Diary: A Week without Dating Apps

blog pix week without dating apps

Monday morning:

I deleted all of my dating apps and hid my profile on the dating sites I belong to. Feeling both free in a good way and strangely untethered in a bad way. To motivate myself, I made a schedule of activities for the week. The hope is that I will get out of the house more and possibly meet men in real life. Oh foolish heart.

While working on this blog’s social media pages, I experience what can only be described as online dating withdrawal.

I have various random thoughts and questions such as, “If there were no apps, would I ever have any dates?”

Wednesday morning:

I woke up from a strange dream in which I meet an attractive older man in a friend’s group house. The setting seems to be a mishmash of my early college and current days. I’m unsure about the meaning of the dream but I think it must have something to do with worry about a lack of romantic possibilities.

Yesterday I tweeted an article from Bustle about a young woman who has been app-less for a year. She recounted the things she missed about online and app dating. After two days, I could relate to all of them except the one where she longed for the ability to immediately ask out and meet a guy she matched with on a dating app.

Although some of my online encounters rapidly progressed from messaging to an in- person meeting, the man initiated them. Sometimes I gently pushed a guy toward a meeting, but I haven’t opened with, Hey you want to meet for a drink? Perhaps I should. Just to see what happens. My guess is that given her younger age, the writer of this piece has done better than I would if I went offline for a year.  She likely has a bigger “single” social circle and more professional connections compared to a single, retired woman of a certain age. But I’m just speculating.

With no apps or sites to check, no emails to write or respond to, I have more time for other things. I’m reading more and per usual I tend to read fiction about relationships and romance (not romance novels per se – though I enjoy them too). I discovered Laurie Colwin, a delightful writer who sadly died much too young. I devoured Happy All the Time and now I’m thoroughly enjoying Goodbye without Leaving. Of course, reading doesn’t get me out in the world…so perhaps I’ll finish the book at a café or coffee shop.

I realize that a week without online dating is not enough to fully plan activities where I might meet someone organically. I signed up for an archery Meet-up that’s getting together Saturday but it looks like the members are in their 20s and 30s. It won’t lead to any romantic possibilities but that’s okay.

Wednesday evening:

I felt better this afternoon…but evening brings on feelings of loneliness. Where are the phone pings that someone winked at me or sent me a message?

Thursday morning:

Another weird dream night – nothing about men per se and now I can’t even remember the story…but obviously an app-less week is affecting my subconscious.

I receive an email from Hinge that someone likes me and his picture is not bad. I wonder if I should go back on Hinge briefly to check the guy’s profile and possibly respond to him. I ponder whether that would be cheating on my app-less week. Then I notice Hinge sent the email at 2 am. A late or middle of the night “like” is often a signal that the man lives in another time zone, possibly in another country. So I decide to “hold” for the moment and not break this online dating fast.

I receive another like from someone on OurTime. Notifications from this dating site don’t include photos of those who like or message you so I’m not tempted to go online. Holding fast to my fast.

I hope to make it to an art museum tour this afternoon. I’ve heard this can be a good way to meet people. At the least, I will increase my knowledge about art and get out of the house.

Friday morning:

I missed the tour so I ended up wandering around Georgetown and the waterfront. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was good for my soul. I didn’t meet anyone but enjoyed the afternoon.

I confess that late last night, I semi-cheated (briefly) on my dating fast with a quick Tinder check related to a previous match with an attractive man. Although he lives 160 miles away, this guy visits his adult son who lives not too far from me.

The man said he would reach out next time he comes into town. Since it’s a holiday week, I thought I should reinstall Tinder just to see whether he had contacted me through the app. You guessed it (possibly): There was no message because he had unmatched me. After a couple of accidental super-likes, I delete the app again.

Saturday morning:

After seeing that the archery Meet-up is now filled with 7-to-10 year olds on spring break, I decide to cancel and go another time.

I’m looking forward to the end of this fast. I plan to go back online tomorrow rather than Monday as originally planned…still it’s a full 6 days without online dating.

You may be wondering about my rationale for breaking the fast one day short of a week. Sundays are typically the best days for connecting on the dating sites and holiday weekends also have more activity. Holidays bring out the urge to connect. A lot of people feel nostalgia for past celebrations and yearn to once again be part of a family or relationship “unit.”

