Online dating would look like it's a horrible idea if you rely solely on my blog, and yet, I still do it. Well, I'm off again, but that's another post one day. Truthfully, there has been a decent amount of personal growth for me through online dating.
Found my funny bone.
Yes, I finally found the funny. It can be entertaining to see what some men think is acceptable behavior. I mean, just a suggestion, treat women like you would treat a co-worker until you meet in person and actually catch her vibe. I mean, maybe she wants to be your fantasy, but it won't happen if you offend her first. And it's a common request to get a selfie or two, but I'm going to assume you know your way around Instagram or Facebook enough to make me think you're looking for free porn in a picture. After my last request, that duck lip pose I always thought was silly is never going to be as innocent and stupid as I thought it was. Just don't ask for selfies. Find them. Stalk me in the way I want the world to.
There is value in meaningful communication.
Communication is best in person because there are nuanced microexpressions and body language you pick up on but don't give voice to. This is why psychotherapy only works in person with an exception made for occasional phone calls. Human interaction requires humans to interact. The point of meeting online is to get offline.
Something that I struggled with is my old fashioned sensibilities that never translate. I mean, if you know someone's sleeping patterns well enough to have no doubts when they'll be up, it's fine. You are past that "getting to know you" phase. I grew up knowing you don't call too early or too late. I typically wouldn't call before 9 or 10 on weekends or after 10 at night, but that rule goes right out the window when you're grown folks on cell phones. This is not a bonus for you when I'm a light sleeper with my phone on in case my kids need me (they sometimes call when they can't sleep at Dad's) and you're waking me up really late. Those early morning texts, or late night (horny) texts annoy me more than endear me to you.
In the early days, I responded to every single solicitation for my attention. It became exhausting, and taught me that I really am shallow and if I'm not attracted to a picture, the conversation really won't matter. I started to ignore people.
Yes, I've ghosted a person. I won't do it again.
At the end of one of my earliest relationships, I ghosted him. We had a conversation that ended in a friendly way. He was getting ready to fly out on a trip and we were making plans for when he returned home and I blocked him. It was easier to be a chicken and not face my own feelings and just walk away. I didn't explain that I liked him more than I was comfortable with because I couldn't see a future with him in it. I decided for us that we were done, repeating what was done to me in my marriage and ignoring the devastation I was inflicting, and knew too well. I walked away, letting him figure out that I wasn't interested because I couldn't act like a grown ass woman and tell him. A few months later, he called me from a number I didn't recognize and I answered his call. That felt worse. As much as I wanted to cover my cowardice in the audacity of his actions, I was wrong. He's beautiful and tenacious, but he's not the one for me. Owning up to that and talking to him was hard, but the better choice. He's a really great guy. Just not mine.
New friendships formed.
I have had a few meetings online that stayed online. One man shared some of his secrets with me. It wasn't in his secrets but the way they made him who he is today that helped me decide we weren't the right fit. I've met a few of these. Great pictures. Interesting bios, but things weren't going to work out. They make good friends and I even help out with their dating profiles and offer advice until they keep talking about wanting sex and I stop encouraging a conversation. I was talking to him as a friend Wednesday night when I had accepted a date from someone else. We're friends, and I'm not lying to anyone, so I told him about the date. He told me not to overthink it and have fun. I told him to get out of that self inflicted texting purgatory most dates eliminate themselves with.
I got home from the date feeling like it wasn't a right fit. I was almost laughing at how badly the conversation went, taking ownership of the fact that I wasn't encouraging it at all and ignoring the fact that I was probably PMSing and he was suffering for it.
The next day, this same date was asking me out again, and another young man that had become a friend gave me a nudge. He said I was too young and beautiful to not embrace having fun, and he pointed out that I made up my mind just like I had about his age (27 is too young). He was right. I went out with a determination to just have fun. And I did. He was right.
Too many choices and it was time to make one.
Online dating offers way too many options. When I started my OKCupid profile last time, I received about a hundred likes a day. That rate drops off after a while, and once it did, I received about 3 to 5 new emails a day. Finding someone spontaneous enough to meet on my first kid free day was rare. Especially if his first response wasn't "sex tonight." (No. Just no.) This week alone, I was carrying on about 1o different conversations. At one point it was 5 conversations at once. I thought I couldn't multitask, but I'm learning. I think I liked the challenge of that more than the men.
New Year, new me, right? Only, transformation is an intentional moment to moment process. I get to notice what I'm doing and decide how I want to show up differently. I decided to let go of the men I knew I didn't want to keep around. These were men that were texting and talking and keeping me company through my phone. I realized it didn't matter who was my first good morning text, my last good night text, or the sexy random moments of thoughtfulness texts throughout my day. If you are the person on my mind, even without your attention, then you are the person that matters and it was time to let go of the chaff and let the wheat fall and do terrible things to my belly. I started responding to their greetings with letting them go. Here, I lied. Some men needed to hear it was me. Some needed to hear it was someone else. In this, I did my best to offer what they needed to hear, and only one was told it was because I didn't trust that he wasn't catfishing me.
Owning up to my choices because the right choice is rarely the easy one.
Letting a man know you're letting him go can be a mixed bag. There are the ones that move on easily. Those made me wonder if I should have held on because of his strength or if I ever mattered because of his nonchalance. Curiosity is not a change of heart. There are those willing to fight for me. They beg and plead and make me feel bad that I didn't want to share a relationship with the same intensity that they were after. Then there are some I'm happy to keep in friendship because that was the natural progression we were heading toward anyway. When you have 8 or 9 men offering you their attention but not their physical presence, you take it for granted that these are people, but I never really considered that these superficial interactions meant something to them.
I've told you, I'm not always nice, right?