You Know You’ve Been Dating Online for Too Long When…

blog pix june 24

Whether you’ve been online for 6 months or 6 years, had 10 or 100 first dates, and progressed to assorted numbers of second dates and actual relationships (short or long term), you may reach a point where you are tempted to give it up.

Possible triggers include a heinous ghosting episode, an increasing lack of suitable partners, or the propensity of many men to window shop as a way of life.

Join me in some Turkish chickpea burgers as we review specific signs that you may be at or have already reached your breaking point:

You’ve been online too long when:

*You can remember the early days of Bumble when there was only one worker bee available.

*You have saved and checked enough photos on Google Image Search or Veracity mobile image search to fill an FBI most wanted file.

*You know that when a man says his age is 60 but he’s willing to date women up to age 75, he’s actually 76.

*Similarly, you know when a man says he’s 6’ tall, he’s actually 5’8.”

*Checking the online dating sites every morning and night is as mindless as brushing your teeth but without a guaranteed reward like a healthy mouth.

*You immediately shut down any guy who asks, “How long have you been on this site?”

*Being “favorited” is now one of your least favorite things, because it usually means you have been bookmarked and soon forgotten.

*You know not to take a man at his word when his profile says he likes to listen as much as talk.

*You have a new lexicon of dating terms: breadcrumbing, ghosting benching, swiping, etc.

*Dating terminology starts to affect everyday speech. When someone asks, “Do you have a match?” you don’t search through a drawer, you start to daydream about the guy you reached out to on Match.

*Your main reason for acquiring new Facebook friends is to increase your ‘stable’ of possibilities on Tinder, Bumble, and other Facebook-based apps.

*You immediately know when there’s a new guy on one of the dating sites because you are so familiar with the membership.

*Your inner editor is working overtime to correct such spelling or proofreading gaffes as “love the autdoors.”

*The bartenders at your favorite first date spots know what you’re drinking before you order.

*You’ve been filmed kissing dates goodbye on so many parking lot cams, that attendants are bringing popcorn to the security reviews.

Ranting aside, online dating – despite its many frustrating and time consuming aspects – continues to be a viable way to meet a romantic partner.

Hang in, continue to pursue real life interactions, and take it all with a grain or two of salt on your margarita glass.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @60sdating

Men and the Lost Art of Subtlety

blog pix art of subtlety man with roses

Guys don’t always get the importance of subtlety.  This failing can prevent them from achieving their dating goal – whether it ends in the bedroom or the altar.

Join me in some not subtle but yummy early summer greens goddess salad as we examine this situation.

I started thinking about subtlety after a recent exchange with a guy on POF.  I introduced Mr. X in my recent post about being stuck in a back pocket, the zone where a man’s interest diminishes and you are left hanging, wondering if you’ll hear from him again.

Mr. X lives in New Jersey and I thought I would jump start our 9 month erratic conversation by suggesting that we meet halfway between us – in Philadelphia – for lunch. Somehow I have never visited Philadelphia – other than passing through on my way somewhere else. So I figured if the date went sour, I could be a tourist and not call the whole outing a failure.

Mr. X didn’t respond to my suggestion for a couple of days. I assumed he had back-pocketed me and put me in the “no try zone” of forgotten online matches. So I was surprised when I saw an email from POF saying I had a message from him.   Feeling a bit ignored and annoyed, I waited a day and a half to read his message:

And there lies the crux of the problem. If I was going to Philadelphia for lunch, I would want to know that I was having you for dessert.  

Now you see my point about subtlety. Certainly it is a possibility that we might both order dessert but by putting it out there as a requirement, Mr. X ruined both the romance AND the possibility. He turned a potential romantic encounter into a transaction rather than a natural meeting/date-whatever you want to call it.

How could I give him the promise of dessert when we had never even shared an appetizer, let alone had a phone conversation* or actually met in person?

This type of exchange has happened to me online and on dates on numerous occasions. When a man jumps too quickly and aggressively beyond the chase to the “conquest,” and bypasses the romance, he ruins the chances of what might have been.

Mutual chemistry and true interest might advance things but to treat an encounter (whether still online or in real life) as a transaction ruins the romantic flow.

