As a recent returnee to the wide world of online dating, I thought I would share my perspective and advice on this subject. To start though, I thought I might share a brief history of my dating life.
*Names have been changed or removed all together and some details have been altered out of respect for those involved.
I married my high school sweetheart at the age of 20. We had been together for 5 years already. We got along very well, but had what I came to learn was an extremely unhealthy and codependent relationship that left me feeling neglected, broken and heart-achingly isolated. I left him at the age of 28 (I’m now 31), and had to learn how to date for the first time in my life.
I had spent the last 4 years of my marriage contemplating leaving, so by the time I actually did, I had done all my mourning. I started dating almost immediately as I set out to discover who I was, what I wanted and what made me happy.
As an unseasoned single woman, I was surprised to discover that almost every one of my male friends felt the need to throw their name in the hat. Not wanting to complicate an already challenging situation I opted not to date any of my friends. I started with a friend of a friend. That went on for a couple months and ended fairly amicably.
3 months later I decided upon the advice of one of my best girlfriends and decided to try this online dating thing. As someone who has (or at least had) decent grammar skills, a kick ass personality and a smile that almost no one can resist I had no problem finding all sorts of people to date. I went into this with the concept of simply wanting to know what dating was like and to learn what types of people I might find out in this lovely world.
Apparently my lack of dating experience was helpful as I seemed to be much less jaded than most of those around me .
As a 28 year old woman who had cute pictures and a decently articulated profile, I would get between 20-30 messages a day on average with spikes up to 400 in a day depending on the images I had up. As I have come to discover, I am one of the rare women who actually sends first messages to those I find intriguing. The breakdown of messages I would receive first would equate to this:
40% One liners i.e. hi, hello, your hot, sup, yo, hey, how was your day?, etc..
30% Men blatantly asking for sex
10% Men who did nothing but tell me about themselves (and usually with poor grammar)
10% Clearly copied and pasted messages that were super generic and were automatically deleted for lack of effort
10% Men who read my profile and actually wrote more than a sentence and included something from my profile
Of the 10% of men who actually wrote something that didn’t make me want to run away screaming, maybe 10% of those were men who were actually interesting enough to start conversations with. Of the 10% of the 10% I actually wrote back to maybe 30% of them would turn into conversations worth exploring. Basically, it’s extremely rare for a connection to be made when someone messaged me first. On the other side, when I would send messages I would get messages back probably half of them and wound up actually meeting way more people I had met first than who had messaged me. All that being said I still wound up finding enough people to go on 100 dates in 3 months. Yes, that is more than 1 a day. I was one of those people. Every single evening I had a date with some new person. About 80% of those were 1st dates, maybe 15% 2nd dates, and the rest 3rd dates. No one made it past that in my initial online dating run.
I wound up staying technically single for about 8 months with random bouts of being excited about online dating, hating online dating, hiding/deleting my account, getting back on online dating, hating myself, hating everyone around me, having a lot of fun, having my hopes and dreams smashed, crying, deciding being single was awesome, eating ice cream without pants on, wondering if I would ever find anyone to love again, realizing how awesome I was, feeling sorry for myself for being a single loser, and finally letting go of the need to actually have a romantic partner before I found someone I clicked with (not online btw).
That started my first relationship outside of my marriage and it lasted just over a year. We didn’t have much in common, but we both loved to laugh and cuddle. That was enough for me..until it wasn’t. I ended up spending A LOT of time, effort and money on someone who really didn’t deserve me. I loved him, but for the life of me, I couldn’t tell you why. When things ended with us we parted ways with him owing me $700, and yet another feeling of inadequacy and abandonment on my part.
I immediately wound up finding my next boyfriend which lasted just under a year. I met him on POF and did everything you shouldn’t do when attempting to find a real partner- I sent him a one line message with a generic compliment about his cute dimples. This one ended with the story from my earlier blog post with all the trauma. I’m healthy and happy again, so in the end it all worked out for the best.
So here I am, just over 3 years out of my marriage and back in the dating pool. I have been on maybe 150 dates stemming from online dating in the last 3 years and 2/3rd’s of that time has been spent in monogamous relationships. About half of the people I dated more than 3 times were folks I met in real life. The most meaningful relationship I’ve ever had came from POF. The longest one from real life. All in all, I have learned a lot, grown a lot and now I am in the process of doing more of all of that. I may eventually share some more specific stories of interactions I’ve had in the dating realm, but for now at least you have peeked into my past and seen the basics of what has brought me to today.
Be on the lookout for my online dating blog soon as well as a general update in the next couple weeks. I am excited to share my experiences and to learn some of yours as well. If you are comfortable please leave a comment and let me know what you think or tell me about your experiences.
Peace, Love and Cuddles,