Perhaps the lesson from my app-less week is that it’s okay to get back on the sites and apps since despite their problems, they give me hope. The key is to supplement the online world with real life activities and to check the apps less frequently.

Two years ago (I cringe as I think of how long I’ve been doing this), I tried to limit my online dating check-in frequency without much long-term success. I’m convinced that this April’s dating app “fast” is a better transition to healthier online dating behavior – similar to the way a food fast retrains your appetite so you are more satisfied with fewer calories.

At the same time, I plan on binging tomorrow.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

App-less April: Nadia Style

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Did you know this is App-less April?

For the second April in a row, Bustle, an online women’s magazine, is challenging readers and staff to delete their dating apps and meet people in real life.

It’s no surprise that online dating frustrates daters of all ages. Whether you’re using apps or websites, most singletons would prefer to meet people in real life.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know about my challenges – from finding men I like enough to date to revoking, ghosting, catfishing, breadcrumbing and just plain crummy behavior.

So, I’ve decided to embark on my own version of App-less April. Won’t you join me in a send-off meal of Tori Avey’s spice-broiled salmon with green apple salad?

This coming Monday morning, I will delete all of my apps and hide my dating profiles for a week (why lose out on the heavy Sunday activity?) After seven days, I will reassess this plan and decide whether I should continue.

Why this short trial period and not an extended detox? Despite its many problems, online dating gives me hope. Every couple of days there’s a new romantic possibility or two. The hope that one of these prospects will be “the one” keeps me going.

There are lots of resources with suggestions on how and where to meet men in real life. The big question is: Will I be able to do more than I am already doing (which apparently is not enough)?

When you rely on apps and dating sites, it’s easy to not push yourself to go out solo, or walk up to that cute stranger. Will knowing that I have no back-up plan waiting for me on my computer or phone motivate me to do more and take more risks? Tune in to future posts for the answer.

For inspiration, I’m ruminating over a recent online dating experience. Encounters like this are not unusual (although I find this one super weird) – and that’s the problem.

Mr. M., an interesting and quirky guy from Match, sends me a good first message. He clearly read my profile and his email points out what we have in common.

His message ends with:

“I am geographically close by to meet up for coffee some time. It would be a pleasure to meet you.”

I write back with an equally profile-specific email and comment that I’d like to meet for coffee (or wine) too and that I’m free this coming Tuesday.

I don’t hear back for a week but see that Mr. M. is online sporadically. I forget about him and conclude that Mr. M. is another non-responder who has lost interest.

Eight days later, he writes again:

“Sorry about missing the chance to meet with you this past Tuesday evening. No events. Just my own stupidity.

I would like to have the chance for us to meet. I am not a wine drinker. Coffee or hot tea is good by me. So. if you know of a place that serves both, we can both be pleased. 

I am free this Tuesday; but have a speech to hear on Monday, and a film on Wednesday.

I hope to hear back from you.” 

Since I’m a nice person, I decide to give Mr. M. another chance.  I write back noting that I am also free on Tuesday and suggest a place we could meet.

Once again, Mr. M. fails to respond to me. This time he is not online. One week goes, by, two weeks, and then three weeks. Still no response; and he is not online. I fear he is dead or hospitalized. With the few clues I have, I search for him online but I don’t know his last name or phone number (I planned to ask for the latter before meeting).

Then, out of the blue, I see that he viewed me. I’m curious as hell and want to know what happened. At the same time, I realize that the only way I would consider meeting him would be if he had an incredible excuse to end all excuses.

I write Mr. M.:

Hi, At this juncture, I’m curious about what happened to you since you never responded to me. Just trying to make sense of this crazy online dating world and an abundance of mixed messages.

As the more jaded of you have already guessed, he didn’t respond. He’s online frequently now.

What are your suspicions about Mr. M.? Pick one:

  1. Married?
  2. Girlfriend?
  3. Insane?
  4. Typical rude dater?
  5. All of the above?

None of these answers would be wrong. And that’s why I’m going App-less for 7 days.

