Writing about dating life was not something I intended to continue doing. Taking the small steps in getting started was as far as I planned to go with this and maybe update periodically down the road. But this seems to be an area a lot of people struggle with and I would like to express some thoughts.
In the eighties, meeting people was a little different.
Thirty years later (yes, those of you who feel 1982 was just yesterday – it has been 30 years) we have been forced to meet people in a whole new way. Most singles do not like the idea of online dating, yet there are very little options in how to get to know someone these days; so we resort to making our profile on a dating site. Almost all profiles start out the same way; “I never thought I would be doing this, but…” as if it’s a shameful thing.
I have friends and even a few family members who met their spouses online. It can be a successful way to meet someone. However, getting to that point can be tricky, sometimes comical and then sometimes disappointing. The disappointing part comes from putting the effort and time into it only to be back at square one. It seems as if dating is not that big of a deal - you meet someone, if you like them and they like you – there is a second date.
The time it takes with the first ‘flirts’ or emails back and forth and then mustering up the courage to talk on the phone, voicing the edited version of your life; takes a lot of energy and you have to make the time for it. If you could just put your finger on a match and decide that you will go out with that person, get to know them and explore the possibilities that would make it easier. But that isn’t how it works.
You have to “get a feel” for someone’s personality, you have to see how you both correspond and relate to each other and this takes a few emails or phone calls. Then you have other people pinging in your inbox wanting to get to know you also. It can make even a non-shallow person feel shallow in the way we simply “delete” a match just from the photo or reading their profile and judging from something they said – or their height or weight.
Because you can get bombarded with 100’s of pursuers, it is inevitable to go through and clear out your matches of people you just cannot take the time to get to know. I picked about seven to 10 matches that messaged me and took the time to email back and forth and get to know their personalities or their lifestyle. This takes time away from your normal schedule and it really can be draining if each person you go over the preliminary questions and answers with turns out to not be right for you or you are not right for them.
The first person that I met with seemed spot on. There was so much we had in common, so many things we identified with in each other’s lives and our wits matched. I really liked him. I wanted to explore things with this gentleman and put the dating site thing on hold. But after our date, he had let me know that he was not looking for a special person right now and was just getting started in dating and wanted to explore dating for a while. I took that to mean it was the nice way of telling someone “I am just not that into you.” That was okay. He was very sweet and nice and I enjoyed our date.
So I continued the search for a match who was looking to find a special someone and I re-joined Christian Mingle. Eharmony has me locked in for three months, but not many people in the Chattanooga area match up with me. I found many more matches on CM and that is where I began emailing quite a few people that I had a lot in common with. I also put on my profile that I was looking for a potential someone. I did not want gentlemen emailing me who only wanted to date around. Not that I want to rush into a serious relationship – I don’t. But I can’t deny my inner-most desire; I want to grow old with someone. I like being married. I like taking care of someone.
The matches who responded to my profile seemed to have the same goals so that made it easier. The second person I decided to meet was not a pleasant date. He came from Nashville and I do not like the idea of long distance – it is just too hard to get to know someone that way. But we had talked on the phone and had a good friend-rapport so I decided to meet with him. The sticky situation is, after someone drives two hours to take you out and they pay for dinner, you can’t just eat and run if it doesn’t go well.
I felt that I needed to give him the whole day. We met for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. He reached to hug me hello and he spilled my water. That was okay I laugh at life’s little disasters and that was not a big deal to me. I felt for him, knowing that was not how he wanted to start out the date and was embarrassed. The dinner went well, but I knew I did not feel a connection. I couldn’t just leave afterward after he drove all that way; besides, I like people and I could take time to spend with a new friend even if I knew it was nothing I wanted to explore.
We then walked to a coffee shop and sat at a table. He said we would get coffee but instead we sat down and he began “laying it all out” for me. He asked me point blank what I thought of him. I don’t even remember my answer, but it didn’t seem to matter what I said because he didn’t hear it. He went right into how he saw things and he began a few-hours-long history lesson telling me of all of his past, failed relationships. The first story, I was polite and listened to. If it helps two people to get to know each other or a past story leads up to something prevalent in the conversation, I understand that it sometimes can’t be avoided to talk about an ex-partner.
But after an hour when he went into other relationships, I was done. I was waiting for him to pause so that I could politely tell him I needed to get home and that was when his story trailed into “I hired a private detective…” and “After she broke up with me, she dated someone who…” Yes, the sirens went off and red lights were flashing! He seemed harmless, but just a bit much for me. I finally broke in and said, “You have been talking for hours about your past relationships and I’d like to stop now.” Maybe that was too abrupt, but he got the picture and we called it a day.
That experience was good for me – to trust my initial gut feeling; I didn’t feel a connection so I didn’t need to see it through by meeting him. At age 46, there isn’t 20 years to play with in finding the person I want to grow old with – so eliminating early is my rule. If it doesn’t fit, don’t try to make it fit.
Onto the third date, if I dared. This gentleman was just like the first – he was handsome, sweet and we actually had more in common. He was almost too handsome and it made me feel a little insecure. We just met at a coffee shop and chatted for a couple of hours. I could tell right away he was disappointed. It was that same feeling I got with the first guy. Maybe I am wrong, but let me explain what I am picking up from all of this so far.
A woman who is full figured is not going to post a full size photo of herself on a profile. I like to see profile photos of people that are cropped anyway so you can see a person’s face better. I am not pretentious and won’t put as my profile photo, a photo that is 10 years old and, when I was thinner or younger. I think it is clear in the head shot when a person has some weight in their face and shoulders what they look like. I can tell when a man messages me with a “from the chest up” photo, about what size he is all over. I know if he would be too skinny for my taste or too heavy.
It doesn’t bother me that someone has some weight on them. I had even selected on my profile settings under “body type” (which I find unimportant to list on a profile) that I “could lose a few”. I am honest. I did post a photo of me in the following photos that was just two years ago. I know I can achieve that weight again, so I want someone to know what I can look like after I get to that place where I can commit to that goal. Evidently, men just want to see that one photo of me two years ago, despite my body type setting and the profile picture with the weightier face. They expect a woman without the curves that I have. I can tell when they see me that they see “Garfield” - a short and stocky person and I am not their type because of where I am right now in my physical appearance. Everyone has a heavier moment in their lives, or a moment of a bad hairdo or something that is not permanent that can change – but to judge a person by that seems a bit superficial.
I love being active, I enjoyed when I was active in the gym and doing Bootcamp classes and running just two years ago. When I went to New York, I got out of the gym setting, and I ate the wonderful food there. I put on 10 pounds. Then in coming back home, living by myself for the first time and not sharing rent, I could not afford to get back into the gym. I was working hard and not much time to work out. I finally found a park to walk and started to work back up to a run. I was going to do it! But the heat of August set in and then rainy days, knocking me back out of setting a consistent pattern. And, honestly, my main focus right now is that I am lonely and I want to meet someone.
If I have to “lose weight first” before someone finds me attractive, to me that feels like a person isn’t attracted to me for the right reasons. If I had a hundred pounds to lose, I could understand that but 20 to lose for me to feel back to where I was; is doable and will just take that “clicking” of sticking to it. When I don’t feel happy and I am lonely, that click doesn’t seem to be there – I am not motivated. So it seems right now as if a second date with any one person isn't going to happen. I guess I am on a path of 50 first dates.
To be continued…