By Lindy Earl
Like many people who find themselves divorced and thrust into the dating world, a world untouched, so unknown, for 20 or 30 years, I landed in the world of On Line Dating. I have shared before that I went into this world kicking and screaming. A friend put me on a dating site, declaring that it was time. I have admitted that she was right.
Good things came out of the experience. I found that men find me attractive. I learned that I have something to add to discussions and can hold my own as a conversationalist. I realized that I like to keep in shape for myself, not for how I may appear to others. My entire life I have been told I’m too thin or too fat or too tall or too short. I’m accepting my body for what it is and when I choose to take care of myself I’m doing it for me.
Challenges came as well, and anyone who has tried this method of dating is way too familiar with the challenges, far too quickly. The scammers specifically prey on the newbies. It has never cost me more than time, but I did have far too many and too lengthy conversations with people who turned out to be scammers. Time in this world helps us more quickly discern the real people from the fakes.
Users are different from scammers but still dangerous. They are looking for something, and they come in both genders. I have heard of women who ask men to pay for car repairs – only so that they may keep a scheduled date, of course. Right. I have met too many men who are only seeking bed partners – I prefer the ones who are open and honest about it. At least I can respect their communication.
There are, however, some subtle pains of being on line that may take a while to surface. For instance, a friend finally bit the bullet and joined a site. She told me her profile was up for years before anyone contacted her. Yes, she could have contacted men but that is not her style. She is allowed to use the site as she wishes. How disheartening to have your profile up yet be ignored. And we sign up for this!
I opened my profile for less than an hour last night. It was time for research. In that time I had 11 men view my profile. I received one message. Now, while it is nice to see that so many men took time to read my profile, it is hard to ignore the fact that ten of them rejected me. Again, I signed up for this!
Yes, I could focus on the one who messaged me (we are not a match, by the way, and I gently told him so and wished him well), but the fact that so many men viewed and rejected me stings a little. What is wrong with me? What am I doing wrong? What might I say to get more messages? Should I change my profile? These are all questions that eat away at our self-worth and cause us to question ourselves. That is not healthy! Yet we not only allow this, but invite it by getting on the sites.
I know the theory behind dating sites, and it is, or was originally, valid. In today’s society it is difficult to meet someone. I know there are hundreds of men, in my populated area alone, who would be perfect for me and I for them. I believe that! Sadly, I have no way of meeting these men, so I resort to the dating sites.
We go onto these sites with hope and happiness, and too often emerge disappointed and even hurt. We feel rejected. In some cases we may feel humiliated. Some people get suckered into unhealthy relationships. Some people choose to walk away, feeling more alone than when they began.
This is not a warning against all dating sites, but it is a gentle warning to protect yourself. Go into the site with low expectations. Further, if someone chooses to not contact you, or if someone responds that they don’t see you as a match, realize it could be any small factor on your profile that caused the disconnect. I had a guy once tell me that 20 miles was just too far. Being in Atlanta, I understood his point. Twenty miles here could easily be an hour trip in each direction.
So please realize that you are not being rejected on these sites. It could be geography. It could be, and probably is, them! They are looking for something that you are not offering, and it may be as basic as sex.
Please be aware that you could enter a site, eyes wide open, and still emerge bruised and scathed. Don’t let it get you down. Be willing to put yourself back out there when you’ve recovered. Your Significant Other is out there and they are looking for you. You just need to be in the same place at the same time to find one another.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. You can submit a question for her Advice Column, or invite her to speak to your church, organization, or company at Ask@LindySpeaks.com. You can also friend her on Face Book and join her single support group, Single Again . . . From Devastation to Dating.