Dating Online Experiences: Lessons Learned

The world of dating online can be both exciting and unfortunately, disappointing at times. The reality is that whether you meet someone in a bar, a friend’s wedding or online, first impressions may not always be what you thought they were – for better or for worse.

For this blog post, I decided to poll two friends about their own dating online experiences. As you will see, even if the experience wasn’t so great, there is always something to be learned and that knowledge brings you that much closer to finding the right match for you.

mature couple talking and drinking wine

Things I’ve learned from looking for love dating online

Tell me about one of your dating online experiences in which you were pleasantly surprised.

Anita: ‘‘I had been exchanging messages online with a gentleman and things started to just fizzle out. There were a few aspects of his profile that I thought sounded interesting at first – he was a professor at an impressive university, we shared the same taste in Russian literature and he liked to rock climb – but after chatting a bit, the conversation seemed to wane and I didn’t think things would proceed any further. When I didn’t hear from him for a few days, I figured that was that, and I would just move on. Then I received a message from him asking if I would like to meet him for a coffee. I hesitated at first, thinking this was going to be a waste of my time so why bother, but then I figured, it was just coffee and you never know… so, I agreed. When I met him for the date, my expectations were low, but as we started talking, now face-to-face, something clicked. We hit it off so much so that after several hours and lattes later, we had worked up quite the appetite and decided to continue our date into an early dinner, which was followed by drinks and nonstop conversation. Needless to say, it was a fantastic first date! It was so great in fact, that we made plans to get together for dinner later on that week, and then again the following weekend. I am now happy to report that the man who I thought was a stuffy, boring professor at first, I now calls my smart, hilarious boyfriend.”

Lesson Learned: Exchanging several messaging prior to meeting in person is an absolute must to get a feel for what a person is like and to identify any potential red flags, but the only way to really know if there is chemistry between you is to meet face-to-face.

Have you had any dating online experiences that went terribly wrong?

Bill: ‘‘I was exchanging messages online with a woman named Mary who seemed absolutely perfect. She looked beautiful in her photograph, we seemed to have a lot in common, including a mutual love for skiing, the outdoors and dogs – I told her about my chocolate lab Buddy and she talked about her beagle Sadie. It seemed almost too good to be true, but when I suggested we get together in person, her tone seemed to change. She eventually agreed to the date, but not to meeting at the dog park (my initial idea). She offered instead to meet me at a bar for early evening drinks. I had never been to this bar and I remember noticing how dark it was inside when I first arrived. I walked around the bar and didn’t see her so I took a seat, assuming she was running late and waited. Seconds later I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around to a face I did not recognize saying my name. I stared at the face blankly. Could this be Mary? The woman I thought I had been talking to in the photograph had shoulder-length, straight blonde hair, green eyes and a petite frame. The woman who stood before me had long, frizzy red hair and had to have weighed nearly twice as much as Mary in the photo. I was speechless, but regained my composure and began to chat with her. What I quickly realized was that not only was this woman vastly different looking than the Mary I thought I was meeting that night, but that she was nothing like how she represented herself in her profile or in our conversations. Needless to say, the date didn’t last very long and we never spoke again after that odd encounter, but I have learned to be much more vigilant about who I am talking to and what they have contributed to the conversation – that is for sure.”

Lesson Learned: Be wary of red flags. Mary had only one photo – she was clearly trying to hide what she really looked like by either using a much older photo of herself or someone else’s photo entirely. Finding mutual ground is always great place to start, but be cautious if someone seems to be just telling you what you want to hear or overly-agrees with everything you have to say. There were some definite red flags here that Bill missed, but they aren’t always apparent so if something like this happens to you – hopefully, it will not – don’t let it discourage you.

There are so many great people out there looking for love online just like you, it’s just a matter of finding the right one.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. C. Williams

    October 25, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    For me, online dating seems desirable for seniors because it provides a good way to “pre-screen” people – it can be a lot of effort to prepare for a date, and older people seem less likely to want to waste time with people they are not compatible with – and because older people seem a little less likely to misrepresent themselves – a life of wisdom and experience can help you know when things are “too good to be true”!

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