Can You Find The Love In Being Single?

 

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Before I got married, I had an on-again/off-again affair with being single. When we were on and things were good, I loved it; but when we were off, I hated it.

There’s a lot to love about being single: you’ve got freedom and independence, you can come and go as you please, and you can do what you want when you want. You can go out, get laid, and not have to answer to anybody.

It’s the life!

If you’re not actively dating, you don’t have to shave your legs or get bikini waxes on a regular basis. And if you’re a guy, you can scratch your balls and fart all you want.

Now that’s what I call freedom!

Being single can be the greatest time of your life, or a hell you can’t escape. If you’ve ever been a singleton at a couples dinner party, or at a wedding without a +1, or dateless at a family function, you know the hell I’m talking about.

For years, a girlfriend of mine has been throwing dinner parties attended mostly by her married friends or fellow school parents. Even though I was single, she would invite me, and I accepted because I adore her. The evenings were glorious events, filled with incredible food and wine, beautiful settings, and fabulous people.

And it was brutally tough to get through.

My singleness made me feel like an outsider, like an alien from another planet. I was neither a member of the married club nor the mommy club, and it was made painfully clear to me especially if one of the wives gave me the stink-eye.

Want to know what hell is? Being the only single woman in a room full of married people.

When you’re single, people judge, stare, ask questions, whisper and gossip– especially if you’ve been single an eternity like I was. They make assumptions and jump to conclusions. They ask why you’re not married or have kids, and wonder what’s wrong with you.

There’s a stigma attached to being single, and a word for it too: “Singlism,” the technical term for holding negative beliefs about single people or treating them unfairly because of their single status.

The good news is if you stay single long enough, eventually the questions will cease. When my mother stopped asking when I was getting married and started asking if I had received my AARP card yet, I knew she had given up.

But some people aren’t so lucky– the questions keep coming.

Just ask Jennifer Aniston, the subject of relentless rumors about her marriage and maternal status– stuff of no one’s business. She finally told everybody to fuck off and stop speculating about her happiness in a recent Huffington Post piece, For The Record, and I will tell you the same:

You don’t need to be married and have kids to be happy, so STFU already!

 

proxy-jpgSingle gal blogger Michelle L. Torigian echoes Anniston’s sentiments in her post For the Record, I’m Fed Up Too, as does Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell in her book, Single Is The New Black.

Dr. Abrell, a fellow dating expert and late blooming bride like me, got married when she was 42 after suffering the same single girl experiences that I did— both good and bad.

In her book, she emphatically contends that nothing is wrong with you if you’re still single. You just haven’t yet met “The One,” and that’s OK. Being single is not a curse or a crime or something that needs to be fixed or ashamed of. It’s just where you are in life, and the sooner you stop defining yourself by it, or beating yourself over it, the better.

This got me thinking: while you’re looking for love, can you find the love in being single?

It’s possible and here’s how:

BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF

Don’t conform or change for anyone. Stop apologizing and making excuses for who you are. If someone doesn’t appreciate you (or your choices, personality, sense of humor, smarts, values, circumstances, etc.) then they’re not for you. Period. Don’t waste one minute of your precious time trying to be something you’re not. Love who you are, whatever you are.

LOSE THE EXPECTATIONS

If you want to be a happy single person, do yourself a favor and stop pressuring yourself about dating, getting married, etc. Stop checking the time, and tapping your watch– love happens when it happens and not one minute before. As I’ve said before, you can have aspirations, just not expectations—they’ll set you up for disappointment and defeat.

MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SINGLE STATUS ASAP

You’re single, deal with it. Own it, accept it, and stop bitching about it before you become bitter. The strongest statement you can make as a single person is to live life on your own terms, and show the world you don’t give a shit.

FIND YOUR HAPPINESS ELSEWHERE

You know when love finds you? When you’re busy with other pursuits and pleasures. Get involved, volunteer, hang with your friends, find a hobby, do the things that bring you joy. It’ll take the edge off being alone and it’ll keep your life full.

DO THE WORK

Along with finding your happiness elsewhere, it’s important to find your healing too. If you’re single, that means you’ve got time to work on yourself. So go inside, tie up loose ends, resolve old issues, and bring closure to things that might be impeding your progress. Being single is a job, so take care of business.

