul mates in the cyber world, but we need to put more time and effort into it, and not count those out who we do not have an immediate connection to – after all, you do not know each other yet!  Take some time to allow something to develop.  If you do this, it can go either way, but at least you will know you did not pass up on your soul mate.  If you do not take the time, he or she could be walking right out of your life never to return, and you may not even recognize it!

Online Dating Opening Lines

There is no doubt about it – first impressions count and they make a lasting impression!  Here is where so many men (I can only write what I know and I have no idea what other women write) mess up.  On top of the need for a certain level of attraction, there is also the need for a certain level of intelligence and creativity.

A great profile is wonderful, but it is only the starting point.  How you communicate with potential dates says more about who you actually are than anything you write in your profile.  I will be addressing some of the biggest turn-offs I come across and explain why they make negative impressions.  I seriously believe men should take a course in Online Dating 101 because more than half of the first contacts I receive fall into one or more of these categories (and they either get a no reply or a negative reply from me).

The One-Liner

These guys send you one word or thought and call it an “email”.  “Hi” and “Hello” does not make an email, nor does it warrant a response from any woman with a brain.  What this says about you is that you are lazy and want to leave all the thought up to the woman you send this nonsense to.  You are refusing to use your brain, or acknowledge that she actually wrote a profile.  You are leaving the whole conversation up to her because you are plain old lazy.  I delete every one of these so-called emails.  Intelligent women want to date someone who has a brain and can think of something intelligent to say to them.  They have no time for this nonsense, which should have ended back in high school.  We want to know that a man that says he wants to get to know us, actually used his brain and thought about who we are based on what we wrote in our profiles.

The Question One-Liner

Here’s another one that requires no brain power: “How are you?”  Any variation of this one is exactly the same as the basic one-liner.  It is thoughtless and a desperate show of throwing something out there and seeing if it sticks.  Really guys, we are much smarter than this.  Do you really want someone who sees you as desperate and unable to think for yourself?  Another variation of this is: “What are you doing this evening?”  Wow, really?  I find this one to be an invasion of my privacy.  I am usually inclined to make up something sensational, just to get a rise out of the guy for kicks, but then he may think I am actually interested.  We don’t really have time for this.  Plain and simple – it is none of your business what we are doing, or who with, unless you know us and are our significant other!

The Looks Comments

“You’re pretty”, “You’re beautiful”, “I love your smile” and all variations of comments on looks are among the most annoying conversation starters.  Guys, really, we want to know you want to know us, not sleep with us.  While you may be thinking of the latter, you need to be smart and keep the looks part under wraps until later.  When you start a conversation like this, many of us think you only have one thing in mind.  Plus, we doubt very much you even took the time to read out profiles.  We want to know you want to truly know us as human beings, not just sleep with us!  When you start out like this, many of us will run the other direction.  While we all like compliments and we all like to know we are desired, we want to know there are REAL reasons you want to go out with us.

Using Text Abbreviations When Communicating

Honestly, do you know how to spell and write a complete sentence?  We want to know you do!  We do not have the time to decode every email you send us.  Make it simple and spell things out, and use complete sentences!  We want to know you have a firm grasp of the English language!  I, for one, delete all messages that are not written out in English.  If you cannot take the time to write a complete sentence, why should we waste our time decoding and trying to figure out what on earth you are saying?

Sending (or asking for) Personal Email Information or Phone Numbers on First Contact

Dating sites were established to be a platform where we are able to meet people to date, while keeping our personal information private – the key word being private!  These sites gather and retain information about their members.  Others may differ on this view, but I never ever give out my personal information to guys on dating sites.  Think of it this way – do we really want all these strangers to have our phone numbers and personal email addresses?  We do not know you!  Plus, women are asked by every Tom, Dick, and Harry for their number on dating sites.  If we gave out our numbers to all who want them, there would be hundreds of strangers out there with our personal information.

Also, as I addressed previously, these men could be scam artists.  It is never okay to request someone’s personal information up front on a dating site.  Men, if you really want to know us, you will pay for a 30 day membership and get to know us.  If we are not worth that to you, why should we provide you our personal information?  We all need to be smart when dating online.  Being courteous and respectful includes not pushing for someone’s personal information.  After all, the dating site already does provide a platform for communication.

In conclusion, I would love to hear some other definite “No” emails you have received in your online dating experiences!  Please feel free to comment on what you have experienced!