Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

The Six Rules of Online Dating: Seeking Chemistry and Everything Else

over 40 - the rules of online datingRefining your roll in online dating (or dating in general) is a big part of getting your groove back after marriage. And really, the truth is, you shouldn’t be rolling anything at all until you’ve gotten some space between you and your divorce. As we said in our divorce recovery class, “Before you take your show on the road, you need to get your act together.”

I’ve spent some time on Match.com, OKCupid, and eHarmony and I can tell you something about the online dating scene for us “near or over 50” folks. It’s not easy being back in the dating scene. It’s not our natural or comfortable state. (Not mine, anyway.) We like to say things like “serial monogamist” to describe ourselves as looking for the next ONE person, rather than casual dating. (Sorry, again, I’m talking about myself.)

Here are a few things I’ve learned about online dating.

  1. Pictures lie. (Yes, it might be a picture of her, but … When you meet in-person you get that WTF feeling.)
  2. Hyper-focus on physical beauty is usually a bad thing. Sure we want someone who is attractive, and most importantly sexually attractive to us, but if their profile talks too much about working out and being in great shape, that’s probably what you’re going to get. I had some fruitless first dates with very attractive and very fit women who had little else on their mind.
  3. The 38-Special song, “Hold On Loosely” really comes into play with online courtship. If you get too enthusiastic you’re going to scare off the quarry. If you’re too romantic, too persistent, too charming, forget it. Be authentic, put your offer out there, and shut the fuck up. (Besides, if like me, you were the generator of 90% of the affection in your relationship, you need to make sure this potential partner has some “generation” in them as well.)
  4. If their profile is too amazing, you will never hear from them. I know an attractive woman on OKCupid who can have a date every night of the week, if she wants one. The offers fill her inbox. Many of them creepy, but enough that she is never really looking for opportunities.
  5. Most women don’t trust really attractive men. And it goes both ways. (Mathematics of Beauty – An OKCupid Study)

I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum. Some days I feel like the too-cute guy. Other times I feel like the over-weight 50-ish dad trying to be younger and hipper than I really am. It’s all about your roll. How you define your self, and define what you are looking for.

And that’s the beauty of online dating, at least the experience of filling out your profile and browsing around at the potential mates. Here are my first Six Rules of Online Dating

FIRST: You have to describe yourself and what you are looking for. This process helps you define for yourself what you think your best qualities are. Show your best face. Give your best enticement.

SECOND: You will have to describe what you are looking for. Even things like age-range can be tricky. And what you say can reflect more about you than you know. (Example: the 43 yo woman with two kids who is looking for men 30 – 42)

THIRD: Ultimately this seeking love thing is really a numbers game. The more potentials you meet the more potential you have of finding a match. And if you’ve been through a divorce or two, the hope is you are beginning to learn what works for you and what does not. (You do know your Love Language, don’t you?)

FOURTH: Go out. Get back out there. You don’t remember what dating is like, and you certainly don’t know anything about dating today. Texting, email, online dating sites, phone calls… It’s a new frontier.

FIFTH: As you begin to waste a few Saturday or Sunday afternoons on pointless dates, you will begin refining your criteria. If you ware looking for casual sex, I suppose there are certain profiles that hint at that. (Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date?) If you are in the hunt for the next relationship, it is not helpful or hopeful to go out on a zero-potential date, and you learn to refine and recheck their online profile before you make the next “in-person” offer.

SIXTH: There is usually one picture that shows how the person really looks. Everyone is putting on their best face. And my profile is no different. But after you’ve gone on a few loser dates, you can go back to the profile of the person and SEE the ah-ha photo. The “I saw that, but I didn’t really register what it meant.” The hints in photos are often more important than the beautiful smile.

I’ve been out on some first dates with really beautiful smiles. I mean, drop-dead beautiful photos… And then, you meet, and you realise your mistake.

Today I am much more selective about going out on that first face-to-face meeting. And so far, in three years, I’ve had three WOWs. Three first dates that I was REALLY into. The kind of first date that has you ready to take down your dating profile when you get home. And one of them seemed to say, “Yes, let’s give it a shot,” as we were leaving the walk. She backed out. And thus, at this moment, I’m 0-for-3 on the HIT department.

But I’m stepping into the batters box again. I’ve reopened my Match profile to see if the OKC pond has just gotten stale.

After taking June – August to consider the second “woman with potential” and not really go on any other dates, and taking September off to get ready for my live music concert, I’m aching to get back out there.

I miss the feeling of a woman. I know that I need to dial back my NEED even now. My romantic  rush is on. I think it might be the change in the weather, towards Fall. But more likely, it’s just my cycles. I’ve been self-focused for about 4 months. And I got through some really hard stuff. And now I’m feeling the rush and push towards my birthday, usually a time of power and confidence for me.

And I’d really like to spend my every other Saturday nights wrapped around a lovely and articulate woman. I’m hopeful that I can get my roll right and that eventually the numbers will come up in my favor. And hers!

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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