I recently declared that I would take more risks. Part of this risk-taking included my dating life (or lack thereof). What I’ve learned is that I have no clue how to date.
This comes partially from always dating friends in the past. We meet, we connect, we get to know each other on a strictly friend basis, then somewhere along the way an attraction hits. I always thought that this would be how I met my husband, but as I’m getting older, finding decent single male friends is not as commonplace as it used to be.
One Sunday in January, with the prodding of a friend, I signed up for one of those free online dating sites. She gave me specific rules, “If you see someone you like, send him a message, and tell him how his profile jumped out at you.”
I found the “Want to Meet” button to be a little disconcerting. How in the heck do I know if I want to meet someone based on reading a few sentences about his likes and what he’s looking for?
Apparently I hit that disturbing button for one guy because by the end of the night I had a witty message in my box. A day later, another guy that appeared both funny and intelligent had messaged me. I was on a roll. By the end of the week I had two dates.
I’m happy to report both dates went well and I talked to both gentlemen for a while. They treated me well, and they weren’t creepsters, which is one of my fears about online dating.
However, I have to admit, after our first dates, when there was still uncertainty about where the relationships were going, I had some inner turmoil. Maybe this is common for most people. I was often wondering:
What happens next? Do I want to go out with them again? Do I like them? Do they like me? What’s acceptable communication? WHERE’S MY TRUSTY HANDBOOK FOR DATING ETIQUETTE?
While I’ve certainly not “found” the art of dating, there are 3 things I’ve discovered so far:
Dating isn’t a game.
I told some friends that online dating makes me feel like I’m on my own version of The Bachelor, trying to sell myself to attract one of the many men in cyberspace. It’s overwhelming at times and if I’m not careful, it can be destructive. My worth is not found in attracting a guy, and I have to remember that often. When I get online and sift through my matches and wait for responses, it can feel like I’m playing a game and I’m not keen on that. I’m not competing to try to prove my love.
Be careful how you communicate.
I’ve communicated with a guy on one website, and then a week later he messaged me on another site as if we’d never met. And of course, the array of daily messages that contain these pithy one-liners like, “Hey.” or “Hey sexy, how are you?” Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy male attention as much as the next girl, but I would like there to be some content to go along with that lovely opener. Maybe my expectations are just too high.
Hollywood is not real life.
I have to confess I am one of the many women who’s obsessed with Downton Abbey. It is easy to get swept up in the subtle looks between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, waiting for that moment when their mutual affection for each other will be exposed. (Sigh.) Yes, it’s hard not to get caught up in this type of romance, but one thing I’ve learned through my wise married friends is that as wonderful as that type of romance is, it’s the longevity of walking side by side through life’s ups and downs that produces true romance. I want something authentic, not Hollywood-infused.
And finally, as we celebrate another Valentine’s Day, I’ve also learned that it’s important to remember, “No matter how love sick a woman is, she shouldn’t take the first pill that comes along.” Thank you, Joyce Brothers.
If you’re considering venturing into the world of online dating this Valentine’s Day, let us help you find the right site for you. Check out our reviews of popular online dating sites:
- Best Christian Dating Sites :: How-to guide on helping you pick the Christian Dating Site that’s best for you.
- eharmony.com Review
- Match.com Review
- ChristianCafe.com Review