I’m an online dater and it changed me

Posted on May 9th, 2013

There are a few things you learn when you do online dating. You learn about the different faces of humanity’s heaving, aching loneliness. You learn just how lonely you are. You learn about the opposite sex. You learn about how much your ego can take (from the incessant rejections; on most sites you’re alerted to who is checking you out…followed by a loud silence when they don’t make contact; on one site one works their way up the “most popular listing” by responding to all contacts, which results in a lot of automated rejection emails). But mostly you learn about yourself.

Photo by Tierney Gearon

Photo by Tierney Gearon

I first gave the phenomenon a go a few years back. And I approached it as just that: a phenomenon. With my journalist’s hat on, I used my need for a column topic as my excuse for entering the fray. But, really, my excuse was that I was lonely and the tactic, frankly, was cowardly.  In the resulting column I wrote about how online dating is a great way to learn to be thoroughly yourself. That is, the forms you fill out to join the various services are a great way to remind yourself of what you like doing, what your values are, and so on. I stand by my theory, even if the pretense was a cop-out.

But I learned more this time.  This time I signed on to two sites. I’ve been on them for two months.

About men, I learned this: they like to hold fish up high in the air, go to a lot of events on boats toting bottles of boutique beer, “hit the gym”, watch Two and Half Men and Shawshank Redemption and read the Sunday papers. They’re “laid back” and “easy going” and “down to earth” (what Australian man isn’t!?), but “don’t do the club scene any more”,  don’t have time to read (except for aforementioned Sunday papers and Bob Marley’s biography),  get into a bit of the Foo (as in, presumably, Fighters) like it’s 1997, and take “selfies” in bathroom mirrors.

I also learned that young men with tribal tatts wearing muscle tees living in outer suburbs with Mum and Dad (a detail I gather by the bathroom accoutrements I can see in the reflections of their selfie portraits) are overly represented in the single scene. Actually I didn’t just learn this. I already knew it. It’s just that on online dating I’m connected with them (they’re overwhelmingly my main pursuers on the sites). I’ve written about how educated, career-orientated women in their late 30s and early 40s are overly represented in the Western world today, while for men it’s this younger, blue-collar demographic. It’s the result of “hypergamy“. And it leaves a huge disconnect in the dating market. Although, frankly, I find this kind of bloke more authentic and open with their intentions and overall spirit than a lot of the polished men working in finance, divorced and in their late 40s and 50s.

I learned I don’t like internet dating, but I stick to it to see if it can surprise me. I find attending to “criteria” is not how I want romance to strike. And the point being, I want to be struck. I want to be pursued, courted. Knocked over. It’s going to take that…a real blow to the kneecaps from a guy who’s brave enough to come that close. Which leads me to…

I learned – or had it reiterated – that the disconnect between single men and women (and there is one; we all talk about it, right?) can be blamed in part on the fact that old-fashioned courtship just doesn’t happen anymore. Women want it. Men are scared to do it, especially in their hardened thirties and beyond (when too many knockbacks leave them “gun shy” and the pool of women is so broad that they don’t really have to “fight” for the woman they want…so much so, they lose sight of what kind of woman they actually want). And, I’m sorry, I do think intimacy works out better when men do the active courting. It just does.

The rules of courtship once made things clear: “you do that, I do this”. Now we send non-committal “free kisses” to each other, hoping the other will take the lead and buy some stamps or make the first concrete, move out into the non-virtual. Me, I don’t respond to free kisses, only the men who “man up” and pay up and send me a proper message or invite into the non-virtual, real world. Which is the equivalent of wanting a man to actually walk across a room and introduce themselves, as opposed to giving a cursive glance as they walk past on the way to the loo.

This was the saddest picture I took from the whole thing:

We’re all noncommittally sending out free kisses. Waiting for the other to pay up and get real.

Noncommittal, waiting, too scared, too proud. Many of us are like this in life in general.