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

 

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.”

text-with-frank-for-blog

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

 

 

 

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

Seventeen Niche Dating Sites for 2017

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For many of us, the search for romance is like looking for a needle in a haystack. In honor of the year 2017, let’s browse 17 quirky and/or niche, smaller dating sites that make romance more of a search for a needle IN a needle.

Enjoy soba noodles while you browse.

Fitness Singles

With over 2 million members, Fitness Singles touts itself as the world’s largest online dating community for sports and fitness enthusiasts. The sign-up process is easy and straightforward with a focus on fitness activities and a healthy lifestyle.

When filling out your profile, you’re asked to list your top three fitness categories and your skill level. You can list additional activities as well. I didn’t particularly care for the physical attributes section, which asks your weight and height as well as your body type, appearance, and best feature. You can pick “you decide” for the best feature and appearance categories but you have to answer the other questions. I decided to go for it and answer all the questions.

Loading your profile and browsing other profiles is free but you need to be a paying member to respond to or initiate messages. When an interesting man reached out to me yesterday morning, I decided to sign up for 6 months. Time will tell whether this guy or the site is worth it. It’s a big online dating weekend and I’m not sure how much credence to put into the decent amount of attention my profile received in the last 24 hours.

Purrsonals

Wondering if anyone else’s cat has an expressive tail? You’ll get an answer and a possible soul mate if you visit Purrsonals, a dating and social networking site for cat lovers. The site advertises a 14-day free trial. I didn’t sign up because, hey, I’m a dog person.

Ugly Schmucks

“i’m ugly, you’re ugly, let’s go” may not be the best profile headline but it seems okay when browsing the Ugly Schmucks site.

The site describes itself as “geared towards people who may feel unattractive or uncomfortable in their own skin and is designed to help them succeed in meeting others who value genuine personality over outer appearance.”

Although Ugly Schmucks says its members want to be judged for “what’s on the inside,” most of them are not taking chances: the majority of profiles do not have photos. However, the guys who have profiles do not look any “uglier” to me than the ones on other sites. It’s all about self-perception.

Ugly Schmucks is free to browse but, like most sites, you have to pay to send and receive messages.

Naturist Passion

Feeling burdened by clothes? This may be the site for you. Naturist Passion (NP) implores you to “find true nudists for dating and friendship!!”

No need to worry about what outfits to wear in your profile photos since you won’t be wearing clothes.

Naturist Passion claims it is the “first, most-trusted and largest site for nudist/naturist friends in the world.”  NP describes its members as those who enjoy living naked, skinny dipping, and meeting others with this lifestyle.

According to NP, “Nudism is a fun, healthy, freeing and wholesome way for men and women to socialize and live without clothes. Naturism is a philosophy that values simplicity and increased harmony with nature.”

If any of this resonates with you, 2017 might be your year to date naked.

Your Cause or Mine

If you’d like to make 2017 a year of volunteering, consider Your Cause or Mine. This cause-related dating community brings together singles interested in local causes. Members are matched based on location and cause interests. Once matched, the site suggests volunteer and cause events the couple could attend together. You can also search for volunteer and cause-related events. I’d consider joining this site.

Sea Captain Date

You don’t have to be a sea captain to join Sea Captain Date. “Any lonely soul who simply yearns for the ocean breeze can sign up for a free account.” I love the ocean but I’m not impressed by the sample profiles I viewed on the site. Perhaps you might like the 23-year-old “AllHandsonDick” or the 74-year-old with ED who loves to spoon. Next!

Farmers Only

Do you prefer tractors to sports cars, rich soil to concrete, fresh fruits and veggies to take-out? If so, Farmers Only might be the way to go. It’s easy to become a standard free member in order to browse profiles, send flirts, and receive a notice that a member has flirted with you. Only premium, paid members can email other members. The selection in my area and age range is limited but there may be better prospects in your location.

Singles with Food Allergies

It could be nice to have a back-up epi pen in the house. Just saying.

Paleo Connect

Looking for a mate who lives a Paleo lifestyle? This free site might be for you.

Clown Dating

If you are a clown, a clown in training, or you just love clowns, smile and sign up. This one’s not for me. Sign me clown phobic.

