Update on Dating Sites and an Old School Breakup

blog post penguin love 2

There are dating sites and apps that I like (tolerate may be a better word), ones I used to like but now can’t stand, and sites that never worked for me (so I don’t like them).

Let’s review while munching on pasta primavera with grilled veggies.

OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) are now in my “can’t stand” category. The reason? They are both overrun with catfishers and scammers. These sites worked for me when I first used them. I even had one of my 3-month relationships with a guy I met on OkCupid. But over time I noticed an increase in members with false or stolen profiles. It got to the point where almost no one I matched with on OkCupid was genuine. I’m not sure why this site above all others contains so many scammers (at least in my dating pool). Perhaps the idea of a free dating venue appeals to guys with less than honorable intentions.

Free may also be the problem with Coffee Meets Bagel. I miss my daily bagel from CMB but more often than not that bagel was bad. It must be a common problem since a number of people find their way to this blog by searching for Coffee Meets Bagel scammers.

I deleted both OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel and now spend less time deleting dishonorable daters and more time on general whining about dating.

An abundance of catfishers is not the only reason to dislike a dating site or app. EHarmony was not my cup of tea, coffee, or glass of wine. After filling out the endless Meyers-Briggs-like questionnaire, I ended up with a pool of boring and geographically incompatible matches. And the inability to search for matches on my own felt very paternalistic (though Coffee Meets Bagel also prohibits searching of members’ profiles).

JDate is another site that never worked for me – and I tried it twice. I wasn’t attracted to anyone in my dating pool. It might be worth trying JDate again since new people are always joining dating sites.  Unless a site is poorly constructed, I will usually consider a second or third membership in a site.

Our Time is now on my “good” list after an unsuccessful first round 18 months ago. I classify a site as good if there are a reasonable number of appealing matches who reach out to me or respond to my outreach and I actually go on dates with some of them.

I like OurTime despite a recent “old school” breakup with a match — if you can call it a breakup after two dates. I’m still confused by it and that’s not atypical in the online dating world. You may never know the real reason why someone doesn’t want to see you again. In this case, at least the man gets points for phoning me to tell me he didn’t think we were a “fit.” The only reason he actually cited was the 1-hour geographic distance between our homes. I was surprised by the break-up – first of all because he had the decency to phone me but also since he appeared to be fairly smitten. Perhaps I’ll probe this interaction more in a future post…and after I have completed a wonderful online class on how to be a human lie detector.

My other go-to dating staples at the moment are Zoosk, Plenty of Fish, Match, and Bumble.

I’m less enthusiastic about Tinder, JSwipe, Hinge, and Fitness Singles but hold out hope that one of these venues might be worthwhile. The Clover app, on the other hand, is almost worthless as a source of reasonable matches and I’ll probably delete it soon.

You may think I’m on too many dating sites/apps. However, I look at online dating as a numbers game and the more times I present myself to eligible men, the more likely I’ll find Mr. Right. In the meantime, I’m also putting myself in “real life” situations and activities that not only interest me but also have the potential to expand my romantic horizons.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Wavering after a Breakup

blog-pix-wavering-after-breakup

We’ve all been there – that limbo place after a relationship has ended but before a new one has yet to be found.

Sometimes our resolve wavers. We wonder: Did I break it off too quickly or without a good enough reason?  Perhaps the question is: Why did he break it off and can we go back to being a “we”?

This is not an easy topic. I recommend indulging in comfort food as we ponder the issue.

Let’s focus on scenario #1 in which you broke off the relationship. Perhaps you had a good four-fifths of a partnership but the other poor quality fifth was too damn important to ignore. That fifth could be a major difference in outlook on life, sexual compatibility, the role of family, or for a certain age group, whether to have children. Whatever the reason, the fact that this aspect of your coupled life was seriously inadequate ate away at you until you finally realized it was time to move on.

So, you broke it off. And it was damn hard because that other four-fifths was good. And nothing is perfect, right? So should you swallow and go back to Mr. Almost Right?

Here’s a suggested game plan for your wavering, quivering heart.

*Recognize that it’s going to take time to heal.

*Remember what it felt like to not have that important one fifth. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to live with that situation?”

*Rely on your trusted friends for companionship, moral support, and a bigger picture outlook

*Revive your independence and explore fulfilling activities that bring you joy.

*Reach out to expand your social network through Meetups, social clubs and activities, online dating sites and apps.

*Reflect on your ideal romantic partnership. Realize that although you can’t have everything, you should strive for having the most important things.

*Restrict any desires to reconnect for at least 6 months. Distance and time will help you to see more clearly.

*Relish a new relationship if you are lucky enough to find one.

*Rev up your support system if the new relationship is short lived.

*Realize that if you are not in a new relationship – and you want to be in one — you are vulnerable to returning to Mr. Almost Right.

