My last dating post was about how many people think of adult dating as dumpster diving. Sadly enough, most women agreed with me. But some men didn’t! A few evolved male souls talked about how they’d worked on themselves to be more open, giving people. Then they looked for someone who’d done the same. They’d found women who’d been hurt, but who they were working with to forge new relationships. Or if they weren’t, they were optimistic (unlike my women friends).
Not surprisingly, one of these fellows was a yogi, into self-growth and seeing the good in others. On the other hand, one guy I’d met for coffee used my post to explain what he thought was wrong with me, bringing me back to WTF with all the damaged meat-space out there.
A Friends with Benefits Work Around?
A recent widower said he opted out of actual dating by having friends with benefits (“FWB”). He emphasized that both people must be caring and respectful of the other’s fears, but it avoided the problem of trying to have a relationship when most of us don’t want to change. But another fellow said that when he proposed FWB to a woman he liked but didn’t want to have a relationship with, because both were recently divorced, he made her cry.
After I’d had a couple failed relationship attempts, I tried a bit of FWB. I wrote about it here. The idea was fun and daring, the reality was dreary. I was still lonely. I still didn’t have anyone to go do stuff with. One guy turned out to be angry and damaged. Another wanted to be online with adult skyping, which I refused and made the whole thing feel sleazy.
I think the lines between dating someone and FWB can be blurred. I don’t think of FWB as an alternative to having a relationship. And it didn’t work for me, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Lessons from Dating Online:
Let’s decide we must jump in, join an online site, and date. People seem to love torturing themselves for the New Year.
I’ve been an online dating addict. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Don’t answer messages if you aren’t interested. When I started out, I answered most long or complimentary messages. I thought I was being nice, but it just encouraged guys I wasn’t interested in, wasting both our time.
- Stop answering messages that are turning into War and Peace. I also spent too much time answering emails with lists of questions to answer or essay-type queries like “What is your world view?” or “How is Debbie reinventing herself?” (Ugh). None of this matters if you never meet. If you like the guy, suggest a daytime meeting for coffee. If you aren’t enthused, stop answering messages. There, one more item on your “to-do” list is done.
- Understand that your prospect is very unlikely to change. Intransigence seems to be the hallmark of us older daters. I’ve met people who had traits I didn’t like but thought that I, in my secret wonderfulness, could change them. They’d become better organized or they’d complain less. Nope. Didn’t happen. What you see is what you’re going to get. For the duration.
- If your instincts tell you a guy isn’t right for you, believe them. I wasted so much time and caused myself so much agony by thinking that because someone looked so right on paper, we must work out. But it didn’t. Just because someone was successful and seemed to like me, didn’t mean they were kind or right for me or not so boring I wanted to run when they started talking.
- Do not put up with excessive criticism. There seems to be an awful trend among today’s men, or at least the ones I’ve met, to offer critiques of what’s wrong with me. Maybe because I was a fairly recent widow when I met them, and seemed lost. But they were just rationalizing their own behavior. The cheap guy said I didn’t spend or give enough. The disorganized one said I wasn’t flexible enough. These complaints were self-serving and, to me, deal breakers.
- Are we having fun yet? If not, take a break. Bitterness is toxic and causes wrinkles.
Maybe my best advice is to look at everyone with love and the world will seem more welcoming overall. Any other caveats we should be contemplating? Tempted to jump into the polluted pond of Plenty of Fish?