Looking Back on 2021: Online Dating

As we approach the close of 2021, I look back on my year of online dating experiences. I did my first blog post about that on March 7th and this one makes number twelve. As I embraced the process, I increased the number of dating sites I was on from one to four; I’d been told that “it’s a numbers game–the more profiles you go through the greater your chances of finding a match.” Now, I’m down to two sites and one will expire by the end of the month and won’t be renewed; too many scammers there. I consider now what I’ve gotten from this experiment and whether it’s worth continuing in the new year.

I’ve kept a journal throughout most of my life. I’ve found it helpful for seeing how I’ve changed, as evidenced in the words I wrote back then compared to my perspective in the present. Rereading the OnLine dating posts– feels like reading my journal– but without all the personal details– thank goodness!

Looking back, I still feel that I had to embrace Online dating because that was the only way to move forward after divorcing during the pandemic; it was the right step to take.

There’s no age limit with OnLine dating! Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Reading that first post, People in Our Path: Online Dating I’m reminded of how part of stepping out and signing up for dating sites involves learning new technology. It’s not such a big deal after you’re familiar with one site– but I know people–especially baby boomers, who won’t try online dating because of that. For me, it wasn’t as much learning how to navigate my first site, OurTime, but being embarrassed when I found messages were generated from me that I didn’t create. This is a portion of that post:

“There’s a learning curve with anything technical, and I had to experiment with how you check to see if someone Liked your profile or pic or had sent a message. I soon learned that if you checked Like and didn’t put in a message, OurTime would do it for you. I was aghast when I saw the message I’d supposedly sent. “I really like your profile. Feel free to send me a message.”

“I didn’t say that,” I fumed. What I thought I’d done was simply liked a picture and didn’t want to go as far as saying “send me a message.” To my ears, that sounded ‘forward’ as we’d have called it back when I was young. As a girl, I was raised that the guy was the one to initiate a phone call or asking you out. It felt too direct to be that specific, up front about wanting the guy to respond to me.

I would have to get over my shyness, my reserve that came from those early years of restraint–watching older kids dating when I was a girl in the sixties, and experiencing dating as a teen in the seventies.”

While I was on the OurTime site, I never liked the way they generated those messages, but I learned how to get around some of that. When those messages went out accidentally, it never caused any big problem. Eventually, I learned to be more direct in writing because there was no in-person way of communicating to draw the guy’s attention.

I think I’ve learned to be a bit more direct in-person as well. I’m not so easily embarrassed as I was all those years ago when I was dating as a young woman.

I’ve found that some of the profiles of guys have challenged my view of myself. When they describe the type of woman they’re interested in, I ask myself, “Am I that?” I wrote about that in my post on September 12th, Attractive and Athletic: Online Dating. When I considered what “Gabe” had written in his profile about what he was looking for, I was surprised when he Liked me. We talked on the phone and this is what I wrote on that blog post about what followed:

“The week before we were to meet, I kept thinking about his interest in an athletic woman. I danced– or at least I had before the pandemic shut things down. Many weeks, I’d attend two dances as well as take lessons. I walked every day and did aerobic workouts with hand-held weights.

But that’s not an athlete, I thought; That’s just being active. What does it mean to be an athlete when you’re 65 years old– my age when I met Gabe. Did you have to run triathlons in the Senior games, or take up kick boxing, or play competitive tennis? I felt totally inadequate just thinking about what it would take to move from active to athlete?”

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels.com

The outcome of that encounter with Gabe was it challenged my assumption about myself and I decided to push forward toward being more fit, more athletic. Since then, I’ve gone from walking to jogging, increased the intensity of my workouts, and lost weight. How rewarding it was last week to get a really good report at my yearly physical. That wasn’t why I joined the dating sites; it’s a serendipitous outcome that also increases confidence– which is always attractive.

