I have several friends who’ve been avidly pursuing dating via Match.com and eHarmony. There are other sites that get looked at but these are the two biggies. A few weeks ago, I heard two very different stories on back-to-back days.
One of my friends – we’ll call her Kayla – was moving in with a man she’d met on Match about a year ago. My other friend – we’ll call her Sarah – was mourning a date that ended up being horrible.
Let’s get a little bit of history about how the two of them approached the online dating process, starting with a basic rundown of their statistics.
- About 50 years old
- Attractive, smokin’ body, blonde, big blue eyes
- Divorced for a few years
- Trauma: abusive ex-spouse
- Loving relationship with her kids and grandkids, who live close by
- Not particularly political or religious – best described as Centrist
- About 65 years old
- Attractive, smokin’ body, strawberry blonde, green eyes
- Divorced for many years
- Trauma: lost a child many years ago
- Mostly loving relationship with kids and grandchildren, who live many states away
- Very active in her church and in local politics – best described as a Liberal Progressive
I asked each of them about the process of dating – what they disclosed and how they met up. Both of them said they started by indicating interest to their match candidates, then moved on to email and, finally, engaging in several phone calls. Both expressed delight in the other person all the way through this stage. Both were very excited to meet up with the other person. Both arranged a lunch date.
You’ve probably already guessed that Kayla was delighted with her date. They enjoyed themselves enough that they moved on to dinner. He loves to participate in motorcycle events and indicated that was important to him. She spends several days a week with her grandchildren and indicated that was important to her. Each person was open to the other person’s interests and they settled into a wonderful year of dating which has culminated in the aforementioned co-habitation.
Sarah has had very spotty experience with online dating so far and I’ve been watching her trying to figure out what’s going on. Is she too nice? Not nice enough? She’s pretty. She’s got a great job. She’s loving. So, why the string of bad luck?
I don’t think she’s advertising her grooviness. Fighting for her interests, so to speak. I don’t think she’s piping up in those initial conversations with, “My church, which is Open and Affirming and focused on Social Justice, is central in my life.” She needs to announce early in the game, “I’m a liberal Progressive. If I was younger, I’d have Obama’s babies, I think he’s so great.”
Orange County is a conservative bastion in the midst of a very liberal state so she’s ending up with men who are completely incompatible with her interests. Why do I think she’s leaving some key pieces of information out of the discovery process? The only thing I can think of is that she’s hoping to gain a broader swath of prospects.
It doesn’t seem to me like this is a good thing. Her last date in her own words:
A real OMG. He was an intense, opinionated, anti-Obama, unsophisticated, sexist, secret conservative who spouted all the old caveman stuff about the purpose of men and the purpose of women. He talked about how stupid it is that we give money to the IMF and how awful Mormons are. Oh, yeah, and women only want money. I got out of there in an hour. On to the next lunch date…
Could it be that he didn’t disclose these “caveman” leanings to her? Or could it be that she didn’t put her deal-breakers on the table? Somewhere in the middle is the truth, but in dating (as in life), you can’t be worrying about the other side of the fence…you’ve got to focus on cleaning up your own side.
Ladies and gentleman, life is too short as it is…don’t waste it on bad dates! Throw the big issues on the table up front.
- Do you have kids?
- Do you WANT kids?
- How do you feel about pets?
- Have you ever been married?
- How do you feel about marriage?
- Are politics important to you, and if so, what are they?
- Same goes for religion.
I’m not saying you need to whip every one of these questions out in the first email (unless you want to have NO dates). But maybe you want to bring it up at some point before you spend your precious time with someone who doesn’t know who you are (or doesn’t want to). If your passion is studying the habits of indigenous Yaks, SAY IT. Somewhere out there your soul mate is studying those same Yaks on their own.
On eHarmony, there is a barometer that you can set for your “must-haves” and “deal-breakers.” Set it.
On Match, you have the advantage of going out and looking for people who interest you, rather than waiting for the system to match you up. Go looking for people whose interests match yours as precisely as possible.
Do I think you need to date someone exactly like you? No. But do you need to pair up with someone who approaches life the same way you do? YES, yes, yes!
The downside of all of these online systems is that they too take up your precious time. The advantage is that they widen your pool of dating prospects to include those indigenous Yak Chasers you’ve been dreaming about.
Be proud of who you are, daters. There’s no one else in this world exactly like you. In that sense, dating is like the branding we do in other areas of our lives. You need to bring the real you to the table to attract others.
I’m not saying, pump yourself up to the point where you think the world needs to see photos of your—
(whoops, SORRY…that’s a whole other conversation…)
But do celebrate yourself and what you bring to the table in this dating equation. My first Triple D column addressed this – being “all that you can be” is the best way to find your soul mate.
What do you think? Married or single, I know you have views on this. Is lying ever OK in dating? What about “fudging the truth?” Omitting key information? What are your thoughts?