Herpes Fish

Men and women with herpes may find this site helpful.

420 Singles

Dating for the cannabis community – via your computer or a phone app.

Date a Golfer

Find romance on the golf course or at least share your passion for golf.

Age Match

This is an age gap dating site: older men/younger women and older women/younger men.

My Lovely Parent

Reluctant older daters get dating encouragement via My Lovely Parent. The children or friends of the hesitant daters initiate the application process and the site sends the prospective member an invitation link to complete his or her profile.

Furry Mate

This site is for those who identify with furry creatures and want to meet other “furries.” If you have to ask what this is all about, this is probably not your site.

Equestrian Singles

If Black Beauty was your favorite book and/or you are a horse enthusiast, this site is for you.

Do any of these sites appeal to you? Let me know if you sign up!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

What Happens at the Monthly Meeting of the Dating Bots?

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THE CLOUD, SOMEWHERE IN CYBERSPACE OVER ROMANCE, AR –

“Good morning fellow dating bots. TGIF. I’ve got a busy day at OurTime so I’m going to quickly move to roll call for our monthly meeting.

“POFbot?”

“Here.”

“Matchbot?”

“Yeah.”

“Tinderbot?”

“Hey!”

“Bumblebot?”

“Hi OurTime. #You’re cute.”

“OkCupidbot?”

“Yo OT.”

“JSwipebot?”

“Gut margn!”

“CoffeeMeetsBagelbot?”

“Greetings – I brought you a cappuccino.”

“Thanks CMB. Hingebot?”

“How’s it going?”

“Thanks all. I’ll make sure everyone’s recorded in the minutes. Today’s first item of business is Nadia Alegria Amore.

“She’s been on one or all of our sites for several years now and despite four 90-day relationships, she hasn’t had much luck. She’s picky but then I can’t fault her for rejecting weirdos, losers, and creeps. The good ones she likes can’t seem to stop window-shopping or they’re after a younger woman.

“I know her membership fees are paying for our baby bots’ future college education, but I think we should help her out and send her the one.

“You know, it’s in our power to override the algorithm and play old fashioned matchmaker.”

“Is she really trying that hard?” asked OkCupidbot.

“You’re biased,” said POFbot, “you know she just dropped the OKC site because of scammer overload. Cut her some slack.”

“Speaking of scammers. I’d like to hold off on sending her the one until she’s evaluated one of our questionable clients,” said Tinderbot. “She’s one of the best at outing scammers and there’s someone I’d like her to investigate.”

“I don’t think that’s fair. She has to be getting discouraged. We’ve sent her the ‘we cannot find users near you’ message 100 times,” said Hingebot, “but she is older than most of our users.”

“Good point. She’s one of the best at avoiding burnout but she was near tears last night when one of our OurTime clients asked about her weekend plans but then didn’t respond to her answer. She questioned what she wrote him but I think her response was fine. She said she had some weekend plans but could make time to meet him — and she said it in a flirty way.”

“ I agree with you, OurTimebot. I think we should send her the one. I have a strong contender,” said POFbot.

“Great. Who do you have?”

“It someone she’s been communicating with on and off for a couple of months. The “block” as he says is that they live 400 miles apart…but definitely within an easily arranged train ride. They’re attracted to each other – as much as you can be from a picture – and he just asked for her phone number. At that point, she ran his photos through Google image search and everything seemed kosher.”

“Let’s do it,” said Bumblebot. “You know, I’m a romantic.”

“I’m undecided,” said Matchbot. “She just paid to attend a dating webinar and I want to see if it helps her game.”

“I’m for giving her the one. He’s Jewish and likes that she’s Jewish. It might encourage her to be slightly observant,” said JSwipebot.

“Okay everyone. Let’s bring this to a formal vote. All those in favor of giving Nadia the one, in this case, one from POF, raise your hand.

“Looks like it’s almost unani….wait Matchbot is bowing to the pressure. It’s unanimous. Nadia gets the one.

“POFbot, since you have the only contender, work your magic. We’re going to take a break in January, so report back at our Valentine’s Day meeting.

“Have a good weekend everyone.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating and happy cooking this recipe for seared tofu with miso sauce.

XXXOOO

Nadia