I learned there are a lot of nomads on internet dating. I’m a nomad. I move around a lot; I’m not a nester. This, I know, is a big part of why I’m single. I always look like I’m on my way to something else (or so I’m told), or I’m too busy to pin down to a date. There’s also this: my life is so varied and fun (in it’s nomadicdom) that relationships become a distant second to everything else.

A relationship has got to be special enough to enhance my life, and not detract from it. The better your life, of course, the higher the bar that a relationship must reach. The older you get, the better – or at least, richer – your life. See what I’m saying?

This is neither a good or bad thing. But it’s a thing.

The older you get, the more varied and enhanced your life is…and the higher the bar for someone to be able to come in and add something. At my age, a woman rarely needs a man. She wants one. Which is a very different bar, no?

Anyway, I’d say 80 per cent of the men I’ve encountered on the sites are nomads. They’re either just returning from being overseas, or they travel a lot (all their photos are from foreign locales) or, going by their “interests” rundown, they spend every spare moment out of town surfing, biking, travelling, moving…not settling.

This is why so many of us stay single. We’re nomads. We don’t like commitment.

This is also neither a good or bad thing. But it’s a thing. Learning this has certainly made me feel better about the whole caper.

I learned I’m happily lonely. Or, rather, I’m happy and lonely. I’m lonely for company when all my friends are in marriages and families with nights on couches in front of the DVD player. Internet dating exposed to me that I’m also lonely in my interests and particularities. In two months I’ve not encountered a “profile” that reflects back at me some kindred spirit-ness. I’ve been told I seem “unique” and “odd”. I was even emailed by a man who – compassionately – said he felt sorry for me, that my predicament (by which he meant my odd interests and needs) was  a tough one. Odd? Particular? So be it. I’m happy to be alone in this. I realise I have been most of my life. Ergo my nomadic tendencies.

I learned to be lonely is to be human. Raw-ly so. And found the men who shared their take on their loneliness truly attractive. To the point of overlooking their Two and A Half Men predilection.

I learned – and this is the big THING – that I really don’t care any more. Yes, I debated whether to put up a photo and run the risk of being outed. I decided to. And I ran a photo where you can clearly see what I look like.  I’m 39. I’ve copped much shit. I have little to hide. Life is delicate and not nearly long enough. Game on!

I tell you, when you care less, your heart opens wider.

I’ve only gone on one date from the whole online dating flirtation. As I say, I don’t like it. It’s taken a while to work this out and now that I know it, I’m about to pull down my profile. That one date was with a guy whose pictures I didn’t look at until later, but I read his profile and I liked his rawness and reading habits. He paid for an email contact (stood up, paid up, manned up). Invited me to coffee. We had a wonderful chat about loneliness and particularities.

And I learned this: you can have relationships at all kinds of levels. It doesn’t have to be exclusive and romantic and permanent.

Don’t you think?

 

 

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  • Sophie

    “I tell you, when you care less, your heart opens wider.”
    This is so timely I adore it. Thank you Sarah x

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  • liz

    Sarah

    Such an honest account of your true self and no less the dating world. I’m in my mid 40s and act or feel like im in my 30s Im so happy and in touch with who I am and what I want. Im single just come out of a relationship he was a bit too needy but nice enough. I choose who I want to be with but there is alot of confused people out there. Sometimes you just need to be to fit in with society if you so choose.

    L

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  • Dolly Levi

    The thing i find difficult about online dating is that im not a very exciting person, im not studying, i havent recently travelled to South East Asia and eaten bugs, i don’t play an instrument or sport. I really don’t have anything to write about myself besides my qualities, height and weight.
    It shits me that it asks you your eye colour too, why do you need to know that and im always perplexed by the “down to earth” tag… what does that mean exactly because everyone seems to be ??!!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I think you should put all of the above in your profile…THAT’S interesting! x

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    Dolly Levi Reply:

    Hehe !! Thanks Sarah :)

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    Where's The One? Reply:

    Agree Sarah. I tried RSVP and found most people (having read many of both sexes profiles) described themselves, or presented themselves, as outgoing, having a great circle of friends, have plenty of interests, active, frequent travellers, comfortable with themselves – but just want to share their life with someone. Nothing wrong with that. Just strikes me as odd that a lot of wonderfully well adjusted, happy people somehow ended up on rsvp!

