Thursday, August 11, 2011

Online Dating Reflections

Today the semi-serious side of sex and relationship in the age of online introductions. It's not really online dating, unless you consider anonymous texting a date. But we live in the age of the net and much bantered about numbers suggest that one in every four new relationships begin on the web.

My history with online introductions is over twenty years in the making. I was an early adopter with many forays into web-based dating in the last two decades. The result has been way too many coffee dates for a guy who doesn't drink coffee and an overall dissatisfaction with my limited success. It seemed to me that I lacked commitment to the endeavor; yet, when I really focused my intention to using the various services and meeting "the" woman, I did meet more women but with even more frustration, failure and coffee.

I took a fresh look at the whole world of online relationship initiation when a friend had not only success but big-time, over-the-top, super-duper, approaching soul-mate success.

I have discussed this with male friends, who have also dipped their cyber-toes into the fertile waters of the internet. I was surprised to find that my profiles tend to elicit more responses than most, so it's not that I don't draw initial interest. It's the follow through that lacks - well, lacks follow through. Which, in my mind, leads to the conclusion that I am doing something wrong. I have tweaked my profile, tried humor and linked to this blog. My 100 Things About Me link has gotten dozens of responses, but without the big click.

So when my friend found her guy, I thought I should take another look at her approach. Luckily she is a writer and has several excellent posts about her experience. Her early frustrations seemed to mirror mine and when she reached the promised land I was more than intrigued.

I am a bit envious because she manages to articulate the ins and outs of online encounters without trashing the men who have not risen to her standards. I have never been able to accomplish this in the dozen or more posts I have drafted and trashed in the past 4+ years. Before this week, nary a word has been written on this blog about online dating. Today I offer two insights - one for you fellow seekers and one for me.

If you have tried online dating or intend to, I strongly recommend you take some time to read the writings of my now successfully relationed friend. Here is a link to her most recent post which has internal links to half a dozen or so previous commentaries on the entire process of finding someone online. I promise the time you spend reading her reflections will save you endless hours of online frustration and numerous uncomfortable cups of coffee.

One point she makes I am taking to heart. She stopped following the formula of the online dating sites; she ignored the "likes & dislikes", put aside the "family history" and the "books, movies and exercise" questions. This produced a new profile which she wrote is: "a straight forward statement of what I was seeking." That rang a big bell for me.

Apparently my profile represents me pretty well, but it really doesn't deal with what I am seeking in a relationship. Notice the line does not read "what I am seeking in a woman." Fatal flaw of many online daters is the assumption that they are fully formed and once they dangle their perfect partner description into the dating waters, the perfect man or woman will arise. 

If you have a "perfect partner" list - burn it. What you need, what I need, is a clear statement of what you/I/we seek in a relationship. My friend saw that and she rewrote her profile to conform to her relationship goal. A few months later, it found her. So ....

When I come back from my impending fall road trip, assuming I do not stumble on true love or a reasonable facsimile while on the road; when I come back I am rewriting my profile to address my relational wants, needs and desires. If it worked for Arlene . . .

To my friends, advisors, warlocks and crystal-gazers who have attempted to help me in the past - many thanks but I think I am going to go with this plan for the immediate future. The voodoo totems, genital acupuncture and full moon sacrifices of politicians will be on hold for now.
art: Luci Gutierrez - NYT


Linda said...

I also have followed Arlene's now successful forays into online dating. After reading her latest, I thought "Well, I'm really happy for you, Arlene, but that certainly has not been my experience." Maybe there's some hidden message in my profile that men see that I don't, or my picture says something about me I don't mean to say, but the experience has really been a bust for me. They say to be successful, you have to kiss a lot of frogs, but if I've only had a chance to meet half a dozen frogs in person, the numbers aren't really with me.

Anyway, I really really like your advice to change the profile to be about what I'm looking for in a relationship. If I decide to try again (and I've pretty much decided not to), maybe I'll try that.

Best of luck to you,

(and if my response interests you, Arlene has my contact info :) )

The Shrink said...


Anonymous said...

I really think a lot is about karma and most of us are blissfully unaware of our own vibes as seen by others.