Mr. X will never know that we might have had a fabulous dessert in the City of Brotherly Love. I never responded to his email. Deliberately not subtle. Sometimes doing nothing is the strongest message you can give.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

*I would not have travelled to Philly without having a phone conversation first.

 

 

Do You Speak Body Language?

blog post body language

Why can’t people come with subtitles that decipher their body language?

These translations could be on an LED light display fixed to a hat or headband. It would be so nice to have a shortcut to the meaning of subtle and not so subtle cues that people exhibit.

But, there’s still a lot we can figure out on our own without a magic chyron. Help yourself to some Japanese vegetable pancakes while we talk about this issue.

I’ve contemplated the importance of body language many times over the years and it’s a useful tool for the dating life. To help my own natural powers of observation, I took a couple of online courses and did some reading on this topic.

There’s a lot of research on body language and what it means. From my reading and online classes, I’ve learned not only about various forms of eye contact such as “deep gazing” but also about the importance of such body language behaviors as smiling (a no-brainer for me), microexpressions – brief facial expressions that reveal emotions, leaning toward someone you like, and mirroring where you imitate someone as a means of communication and approval.

I have added to this knowledge base with real life experiences of body language fails.

Body Language Fails from my Dating Files 

Not Seeing Eye to Eye

One of my more frustrating encounters involved a date with a man who wouldn’t look me in the eye. It was an early fall afternoon — warm enough to sit on an outside lounge sofa (think poolside couch in Miami). Feeling bold, I sat on the couch next to Mr. A and we began to chat. However, instead of turning toward me and holding my gaze, he looked straight ahead while talking. I was having none of that. Eye contact is critical for me. “I need to see your eyes when we talk,” I said and orchestrated our positions so we were opposite each other. I made some clichéd comment about the eyes being the window to your soul but that didn’t help very much.

We continued what turned into an interesting and far ranging conversation. However, although most people hold eye contact between 60 and 70 percent of the time, Mr. A was more in the 10 to 15 percent range. I couldn’t figure out his behavior. He was U.S. born so I didn’t think it was culturally based. He seemed to like me and went in for the goodbye kiss.

After the date, I reviewed our interaction. I did a little Googling and asked some friends and came up with lots of theories explaining Mr. A’s lack of eye contact – everything from being shy, to lying about his marital status to having Asperger’s syndrome. I’ll never know the reason. There was no second date (though he tried at one point to schedule one). But Mr. A’s failed gazing behavior was too big of a deal breaker for me.

An Imperfect Kiss 

Beyond the issue of whether someone is a good kisser, is the message via body language that the kiss sends to you. For example, I went out a couple of times with a man who kissed with his lips only. Okay, you’re thinking well, of course he kissed with his lips. But when a man kisses you and doesn’t put his whole body into it, he’s holding back on emotion for whatever reason. Even when those lips know what to do, if they are isolated from his body, there’s a weird disconnect that says, “I’m not really that into you.”

What you want is a whole body kisser! (Unintentional pun.)

Too Many to Count

And then there was the man who placed his cell phone next to his happy hour glass, crossed his arms, and proceeded to go into overdrive about his incredibly boring job and medical/surgical history. I kid you not. The sad part is he was a good looking, tall, and well-built man. But that couldn’t compensate for his poor body language and pathetic conversation style. My body language said escape with my feet pointing toward the door and escape I did after about 35 minutes.

Self-Awareness

One side benefit of being aware of someone else’s body language is the increased awareness of the signals you are sending out. Pay attention to your body and what it’s doing. It can sometimes provide clues about what you’re feeling before you’re fully aware of the emotion.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sideways-view/201412/the-secrets-eye-contact-revealed

http://www.scienceofpeople.com/2015/02/science-love-2/

Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201112/body-language-vs-micro-expressions

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/learning-the-look-of-love-that-sly-come-hither-stare/

https://www.bustle.com/articles/150983-6-ways-to-tell-if-someone-is-into-you-according-to-science

http://www.signature-reads.com/2017/05/vanessa-van-edwards-how-to-interpret-micro-expressions/

http://www.improveyoursocialskills.com/body-language/comfort-field-guide

http://psychologia.co/mirroring-body-language/

Stuck in the Dating Back Pocket and How to Cope

blog pix man back pocket

There’s little air and not much room in a back pocket. That must be why I’m feeling out of sorts. And it’s not just one back pocket. I’m jumping from one back pocket to another. It’s exhausting – not to mention emotionally draining.