    What’s not described is the sort of thing Dolly talks about – strip away the fluff and bubble and the big shiny front and get to the real person. We all have our foibles right, so why not say what they are? Why not express those odd things that make us different from the herd? It’s risky, just like Sarah’s honest article, so there’ll be less kisses, but hopefully more authentic ones. After all, we’re after “the one”, not a bunch of randoms, and if we put it all out there, then the one will find us easier.

    Well that’s my theory :) What about putting it into practice, right here? I’m single and would like (that’s understated) would very much love to meet that someone special and I’d like to go about it in an honest, authentic way…..and what better audience than right here?! Really. (Sarah, this could be the next big thing for you, matching up your followers:)) Is this ok? Or is it inappropriate? Don’t want to do anything wrong here. Might be fun, might be a disaster! What do you think?

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  • Holly

    I was prepared to not like your blog post when I started reading it, when I even clicked on it. So many people preach to me about online dating and my dating life in general.
    But, thanks. I agree. And its nice for someone to understand.
    But for me its not the commitment bit, its finding someone who wants this crazy journey too.

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    K Reply:

    Crazy Journey too. Amen!

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  • Em

    Dear Sarah,
    Thank you thank you thank you for such a wonderful post. I too have tried Internet dating (3 times actually) and it was hard to admit that I didn’t like it, even though I really really didn’t. Not that I didn’t met some nice humans on it but that it made dating feel like yet another thing on my ‘to do’ list rather than the joyful exciting experience it has and will be again.

    I think the reason I found it hard to admit I didn’t like it was that I felt pressured from myself and others to make it work. In a kind of ‘well, if you’re not going to explore all options then you have no right to say you’re lonely’ kind of way. I know it works for some people, I have beautiful friend couples who’ve met online and married and seem perfectly suited. And so I kept going back. But really, it’s not me. And now I’m ok with that. Maybe it is the nomadic element, as I’m also blessed with a wandering soul but that’s ok to.
    I also had to stop because I felt ashamed that I secretly resented people who didn’t ‘need’ to go on Internet dating and I didn’t want to be like that. I stupid, self Centred attitude I know but admitting I did sometimes feel like that was really liberating!
    I honestly wish everyone online all the very best in their searches And think it can work, but it’s just not for me. And that’s ok too.
    Em

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    Joanna Reply:

    Hi Em,
    The ‘to do’ list is so true. It feels like a second job. Its also the clear quality difference between the guys and girls. Some kisses are so insulting I want a button that say ‘are you freak’n kidding me?’ I’m exhausted from this activity because I have a life so squeezing this in on top of that means less critical sleep time or trying to multi-task vacumming while replying to insulting kisses.
    But I’m sticking to it if only a little in the background, just in case, who knows right. Its all a matter of timing.

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  • http://www.creativeabilitynetwork.com Kathie Holmes

    Thank you for sharing Sarah. Well written and perfectly spot on about the online dating world. I’ve always found there is this huge chasm where women in their 40′s need to look for men over 55 because they are more mature and are past the having babies issue whereas the majority of men between 40 and 50 seem to think they are a born again Adonis that is now hot enough to attract women much younger than them who want to have their babies instead of wanting to be with someone who is their equal to enjoy life with.

    I completely agree with you in that there are many different forms of relationships and there is no need for you to define or put a label on them. Go out with different people, sleep with who you want to, stay as long as you want – do what works for you not what society accepts as “the norm”.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    soooo true about the men in their 40s…

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    Fitzroyalty Reply:

    As a man in his early 40s I’ve found the opposite. Women my own age simply want a sperm donor with a fat wallet. They don’t seem interested in relationships as such.

