Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?

OlderAndWiser u

My experience online. I have significant experience with online dating. I began in 2007, after ending a long term relationship that was - obviously - a mistake. I signed up on and POF. I met two women who were attractive and exotic (Oksana is from the Ukraine, and Joni is from Brazil) and I liked both of them.

This is NOT Oksana but this woman is similar in appearance.
This is NOT Oksana but this woman is similar in appearance.
And Joni looked like this, but somewhat older.
And Joni looked like this, but somewhat older.

No, I did not date them at the same time. Eventually, both relationships ended for reasons unrelated to the fact that I met them online. I then met several other women online, had several first dates, then found another woman who was a good candidate for LTR (Lynn,) dated her exclusively for more than two years, got engaged, got married, and four years later, she decided that getting married was a mistake and she wanted out. Goodbye, Lynn!

I returned to online dating and had another series of first dates ("one and done's") until I met Ivy. We started dating exclusively and dated for two years. I broke up with her because she was not as committed to me as I was to her and I did not want to stay in a one-sided relationship.

I again returned to online dating and had another series of first dates until I met Teala. We dated and lived together for two years, but her alcohol abuse became a huge problem and I asked her to leave.

Back online, and I had several more first dates until I met Miss Helen. We have been dating since December, 2020 and she is now living with me.

All together, I have probably had forty or fifty first dates with women I met online and several turned into relationships.

What I liked most about online dating. With online dating, I could see a real treasure trove of women who I would otherwise never meet. Some of them lived 60-80 miles away from me and were very unlikely otherwise to ever cross my path. Even those in my hometown were unlikely to enter my sphere without online dating. I could also automatically screen those women who had self-reported characteristics that were deal breakers for me. I don't want to date a smoker, or a Hindu, or someone who is more than 15 years younger than me, or who hates animals. With a few clicks on my preferences, I immediately eliminated all of them (who were honest in their profiles.)

Even after eliminating those women, there were still many women who seemed to be within the realm of possibilities. I could scroll through profiles, identify the most likely ones, and return later to read them more carefully.

What I disliked most about online dating. The biggest dislike was the frequency of encountering scammers.

Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?

This happened most often on but it occasionally happened on other sites as well. I never fell for their stories but, after a few encounters, I decided to turn it into entertainment for me and I started playing them. I responded to one scammer and told her that my friends suggested she was a scammer. "She" responded with reassurances that she was legit and really wanted to come to the US to give her body (and soul) to me. I then asked her to send a picture holding up a sign saying "OlderAndWiser, I love you!" Usually, this ended the conversations, but one scammer actually responded to my request and sent a picture of her holding such a sign. No, I didn't fall for her, either.

Why online dating worked for me. Initially, I had some luck because I posted pictures that showed me wearing a suit as well as a few casual photos, and I didn't post photos of me standing on a dead deer. I frequently read and re-read my profile and made changes to condense it, to make it sound fun and interesting, and to make it obvious that I was looking for a serious relationship but I was not always serious.

When I hit a rut with several serial rejections, I asked the last female user who had rejected me if she would mind offering me a critique of my profile.

Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?

Fortunately, she obliged and made a few very candid comments that were unexpected and which led to some changes in my profile.

I understand that online dating is different from meeting someone in person, and I made changes in my approach to women. I also accepted the fact that online dating is a numbers game: you sort through more candidates but, ultimately, you have a better chance of finding a good match because you are looking at more candidates.

Why my advice may be meaningless for you. I am 66 years old and I am a professional. I know that online dating is a different experience for younger people and I also understand that my profession makes me more attractive to some women. But there are women who are waitresses or hair stylists who I might want to date but they won't respond to me because they are intimidated by a professional man, or they assume I could not have any serious interest in them.

I see many younger guys approaching online dating just as they would approach meeting a woman "the old-fashioned way," and that is a mistake. This myTake is not intended to tell you how to approach online dating, but I make this comment to explain this: some people approach online dating the wrong way, it doesn't work (no surprise,) and instead of modifying what they are doing, these people just give up and blame online dating. Too bad, because "a nationally representative 2017 survey of American adults and found that about 39 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partner online, compared to 22 percent in 2009." Online dating is becoming more prevalent and it is not going away! (Isn't it usually the younger folks telling the older folks to "keep up with the times?")

In talking with young adults about online dating, it is obvious that some of them have grave misunderstandings of how online dating works. I recently posted this poll

What do you think is the biggest difference between online dating sites and meeting people through friends, family, school, etc?

and have, so far, received 73 votes in the poll. The results absolutely amaze me.

You never meet the people on dating sites and I want something that's in-person! This was the most common response, and 17% of all users identified this as a huge problem. In reality, I have never met anyone online who wanted to meet someone online and never meet in person.

Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?

In screening potential dating partners, geographic location is the first thing I select. I'm not interested in trying to "date" someone who lives on the opposite side of the planet, or even just 200 miles away. I don't look at profiles of women who do not live within 80 miles of me. And I think most other online daters feel the same way. Perhaps there are a few exceptions, but most of us want to meet in person and have a real relationship. It's incredible that anyone could think that people who do online dating are spending their lives just texting back and forth with a girl in Katmandu or Tupelo instead of spending time with a girl who lives four miles away.

People on dating sites are never what they pretend to be online, they use fake pictures, etc. This response was chosen by 16% of all users. Yes, it is true, there are scammers and catfish online, but . . . have you ever met someone in a bar, or at the grocery store, or some other innocuous place, and they presented themselves in terms that you later discovered were not entirely true? Of course you have. And it is a small fraction of the online dating profiles that make misrepresentations.

Over the course of all of my online dating, I actually met two women who clearly misrepresented themselves. One was ten years older than what her profile stated, and the other weighed about 60-70 pounds more than her online pictures showed.

Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?

People online are just looking for hookups. The third most common response received 13% of the votes. Some guys are just looking for hookups. Some girls are just looking for hookups. I hope those guys and girls find each other.

Yes, some people online may mislead you and misstate their intentions as "looking for LTR" when what they are looking for is nothing more than sex. Ever been introduced to a friend of a friend . . . or met a guy in sociology class . . . who acted like the serious type until he had two drinks in you and was tugging at your panties on the first date?

People on dating sites are mostly losers. This response got 10% of the votes.

He DOES look like a loser!
He DOES look like a loser!

In the course of my online dating, I have dated a retired judge, an accountant, two realtors, an office manager, a physician, a teacher, and two professors. A very good male friend is now using online dating and he is a very successful attorney. And online apps have some losers, too. Online women (or men) have variety, just like all the women (or men) your family and friends want you to meet.

You already know something about the person you meet online by reading their profile. This observed primary difference was noted by 10% of the respondents and it actually favors online dating. Yes, I know, people can misrepresent themselves in their profiles, but that is a small percentage of online daters. After an initial "hi, I read your profile" message, you exchange a few messages, you have a few phone conversations, and then you meet in person. In 2015, I met a woman online and we probably spent 6-8 hours on the phone (intensely) before we met in person a few weeks after the first DM. At that point, I knew more about her than many women I had met at school and dated.

How well you know someone before that first meeting is up to you and your style of dating, but remember that the purpose of dating IS to get to know someone better.

Are you convinced? Probably not. People develop their biases and they tend to stick with them. But if you have any doubts, maybe you should re-think online dating.

Do you REALLY understand how online dating works?
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