BE OK WITH BEING SINGLE FOREVER

Single friends, this is a tough one to swallow, but I’m here to tell you that your “Happily Ever After” could be right now. You might be single for longer than you want, or even forever, so you better make peace with it.

When I turned 50 and still wasn’t married, I did something bold: I blew off marriage altogether.

On my 50th birthday, I made a life-changing decision. If I was going to be single, then I was going to be happiest single I could be. I would live my life unashamed and proud; I would refuse to feel self-conscious or stigmatized; and I would never allow myself to feel incomplete just because I didn’t have a husband or kids.

I decided to find the love in being single, and it freed me.

Then something weird happened. After my come to Jesus moment about being single forever, I found “The One” and suddenly gained membership to the married club.

Those days of being single, not shaving my legs, and letting my pubes grow out are now over. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

NOTE TO THE GUYS READING THIS: As I’ve learned, you can still scratch your balls and fart all you want—it’s called marriage.

Maybe It’s Time To Go On A Digital Dating Diet

 

shutterstock_243839119“Enough!” said a friend recently who had it with online dating. She was fed-up, burned out, and ready to breakup. It’s too much work, with little return, she complained. In protest, she was going to delete all her dating apps and join a nunnery.

She’s no nun, but she does have a point. Digital dating IS a lot of work. All that searching, swiping, typing, texting, winking, liking, browsing and chatting is practically a full-time job. Add in the lack of follow up from potential dates, and you can see why my friend is frustrated.

Online dating is a giant time suck. A recent survey from online magazine The Week found that online daters spend an average of two hours a day on their mobile dating apps. That’s two hours of having your head down in your phone every day. My neck is killing me just thinking about it.

And then there’s the issue of “ghosting,” that online dating practice most used by cowards who disappear into thin air after making contact. Don’t they know it’s shitty dating etiquette to leave someone hanging?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-technology; in fact, I think technology is the greatest thing to ever happen to dating. So many apps, so many options! Swipe right or right click and you can find lasting love, or a quick hookup if you’re bored and horny.

Just in case you haven’t been introduced, there’s Tinder, a location-based dating app that matches up strangers; Hinge, a mobile app that accesses friends of friends on Facebook; Bumble, the app where chicks are in control; and The League, a dating app for elitists. And let’s not forget old standbys Match, J-Date, PlentyOfFish and OkCupid, which also have apps.

There’s a lot to love about digital dating: it can build your confidence, boost your ego, keep you busy, and get you back in the game if you’re newly single. I went back online after every breakup and I found it good therapy.

Thanks to technology I met my husband on Facebook, so I’m not complaining!

But digital dating isn’t everything. When you rely too heavily on your phone to play matchmaker or when your computer becomes your sole source of social contact, you’ve got problems.

Your dating life shouldn’t exist on a screen.

That’s why I suggest going on a digital dating diet. It’s not a breakup, and it’s not forever, it’s just a way to add balance and quality into your dating menu.

Diets are horrible and I hate them, but this one’s different. It will free you. You’ll feel lighter, less stressed, more liberated, and your neck will thank you. Here’s how to get started:

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, AND LOOK AROUND!

I guarantee you will see just as many dating options in front of your face as you do online, except these options are real walking, talking people, not profile pictures and usernames. You can see for yourself if they’re really that old, that out of shape, or that good looking!

The League dating app says it aims to “make offline cool again.” Excuse me, but when was being offline ever uncool? The last time I checked, meeting people the old-fashioned way, FACE-TO-FACE was preferred, not passé.

But just in case you’ve forgotten how to go offline, here are some suggestions:

A local coffee house

The grocery store

The putting green at a public golf course

The gym

The subway (not in L.A. yet, but we’re getting there)

A yoga studio

Hobbies and classes

Jury duty

One of the best places to meet people is volunteering. You can hook up while you change the world!

These places may not be fancy or sexy, but that’s the point. They’re opportunities to meet people that don’t exist on a screen. You don’t need to boot up, log on, or check in. All you have to do is make eye contact and smile. It’s like swiping in real life.

