Online Serial Dating

I believe that one of the greatest dangers of online dating is not a Craigslist Killer (although you should certainly take precautions) but serial dating. When I was first introduced to online dating I had no idea what this was. I was the opposite, I was a serial messager. By the time I’d finally met the man I knew everything he could possibly consider telling me about himself and plenty that he most likely had never intended to tell anyone. I would message with a man for days, weeks, a few even for months before we would finally meet. I used the excuse that I was busy with two young children and a full-time job but in actuality, I was still getting adjusted to being single and entering the great wide world of dating.
Once I accepted the fact that I did not want to spend the rest of my life alone then the only alternative was to date. Sometimes it was really painful, sometimes it was really fun. Sometimes I learned really unusual things about people, or that the things they do on the television shows when they say “do not try this at home” people do anyway. Fortunately, I always had a couple of friends that I could tell all too. Just a couple. Once I focused on the dating, and didn’t attempt to get to know my date to well in advance it became less painful.
As it became easier and easier to strike up a conversation online and work through the process to the first date it became increasingly more difficult not to judge them by an unrealistic standard because there were still hundreds of men to choose from that were just one more click away. This is a world where I could refuse to even converse with a man that was less than six feet tall. I could choose every characteristic about him, including his income, if he owned a car, if he had or wanted children, facial hair and the thickness of his body. If I didn’t like the options that came up I could simply alter the age by a year or maybe lower my standard to a man that is 5’11”.
From my perspective, online dating seems to promote serial dating. Come on now, we’ve all seen the photos that the websites promote of the beautiful, happy couple that met through their site. I know that it has been a very long time since I had a figure or a complexion like the woman in that photo. So the likelihood of meeting a man that looks like the man in the photo, and him being interested in me, were slim to none. But ladies, we can dream. And while we’re dreaming we continue to pay a fee for our membership to the online dating site. Dating has evolved into more of a meet-up which has virtually no emotional investment what-so-ever. They have become superficial encounters that consist of basically a cliche drink at a bar or coffee at Starbucks. I can’t blame the men for this, women have contributed to the demise of the traditional date as well. Who can blame a man for not spending upwards of $100 on dinner and a movie for two when he knows she’s already envisioning the next click before the main course even arrives?
I believe that online dating is a fantastic advancement to the dating society but that progress has come with a price. When online dating we have to be careful not to become overly superficial, unsatisfied version of ourselves in this process.
Recently, I reconnected with a man I had met online more than five years ago. We both really liked each other at the time but the timing wasn’t right for me for there was just to much drama with my ex and his wife at the time. Flash forward; We went on a series of wonderful dates and after a few weeks I called my best-friend to fill her in. She listened, intently, just as she always did. My married friends seem to think the dating thing is fun and love to live vicariously through me. When I finished she said “so, what’s the catch?” The catch, I did not understand. She said for sure I had a reason to move on. “I don’t understand” I said what in the world did she mean? “You always have a reason to move on, regardless of how great a guy is,” she said. Ouch, really? Had I really been that judgmental? “Not really” she said “you had valid reasons is ditching the last guy texting you love songs before you’d even met him.” Whew I thought, thank God she didn’t really think I owed him a shot because of his choice in music!
However, this puts it all in perspective. Maybe we serial date not because we are being to selective or there are so many options out there. But maybe we serial date until our hearts land on the right person. Perhaps it just all has to come together at the right time, right place, right guy. Then when things a-line, we’ll accept their faults willingly not because they’re perfect but because they’re perfect for us. So if this is where serial dating can lead us perhaps it’s not such a terrible thing after-all.


Rules For Dating After Divorce

When I first began dating again I listened to as many people as I could about how to make this easier on myself. Or, what would and would not work in the new and modern world of dating. There seemed to be a lot that had changed since I had dated before my 16 year marriage, I tried to soak it all in and learn from everyone’s words of wisdom.

My sister had a co-worker that laid out her rules for us. She had to many to recall, but the one that we still chuckle about was “if he does not call you by Wednesday for a date on the weekend then you need to promptly let him know that you are not available.” Her rationale was that you should not make yourself readily available, you need time for the anticipation of the date AND he needed to show that it wasn’t a last minute thought and he actually wanted to plan his weekend around you. This woman was the same woman who promptly quit her job when she got married and even though she had a Barbie doll figure, had what little fat she had removed from her upper thighs just a few months before her wedding. Not sure we saw eye-to-eye on anything.

Although most of the women I spoke to recommended keeping the ex-husband out of conversations with dates I quickly realized that very few followed their own advice. I watched other single-moms make spectacles of themselves at the kids school at parent exchange time. I went on double-dates and listened to the experienced single-moms ranting endlessly about their ex. It was painful to watch and listen to, I definitely did not want to be that woman. I’m sure over the years I’ve said to much. Often, I’ve said to little. But I certainly agree that my ex may have had a significant impact on my life but he is gone from it and there’s no need to reintroduce him into it.

I was strongly encouraged to date around. I’ve since learned that this is referred to as serial dating. Everyone seems to be doing this, but very few seem to be successful. I was told that there is nothing wrong with dating several men at once so that all of your eggs aren’t in the same basket. Date around and determine what exactly you want in a man and in a relationship. Personally, I felt like I was cheating every single time I did this. It was to stressful for me! I’m a loyal person, and I don’t feel that I was showing any type of commitment in getting to know someone if I was dating others at the same time. I’m still single, so maybe I got this one all wrong. I failed royally at this rule.

I came up with a few rules of my own; don’t go backward, don’t introduce the kids until the relationship is going somewhere, don’t date a co-worker and don’t be clingy nor date a clinger.

Everyone, single or not, had an opinion of online dating. Some thought it was a horrible approach, some thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. I was both terrified and intrigued. It’s okay to be afraid, just don’t get stuck there. Have the courage to start again. So, I decided to give it a try!