Archive for August, 2013

How To Start Online Dating

A friend of mine recently posted, “My problem is I don’t know how to start dating again, lol. . .

I originally replied that “You start by starting

I realize that was pithy and cutesy, but I truly mean it. But in the meantime, I went back and dug up some notes I had prepared for a radio interview last year about online dating.

Step 1: Knowing What You Want
Make sure you are mentally ready – that you are over any bad past relationships and that you are open to actually going on a date. Know what you expect from a dating situation – what kind of dating partner you are looking for, how much time and attention you want from them, and what kind of level of intimacy you want from them. Also, know what you bring to a dating situation – what good qualities you bring, what level of commitment you are willing to offer, and how much intimacy you are willing to give. Finally, know what your dealbreakers are: smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, kids, marital status, employment, etc. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you’ll never know when you’ve found it!

Step 2: Putting the Best REAL you forward
Choose sites that work for you – there is a virtual cornucopia for you to try. Don’t try Christian Mingle if you are pagan, don’t try Trek Passions if you don’t know a Ronulian from a Klingon.

Post pictures, real pictures of yourself. When I’m on a dating site, I try to post a new, current picture every month. I’ll also date it in the caption so they know it is new. Don’t post a picture of yourself that you are not willing to live up to, and for goodness sake’s – smile! Also, please don’t take selfies in the bathroom or your car. It’s overdone and underwhelming. And although we all do a little artistic cropping, it’s often better in the long run to put yourself out there as you really are. At least one full body shot so they can see exactly what they are getting.

When completing your profile, make sure to write what you think others would like to read about you. Don’t complain about all the jerks you’ve met on the site, how your last ex broke your heart, or how you could get that hairy cyst healed if you could just get off the welfare, bondo the rust on your car, and find a job where the boss wasn’t an a**hole. Keep the drama out! Instead, talk about the good and fun things in your life: your last fun trip, favorite book you read, weekly or unique activities, volunteer work. If you can’t think of things – ask your friends!

Finally, do unto others as you would like to have done with you. If someone contacts you, and you are not interested – thank them for their time, explain briefly why you are declining, and then wish them success in their journey. It never hurts to be polite – but you don’t have to keep up a running dialogue with them. Also, if you are looking at profiles, wishing someone would contact you – go ahead and contact them! Read through their profile, find something that intrigues you and mention it. Don’t fake it though, remember, you are putting the best REAL you forward.

Step 3: Taking it Offline
Online dating should be fun, and since you are not in the same room, a more comfortable way to communicate. The computer screen is between you and them – a great buffer. But don’t get stuck in the communication trap of just talking online. If you wait too long, you’ll never move from emails and IMs to a real date – and then you are still home alone. However, move at a realistic pace. If you feel like someone is pressuring you to meet or give out personal information too fast, back up.

Typically, if I’ve been communicating several days with someone, I’ll then move to a phone call (not phone sex!) or two before setting up a date. Nothing major, just coffee or a low-key meal. Something that allows you to chat and see if there is anything real there. Remember what you are looking for, don’t sacrifice a relationship for a one-night stand, but still – this is not an interview to grill each other over – this should just be fun! If you can have fun together, you know you are off to a good start.

Step 4: Keeping it Safe
Once you get to the communicating/potential date stage, you have to start instituting the Buddy System. Choose 2-3 people that you trust and keep them in the loop of who you are meeting, where, and any info you have on your date (Pic from their profile, cell phone number, when & where you are meeting up). Designate a time that you will check in with your buddy to confirm you are safe and a back-up plan if you need to exit.

Do not let them pick you up, or volunteer to pick them up. Meet them there, and make sure you have your own transportation. And learn from me, it is better, even if you go to a second location, to follow them there (ask for the address to GPS it so you can check it out first) rather than riding together.

When the date is ending, keep things light. Even if the date was not successful, thank them for their time, follow up with a text or email thank you, and don’t lead them on. If the date was great, that’s awesome – but still don’t go home together that first night. It’s just better for everyone if you leave them wanting more than find out you wanted less later.

Step 5: The After Math
After the date was over, assess the situation. Are they a good fit for what you are looking for? Could you see it going somewhere positive? If the first date was awkward but you liked them, consider giving them a second chance. A lot of people put so much stock in to the first date that everyone gets nervous and it can be downright clunky. But the second time around, you both know what each other looks like and can be more relaxed, and that is often a better gauge of what is going on.

If it’s obvious to you that this is not a good fit, but the other person doesn’t get it, be nice but honest. Briefly honest. You don’t need to go in to a droning lecture ad nauseum about everything that you feel doesn’t work – it’s not healthy for anyone. Just thank them and let them know the truth: “I enjoyed [xyz] but I’m not sure this is a good fit for me. Thanks so much for your willingness to meet me – I hope you find what you are looking for!” And then move on.

Keep the Dalton rule of thumb. . . Be nice. Until you have to stop being nice. Then be firm but polite. (I love Roadhouse!)

If you think it was great but they don’t seem to think so, still be nice. They are entitled to their own opinions, and they are doing you a favor by opting out early. Learn from it, laugh about it when you can, but move on. Each experience is an educational/entertainment opportunity – so use it!

If it’s going well, and you both give the option thumbs up – well then huzzah! Carry on!

This information was shared for anecdotal purposes only. Your actual results may vary.

Permission to Try

Several of my friends have told me that they have just given up on love. They read my blog posts, shake their heads, and then say, “And this is why I stopped dating.”

I totally get that.

I also have friends that tell me how hurt they were by the last relationship, and how hesitant they are at being hurt again, and say, “This is why I never started again.”

I can understand that too.

I can’t operate that way though. Each time I meet someone and it just doesn’t work out, I shake the dust off and try again. Every good date results in a new friend, every bad date turns in to blog fodder. Either way – I have to give myself permission to try again.

