The Agony And The Ecstasy: Memories Of Online Dating

shutterstock_242614333Before I got married, I had a love/hate relationship with online dating.

JDate and I had a torrid romance, an on-again, off-again love affair, filled with highs and lows, starts and stops, and plenty of hits and misses. There was never a dull moment for me and JDate; we seemed to break up a million times, but somehow managed to always kiss and make up until I finally kissed it off for good some time ago.

Whether you’re on JDate, Match, OkCupid, Plenty Of Fish, etc., most of you already know online dating can be fantastic place to meet new people, to broaden your social horizons, make new friends, network, find true love, lift your spirits, boost your ego, or get laid.

Or, it can be living hell if you let it.

Dating online is a lot like a real relationship: when it works out, you love it; but when it doesn’t, you hate its guts.

So how do you stay in love with online dating? First, keep reasonable expectations so that you don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Second, DO NOT take it too seriously. If you don’t keep your sense of humor and roll with the punches, you’ll go from dater to hater faster than a left-swipe on a Tinder dating app.

Looking back, JDate and I had some great times together. We had lots of conversation, coffees, and cocktails, but nothing that involved eating since that was too much of a time commitment.

Most of my dates were “one and done.” Some lasted a bit longer; some became good friends; and some I think back on and laugh.

Like the E.R. doctor-turned-actor (always a red flag), who actually lasted for three months – practically a lifetime in the world of online dating.

After weeks of dating and courtship, spending Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine, he dumped me on New Year’s Eve. Just like that, with no heads-up, no warning, nothing. His reason? He said I was the “marrying type” and felt bad dating me since he wanted to have fun and I was holding him back.

His timing may have sucked, but at least he wasn’t lying. I saw him back on JDate trolling for more “non-marrying” types the very next day.

I’m sorry to report though, there is a fair degree of lying online. Typically, the online dater is 10 years older, 20lbs. heavier, or a few inches shorter than what’s on their profile.

I realized this early on in my online dating career when I met a JDate for drinks at a popular bar on the ground floor of an office building. It was crowded with lots of after work business types. Going on my date’s profile picture, I scanned the place but couldn’t see him.

Minutes later, a much older fellow who had been practically right in front of me the whole time, introduced himself. It was my date, but he looked nothing like his profile picture. In fact, he kind of looked like my grandpa.

Not that older men aren’t attractive, they are. So are bald men, short men and chubby men. The problem is that some men (and a lot of women too) feel the need to misrepresent themselves online and don’t have to.

You know what’s attractive? HONESTY.

Sometimes though, they’re not older or heavier or shorter, they’re just jerks – like the aforementioned doctor-turned-actor, and others of his ilk.

I remember my very first online date showed up 40 minutes late, without a proper apology, wearing a bad toupee, and carrying no money on him. He laughed glibly and said he “forgot his wallet” when the check came. So I paid for my wine (which I was going to do anyway) and beat a gracious, yet hasty retreat.

Then there are the guys online whom you suspect are still married. How do you know? Because they text too much. They text all the time, at all hours, and will not pick up the phone at all costs. Guys like that may also use their kids, their jobs, or travel schedule to get out of having to actually speak.

NOTE TO THE LADIES: If you meet a guy online and he prefers to TEXT AND NOT TALK, do yourself a favor and RUN DON’T WALK.

After being on-again, off-again too many times with online dating, I finally called it quits. We broke up for good and went our separate ways. There’d be no more winks, flirts, chemistry tests, or e-cards of any kind. Instead, I decided to give it up to the universe to find the man of my dreams.

And when I wasn’t looking and least expected it, he appeared – on Facebook of all places – quite possibly the greatest online dating site of them all.