Confused? Who isn’t perplexed by the vagaries of the modern dating world? Let’s try to calm down with some comfort white bean pizza with arugula.

It’s easy to know if you’re in someone’s back pocket. First, there’s a flurry of interest. You might get a wink and all of your pictures are liked or favorited. Or you receive a notice that “he wants to meet you!” If you’re lucky, Mr. X will actually email you, though too often your message is a “canned flirt” written by the dating bots and sometimes by a dating coach. But let’s say your inbox contains a real albeit likely routine message such as “let’s chat.”

I received that exact message yesterday. Here’s the transcript with my comments in bold face.

Mr. X: Let’s Chat… Cheers

Nadia: Hi, when are you moving here? Ciao (Important to me since his profile did not clarify his residence status.)

Mr. X: I have moved. Living in Alexandria.

Nadia: Nice – I love Old Town (though not sure if you’re in Old Town). I’m a DC girl.

(In an effort to stand out from the crowd and avert a potentially boring conversation pattern, I threw him a somewhat out of the box question.)

Nadia: So what would you do if the song September by Earth, Wind, and Fire came on the radio?

(I love this song and based on his age and profile, I thought this tune might resonate with him.)

Mr. X: Sing along, dance and remember September past.

Nadia: That’s correct. 😊

(Comment and digression: Mr. X may not have gotten the humor in my comment unless he is a fan of The Late Late Show with James Corden. In one of the show’s regular features, bandleader Reggie Watts asks the guests an out of the box (often weird and funny) question. No matter what the guests answer; Watts’ reply is always, “That’s correct.”) 

When Mr. X didn’t follow up with a question, comment, or anything – and I saw he was online most of the day — I realized I had likely been back- pocketed. The question is would I stay there (in his mind) for a day, a week, or 2 months?

Of course, I’m not sitting around waiting for him to sift through an overflow of other women’s profiles. But it is disappointing. And because he didn’t respond, I started to question what I wrote to him.

It’s worth remembering that sometimes you make it out of a back pocket but it might be only a brief reprieve.

Case in point: the same day I interacted with Mr. X, Mr. G, a guy who lives in New Jersey and writes me every couple of months, contacted me. I replied to him and said that I wondered if there was a point to such infrequent communication.

Mr. G replied that the geographic distance was an issue. So I suggested that we consider meeting for lunch in Philadelphia-halfway between us. That sparked his interest but only temporarily. Like Mr. X, Mr. G left me hanging and back in the back pocket I went.

That’s when I put down the phone and went for a swim. Exercise, fresh air, friends and family, and music….all are good antidotes to woes from the back pocket problem.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone’s Searching for Something, Chapter 2

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Are you curious about other readers of this blog and what prompts them to read about dating, sex, and life in your 60s? After all, it’s comforting to know you are not the only person faced with particular concerns.

It has been over a year since I’ve looked at the search terms that bring people here. Let’s catch up over some spring minestrone verde with pistachio pesto and see what’s on readers’ minds (with my comments, of course).

The search terms reflect a global base since you, dear readers, are literally from every country on the globe.  The US leads the pack, followed by the UK and Canada in that order – all the way down to Vanuatu and Oman (where are these places?). I love the fact that Vanuatuians (sp?) are also concerned about the state – or non-state – of their love lives.

The number one search that brought people here in the last year and a half was “dating in your 60s rules” or “breaking up in your 60s.” A tie. Unfortunately one often leads to the other. The only rules I follow are my own, based on what I have learned and found works best for me. And I break them as desired and often on a whim. For example, I used to have a rule about never sending the first message. I soon ignored that rule. However, if a guy is younger than me, I usually let him make the first virtual move.

