Warning: Online Dating Sites Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

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In the almost two years that I have been single, I have learned a few things about myself and about other people. A short stint of time on an online dating website opened my eyes to a lot! Both good, bad, and neutral  – more of the bad and neutral, and not so much of the good!  It was an interesting exercise, if nothing more.

My cousin encouraged me to do it. She said that it would give me something to do to get my mind off of my troubles. I registered on one of the free sites – I wasn’t about to pay to put myself and all my vulnerabilities out there for every man in the world to browse. She also warned me to be careful, which I was. But even with her warning and my caution, I was the object of a lot of weirdness!

One of the first things I learned was that everyone lies on their profile page. I tried to be truthful on mine, but even so, I selected the photos of myself that I thought were the most flattering.  Pretty good, I thought- not totally deceiving, but also not photos of myself right after jumping out of bed in the morning, or after a long, tiring day at work. At any rate, from the responses online, men seemed to like what they saw. That is, except for one. I received a lengthy message from this guy suggesting different poses for my photos, with a mention of cleavage and something about more skin, and also a hint that I would look even better if I took off a few pounds.  In addition, he noted that my white hair was not sexy. Toss that one aside.  Another wanted me to go to Chattanooga with him on a romantic getaway – this was before we even met in person (which we never did).  I received some funny, weird, scary messages during the short time I was on the site, and ended up deleting all but a very few.

I was selective, and only ever met three of the men in person who messaged me.

Bachelor Number 1 actually was very nice.  But he lived 65 miles from me, and at the age of 60, had a 13-year-old daughter. We went out a few times, and went hiking together. He was Jewish, and made it clear to me that he didn’t “do Christmas.” However, last year when Christmas came, he offered to spend the day with me and be my date for a Christmas celebration at a friend’s house. I thought that was very nice, and I appreciated the gesture. After Christmas, he told me – and I had already decided –  that he was too involved in his daughter’s life to have a long-distance girlfriend. We didn’t see each other again. It was sad to say goodbye to him- he was a gentleman, and a nice man.

Bachelor Number 2 seemed to be a nice guy, as well. We met at Ruby Tuesday’s for an early dinner. Everything seemed normal about him, and he passed all of my red flag tests for a first date. However, I noted that he had lied on his profile. He claimed to be an “athletic body type”. Well, maybe twenty years ago, but certainly not in 2013. The athletic body had left town without him being aware of it, I guess. Clearly, he did not see himself as he really was- I wondered if maybe he didn’t have a full length mirror in his house. We went out a couple of more times for dinner, and then I invited him to my home for Sunday lunch, pretty secure that I was not in imminent danger.  I answered the door when he knocked, and in he strolled carrying a black duffle bag. He said he had a surprise for me. As he was preparing to open the bag, he asked me if I had ever watched “Sex and the City.” I had to admit that I’d only seen a couple of episodes. I was soon to learn that I missed the one he was referencing. It was about the character, Samantha, and a “neck massager.” He opened his bag, and pulled out his own “neck massager,” claiming that this was the same model as the one on the episode.  He then went on to tell me that he had a little helper that he wanted to show me. I was getting a bit uncomfortable, and when he pulled out some kind of apparatus-  a vacuum pump of some kind that he used- that was it. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not ready for this kind of relationship.  He zipped up his bag, apologized, ate a quick lunch, and left as soon as he could.  He continued to text me, and one morning I received a text from him asking me if I had plans for lunch. He asked if I’d be interested in a “nooner.”  I responded that if a nooner consisted of a restaurant and food, I might be available. He didn’t text back.

Bachelor Number 3 also passed all of the red flag tests, initially. I really liked him, and thought maybe this was a man where there could be some potential. However, I was wrong. He was fun to be with, and we had some good times hiking, going out to eat, playing trivia, and he even taught me how to play Cribbage. As we got to know each other better, however, it began to be suffocating to me as he became very demanding of my time.  He was very suspicious of everything about me, and began demanding that I promise that I would be with him forever. Forever is a long time, and I couldn’t promise him tomorrow, much less some date out there in infinity. He was also a drinker, and while he said he wasn’t a heavy drinker, he simply didn’t remember past the third one. After a couple of times when he accused me of just about everything under the sun (and didn’t remember the next day what he had said),  I couldn’t deal with it any longer, and set out on another path, leaving him to find his own way.

I am no longer registered on the dating site. I’ve had enough. I have discovered that the traditional ways of meeting a man are much more satisfactory, and much less freaky.  My days with online dating websites are over – and good riddance!

I guess at heart, I’m just an old-fashioned girl, and a hopeless (or hopeful) romantic.

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