Sometimes trying means getting out of my comfort zone and just putting myself out there. Over and over again. It can feel like standing naked in front of a classroom – the stuff nightmares and panic attacks are made of, for sure. The reality is that either I keep trying or I lose out. Like they say, “you can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket.”

So I keep trying. I figure the bad, weird, or uncomfortable situations at least make me sure of what I do or do not want. I talk things out with friends, I put on a cute outfit when I would rather slum around in sweats, and I smile. I always try to smile.

And you know what? Sometimes it works. And then smiling isn’t so hard to do.

I don’t “have” to be in a relationship. I think maybe I used to. I know others who have made it clear that they just “can’t” be alone and have grabbed at the first willing victim who arrived. Been there, married that. Divorced that too – after 2 years and multiple court processes. So yeah, let’s not do that again.

This time around, I made myself some promises: No rushing in to anything. No apologies for past learning experiences. Lots of permission to explore. An understanding that being treated well is not a selfish thing. Honesty about what makes sense, and what just masks loneliness.

I’ve already gained a lot as a result. Being single has allowed me to renew old friendships and deepen others. I’ve tried new things and explored new places. I’ve gone out more and stayed home less. Some things I’ve lost – like rose colored glasses. But I’m not willing to be bitter about what I’ve learned. Everything – yes everything – that has happened has had an impact on who I am. I’m okay with that.

And if things don’t work out like I think they may, I’m giving myself permission try again.

You should too.

Oh Boy

This is what happens when you forget to log out of your OKCupid app on your phone and it’s midnight on a Friday night.

He: oh boy

Me: oh girl?

He: u r trouble

Me: why do you say that?

He: because you look like trouble

Me: looks can be deceiving

He: damn! I was hoping for a bad girl

Me: you wouldn’t be ready for this jelly.

He: oh I’d eat that p****y :_. ( Editor’s note: I have no idea what that smiley is, do you readers? also, yup, I *** the cat word.)

Me: I checked with the NSA, they say you are all talk.

He: test me NASA .

Me: Unfortunately, I’m looking for a relationship, not a one night stand.

He: no!!

Me: Yup it’s true.

Thus ends another edition of Mastertease Theater.

What Had Happened Was . . .

I met Chase on OKCupid. He had actually messaged me just as I was starting to date Knight, so I ended up messaging him back several weeks later when things went sour.

Chase was a very busy man: two jobs and going to school. So we mostly chatted online, although he asked me if I would go on a date with him. After I said yes, he seemed to drop out of contact for several weeks.

He popped back in and we chatted back and forth. We discovered that we would both be attending the same Sci Fi con. I mentioned that I had recently dyed my hair red, and he wanted to see so he gave me his cell – I texted him a pic and then we began texting back and forth.

Nothing serious, nothing constant, just now and then. He mentioned that he had a room to himself at the hotel, I mentioned that I was sharing with a couple of my friends. He offered that I could come hang out in his room for some peace and quiet and “just to talk” if I needed that.

A week before the con, he messaged me on OKCupid to say that he had lost his phone and would contact me once he got his new number. I replied back with “Ah, yes. The old lose the phone so I can’t text you any more routine – I get it.

I didn’t hear back from him. A few days later when I went to message and make sure he knew I was kidding, his OKCupid account had been deleted.

Oh well, I thought. He certainly wasn’t the only guy I was talking to, and our communication had been spotty at best. I had a great time at the Con both Friday and Saturday, and as I was sifting through messages on Sunday morning I saw a text from an email account saying, “I wonder if this will work.

I recognized the email as his and replied back, “Hey There.”

Hey there Joey, how have you been? My life has been a wreck, lol. I couldn’t even get the courage up to come by and say hello to you yesterday! My self esteem has taken a huge hit lately, so I just really haven’t been “me.”

Dude.” I replied elegantly. “Come say hi today. I’ll be here for a few hours.

Good and bad news . . . I can’t see you today because I’m back home now. But my new phone arrived! Yay!

Well that’s good,” I answered. “You still suck though.

BTW, the red hair looked great, lol. I’ll explain all my drama in an email in a little bit.”

“So you saw me??”

“Yes, for a second.”

“Goober. I can’t believe you. LOL.”

“Need to shut off and charge the phone, I’ll explain later.” (How convenient!)

About 3 hours later, I got the following email:

So, here’s what been going on. Lost my phone, found out my ex got into my account (I’m sure she had something to do with the missing phone) and started contacting almost everyone about who they are and what they’re doing with me.

Apparently she’s not over me after 2 years . . .

My dad’s been extremely sick, so I’m dealing with that long distance.

I just got a new iPhone, but I am trying not to text much since I don’t want people who happen to access my account to see who I’m talking to. So I’m sticking to email mostly, possibly Viber or Kik for texts.

I guess that’s about it for now. Sorry I was too chicken shit to stop by, like I said, my self-esteem has been shit since this all happened, one of the women I was talking to flipped out about my ex and started berating me. I take that stuff personally. And I’m just really down on myself. I think I just need to find someone to have some bedroom fun with, and tell me it was good and maybe that’ll help, lol.”

Okay – so wow.

Just to sum up: 2 jobs and school, so very busy. Lost phone so couldn’t text him, but when he got his phone back, it was the number he already had. Crazy ex that he’s not been with that somehow has access to his stuff, emailed other women he’s talking to, and may be able to access them again. So he’s going to go to an alternate texting system. And basically, he wants sex and someone to tell him it’s good even if it isn’t.

All the bells in my head say, “Umm. Yeah. Right.” Also – does anyone else think that maybe the “ex” is not an “ex” but a current significant other? Cause that’s the red flag I’m seeing.

But maybe it’s just my red hair.