    Many women also won’t believe that men may be attracted to anyone older than themselves and reject such attention, then complain they get none.

    Like the author of this article, many women expect men to do all the work in forming new relationships. Those of us who are moden and evolved in terms of gender and sexual politics don’t want to perpetuate the princess vs caveman roles.

    We want a relationship with a social and intellectual equal, and it’s hard to find when women won’t take any responsibility for initiating social contact.

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    Theresa Reply:

    Its all so confusing! You are a total anomaly to those of us who have tried dating sites. Please share how a woman should initiate social contact because what I’ve heard is that turns men off. Also, then men who are interested in women in their 40′s, in my experience, only want hook ups. I will not have anything more to do with dating sites. Its reflective of a rather sorry state of social affairs.

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    m Reply:

    +1 – a woman that is brave/confident enough to say hi (first), shows kindness, intelligence and humour…does NOT turn this man off. I’m equally happy to say hi first. And what? No, not just wanting to hookup, could not be intimate with multiple women – who are these douchebags you refer to? In no way bragging, as I’m not stunning looking, the real internet dating struggle for me is managing communication with lots of interesting people that email me for a chat and coffee. And they are; smart, funny and some are total spunks. It’s a good thing. And yesterday I even had the Nigerian scammer experience lols. Not turned off, it’s given me a moment of sick wonder and then plenty of content for at least a week of humour.

    Totally agree that I’ve learnt more about myself from this. As long as you go in with some clear rules and don’t have ridiculous expectations from this one vehicle, it’s gotta be a good thing :). Most people are nice: just be ready, as any internet venture is going to encourage certain behaviours, just as is a nightclub, a matchmaker’s house, speed-dating etc.

    Good luck and keep smiling.

  • Cate

    Spot on, Sarah! I’m in my mid-30s and single & find that family, friends and even strangers ask why I am not internet dating – as if I’m being lazy, or just not trying hard enough to find a partner. And of course everyone knows someone who met their soulmate on internet dating, so I really should give it a go…
    Truth is, I have tried it & even put up a photo – and I met no one. Not for me the story of meeting a soul mate, or even going on lots of dates with inappropriate but interesting matches. It was a pretty sobering experience to find that no one contacted me (well, other than those free ‘kisses’) and I have to say that reviewing the profiles quickly started to feel like work, rather than fun.
    I say hooray for the people who like it, but it’s not for me – it feels like forcing love. And even though other people feel sad for my singleness (for most of my adult life) and I would like to meet someone, I’m happy & lively & interested in the world, so I’m sticking with that wisdom: what’s for you won’t pass you by…

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    CC Reply:

    Hi Cate, I too am mid 30s and still single, have been for a few years. What I realised was that if I had been married with kids by this stage, I’d have missed out on all those solo travel adventures, all those late nights with friends post my 30th birthday. RAndomness, being irresponsible and having it not matter for a while. Had the money to study, travel, leave my hometown on a whim because I felt a calling rather. Perhaps, those things would have been stalled if I had kids or a partner to bring into the equation.

    I love my freedom. I look forward to kids one day and a beautiful Husband too but for now…savour the waiting. Live and be free. x

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  • Ian

    Raw, honest, vulnerable, courageous … beautiful Sarah.

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    Theresa Reply:

    Totally!

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  • Chaos

    I know where you are sitting SW. I was there once. Single ploughing the online sites with little success. When you thought you had initial success it was fleeting as sometimes it lead to a chain or correspondence that lead to nowhere or you go on a few dates that it seems the person had been utilising a ghost writer, they don’t have the personality they described or people bailing on you at last second. It’s not a nice place to be.

    I went through that and through luck found a keeper. It can just happen. Doesn’t have to be online dating. My good friend met his wife through speed dating. My former housemate met her husband through speed dating too.