You should follow a similar game plan if Mr. Almost Right called it quits. Although you didn’t choose to end the relationship, it’s important to think about what worked and didn’t work from both of your perspectives.

If Mr. Almost Right gave you a reason for the breakup, ask yourself whether the relationship met your needs. As hard as it is, try to critically evaluate your time together. Talk to people, including therapists as needed. Read about relationships. Ask yourself: Are there things you would have done differently?

You can’t make someone love you–or vice versa, but you can learn from a breakup.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Get your Angries Out

bulk incredible-hulk-613335_640

Have you gotten your angries out? If you’re divorced, widowed, or single following the break-up of a serious relationship, you know what I mean. Whether you were the “dumpee,” the one left behind, or the instigator dumper, there’s bound to be some anger floating around your universe.

I went through an angry phase after my separation. This followed a phase of disbelief, which in turn was preceded by a coma-like period. Got that? Coma – disbelief – anger.

Perhaps you have experienced a marital coma state. In my case, it consisted of several years of slow disengagement from my then husband. When you’re in a coma, you know something is not right but you don’t want to face it, so you ignore it.

When I finally woke up from my coma thanks to a crucial conversation, disbelief set in. After a long marriage, it is indeed hard to believe that it is over. But once you do, it’s time for some healthy anger. Chow down on some angry shrimp as we talk about this emotion.

So once it was clear that I was going to be in a for a long, complicated and painful divorce process, there were lots of triggers for “the angries.”

Let’s run through a list of angry triggers that may resonate with you: the reason for the divorce, the lack of or ineffective attempt at reconciliation, the impact on your family, the impact on your self esteem, the impact on your finances, the actual divorce settlement, etc, etc., etc.

The purpose of this post is not to wallow in anger. It’s to lobby for the benefits of accepting the anger, embracing it while it lasts, and working through it so that you can dismiss it. It’s all part of the healing process.

So back to the end of disbelief. That’s when I started to channel The Incredible Hulk on a periodic basis. I’d be going along, coping, getting the business of healing done and then bam, out of the blue, something would happen to trigger a burst of anger, fortunately without the ripping of clothes and transformation to a green monster.

I remember one instance in particular. I was working out on the elliptical at home, listening to a Pandora station when You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette came on. I hadn’t been feeling angry but listening to the raw anger of the lyrics (what a perfect break-up song), brought out my own hostile thoughts.

I started to fantasize about a graphic revenge scenario. Think Kill Bill. This was not the kind of thing I typically imagined. As I stepped furiously on the machine, my own personal revenge movie streamed on my consciousness. I increased the volume of the song to fully experience it. When it was over, I was exhausted but somehow I had worked through the anger by working out and hearing another woman’s wrathful tale.

The next time I wanted to exercise, I downloaded You Oughta Know and had a 4-minute angry therapy workout. This plan served me well during the divorce process.

As time went on, bursts of anger got shorter and less frequent. Now, after 6 years of healing, I rarely experience the angries.

If you are newly separated, divorced, or widowed or just never got your angries out, seek out some home-brewed anger therapy. Find your favorite revenge song, strap on those sneakers, and work through that anger.

You’ll feel better, help mend your broken heart and strengthen it at the same time.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

What if Rude Online Dating Behavior Transferred to the Real World?

Blog picture fisherman

Sometimes I feel like Lawrence Ferlinghetti when he wrote I am Waiting. Although instead of “waiting for a rebirth of wonder,” I am waiting for the tsunami of rudeness and irrational behavior so common in the online dating world to spread to the real world.

What if the social mores of Plenty of Fish, Tinder, and Match became so ingrained that men and women started to behave like their dating profiled selves?

Suspend all notions of the universe for a few moments and enter an alternate reality that hopefully will never come to pass. Your fuel for this journey? A beet bean cheeseburger.

Scene #1:

I’m walking down Connecticut Avenue, a major thoroughfare in Washington, D.C., when I stop to peer into the front window of a trendy bar. It’s 5 p.m. and happy hour is in full swing. At the bar, men stand 3 deep – a mug of beer in one hand, a large freshly caught fish in the other. How can this be? No nearby waterways, but perhaps they went fishing in the Potomac? They look eerily like the hundreds of profile photos of men with fish. At least these guys have their shirts on.

Scene #2:

I spoke too soon. I’m outside of Union Station and a horde of shirtless men exit from the 8:30 a.m. red line car. They’re walking proudly, cell phones on in selfie position – beer bellies all shined up for the office. Oh, dear, I’m going to be ill.

Scene #3:

It’s small business Saturday and I’m in Politics and Prose hoping the Obamas will show up like they did last year. This bookstore is a great venue to try to meet men in the wild. I’m here — why not go for it?

