Online Dating: Diving Into the Dating Pool Again

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heart keyboardIn the last few years, I have managed to survive cancer, the deaths of three close family members, and the end of my marriage. Yet now, I am firmly convinced that online dating is what will ultimately kill me. My divorce was recently finalized and on the advice of several friends I decided to put a profile on a popular dating website. What could I lose? I had not been on a date with anyone other than my ex-husband since 1999, and I had to put myself back out there. I realized very quickly that it is a whole new world.

A friend described the world of online dating as taking a walk through a busy city. Most of the people around you are individuals whom you would have no interest in striking up a conversation with. However, in the sea of strangers, there may be one or two who you want to talk to and get to know better. You just have to be willing to spend a little time finding them.

In addition, the things you look for in a date are very different when you are a mother of two in your 40s than when a single gal in your 20s. When you are in your 20s or 30s you are likely in the mindset of finding the person who you will start a family with. At this stage, it has to be someone comfortable with the fact that you have kids. You may not have the same amount of free time if your kids are with you most of the week. It is definitely more of an effort to date when you have to weave it into a week filled with a full-time job, taekwondo, swim lessons, and parent-teacher meetings. You have established your life, and you want someone who will complement and enrich what you already have. Is this someone you can introduce to your kids??  Is a lifetime partnership your ultimate goal?

On the positive side, this dip into online dating has provided me with a few laughs, and I have already established the “ten commandments” of things I would urge you not to do if you are looking to meet someone online. These are all based on real observations because I honestly could not make this stuff up.

Ten Commandments of Online Dating

1. Thou shalt get help from a female friend/family member in writing your profile. They should be able to warn you that listing your favorite thing to do as “playing X Box” may not be too appealing.

2. Thou shalt not post selfies taken in bathrooms, gyms, cemeteries or on the scale at your doctor’s office (as proof of your weight and BMI).

3. Thou shalt not start every sentence in your profile with the words, “My mom says I am…” Mothers are paid to say nice things about their kids.

4. Thou shalt reconsider taking photos with backward baseball caps, tank tops or, frankly, with no shirt on. Lead with your best photo and, if these are your best photos, take a few more pictures of yourself.

5. Thou shalt not overshare. I appreciate hearing a bit about your life and what you are looking for; I do not need to read a bio longer than War and Peace.

6. Thou shalt not use so many photos of you fishing, kayaking, mountain climbing, and hiking. I appreciate that you are fit and active – don’t need to see 20 pictures of you holding a dead fish.

7. Thou shalt not lie (an actual commandment). We will figure out if you lie about your age, height, or other defining characteristics.

8. Thou shalt use spell check.

9. Thou shalt look at the criteria a woman has listed before trying to reach out. If she is not interested in people her mom’s age, you need to respect that.

10. Thou shalt not discuss your relationship with your ex-wife and/or previous girlfriends. When you describe a past date as a “dumpster fire,” it makes us wonder how you will describe us if it does not work out.

Like so many other things in life, I know with online dating I need to be patient and that there is the potential for this to work out. I’ll just take some deep breaths and see what happens next.

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Sara is a native Long Islander who has managed to shed much of the accent, but cannot get rid of her love of a good New York bagel, the Mets, and a decent pastrami sandwich. She moved to Providence in 2001, with stops along the way living in upstate New York, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Pittsburgh. Sara has two fantastic, funny kids – a 14-year-old daughter and an 10-year-old son – who attend Providence Public Schools. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Psychology and has her Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. These degrees have served her well in her career working as a fundraiser (currently as the Chief Development Officer at the Jewish Alliance of Greater RI) and in her home life negotiating détente between her kids. In her copious amounts of spare time, Sara enjoys going to a museum or the theater, reading, listening to 80s music, cooking and piling everyone in the car for a day trip. She also admits to a love of funny and occasionally sophomoric movies and has been known to recite entire scenes from Monty Python or Mel Brooks. She tries to find the humor in all things which is necessary when juggling a household with two kids and a full time job. Her attitude can be summed up by a print she saw at Frog and Toad: When life hands you lemons, try to figure out something to do with those lemons.