Update on Dating Sites and an Old School Breakup

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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

Top 10 Dating Obstacles

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If you follow Olympics-related news, you likely read that obstacle course racing may become an Olympic sport.

Coincidentally – and despite having some romance possibilities — I have recently been thinking about dating obstacles.

Let’s ponder this issue while indulging in a lunch fit for an athlete or dater in training.

To appreciate the variety of dating obstacles, it’s worth a quick review of obstacle course racing (OCR).

According to Wikipedia, OCR is “a sport in which a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles. Mud and trail runs are combined and the races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse.”

Note the reference to mental and physical collapse, which I bolded. I find this is a good analogy for the mental burnout that can result from the trials of modern dating.

Listed below, for your reading pleasure, sympathy, and empathy are the top 10 online and app dating obstacles:

*Finding someone you like and are attracted to

To do so, you must wade through a series of profiles with awful photos, poor to nonexistent writing skills, and such descriptors as “married” and “God-fearing.”

*Finding someone who also likes you

Hopefully your retooled, now excellent profile and carefully chosen photos serve you well.

*Connecting

Perhaps you view Mr. Z’s profile. Mr. Z then views your profile and photos. Does he write to you? Do you write to him? If neither one of you reaches out – even if someone has “favorited” or “winked” at the other person, call it a lost cause.

*Moving beyond the emails and texts

If you start corresponding with someone, will you get beyond this form of communication? Will you speak on the phone or arrange to meet? Or, will he or you just stop writing?

*Having a phone call

If you end up having a phone conversation, will it be good and balanced or will one of you indulge in a monologue?

*Moving beyond the phone call

Assuming you have a phone conversation, does he initiate an in-person meeting? Do you want to meet him or did he say something that turned you off?

*Scheduling

If an in-person meeting/date is proposed, can you find a day and time to meet? Does he live an hour away? Can you both find a convenient time and location?

*Follow-through and waiting

Perhaps you have a tentative date scheduled but lately he’s been online quite a bit and you start to wonder if the date will be finalized. You worry that he’s window-shopping for his best option (as he sees it).

Do you hang in, keep busy, and keep looking (the old “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” cliché)? This is a particularly challenging obstacle. With any luck, your date will be confirmed and finalized.

*In-person meeting

If you are finally on an in-person meeting/date, is there chemistry and connection? Does he look like his photos? Do you? Is there give and take during the conversation? Flirting? Real listening?

What’s his body language like? Does he dive into inappropriate topics such as the terms of his divorce, previous relationships, or recent surgeries?

Do you want to kiss him? Is he a decent kisser?

*Second date

Was there enough good in the first date to consider a second one? Does he text you after date #1? When/if will he ask you out? Will you go out with him again?

If everything fizzles at this point, and there is no second date, sit down and rest. You may be exhausted from running and leaping over obstacles. But don’t give up. Keep at it.

Eventually (and it might be a long eventually), you’ll ace this almost Olympic event and go on that second, third, fourth, and fifth date….

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Brief Encounter with a Catfisher

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The Bumble alerts provided the first clue that something might be fishy (as in catfishy) with my new Bumble match. Although his profile said his name was Bill, the alerts referred to him as Evans. I filed that away in my increasingly dating- weary brain while I juggled playing “let’s get to know each other” with impersonating Nancy Drew.

Let’s chow down on some shrimp scampi while reviewing the evidence.

As soon as I matched with Bill last Saturday morning, I followed the Nadia Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP) – a reverse image search of all of his photos on my phone using the Veracity app. There were no matches but that didn’t mean Bill/Evans was legitimate.

We texted and I learned he was a widower. As I’ve written before, catfishers/scammers often say they are widowers. I filed this second piece of evidence away.

After I got another Bumble alert announcing a message from “Evans,” I decided to ask this guy for his last name.

Side note: Lately I have been asking for the last names of any guys I suspect might have a false profile. The men always give me a name (real or not) that I can then research. So far, every suspect dude has turned out to be a scammer that I then report and unmatch.

Dear readers, if you’re unsure about a guy and decide to ask for his last name, here’s a suggested script in case he asks for yours: I’m asking for your last name for safety and security reasons but I don’t give out my last name until after I have met someone in person. If the guy makes it an issue, I say good riddance!

Back to the story: Bill gave me his last name – and it wasn’t Evans. I now had a full name to search. I was particularly motivated since Bill wanted to know what led to my late-in-life divorce. This is not a question to be addressed via text before you have met someone.

I searched Bill’s full name and immediately found his Facebook page – with one of his Bumble profile photos as his main — and only — photo.

Here were the final pieces of incriminating evidence: Bill’s Facebook page was virtually empty except for the one photo, which was loaded a week ago. Where does Bill live? His Bumble profile said Arlington, VA (a suburb not too far from me). Facebook, however, showed his location as San Francisco. The only personal information about Bill was his marital status – widowed — and his employment — “self employed.” There was no mention of the job listed on his Bumble page. Bill had only one Facebook page like – a media company called, Faith, Family America (this would be enough to turn me off regardless of his status as a catfisher).