    Now as someone who as traversed and successfully navigated the scene of online dating it not a easy thing to do. It can be frustrating. It is time consuming. You need to spend time creating a profile that attracts the person you want to spend time with. Not just describe your likes and hope you find a kindred spirit. You can describe yourself, but that won’t in itself attract the person you want. This is sometimes a hard concept for people to understand

    I feel it’s too easy to resort into clichés and stereotypes to describe the online dating scene. You described the guys with tattoos and fish etc… That’s fine. They may be there. As a guy I never looked at my competition. Now are you girls capable of being photographed without a alcoholic beverage in your hand? I would say 80% of profiles had this. Seriously I understand you may like a good time but are you only photographed out in a club or pub?

    The one thing I take umbrage in your column is the:

    ‘Me, I don’t respond to free kisses, only the men who “man up” and pay up and send me a proper message (using a ticket that costs a few dollars).’

    I did that many a time. You take some time out. You write what you think is a witty/nice response to a profile. You have read the profile. You tried to make an initial connection. You don’t even get the thanks but no thanks response. Just nothing. Now how many times do you do this if you received no response back? 5? 10? 20? It may only be a few dollars each time, but it adds up.

    The free kiss (from either side), allowed me to respond to female kisses knowing I was actually going to get a reply. The dating rules have changed. I was always bad at being the initiator when out and about. Even when I knew I had nothing to worry about. Even when it was obvious I wasn’t going to be shot down.

    I understand that girls like the guy taking the lead. Just remember this doesn’t have to happened on the first date. Theoretically there is infinite dates after in a relationship.

    Anyway good luck. You just have to be the one happy. If you’re happy just enjoy your journey.

    [Reply]

    Rees Reply:

    I think the truth of the matter is that though there is the protective distance behind the computer screen, most paid for online dating sites are a fair representation of the general public. Any man wondering around the local tavern blowing kisses to women will not get that many responses.

    A woman wants to feel like she’s finding someone exceptional. An attractive woman will get bombarded with up to 100 kisses a day, . To send an email, which demonstrates you’ve read her profile and are genuinely interested, sets you apart from the mob. Just like a man who has the guts to approach a woman on the street telling her what great shoes she has is more successful than a wolf whistle from a car window. Making her feel safe with your words and giving her a laugh are stand outs too.

    Attraction is different for women than it is for us guys. A woman is attracted to a man for more than his looks or his job, or how much weight he can lift. It’s about how he, or his words, makes her feel.

    In my view, the majority of women are looking for a real man rather than a snag. And a real man is the guy makes the first move, he opens a door for her, he listens. But he will also change a tyre, stand up for her, catch the nasty spider on the ceiling. He also has his own interests and friends just as she does.

    Sorry, that went on a bit. Best wishes Chaos and great thread Sarah

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I appreciate your perspective Chaos. STuff to think about…

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    Sylvia Reply:

    Dear Chaos

    I confess: I’ve definitely been guilty of not replying to emails from men on dating sites. It’s because I’m the sort of person that can’t say, “No, I don’t like the sound of that, thanks.” I hate rejecting people. So I say nothing.

    If it happened in the real, rather than virtual world, I would possibly go on several dates with you — or even now I’m in a 2-year relationship with someone I don’t really like that much — because I don’t want to hurt your feelings.

    So Chaos, even though your feelings, and wallet, are hurt by not receiving a response, the response is, “No thank you.”

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    Frankie Reply:

    I’m really sorry to say this Sylvia but you gotta get out of that relationship before you waste any more of your own time and his. An amazing man who you really wouldlove to spend years with might pass you by in the meantime. Best to be open to all the possibilities than closed into a less than desirable one.

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  • K

    I love, love LOVE this post. Your raw honesty, the way in which you articulate your thoughts and, most importantly, how It so eloquently mirrors my life at the moment. Well done Sarah, you’ve made my day.

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  • http://Www.Peppermintteathyme.Wordpress.Com Miranda

    The one thing I came to like about Internet dating (because lets face it, there are a lot of negatives) was that almost everyone was looking for the same thing so if that connection wasn’t there on the date there was an acknowledgment that we’d had a great time, good conversation but no need for this aftermath of will he won’t he call whilst waiting for the truth. It was more honest.

