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 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 broke up a million times, but somehow managed to always kiss and make up until I finally kissed it off for good.

Whether you’re on JDate, Match, OkCupid, Bumble, etc., most of you already know internet dating can be fantastic place to meet new people, make new friends, 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, it’s great, but when it doesn’t, you hate its guts.

So how do you stay in love with internet dating? First, keep reasonable expectations so that you’re never disappointed. Second, don’t take it too seriously. If you don’t 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 a real meal since that was too much of a commitment.

Most of my dates were “one and done.” Some lasted longer; some became good friends; and some I think back on and laugh (which is what you need to do with internet dating).

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. I can laugh about it now, but at the time, it wasn’t so funny.

After weeks of dating and courtship, and 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.” He 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.

There is a fair degree of lying online, I’m sorry to say. 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 foray when I arranged to meet someone for drinks at a popular bar on the ground floor of an office building. It was crowded with 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 who think internet dating excuses them from bad etiquette.

I remember my very first online date showed up 40 minutes late, without an apology, wearing a bad toupee, and carrying no money on him. The actual “date” last 20 minutes. And when the check came, he laughed glibly and said he “forgot his wallet.” 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 or juggling multiple women. How do you know? Because they text too much. They text all the time, at all hours, and will not pick up the phone to save their life. In lieu of texting, they often times show up on social media to say hi or compliment your new profile pic. Guys like that 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 threw in the towel, and gave 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.