My work was almost done. I reported Bill to Bumble and unmatched him (after taking a few screen shots of our exchanges to use as notes for this blog post).

It was only 1 in the afternoon but I felt the need for a glass of wine.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Post-Valentine’s Day Blues

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Are you feeling the post-Valentine’s Day blues? I am and perhaps it’s because I didn’t follow through on all of my Valentine’s Day Resolutions to meet men in real life.

Let’s enjoy a blues-appropriate lunch of Southwestern black bean quinoa mango medley. Keeping it light for the approaching bikini season.

Oh, yes, those resolutions. I’m afraid I didn’t attempt all of them…and in one case, I tried to game the system by combining three in one day.

Among my resolutions were plans to write in a coffee shop, have dinner at a bar, and go to a “social” grocery store in the evening. As mentioned above, I mistakenly tried to cram all three actions into a single afternoon/early evening.

Here’s how the day went: One Wednesday afternoon, I decided to try writing at a local Starbucks. I arrived about 3:45 p.m. Although there were a couple of solo men working on laptops, the venue was sparsely populated. I selected a table where I could see one of the guys but it was too far away for conversation. Had it been more crowded, it might have been less awkward to sit fairly close to one of the laptop guys. However, it wasn’t a great loss since neither man was age appropriate or particularly attractive.

Since not much was happening in the possible romance department, I decided to focus on writing. This became a challenge in concentration as a man and a woman sat next to me and carried on an annoying conversation. I should have followed the advice of one of my teachers who suggested taking notes on the conversation of strangers in order to improve one’s dialogue writing skills.

Lesson learned: Late afternoon may not be the best time to meet men in a coffee shop—though this could vary depending on the venue.

Continuing my experiment, I walked over to a nearby restaurant/bar with the intention of having a happy hour “dinner.” Although some happy hours are lively at 5 pm, this popular restaurant’s bar area was practically empty when I arrived. A couple of people sat in one of the nearby booths but virtually no one was sitting at the bar. I ordered a drink and appetizer in hopes the venue would fill up but only a small group of work colleagues sat down. I decided to cut my losses and head to the Whole Foods across the way.

Lesson learned: Some bars ARE busy at 5 pm so it makes sense to try different venues at different times and on different days of the week.

It was about 6 pm when I arrived at the Whole Foods. I was a little too buzzed from the afternoon’s competing libations – a Starbucks cappuccino followed by a generously poured glass of wine. Needless to say, I wasn’t in prime flirting form. I failed to go to the produce aisle where imaginary men could ask for my help in selecting vegetables or to the prepared foods counter where more imaginary men could ask if I have ever tried the General Tso’s Vegan Chicken.  Instead, I shopped for things I actually needed or wanted to try (e.g., Halo Top ice cream).

Lesson learned: Don’t do a grocery run when you’re tired or tipsy. Do stroll to the best meeting locations within the store (after you select whatever you really need).

Aside from the 3-in-1 disaster, I made progress on some of the other resolutions: I signed up for a free introduction to improv class to be held this weekend, registered for more meet-up events, and made a resolution action schedule (promptly ignored).

It’s always worth celebrating the small victories. Without my list of resolutions, I might not have done any of these things. Plus the benefits extend beyond possible romance –  friendship opportunities in the meet-ups and improv class and pennies saved via a produce sale at Whole Foods.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Dating Attention Deficit Syndrome: A New Epidemic?

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I am convinced that a significant number of men on online dating sites are suffering from a severe case of DADD — Dating Attention Deficit Syndrome. Women share this affliction but I suspect there are fewer of them and that they have a milder version of DADD.

Let’s discuss over Anthony Bourdain’s omelet with salmon and chives.

You have heard me rant before about the window-shopping or candy store experience of online dating. A recent virtual encounter on Zoosk triggered the naming of a real affliction I call DADD. (Apologies to all the fathers.)

DADD is backed up by research. A 2015 Pew Research study found that one-third of people who used online dating have never actually gone on a date with someone they met on these sites. I imagine these people emailing and texting ad nauseam until the end of time.

Case in point: A recent 10-day text exchange I had with Mr. F from Zoosk. I kept encouraging an in-person meeting but Mr. F was equally adept at promising and delaying.

For example, in a discussion of food and cooking, I suggested we get a drink to plan a salmon throwdown. Mr. F liked the idea and we continued to volley about this and other topcs — on the site and then offline (using my Google voice number).

Mr. F began sending me a daily 5 p.m. text asking how my day was. Sadly, he failed to advance the discussion significantly so that we could learn something substantive about each other. I continued to pursue an in-person meeting. And the kicker? He was constantly online. Every time I went on Zoosk to check messages, I got a notification that my connection, Mr. F, was on the site.