“Coffee meets Bagel scammers” was the next most popular search and the post on this topic was one of my most viewed. This might be a warning to those of you on this dating site. I gave up CMB and OkCupid due to a preponderance of fake profiles.

What else are people interested in?

How about “taking the stress out of dating in your 60s?” To me, the biggest stress is finding someone I want to date and actually going out on a repeated basis. Of course, there are other stressful aspects of the dating game such as ghosting.

Some are searching for “memories sex life.” I know about this one. During dry spells, I have memories of a sex life. Add this to the stress search noted above.

Other people found me by searching for “Breadcrumber.” Have you experienced this lovely modern dating phenomenon? It’s becoming more common.

“Sex with cougar in 60s.” My question is, who was searching – a woman of a certain age seeking guidance on taking a younger lover or a young cub looking for clues about what older women want? One never knows.

I find the brouhaha over the new French president’s much older wife ironic given the frequency of a similar age difference between older men and younger women.

Whatever you think of such an age gap between partners, it only seems equitable that your view should hold whether the man or the woman is the May or December party. See Julie Weinberg’s guest blog post last December for a look at an older woman/younger man relationship.

“Sex profile photos.” I’m not sure what readers were looking for with this search. Is the interest in sexy photos on a profile? I’ve seen some provocative photos but the sites don’t allow full on nudity. Those infamous dick pix have to be sent via a message. As far as written profiles that mention sex, there are plenty of them. Certainly OkCupid’s questions invite you to bare your soul and reveal your sexual interests and appetite.

“Ian Kerner cliteracy.” To learn about cliteracy, read my interview with noted sex therapist and author Ian Kerner. Kerner coined the term as a way to focus on “the clitoris as the powerhouse of the female orgasm in response to persistent stimulation.”

“OkCupid Ticklish.” Are these people concerned about an OkCupid match who has a tickling fetish? There are profiles of people who announce their fetishes on all of the sites, not just OkCupid.

Despite this interesting intel about your interests, the majority of searches are unknown. You are for the most part a mystery to me. Tell me what you’re searching for and I’ll see if I can help – or at least commiserate.

Until next week, happy searching, dating or not dating.

BONUS: I was recently a guest on a DivorceForce Survival Guide podcast on gray divorce.

Check it out on iTunes to learn more about divorce after 50.  

Note: There are some minor audio technical difficulties at the beginning. 

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Baggage

baggage blog post

Have you noticed how many dating profiles mention baggage? Let’s explore this topic while enjoying quinoa salad with swiss chard and goat cheese.

When I first read the term baggage in a profile – usually in the context of “please don’t have any,” I thought of it as a mix of experience and memories. I wondered how a person could get through life without either one of these. Then I realized that these guys are referring to emotional baggage, defined by Merriam Webster as “intangible things (as feeling, circumstances, or beliefs) that get in the way.”

Urban Dictionary’s top definition of emotional baggage is “painful memories, mistrust and hurt carried around from past sexual or emotional rejection.” This personality characteristic is also, according to Urban Dictionary, an “excuse commonly used by Peter Pans and other immature men to avoid commitment yet maintain a sexual relationship….as in I don’t think I can handle a real relationship right now. I need some time to get over my emotional baggage.”

I’d like to propose a broader definition of emotional baggage so that it encompasses any life experience that hinders you from moving forward to enjoy life and love.

In my post-divorce dating years, I have encountered widowers who can’t move on enough to be in a relationship, bitter divorced men stuck in an anger cycle, as well as men who have had serious or difficult medical issues and a subsequent loss of self esteem that they can’t overcome.

And there’s no gender rule here — women can experience the same inability to move forward. Just like men, women may get stuck in a post-divorce cycle of anger and low self-esteem. They’re unhappy and unable to move forward from the “baggage” of their failed relationship.

Then there are other people – men and women – who have had serious issues such as the death of a child, yet somehow, are able to carry on with an open albeit grieving heart.

I accept that in my age range, men may not have “baggage” per se but they, like me will likely have some blips on their heart’s EKG. Fortunately the heart can survive a lot and with modern technological advances, recovery is possible.

I like to think my baggage is carry-on – easily stowed under my seat. With occasional turbulence, it might roll out…but I just stuff it back.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

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