If you can think of dating apps and sites as a supplement, not as your entire subsistence, you might actually free yourself up to make a real connection– that is, if you can look up from your phone long enough.

So good luck with your digital diet, and don’t worry: if you get too bored and horny, relief is always a swipe away.

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Dear Ladies of Online Dating, This Letter Is For You

shutterstock_32443075A few months ago, a college friend of mine who’s an avid online dater, received a note in her dating site inbox. It’s a love letter of sorts, in that the guy who wrote it was genuinely interested in her. But as you’ll see, the love didn’t last long. It was over before it even began, and they never ended up meeting.

According to her profile, she was everything he was looking for, that is, until he scrolled down to a certain point in her profile, and then it all went to hell. Suddenly, his hopes and dreams were dashed. He was no longer smitten.

Was it something she said? Yes, and he let her know it.

Most online dating exchanges are warm and fuzzy, fun and flirty—especially in the beginning. However, this get-to-know-you email was hardly that. It was a tongue lashing.

As you’ll read, he gave her a piece of his mind about life, love, and finding a good man with integrity. I was so struck by his commentary that I felt compelled to share it with you (with her permission, of course).

Below is his letter in its entirety. Other than leaving out names and identifying information, it’s all him. His words may make you cheer or make you angry, but they will definitely make you think.

He titled it “Sigh”

“I approached your profile the way I approach all profiles that catch my eye. I read your words…then look at your pictures…and then scroll down to the information listed at the bottom.

I thought there might really be a connection here. A couple of unhappily single, middle aged people. We would have a blast cooking together, traveling together…loving together.

 I feel the same…passionate about life, believe in love, honorable and honest at all times, good values, big heart, good soul and a sense of adventure you wouldn’t believe. 

And then…

I’ve gotta be athletic and toned, huh? Maybe when I was 30, but I’m 55 now…I’m working on it full time. I’ll never have 6 pack abs again…but, Jesus Christ, I’m 55…How in shape am I supposed to be?!! I can still get an erection without Viagra…isn’t that enough?

And then…the killer…

Why?! Why?! Why do so many women feel the need to put down $150,000+ in that stupid income entry line? Some years I make more than that…some years, a lot less…This year I’m starting a new business and it will be significantly less. But, this is extremely besides the point. Extremely!

Every man I know…every man I’ve ever talked to that I respect…and it’s absolutely true for myself, finds it insulting and extraordinarily irritating when a woman, any woman, feels the need to actually state how much money he needs to make before she’s willing to see him socially. To a man, it feels like you’re saying, ‘If you want me, you have to be able to afford me.’ To a man, it feels like you’re shopping for a fat wallet, rather than a good and honorable man. To a man, it feels like you’re prioritizing money over love. It’s so unbelievably shallow and superficial. Is this the message you’re trying to send? I’m not exaggerating this. Pretty much every honorable man I know feels the same. This is ALWAYS a deal breaker. You see the number and you immediately move on to the next profile. 

In your case, that was hard for me to do…hence the lengthy email.

Yes, you’re used to living a certain way…Yes, you want to make sure your man is a provider…Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? What if some incredible guy, a guy who is so perfect for you it would make you weep with joy, only makes $100K or $75K or $50K…Are you going to toss him in the trash heap simply because he doesn’t have enough money to walk in your exalted company? This does NOT reflect sound values.

You seem like such a terrific woman. Men and women will never truly understand each other…I’m wondering if perhaps you don’t realize how honorable men of integrity and character view this obnoxious number.

This is the first time I’ve ever written a woman about this. We seem so compatible in every regard, but I was so completely disappointed when I saw that entry, I just felt compelled to write.

If my words or thoughts have offended you, I’m truly sorry. I meant no offense. I apologize profusely. This was not my intent. I guess my intent was to express my frustration and disappointment. This is really the first time I was significantly disappointed to find that number in the profile of a woman who appealed to me on so many other levels. “

I told you it was a tongue lashing – but a teachable moment at the same time. My friend got schooled and scolded, but she learned the lesson and wasn’t offended. Actually, she felt horrible. Horrible that filling out a particular field on a dating profile could end up making her look bad, which she’s not. In fact, she’s one of the most honorable people I know. She wrote back to thank him, then promptly changed her profile settings.

True, most women want security. But wanting a provider shouldn’t be the driving force in one’s search for love. If all you’re interested in is what’s in the income field, you’re doing love a tremendous disservice. You’re counting out possibilities and dismissing potential. Can you imagine how many quality men you are chasing away because you need to tell him how much money he has to make just to talk to you? He said it, not me. But I’m saying it too.

The prospect of meeting your soul mate should never have a dollar amount, or a price for entry. But if you have requirements, I say keep it private. You’ll find out soon enough if they have a fat wallet or six-pack abs –or neither– which is OK too.

Whoever this guy is, I praise his honesty and respect his message: no one’s perfect, nothing’s perfect. Whether it’s one’s body, age, or bank account, there’s always something that makes us human and beautifully imperfect.

P.S. A man with money doesn’t necessarily make him a great guy, but you know that already.

When it comes to love, you should never compromise. You should never settle. All you need to do is keep an open mind, an open heart, and an open field on your dating profile.

The Clooney Effect And Why It’s Good For Smart Chicks

George & AmalTo all my girlfriends lamenting the lack of men wanting intelligent, independent, self-reliant women, I say phooey! There are plenty of good men out there looking for good, substantive women. Don’t believe me? Just ask George Clooney.

If you didn’t notice last Sunday, George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin quietly celebrated their one-year anniversary, and I for one, couldn’t be happier – happy mostly because he married Amal in the first place.

Confirmed bachelor George had his pick of all kinds of Hollywood babes: from actresses to models, to a dancer with the stars. But Amal, the accomplished international human rights lawyer, eventually won out.

Score one for the smart chick – and score one for George too – who married someone probably smarter than him.

Call it substance over style, but Amal had a little something her competitors didn’t have: world-class brains. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also f-ing gorgeous, but clearly it was her f-ing gorgeous intelligence above all else that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. If this isn’t a thumbs-up for female brainiacs everywhere, I don’t know what is.

Thanks to George and others of his ilk who want women with some smarts, we have the Clooney Effect.

The “Clooney Effect” is a phenomenon coined by biological anthropologist Helen Fisher. In her fifth annual study on American singles for Match.com reported by The Atlantic, she surveyed 5,600 singletons across the country to see what they desired in a partner.

Her findings refute the age-old economic mating theory that men are afraid of “over-educated” women. They’re not, she concluded, and I happen to agree. Men really do want to meet/date/marry women who are smart and successful – and if they happen to be smarter than they are, so what? If they’re more successful, who cares? Substance is the new sexy.

But it gets better. According to Fisher, men aren’t just looking for their equals, but for their superiors. The vast majority – 87% – said they would date a woman who makes more money, is more intellectual, and is better educated than they are.

What the Match.com study shows us is that guys nowadays are attracted to women with lives and careers just as much, if not more than, stay-at-home wife types. There will always be domestic goddesses and homemakers and the men who love them, but the new trophy wife is someone who’s kicking ass everywhere, not just in the kitchen.

There are some people though, that think the Clooney Effect is full of shit.

In the cynical, but excellent article “Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single,” writer Lauren Martin presents a harsh counterview.

“Unfortunately, for women, intelligence many times hinders our travels and keeps us from the promise land. Because, for all you bright and educated women out there, what you feel is real…intelligent women are more likely to be single.”

Her article speaks to “the broad spectrum of woes women feel as they sit alone Friday nights with no one to discuss Nietzsche or read lines from Proust with.” Now, I don’t know too many guys who want to sit around discussing Nietzsche on a Friday night, but I get what she’s trying to say: men don’t want women with whom they can converse and who challenge them.

So what do men really want? Not smart chicks, according to this article.

What men want, Martin believes, is a woman who “isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first.”

“Deciding what kind of woman you are is like choosing between a rock and a hard place. If you’re stupid, you’re not taken seriously, but if you’re smart, you’re taken too seriously. Women everywhere are flailing under this double-edged sword. A beautiful, attractive female isn’t desirable for her mind, and those with strong characters are seen as threatening, masculine and undesirable.”