Finally, I’d had enough. At this point, the flirting by text lost its appeal. After a weekend of no contact (although Mr. F was certainly online), I was convinced he was either playing at dating and never intended to meet or he had lined up dates with so many other women that I wasn’t a priority. When he sent his usual 5 p.m. text on the Monday after the no-contact weekend, I decided to rebuff him in a snarky way.   See below for the end of our “relationship.”

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My last “Ciao” was cut off in the screen shot.

As I suspected (and hoped), my response ended this merry go round. When you’re pissed off, having the last word is deeply satisfying!

Mr. F wasn’t the first man with DADD I have encountered. Some have admitted to me they know they are online too much. Even if they meet some of the women they encounter, they can’t seem to stop looking for the next best Ms. Right.

Hope we all find someone who has kicked DADD – or never had it.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day Resolutions

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No, I’m not confusing my holidays. My resolutions ARE for Valentine’s Day, in hopes that I will have a Valentine or at least a promising Valentine’s Day date in another month. This doesn’t give me much time for implementing my resolutions and certainly no time to cook – so let’s lunch on this quick pasta dish.

There are people who say that vocalizing your intentions and believing they will come true ensures they will become reality. So, I’m going out on a limb – possibly a whim – to say the following actions will bring me what I’m visualizing (6’4” of the sweetest man possible).

I hope you will come up with your own Valentine’s Day Resolutions. Feel free to take mine and modify them to suit you as needed.

Some of these resolutions are based on altering my everyday schedule. As someone who doesn’t work in an office anymore, I often take advantage of my flexibility and do things during off-peak hours. The problem with this strategy is that I’m less likely to encounter single men who might still be on a traditional work schedule. I do my grocery shopping on a weekday morning, go to the gym mid-morning or mid-afternoon, swim at lunchtime, write in my pleasant home office, etc.

Here’s how I plan to change things up a bit:

*Pick up a couple of grocery items in the evening. I will still do my “big shopping” during the week but this special and quick trip allows me to strike a compromise between my relaxed schedule and the time when working/teleworking single men might be shopping.

*Go to different grocery stores for these quick trips, particularly those that have “social” reputations.

*Go to wine stores in the evening, particularly when they are offering a free tasting.

*Go to the gym one evening a week. Since I belong to a gym with many branches throughout the area, I can also try different locations.

*Have dinner at a bar one night a week. See my post on meeting men in bars.

*Attend three events sponsored by a single meet-up in an effort to have repeated exposure.

*Once a week, write in a coffee shop.

*Once a week, run a random errand in the evening. Possibilities: A hardware store, a bookstore, a car wash.

*Take a new class. I’m considering a free introduction to improv class.

*Make a schedule of these resolutions. If I have a set schedule, I’m more likely to follow through on these actions.

Whatever your circumstance – retired, teleworking, flexible schedule – ask yourself how you can change your activities and your schedule to expand your circle of daily encounters. The goal: Meet new people in new venues. And try to lose the resting bitch face while you’re out and about.

Tell me about your Valentine’s Day resolutions!

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Uncertainties of Online Dating

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Here’s what I don’t like about online dating. Eat this yummy white bean kale salad with tahini dressing while I tell you about it. In a typical encounter, you exchange texts or emails and possibly a phone call with Mr. X. You meet one evening for drinks. You both seem to have a good time and appear to like each other.

The next morning (or even later that same night), Mr. X sends you a text saying, “I had a nice time” or “That was fun.” This first post-date text may or may not mention getting together again. If he does not ask you out and you see that he’s online on the dating site, you are thrown into turmoil.

Perhaps you are online mostly to see if Mr. X is online…but you also received a “like” from a guy and you’re curious. When you find that Mr. X is also online, you immediately feel you are in competition with whoever else he’s “viewing” or messaging. You imagine he has found your replacement! The reality: You don’t know what he’s doing and, like you, he may only want to see if his new romantic interest – you – is online.

Now imagine a pre-online dating world. In this version of the first date encounter, Mr. X phones you to say he had a nice time.   Yes, he (and you) might encounter other potential romantic interests but finding these matches requires more deliberate effort. Neither you nor Mr. X has an always open in your living room candy store filled with others looking for romance. And it is this candy store that causes you to stress out as you imagine your guy binging on an excess of sugar.

In the pre-online dating world, you might want to date others and may be already dating others while you figure out who is the one (or one of the ones) but your process will be more deliberate. It will take more effort. In this universe, there’s a greater likelihood you’ll continue to focus on each other exclusively until you’re certain it’s working or not working.

Back to today’s world. Until you’re in a committed relationship, you stress when Mr. X is online, or changes his profile picture, or even temporarily removes his picture (why?).

Over time, and with enough false relationship starts, you may get more blasé as a defense mechanism. You don’t curb your enthusiasm when you’re with Mr. X but when you’re alone, you try not to hope as much; you limit your daydreams. Only when he gives you a clear sign that candy means nothing to him, do you let hope back in.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia