I'm late towards the internet dating party. I joined a grief group after my husband died and also over time it become a lot of friends with one sad thing in common but a lot of other fun and fascinating things to discuss.
They pushed me to try internet dating 2 yrs ago, after they had all jumped in with varying degrees of success. They thought I needed to “get out there,” too. Reluctantly, I agreed.
Here's things i learned.
The Mirror Has Two Faces
The more I scrolled and swiped all things in my “matches,” the more I had been struck because when old everyone looked. I double-checked the parameters I'd occur my profile thinking I must have accidentally checked from the wrong age preferences.
Nope. I had been 61 and had selected an acceptable range from 59 and 74 in my potential suitors. That didn't seem the old, so how could each one of these kindly-yet-grandfatherly types be on my list?
I checked the mirror. Hmmm. Ok, sure, a few wrinkles here, a few gray hairs there, but come on, I've still first got it! Right?
Then I read articles in Scientific American that basically said all of us think we glance better than we actually do. It can be some kindness the universe bestows on many of us as we age, a harmless bit of cosmic trickery made to ease the inevitable decline.
Shaken and chastened, I adjusted my bifocals and pressed on.
Don't Discount the 3rd Dimension
The good thing about internet dating is also the worst thing. It certainly seems like a genius idea: you just “Build-a-Bear” your way to love by picking and selecting from a smorgasbord of desired characteristics: height, body type, preferences for everything from political affiliation to pet. What may go wrong?
Turns out, a lot. Online dating services quite literally put one's looks in the forefront. By filtering potential suitors right down to my so-called perfect physical match, I almost certainly missed out on some good guys who have been kind, funny, and smart. Their only crime was falling below my 5'11″ height requirement.
Had I been brought to one of these men by a friend, or he'd struck up a witty conversation within the tomato bin at Whole-foods, I'd never have noticed his height “flaw.” Yet I'd swiped left with careless abandon after only so much as a glance in this two-dimensional dating world.
While no one is arguing physical attractiveness is important, flat images on an iPhone screen can't convey what some call “chemistry.” This mysterious amalgam of private energy plus intellectual and physical compatibility is only possible to detect fully in person, and incredibly often has little to do with looks.
A sharp wit, a kind soul, and a bright mind can do more to ignite a romance (and sustain it) than the usual mere handsome face.
Truth be told, basically saw an image of my late husband on the dating site when he was 61, I would have skipped right past it. And if I had, I would have missed out on one of the great loves of my entire life. Long live the third dimension.
To Write, or Not to Write
I wasn't prepared for the awkwardness from the first phone call after working days, sometimes weeks communicating only by text. If you think about this, whenever we all started dating, virtually all interactions with a potential partner began personally: at a party, the DMV, that well-meaning set-up from your sister-in-law.
But internet dating always begins with the written word. Obviously, writing can be very romantic (where would all the truly amazing love stories be without love letters?), and it is not that we do not all do some editing within our heads before we speak (a minimum of, we ought to).
But when we can polish every phrase perfectly before hitting “send” it creates unexpected pressure to be just as witty and erudite at that moment at the first meeting, which may be difficult to do when bashfulness or nerves may rule as soon as.
I learned to move quickly from texting to a telephone call if there was an initial spark, and from there to a casual coffee date without too much time among. Accelerating the process doesn't prevent a possible match from fizzling, but if it's a non-starter it's better to know early so you both can move on to more promising possibilities.
It's Just Coffee
It's not a marriage proposal. Everyone knows this, but something about a meet-up only at that age seems like the stakes may be only a wee bit higher. And also the more pressure we placed on ourselves, the more likely we may be to sabotage a first date.
It helps to keep in mind that even though our dating pool might be smaller now (versus whenever we were within our 20s and everybody was single), it doesn't mean there isn't someone great out there. Kissing a lot of frogs happens to be essential for the process, and it is no different in our 60s.
The big difference is our red flag detectors are vastly improved at this time; we do not waste a lot of time forcing something to occur that shouldn't.
All that said, I'm still learning the ropes of online dating. It has been a fascinating journey so far; I've met numerous lovely men, and I've even had a few butterflies on the way. No love matches yet, but I'm hopeful. See you out there.
Have you tried online dating? How's it going for you? Any online dating hits or misses to talk about? Please join the conversation!