I head to the fiction section and stand next to an attractive man. He picks up a book I just finished reading. “That’s a great book,” I say, “one of my all time favorites.” He looks at me briefly and goes back to browsing. No comment, no smile, no nod. Nothing. I was proactive. I was ignored.

Scene #4:

I’m at the newly reopened Renwick Gallery entranced by Leo Villareal’s installation of LED lights suspended from the high ceiling. An attractive man who is also awestruck by this piece strikes up a conversation with me.

We chat for a few minutes and then he asks if I’d like to continue our talk over coffee. “Not just yet,” I say. I reach into my purse and pull out my OkCupid dating questionnaire. “Do you believe this country would be safer if everyone owned a gun?” I ask. He looks at me dumbfounded. “Yes, I guess I do,” he says. “Are you almost always on time?” I query. “Usually,” he says with a strange look in his eyes. “What about bathing and teeth brushing? How often?” I ask. He answers, albeit uncomfortably, and I proceed to ask several more questions.

After a few minutes, I say, “Sorry, I won’t be able to continue our talk. You don’t meet my criteria for an ideal man. Good luck with your search.” I walk away. He’s been rejected.

Scene #5:

“What a great party,” I say to the hostess, my good friend Lily. “You invited such an interesting mix of people.” Lily smiles and suggests I go talk to Jack, her old college roommate. I head over to the food table where Jack is filling his plate.

“Hi Jack. I’m Nadia, Lily’s friend from college. We met a couple of years ago. How are you?” I ask. Jack winks. He continues to fill his plate. I try again. “So Jack, I heard you work at NPR now. How do you like it?” Jack looks at me again, smiles, and winks…but doesn’t say a thing. He steps back from the table, pivots, and walks toward the bar. He stops midway, turns around, winks at me again, and continues on to the bar.

I’ve become a recipient or “victim” of the fruitless wink, a wink that doesn’t lead to conversation or even an email. It’s just there. And you never know what it meant.

Scene #6:

I’m at a concert this evening. I’ve got my friend posse with me because I expect my ex to be there. We both enjoy the same music so I have to be prepared. Yep- sure enough, there he is. And he’s heading over my way. Come on ladies, crowd around. Yay – he’s been blocked.

Scene #7:

After six fantastic dates, I think Max might be “the one.” He calls or texts me every day and we have plans to see a play the next weekend. I decide to shop for a new dress to wear to the theater. As I exit my favorite boutique, I see Max exit the Apple store. I walk quickly over to him. I’m seconds away from giving him a big hug when he turns away and scurries into Macy’s. My mouth drops open. I’ve been ghosted.

Let’s hope these scenarios remain a figment of my imagination. To help ensure that rude and irrational behavior does not transfer from the virtual to the real world, support good dating manners:

  • Don’t wink or favorite someone unless you want to correspond with and possibly meet him or her. “Bookmarking” a match for possible future correspondence is not fair to that person. Get a notebook.
  • If someone writes you a nice, thoughtful e-mail, don’t ignore it. Reply.
  • If you decide you don’t want to date someone, let him or her know. Don’t disappear without a word.
  • Be picky about who you date, but don’t go crazy with questions and checklists. A checklist cannot determine chemistry.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Slow Dawning of the Realization that He’s Just Not That Into You

He's just not that into you better image

I came rather late to reading the 2009 book He’s Just Not That Into You but then I came rather late to the dating life.

For the last month, I have been on a relationship advice book kick that began with Power Texting Men: The Best Texting Attraction Book to Get the Guy and Love is in the Mouse: Online Dating for Women: Crush your Rivals and Start Dating Extraordinary Men. I’ll offer my take on these resources another time.

About the same time my book kick began, I started going out with someone who would prove to be a conundrum. Mr. B’s behavior became particularly puzzling a couple of weeks ago. When I described the situation to a friend, she said, “Perhaps it’s a case of ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’”

This was food for thought. Speaking of which, let’s focus on fall food: wild rice crusted halibut.

I saw the movie version of He’s Just Not That Into You awhile ago and though I can’t remember the details, I remember the premise – men treating women badly. I had never read the book, which was written by two Sex and the City writers. Since it was time to select another advice tome, I downloaded the kindle edition of He’s Just Not That Into You and started reading.

For the Cliff Notes version of the book, just read the table of contents. For example:

  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Asking You Out
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Not Calling You
  • He’s Just Not That Into if He’s Disappeared on You

You get the idea. Author Greg Behrendt has a no-nonsense approach that advises women to immediately dump anyone who shows any of the “He’s Just Not That Into You” signs. His co-author Liz Tuccilo sometimes tempers or softens Greg’s hardline approach with the reality of a woman’s experience.

Women are often willing to put up with less than perfect in order to have some kind of…read “any” relationship in this world of more women than men. But more often than not, Liz agrees with Greg that it’s better to be alone than with someone who treats you poorly.

