A reader (bless her!) has passed along practical tips for your online hunt (that's what it is, no?) for a friend/lover/life partner. And, believe me, yours truly is paying close attention — very close indeed:
CHOOSE A DATING WEBSITE: It's a good idea to try more than one because they vary so much in the number of members in your area, as well as the ways you can their features and search their databases.
CREATE A PROFILE: Spend time writing one that reflects who you are. Develop a warm, friendly and funny first paragraph so the reader will continue. Talk about your hobbies, how you spend free time, favorite books and movies, where you've traveled and where you want to travel. (And these days, your exercise habits are of interest.) Mention what you've learned from life, what you're looking for in a relationship. (It's good to read other profiles for an idea of length.) Then show your piece to friends to see if it really describes you. And it may seem shallow, but to get results, you must add several photos to your profile. (Be sure they're no more than five years old and they show you smiling and relaxed.) Tip: No matter how wonderful a photographer you are, don't waste people's time with shots of sunsets and pets. And guys, resist the urge to show off motorcycles and boats.
REMAIN ANONYMOUS: Nothing about your profile should identify your full name, address or place of work! And ladies, be wary of men who quickly ask for this information. Don't give it out until the end of a very successful first meeting, which should be in a public place! (So many meetings take place in coffee shops they're often called "coffee dates.")
STAY CLOSE TO HOME: Yes, it could turn out that your soulmate lives on the other coast. But why not keep logistics simple at first and limit your search radius? I set mine at 50 miles and then found true love with someone who works just 2.l miles from my house!
NARROW THE FIELD: Chances are your dating site will have hundreds of members who meet your basic requirements of age and location. Save time by entering specific search criteria, and put that information in your profile! (Examples? Shared political beliefs or a partner who exercises daily.)
REJECT AND BE REJECTED: Meeting online lets you cut to the chase so much more quickly because there are so many people out there. Be kind, but be quick. Whichever side of the rejection you're on, giver or receiver, this is the major lesson of this online world because the new ethos makes wasting time (yours or theirs) a cardinal sin. It's much the same as regular dating, but this world gives ease and speed — and anonymity — to rejection. (A major takeaway from online exposure is the ability to rationalize a no as refusal, not rejection.) Approximately half the men I contacted didn't even bother to click "no, thanks." And once when I was thinking a meet-and-greet went well, an email came explaining why we just weren't a good fit. (Ouch!)
One of my friends was in a serious relationship only eight months after joining an online service. It took another friend three years online to find the man she married. I myself was online 19 months. Not in a hurry and being very picky, I only went on a dozen or so coffee dates. I dated one man five months. Then, shortly after that relationship ended, I found the man with whom I am sharing the last of life.
I was hoping to find a friend who would become a lover. In my 60s, I thought I was content with knowing my grand passions were all behind me. Because I had many interests and enjoyed my private time, I imagined a relationship where we would see each other three or four times a week. When my partner and I met, the reality was unlike anything I was expecting. After exchanging several emails, our first phone call — which lasted six hours — revealed a multitude of shared experiences, opinions, disappointments, hopes, likes and dislikes. The next day, two very tired people met for lunch. (We chose an outdoor restaurant so our dogs could also meet.) The day after that, both of us went on previously scheduled coffee dates. From then on, we saw each other every day and soon could not stand to be apart.
The passion was as strong as anything I had experienced in my younger years. We moved in together long before sensible people would have. (Although, we did have the good sense to hang on to both apartments for the first six months.) The joy we felt being together made it easy to set aside petty differences. For me, perhaps the hardest part of the adjustment was simply relaxing and accepting that such a miracle could happen at our age. We have been together for just over a year. We have no plans to marry. We are planning a commitment ceremony for just the two of us. The last of life has become the best of life now that I wake up and begin each day with my beloved.
Thank you, Susan, for writing "Single File."
Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]com. Write for your free signed copy of Susan's "Declaration of Undependence" on parchment. Send your request to: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.
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