Of all the dating experiences I’ve had this year, the one that caught me most off-guard was the one I described in the post on June 27th, Bring Me Your Warts: Online Dating. That was the date where I felt ambushed by the anti-masker, politically-opposite guy who was late meeting me on a Friday afternoon. I don’t like conflict, in general, and the political climate of the past few years has been disturbing to me. While I found that meeting with him uncomfortable, I also felt satisfied that I held my own– even with a guy who was trained as a criminal defense attorney. That experience was part of me growing another layer of skin– so I’ve been more able to handle conflict without it bothering me so much.

As we continue in the pandemic, we experience division among people about getting vaccines and wearing masks; I’ve found this in my primary social outlet of dancing. I don’t seek out conflict but I’m able to handle it better, including times when others have questioned me wearing a mask. Although our views differ greatly, we’ve become friends and enjoy dancing together. I think the man who brought me his warts helped to prepare me for this continuing tension.

Photo by Jose Aly Hoyo on Pexels.com

I joined the dating sites to initially find guys to date but with the hope that one day I might find a new life partner; there have been dates with guys from three of the four sites; there is no new life partner as of yet. But it’s a process, a gradual unfolding of more of who I am, and how life is. I’ve learned a lot about this new world of dating as a baby boomer. I’ve learned how guys can hide behind their phones– texting or talking but folding when it comes to meeting in person; the proof of what they really want is in their behavior. I’ve learned to hold my trusting nature in check– because not all people deserve that trust.

I’ve made mistakes throughout this journey, but I’m further down the path. Maybe I’ll just continue on with this Online dating into 2022; could be the right toad is on the way.

Pixabay images

How About You?

How do you see your progression down your path in 2021?

What were the intentional goals you accomplished? What were unintentional and perhaps, serendipitous findings along your journey?

How do you want to proceed in 2022?

9 thoughts on “Looking Back on 2021: Online Dating

  1. Well, Connie, in relation to your post here I must say that I’ve been there to some of what you say. After my divorce from my 1st Wife, I moved into a apartment on my own. After some time I started going “out there” to all the single bars looking around. I was not interested in getting married again at all! Just wanted to go out, meet nice Ladies, and be a good friend to them. I was single for just over 17 yrs. I did meet & date some real nice Ladies, but I also met some Ladies that were just interested in guys that had money, & a good job. There were all kinds. Some out there just wanted a free dinner & sex. Some just for the fun of it. I met and treated to a nice dinner one Lady who said to me, and I quote “It’s a free meal for me. It’s no skin off my nose!!” I took her home and never called her again. Over time I got sick of the “false people” I’ve met. There are also women we called “Gold Diggers” that wanted to marry you because you had some money. Never liked that! Wish I could send you a picture of me when I was single. It is a pic of me when I was a volunteer Medic. You be careful out there. You never know what you’ll run into.

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    • I did join a Dating Service that cost me $40.00 a month. It was a big mistake! I never knew who or what was going to answer the number I had to call. I dropped out of that!

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    • Hey Les,
      Thanks for reading and for sharing your experiences– at least some of them! LOL!
      Yes–there are all kinds out there–some real and some not real. I’m sure there were Gold Diggers looking for an easy life.
      Lots of decisions when you’re on the sites– and one of those is deciding if it’s worth the cost– financially and otherwise.
      Thanks for your concern– caution to be careful. I’ll keep that in mind going forward.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful post, Connie. Each week I look for your comments and wait for your moment of awakening. You are sharing your innermost thoughts with the conviction of results. Oh, that is such a trait to admire. With a new year and a chance to reach that Match that you are looking for, there may be a new or renewed event to help to change the approach to your journey’s end. Each week brings us to a new view of your world. Keep on sharing and writing. Love and Blessing to you.
    John.

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    • Hey John,
      Did I somehow overlook your response? Seems I did and I’m sorry. Can’t say how that happened. Life just seems to slip by some weeks.
      I struggle sometimes with what to write. Glad you are finding something in my offering.
      Hope you’re doing well as we close out this year, stopping to celebrate this important time of faith.
      Thanks for reading my posts all this year and faithfully sharing your response.
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

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