The book is really about self worth, empowerment, and getting what you as a totally awesome woman deserve.

So let’s go back to my conundrum. Here are the signs from Mr. B that gave me pause:

  • After initial frequent contact (mostly texting), there are now longer gaps in communication
  • Most common mode of communication: texting about inane daily activities or “his stress” from work etc.
  • Only a few phone calls
  • After 2nd date two weeks ago, still no plans for a 3rd date
  • Out of town every other weekend to care for elderly mother but no effort to see me during the week

The reason it was a conundrum and not a clear-cut get out of it ASAP situation:

  • We had two good dates and discovered some common interests
  • He is staying in touch however irregularly and always asks how I am
  • He listens
  • Obvious chemistry and attraction between the two of us
  • I wanted to see him again; there seemed to be potential worth exploring

There are other factors but I’m approaching this issue from a strictly behavioral analysis.

The more I read the book, the more I recognized Mr. B’s actions in the behaving badly category. And like many of the examples in the book, just when I thought he was really demonstrating non-interest, he would phone me. I started to think he was treating me like a yo yo – letting the line out and staying out of touch. Then, right before it hit the ground, he’d jerk (me) back with a phone call.

After pondering all of the examples of badly behaving men in the book and rolling my eyes at the women who kept trying to forgive their guys, I concluded that I was, in fact, in denial and living a case of He’s Just Not That Into You. I also concluded that women outnumber men in the decent and nice category.

What was the last straw with Mr. B? After not hearing from him all week, he phoned me Thursday evening. I was annoyed and didn’t answer. Later that night I sent him a text saying I’d be available Friday.

On Friday, he sent an afternoon text detailing his stressful week as an excuse for not being in touch. He ended the text by saying he plans to drive a friend to the airport in NY and will then spend the weekend in the city. There was no mention of getting together again — only that he’d be back Sunday.

I don’t know if his friend (man or woman) lives in NYC or in the DC area…but regardless, does this make any sense at all? Top that off with a lot of mundane detail. What I wanted him to write was “Really miss you and want to see you as soon as possible.”

I haven’t responded. I wrote a sayonara “breaking up” with you text but I may not send it. Sometimes ghosting seems like the right response.

To any reader who is in a murky mixed-message dating situation, read or re-read He’s Just Not That Into You. It will be a splash of cold water on your hot little love-starved head…. and sometimes you need that.

I don’t know about you but I feel so much better getting this off of my chest.

If you liked this post or any past one, please subscribe to this blog. I love subscribers!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Broken Ties That Bind

Embed from Getty Images

“It’s so funny,” my daughter says when she tells me she is baking her father a vanilla cake for his birthday.

“What?” I ask. I’m driving home from a nice evening at Bohemian Caverns, an iconic DC jazz club I had managed to miss in all of my years in Washington.

Thanks to a jazz and blues Meetup group, I finally experienced the truly cavern-like atmosphere of the dark, mood-lit club. It’s so dark you could indeed surreptitiously stroke a lover’s leg, a fantasy suggested by a first date crush I encountered awhile back.

But I digress – a couple of times. We might as well break for a lunch of Add a Pinch’s baked mahi mahi. Now back to the story.

“What’s funny?” I repeat on speakerphone.

“You and Dad say the same things a lot of the time,” my daughter says.

“Oh, you mean because I wanted a vanilla cake for my birthday too?” I ask.

“Yes. And a lot of things are the same,” she says.

“What do you mean?” I’m starting to get curious.

“Like when I look in his frig, he has a lot of the same foods.”

“Really? That’s surprising since he doesn’t cook,” I assert.

I remember her telling me how he didn’t have much food in his refrigerator when he first moved out of our marital home to what was apparently a small, depressing apartment. Just desserts I had always thought — though, inexplicably, I felt sorry for him too.

“Oh, he cooks,” she says. “It’s more that he has some of the same stuff. You know – lots of vegetables.”

“Well,” I say, not feeling as sensitive as I normally would given my nice evening, “we did live together for a long time.”

I thought about our respective states for a moment. “And we seem to have some of the same medical issues,” I offered. “Like our bad knees.”

“What else?” I ask. I’m getting really curious now. I hadn’t thought of how we grew together and became more similar in quite some time.

“I can’t think of anything else,” she says, “but it happens a lot. And it makes me smile.”

And then I remember how, like many long-time couples, we grew more similar in dozens of little — and some big — ways from liking the same foods to seeking a similar lifestyle in retirement.

And, like many long-married couples (today would have been our 40th wedding anniversary), we also grew apart in big ways.

I am reminded once again of the oddities of life and how love is forever until it’s not.

I’m not the same person he came to not love. I’m stronger, better, more confident and centered, full of creativity, and much less vanilla.

And so we can’t really be the same in any of the big ways any more – even if we both still like vanilla cake.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia