Having been involved with the same man since the age of 19, finding myself single at the age of 46 was earth-shaking, soul-sucking and lonely as hell. Besides the loss of the friendship and marriage, the loss of physical touch and sex was deeply and instantly felt. I have always been a very physical person and couldn’t imagine a life without that in it. Being alone, one has no choice. You either give yourself away to meaningless situations and run the risk of heartache and disease, or you try to find someone who you could begin a new relationship with.
It’s no revelation that the majority of singles interested in dating now meet online. There are myriad dating sites and unfortunately, the users have myriad goals and ideas of what they want out of the experience. Diving into online dating is daunting. I decided to start out with the site OkCupid. It bills itself as the most accurate site for matching people because users answer an extensive survey of questions while creating their profile. From the simple, “do you drink,” “do you want kids” questions to the more detailed ethical and philosophical questions. Users can rank the importance of the questions and can state how they would like their possible matches to respond. Although this sounds like a great tool, depending on which questions users answer and how they rank them people can still end up with probable dates who have very little in common.
I took the task of building my profile quite seriously. I wanted to be playful but smart and I clearly stated that I wanted an intellectual partner as well as a physical or relationship partner. Here were some of the responses to my profile:
These were from last Fall when I was first on these dating sites. I tried to shield the identities of the users (who are likely using screen names). I received some responses that were vulgar and many that just stated “Hi”. It was disappointing to me to discover how few people actually read the profile that I had painstakingly built. I would be asked questions that I answered on my profile or worse the prospective date would offensively respond with verbal drool.
I did eventually meet a couple of people on this site. I went on a couple of decent dates that simply weren’t good matches, and then I dated a man for a while who decided that I was too old for him, even though he was aware of my age from the beginning. The upside of that is that indirectly, through him, I met someone who has become a pivotal friend and figure in my life, so the pain, the weirdness was worth it for that.
I have tried other sites and have other stories but am tip-toeing into this exercise. The goal of this post is to serve as an experiment. Do other people, women, want to talk about their second half of life dating experiences? Did anyone else struggle with these profiles and responses and remain fruitless after trying at length to find connections? Is it helpful to discuss? I’d love to hear your experiences, and I’m willing to share more of my tales if there is interest. In the meantime, stay strong Mamas, we got this.