    The other thing is its a numbers game. You have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince. I was lonely, I tried it, I had some horrible dates, and then, without even believing it would happen I met the most amazing man, less than a year ago, that I now live with…

    So whilst I dislike saying that is how we met, I must be grateful for it.

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    Niks Reply:

    Me too Miranda! I went on one date. As soon as I met him I wanted to leave. Then I met my partner…. friend, lover and soul mate. Like you, less than 12 months Go, now living together. He is gentle, thoughtful, romantic, smart, has only dates a few girls his whole life, having been married a long time (they are still friends). On top of this he is handsome, fit and French! I too saw all the guys holding up fish and thought the whole thing was tragic….but my partner’s profile was private, so I would never have found him … he found me and sent me a lovely email …I was wined and dined, got up to 40 emails a day and we are still madly in love…moral of the story Sarah… don’t give up. You never know who is out there hiding behind a private profile.

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  • http://www.180nutrition.com.au/blog Guy

    Not sure I agree with your description of men… but you gotta hear the latest Foo Fighters album! ;)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    ha!!!!

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  • Vicki

    I did Internet dating, making contact with a couple of guys and had some lunch dates… that was great because if it didn’t seem ‘right’ I could always go back to work. One day i was contacted by a guy and we swapped mobile numbers. We spoke for a week – every night until one of the phones battery went dead. The last ‘phone night’ he said to me – “Well do you want to meet me?” the funny thing is it never occurred to me that we hadn’t me as we had talked and talked…. We met for dinner and a few weeks later we were living together. That was almost 4 years ago. In that time we have bought and sold a house and gone on a trip to the states. I didn’t know what it was like to be really happy until I was happy – we are happy. I am so grateful for the experience and the outcome could not have been better…..

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    love this!!

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  • http://www.bigstepslittlefeet.com.au Kate

    “A relationship has got to be special enough to enhance my life, and not detract from it.”

    I’m pinning this on my notice board – it couldn’t be more spot on.

    x

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    Katherine Reply:

    Agreed!!!

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  • http://pimpmybricks.wordpress.com pimpmybricks.wordpress.com

    You’re a splendid woman, Sarah Wilson.

    [Reply]

  • Mel

    Amazing writing Sarah. You nailed the dilemma of life and love at this particular age. You have to slow for a relationship and it has to add value and yes yes yes we do not need but we want. I don’t need your money or support but I don’t want to be lonely, I want to share life with someone.

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  • Kellie

    Thanks Sarah, awesome post. I too, have tried online in the past and your description of the men who contacted me was similar! There is definately a stigma attached to match making sites and I was reluctant to tell people how I met my partner. Good luck with your search, you deserve to meet the man you want to share your journey with.

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  • http://makebeautifulstore@gmail.com sanja

    After my husband died (too young – cancer) I was so lonely, but scared to try again. I thought our special relationship was unrepeatable.

    Sarah, I found the ‘bang’ (almost a physical knock-down blow) again – when I locked eyes with a guy I used to know socially at Uni, years ago. Two years on I still get sweaty and jittery when I see him (and me a very grown up, professional woman! Ha!)

    I wasn’t looking, it just happened.

    My gorgeous man is my reward for being me.

    You’ve earned lots of good karma, it will reward you too ; when the time is right and the person is right.

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    Jane Reply:

    “My gorgeous man is my reward for being me” that is a truly beautiful point of view Sanja, congratulations on finding your gorgeous man:)

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  • http://www.alinabcoaching.com Alina Berdichevsky

    Heya Sarah,

    I think most of the mainstream ones would be enough to put anyone off.

    Totally hear that you’re over it – and relate.

    I think tho that the SITE itself can make all the difference.

    There is a new one I’ve been having good results with gals, called RubyRadar. I guess being exclusively for business owners and ‘inspired professionals’, there are lot more aspiring nomads on there, on the same wavelength as us!

    I found everyone I’ve encountered so far polite, well travelled and educated and sometimes rather handsome!

    No selfies in the toilet mirror in site… I don’t think the website would approve them. You also can’t send kisses or scroll, and any of that other nonsense… so all together it was a much more ‘high-brow’ experience that I’ve enjoyed.

    I view on-line dating purely as a way to meet more people. From there, I find courtship ensues as normal… phone calls, dates, cocktails (sometimes awesome, other times not).

    The link is http://www.rubyradar.com.au

    Thought I’d mention it in case anyone wanted to check it out… even as an experiment.

    Take care,
    Alina x

    [Reply]

    Kat Reply:

    Alina – really good point about which site you go to. When I tried internet dating a few years ago, I signed up to a free site. And yes, I got what I paid for! (Nothing – unless you count endless emails asking for ‘hook ups’.)

    I should have done my homework before signing up!

    I find of good way of meeting up with people with similar interests is via http://www.meetup.com

    It’s not a dating site as such, but it does put you in touch with people you can share some fantastic experiences with. It’s also a great way to try a new activity that maybe your friends are not keen to try but you don’t want to do alone.

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  • Rachel

    Fantastic frank and honest post. So many people are lonely whether they are in a relationship or not. I admire your open-ness and honesty.

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  • AMc

    I read this, laugh out loud and look over my shoulder like you are the running commentary of my life! I have been on a dating site. Twice. The first time, the one and only date I went on lasted longer than it should’ve and the second time was to remind me that I really don’t like this. I contemplated for too long actually writing in my bio that ‘Two and a Half Men gives me anxiety so if you like it, watch it or find it remotely funny then I’m probably not the girl of your dreams’. Of course I never wrote it, remained positive and took down my profile down. Sometimes in life we must strive to find comfort in the discomfort. The only thing between sad lonely and happy lovely is acceptance. ax

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  • AMc

    *The only thing between sad lonely and happy lonely is acceptance*

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  • http://www.mikewilde.com mw

    If I gave this the time it deserves I would get nothing done today.
    There are “journos” and “journos”..
    Some of them become so thick skinned after 20 years in the biz that they have lost the plot.They’re encouraged by their employers to have a sense of over entitlement so that they can ask the “tough” questions .. and they are ultimately not bright enough or truly sensitive enough to deal with it. So they drink too much and surround themselves by other media types who support their lopsided world view.
    Now , “manning up” ..
    This is interesting.
    Are we talking about the kind of men that look like they are going to “tear” up when their souffle is judged not up to snuff by some slightly bloated pseudo Rock Star chef ? ..
    whose biggest secret fear is an inadequate vocabulary .. running short on gushy superlatives for boutique dishes that normal people are too tired to make.

    Note : Great read Sarah – honest, insightful .. blah, blah, blah ..

    I too went on RSVP and saw hundreds ( literally) of profiles of 30 and 40 something women who .. ” have fantastic fulfilling lives. Have had the opportunity to travel to some amazing parts of the world. Love their jobs .. yoga, browsing the papers at the coffee shop on weekends .. (insert Yawn !) and the ” only” thing missing is “someone to share these cosy moments with.”
    The ‘”only” thing missing ?? Really ??
    Tip : Ladies
    This is not a good premise to start from.
    because men need to be fed .. daily
    And by the way a real man will cook for you .. without the pouting.

    So buy a Teddy Bear and be “happily alone”

    or snap the F%$K out of it and at least pretend that your potential partner
    might actually be really important to you ..

    Who knows ? You might actually grow into it and learn about Surrender .. and how useful it is to counteracting our overactive controlling egos.

    Courting :
    People used to see amazing places together so they had something to reminisce about when they are knee deep in snot, bills and nappies.
    Now we do it with our friends.. delay growing up .. hit thirty something and realise that we want ” someone to share these cozy moments with.”
    Please ..

    “Manning up” is important for both sexes.

