Confessions of an Online Dater/Three Surefire Ways to Scare Off Your Potential Match Before You Have Met

What have you been up to?

dannyjoan
My brother celebrating his 50th anniversary

These days, when I’m not at work, I’m nearly always working on my novel about a woman trying to find love. I’ve hired writing coach Brooke Warner, am listening to webinars and attending online classes, and am writing a teeny manual about online dating safety to be published on Kindle that’s a companion to a course on Udemy I’m creating since I’ve been instructed to promote my book long before it’s completed. And just last night, I decided to re-launch my Match.com profile for a month, because although my novel is about a newly-forty single mom named Tilka, it relies on real experiences (Have any you’d like to share that I can pirate? Contact me!), and besides, I wouldn’t mind having a date once in a while and spend time away from the computer.
My profile has been up for less than a day, and already I’m reminded of why I don’t do this too much. One person contacted my online account four times within one hour. Who is this man? Do we share any common values or goals? We’ll never know.  He seems intense, at the very least.

To his benefit, maybe no one ever told him that there are norms when it comes to online dating, and surefire ways to scare off your potential match. After all, who wants to break up before getting the chance to meet?

Here they are.

Three Ways to Scare Away Your Match.

1) Contact your match interest repeatedly. Haven’t heard back from he or she? Don’t worry about it! Just give an online wink, then write a message, and then write another message. You’re interest will be crystal clear. Be sure to include your address so you can be properly served with a restraining order.

2) Do reference your past relationship(s) front and center on your profile.
Why not? Your potential match won’t have to wonder why it failed, and will understand how much emotional baggage your packing from the jump.

3) Don’t trouble yourself to read your potential date’s profile. They probably didn’t mean half the stuff they said, anyhow. Their interests? They won’t matter once you meet, just like their political leanings. And your potential match said he/she is not interested in marriage, don’t worry about it! You can change their mind. In fact,start now.

Don’t get me wrong, love is a good goal. I know some happily married couples who have are still in love. Not many, to be honest, but I do know some. So why not stack the odds in love’s favor and do not employ the above three tips.

Do you know of more ways to scare off potential online matches? I’d love to hear them, as well as any success stories. Please Like my author page on Facebook by clicking, or comment or shoot me an email.

Below, Tilka is beginning the wild ride of dating online by creating her profile.
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I key in a few details about myself so I can peruse the profiles, giving myself the username of BubblyIntrovert. First, I indicate in Match’s search engine that I’m a male in search of females ages thirty to fifty years old. I figure I’ll take my lead from looking at profiles from both men and women on Match. I start with the women. With user names like Celia907 or AK Sleeping Lady, what I see is row after row of attractive, well-kept women. Combed hair, teeth brushed, neat clothing. They’ve put their best foot forward without showing too much skin or attempting to look overtly sexual. I’m impressed.

Next, I look at the men. Ouch. There are a bevy of men who must have consulted with one other before going online because their profiles are startlingly similar. Their user names often have their actual name in it as well as the year of their birth: davekelly1958 or Fishingsteve1963. “Young at heart wishes to meet sexy woman who is as comfortable in jeans as  in an evening gown. Age: unimportant.”

Age to the Match Men is “just a number.” Numbers, however, mattered enough for one thirty-five-year-old man to ask specifically for nineteen-year-old women, and for a number of the fifty-year-old men to request that their potential match’s number not exceed forty.

Do the men worry about their appearance?  Not nearly enough. Over and over, I see a white T-shirt covering a protruding belly over faded blue jeans. It’s practically a Match uniform. I’m already annoyed, and I haven’t met anyone yet. Why is it that everything is stacked in the men’s favor? We women twist ourselves into pretzels, grooming and dieting and exercising and moisturizing, and all they have to do is show up.

Time to Talk with Teens/What Does a Healthy Dating Relationship Look Like?

Why is it that we don’t talk to our young people about the ingredients to a healthy relationship?

It’s an important topic. More important than how to pick an apartment or good car, teaching our kids what a safe dating relationship looks and feel likes is critical to their physical and mental health.

Females ages 18-24 are most at risk to be victims of dating violence according to loveisrespect.org, 

I would love to say this was a topic of frequent conversation with my own daughters when they were teens.

Not hardly.  

After my disastrous marriage with their father, I didn’t feel qualified as an expert. Many years later, after a failed relationship of mine deserved an autopsy, I would dissect it with my daughters, but that was as close as it got.

Good news! There are a number of agencies and websites devoted to making this conversation with youth happen more smoothly.

 Want to know how to start the ball rolling?

 Check out the conversation tips at startstrongparents.org.

Then, be sure to listen to your child, not lecture, and remember that your child is looking at your relationships, even the one the two of you share to inform their decisions about dating.

For a sneakier approach, leave some literature out you can print from the internet. Below is from Start Strong Teens.

Talk to Your Teen about the Characteristics of Healthy Relationships.

Respect. Do your friends accept you for who you are? No one should pressure you into doing things you are not comfortable – such as smoking, drinking, drugs, taking or sending embarrassing or hurtful pictures or texts, or unwanted physical contact.
Safety. Do you feel emotionally and physically safe in all of your relationships? Emotional safety means you feel comfortable being you without fear of being put down. Physical safety means you are not being hurt or intimidated; or pressured into unwanted physical contact.
Fairness and Equality. Do you have an equal say in your friendships and relationships? From the activities you do together to the friends you hang out with, you should have an equal say in all of your relationships.
Acceptance. Do your friends or your boyfriend/girlfriend accept you for who you really are? You shouldn’t have to change who you are or compromise your beliefs to make someone like you.
Honesty and Trust. Are you and your friends honest with each other? Honesty builds trust. You can’t have a healthy relationship without trust. If you have ever caught a friend in a lie, you know that it takes time to rebuild your trust.
Good Communication. Do you talk face-to-face (not just text) with your friends or your girlfriend/boyfriend about your feelings? You and your friends should listen to one another and hear one another out.

Respectful Disagreements. In every relationship you have, you should respect each other as individuals and understand that sometimes there will be differences of opinion.

Talk to your teens about healthy dating relationships before they get their ideas from outside sources.

Thanks for stopping by.

I Wish I Had Never Made Him Angry/Throwback Thursday Hits the Courtroom

“I just wish that I’d never made him angry!”

I hadn’t got the memo that Throwback Thursday had morphed into other arenas besides Facebook. Yet there I was that day, in the lobby at work after court with a battered 18 year-old girl, whose black eye and angry scratches to her neck appeared to have only deepened her commitment to her teenaged abuser. 

Hello, 1970’s.

Goodbye, decades of outreach efforts where those in the field have worked to hold abusers accountable. To tell victims that  domestic violence isn’t their fault, and it’s not their job to walk on eggshells in order to avoid a pummeling.

But she wasn’t the only one blaming her for the violence. The suspect’s father explained to defense counsel and me why  his son beat up his long-term girlfriend. According to him, there were mental health problems (hers). There was co-dependency (hers). There was a history of aggression (hers).

I was left to wonder: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did she blame herself from the beginning of the relationship, or was it after hearing those around her? And why does that matter?

It matters because domestic violence is one of two crimes (along with sexual assault) where society scrutinize it’s victim’s most heavily. Where the victims’ attitudes still have such a strong  influence on the legal case outcomes. And where perpetrator’s progress in their Batterer’s Intervention Program can be linked to how their victim and their extended family views their actions. If they’re held accountable, the are far more likely to make changes. If their behavior is minimized, it’s still  working. Why make changes?

You can only do so much to plant seeds for change. My staff and I did the usual–

* Reassured the victim her injuries were not her fault.

*Reminded her she deserved to be respected.

*Referred her to community resources including the local battered women’s shelter for further safety planning

And above all else, we explained to her that domestic violence/dating violence is the unfortunate gift that one generation imparts to the next if the cycle isn’t interrupted. And this arrest may be just the interruption needed for change.

I hope so.

Speaking of hope, I found a great link to address teen dating violence.

Next week we’ll look at some of the wonderful suggested conversations and tips they give to parents and families of teens about healthy relationships.

Do you know someone who needs help because they’re impacted by domestic violence?

Refer them to 1-800-799-SAFE.

Thanks for stopping by.