This is my third attempt at dating on the Internet. I’ve come so far over the years that I’m not even embarrassed to admit it’s my third time. Okay, I’m slightly embarrassed but only because I can still hear the words said to me by well intentioned albeit misguided people, “... Only losers date online!” Ouch! But I digress.
In 2005, when friends first suggested the idea of Internet dating I was a little reluctant. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS might have been my first reaction, but that's so long ago now, who can really remember!
I had not been single for 15 years, and much had changed in the dating world. Plus I had never really "dated" before. I was a serial monogamist who went from high school boyfriend, to college boyfriend, to husband with very little dating in between.
It took me about 3 months to warm up to the idea. And that was only after a friend pointed out that the Internet might be my best option since I worked two time-consuming jobs, never had time to go out, and when I did go out I only went with my guy friends. (Apparently guys will never approach you at a bar if you're already surrounded by guys. Go figure!) And, after my divorce, I had a list longer than my arm of prerequisites for what this next guy must have if I was to date him. Yeah, Match.com's sort capability alone sold the idea for me!
I started by logging on to do some data gathering and analysis. I first looked at my competition, the women who were my age, to see what types of pictures they posted and what types of profiles they wrote. And what I found was a sea of similarity. Apparently all of the women in the Greater Washington, DC Metropolitan Area feel as comfortable in a pair of jeans as they do a black cocktail dress. They all have cats- some with the personality of dogs- and they all LOVE to laugh. I’m sorry but have you ever met anyone who actually HATED to laugh?
Despite a witty profile and some decent profile pictures, I was a nervous nellie when first hitting the send button to pay and activate my account. Would anyone write me? I had visions of opening my profile to see an urgent blinking message, “You have no messages… AND YOU NEVER WILL! AND YOU NEVER WILL! AND YOU NEVER WILL!”
Ahh, looking back now, I was such a neophyte. I wrote back to everyone who wrote me. It didn’t matter if he was short or tall; skinny or fat; too old, or too young. If a guy put himself out there and contacted me, he got an email response back. At first I was appreciative that people even wrote! But after a while, when it seemed that only really old, really fat, or really well… ugly men were reaching out, I started to wonder, “Am I so hideous that this guy really thinks he has a shot with me?”
A friend of mine (I’ll call her Trisha even though that's not her real name) who was well versed in Internet dating explained that it wasn’t that I was hideous, it was all about the numbers. The more women these men wrote to, the more chance they had at getting a response. It's basic sales training really. The more numbers you cold call, the more times you get hung up on, the closer you are to the one person who will say, “Yes, I WOULD like to buy that timeshare in Boca Raton!”
This time, on my third attempt at Internet dating, I was prepared. I had the rules down and I was armed with a healthy dose of self confidence and statistical understanding; It’s all about the numbers! This time I knew not to take things personally. I signed up for a longer membership than before understanding that it could take longer than a month or two to find a guy with whom I really click. I've kept an optimistic and open mind. I’ve dated a wider variety of men than I ever did before (all within what I want in a partner – just more variety in the types of men). And this time I am enjoying every minute of this experience (well, almost every minute).
Throughout all my attempts at Internet dating I have met some really great guys who have helped teach me a little something about myself. One man broke my heart, but showed me how capable I was of truly loving another. One man helped me define the balance of characteristics I want in a guy. And this time… well, who knows what I will learn, but I am not afraid to find out!