TheWire.com financial reporter John Carney agrees in “Why Do Smart Men Date Less Intelligent Women?” that “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.'”

Like I said earlier, there will always be men – especially high-powered, alpha types – who prefer to take the old-fashioned view on dating dynamics. They don’t want to be challenged, tested, or upstaged; they don’t want to have to think; they don’t want to compete. In other words, they don’t want their balls busted.

Sorry, but the last time I checked, having brains was right up there with having a nice rack. Guys dig it (just ask my husband).

Ladies, the truth is, the smarter you are, the more likely you are to make good choices, the more likely you are to have good self-worth, and you’ll set your bar higher – not just with men, but in life.

So be proud, smart chicks of the world. You’re the new trophy.

 

 

Photo credit: Eastfjord Productions / Shutterstock.com

Surviving Single Life: 10 Tips

Single LifeOnly child, divorced parents, single forever, married for the first time at 50…yep, you could say I know a thing or two about being alone and on my own.

Been there, done that, lived it, and survived.

And so can you. Whether you’re just entering singledom for the first time, or been there forever, single life is a journey. A beautiful, amazing, tough motherfucker of a slog.

Being single was the best of times and the worst of times. I loved it, I hated it, and I always learned from it. As Winston Churchill once said: “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” And I did. Whether it was navigating the world alone as an only child or constructing it as a single woman, I kept going. What I found was an independence and resilience I never knew I had.

Going solo isn’t always easy, but it does show you what you’re made of.

The following isn’t dating advice; it’s practical wisdom and survival tips that saved my ass and kept me sane when I was single, and continue to come in handy even as a married person. The wisdom might sound familiar, but it never gets old.

Hopefully as you navigate your own journey through single life (or just life in general), these tips will come in handy for you too.

KNOW YOUR WORTH

Having a sense of your own value is what self-worth is all about. It’s your principles, character, attributes, and personal power. Knowing your worth protects you from being taken advantage of, becoming a victim, compromising yourself, or selling out.

RAISE YOUR BAR

Once you know your worth, you can start aiming higher – personally, professionally, and romantically. If you know you deserve better, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. Demand it. Especially when it comes to love. Don’t settle for less. Raise your bar and watch the quality of your life improve.

HEAL YOUR WOUNDS

In order to move forward, you’ve got to take a few steps back. Who hurt you? What’s the source of your pain? What past action or event gave you emotional scar tissue today? Don’t take old wounds, grief or anger into your future. Do whatever it takes to heal them now and be free.

LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES

No one’s perfect; we’re all human and make mistakes – I’ve made plenty. The key is to apply your newfound wisdom to becoming a better person, parent, partner, whatever. Fucking up isn’t the worst thing in the world – repeating your fuck-ups is.

SET YOUR BOUNDARIES

Boundaries are a lifesaver. I’m talking about saying no, standing up, speaking up, and refusing to take on people’s pain and suffering. When you set clear boundaries, you become your own advocate for self-respect.

FIND YOUR PASSION

The quickest way to take the edge off being single is to get busy. Ask yourself what you love, then pursue it with a passion. Stay social, surround yourself with good friends, volunteer, engage with your world. You’ll create new interests, new relationships, and find new purpose in life.

BE ALONE WITH YOURSELF

While it’s important to stay busy, it’s also important to know how to be alone without freaking out. Get comfortable in your skin; enjoy your own company; and carve out quality alone time. Learn to savor the stillness and you’ll never be lonely again.

TEMPER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Having goals is great, but having unrealistic expectations can set you up for disappointment and defeat. Deepak Chopra describes this as “detaching from the outcome.” Remember, there is power in letting go and surrendering control. You can have aspirations, but beware of expectations.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

It’s the hardest thing to do when you’re feeling shitty, but taking stock of what you have, instead of what’s missing, speeds up the healing process. Dig deep and find some gratitude every day (“I’m grateful for my family, friends, clients, job, health,” etc.) You’ll feel a shift and a lift.

KEEP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR

If anything will keep you from losing your shit, it’s keeping your sense of humor. Whether it’s a bad date, a bad breakup, or some other bad news, let it go. It’s just not worth it. Remember to keep your wits (and wit) about you.

It doesn’t matter if you’re new to single life or a lifelong member. What matters is that you find what works to keep you sane and empowered. Like I said, being single isn’t always easy, but should you find yourself going through hell, just remember to keep going. It’s a worthy slog.

Required reading and suggestions for singles and non-singles alike

 

My Life As A New Wife: The Year In Review

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Farewell newlyweds, hello old married couple.

Celebrating my first wedding anniversary made me feel kind of like Miss America coming to the end of her reign: triumphant, honored, and just a little bit sad to give back the tiara and say goodbye to my title of newlywed.

But I must, because now at end of Year One, I am officially a wife – with a new title and new duties. If longtime pageant MC Bert Parks was still alive, he’d be singing me a new tune.

What a difference a year makes.

No longer a swingin’ single, no longer subsisting on Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and no longer letting my laundry pile up until I run out of underwear, life looks a lot different now that I’m Mrs. Scharf than it did when I was Miss Brandon.

For starters, I now shop at Gelson’s, I do a load of laundry every few days, and I have more food in my pantry than I know what to do with. The year has had much personal growth, changes both big and small, and lots of groceries to put away.

Yep, I’m a real housewife of Beverly Hills, alright.

Year One has been nothing short of a mind-blowing, eye-opening, waist-expanding experience and here’s why:

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Robby Scharf, a most fascinating creature.

I NOW HAVE THIS FASCINATING CREATURE CALLED A HUSBAND

I don’t know about all husbands, but mine is so interesting, I find myself observing him like an exotic animal. He’s sophisticated and elegant, but he loves to burp and fart like a 10-year-old; he’s strong and stoic, but tears up when watching CBS Sunday Morning; he’s an alpha dog, but he loves funny cat videos; he’s a manly man, but he loves to shop; he’s never been married, but he’s got some serious game as a husband.

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Say hello to my mac & cheese.

I LEARNED TO COOK

As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I was raised by a working mom who excelled more in the office than she did in the kitchen. Not that Sonjia Brandon couldn’t cook; she just preferred to make deals rather than make dinner. So when I got married, I donned my apron (a bridal shower gift) and got down to business.

It’s been a year of “firsts” in the kitchen for me. I made my first short ribs, my first macaroni & cheese, and my crowning achievement as a wife (drum roll please) MY FIRST BRISKET. I can’t emphasize the importance of this major milestone for this Jewish girl.

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Good news! Nina and Nancy didn’t throw up from my lasagne.

I can’t take all the credit though. I have to thank my friends Nina, Nancy, and my many Facebook friends for their recipes and culinary guidance.

It truly takes a village to make a meatloaf.

Yeah, I made that too.

 

 

 

I WATCH A LOT MORE SPORTS

I’ve always been a sports nut, but I definitely met my match when I married Robby. The guy is a total sports junkie, particularly when it comes to televised sports. It’s not unusual for him to have a few TVs going and a couple of iPads tuned in, especially during playoff season.

He may be the bigger sports fan, but I’m the sports bettor in the family. I say who needs to watch the game when all you need to know is the spread?

THERE’S ALWAYS MUSIC IN OUR HOUSE

This is the benefit of marrying a guy who plays the bass, attended Berklee College of Music, and has been performing with The Cowsills for over 25 years. It’s almost daily that I’m in earshot of a rehearsal or treated to an impromptu jam. And when I want some peace and quiet, I put on a pair of incredible Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones (shameless plug – Robby works for the company).

But what really makes a Robby a rock star? He does the dishes.

NEWS FLASH! OOPS I MEAN HOT FLASH!

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Year One…and they said it wouldn’t last.

Poor Robby. Two seconds after we get married, I hit menopause (or rather menopause hit me). Great timing Mother Nature thanks a lot! Nothing like having to navigate your new married life with night sweats and mood swings. Plus, between the hormonal brain fog and the occasional senior moment, I can’t remember shit.

Has it really been a year already?

It’s true what they say: Time flies when you’re having fun, watching sports, eating a lot, and making beautiful music together.

Now if you don’t mind, I must attend to my next wifely duty: making my first turkey.

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.