    But manning up on cue ..

    I personally like to be approached also ..

    plenty of time for me to be a Cave man later on ..

    mw

    [Reply]

    KJ Reply:

    MW – you sound like a real catch. It is really amazing to me that you had to utilize online dating! Ever wonder why?

    [Reply]

    mw Reply:

    Love it !!

    [Reply]

    Nicky Reply:

    You, Mw are hilarious wanna date?

    [Reply]

    mw Reply:

    Hi Nicky ..
    I run a vocal workshop on tuesday evenings at
    Chapel by the Sea in Bondi from 6 – 7.30 pm.
    It’s not a Churchy thing.
    It’s a community thing that I got roped into it last year.
    Have met some lovely people (men and women, young and old)
    We breathe, stretch and then sing. (and laugh a lot )
    Pop down some time ..
    if you’re in Sydney that is !

    [Reply]

  • mike

    Sarah, I saw you a few years back at the carraigeworks markets check me out. I was flattered, but unavailable (still am). At least in the real world you look and either make the connection or not…. If I had been single at the time I would have tried in a humble way to offer to buy you a coffee – beats a cyber kiss any day! Cheers Mike

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Really? I don’t recall it…

    [Reply]

  • Chrissy

    I hear you Sarah – I tried the online thing a couple of times and was ready to give up – too many experiences with quite seedy individuals.

    But I tried it one more time – my profile was authentic – I am quirky and clumsy and not afraid of that. I am also happy, 100%, with or without a man. I approached it with the attitude that if I find a friend then that is a positive. Anything more is a bonus. This took the pressure off me to find a partner and this translated in my communication with men on the sites.

    And I met a man who is indeed stronger than my very strong self. Who yesterday sent me flowers just because he could. Who has embraced my children and I as his own and who has just bought a house with me. He knows himself and is comfortable being the male. And that is exactly what I wanted and needed – the chance to be a girl, to be nurtured (for nurturing is a masculine energy after all).

    The relationship has been easy right from the start (unlike my previous long term relationships or marriage) and although I don’t reveal where I met him to many people, I can assure you that, for me at least, online dating worked.

    I did find a huge difference between the various sites though and the one you seem to be referencing did not work for me at all. I utilised the free sites – which did mean a lot more communication from men wanting an instant casual encounter – but also meant that communicating full stop was far simpler.

    [Reply]

  • Jess (MissYamba)

    Hey MissYamba here! Paul and I meet on RSVP 8 years ago, and have been spokes people for RSVP ever since! We were in the Valentines Issue of TAKE 5 MAGAZINE… We have a beautiful daughter named Kobi who is 5, turning 6 in June.

    I never had one bad experience even before I met Paul. All thumbs up for me and a big thank you to RSVP :-)

    Jess x

    [Reply]

  • Some guy

    I’m a 30 something guy listed on a couple of those sites. I don’t take them too seriously nor sit around sending out dozens of contacts a day… just a few occasionally and I wait to see if any girl contacts me. (Once every month or three is my experience.)

    In defense of the free kiss, it’s preferable to wasting your money if there’s absolutely no return interest. I envisage that if I send you a free kiss, you’ll send one back if interested, then I’ll pay for a stamp. I’m not trying to freeload, I just don’t want to waste my money. But Rees makes a good point in her comment that maybe girls receive so many of the damn things each day that a well-worded message might be the only way to break through.

    Still your comment Sarah about men being nomads too is a pretty apt description of me – regular traveller and keen cyclist. Maybe those hobbies are a defense against being lonely to some extent? But also I think they keep me interesting, because I’m not really interested in meeting someone who doesn’t DO anything but work and watch TV.

    [Reply]

    Some guy Reply:

    On second thoughts, maybe not so nomadic after all. I have a mortgage and a job I’m committed too, but plenty of stuff to keep me busy on the weekends. Like I said, I need to be busy else I’d be a bore. Too bad my interests aren’t particularly good ways to meet girls.

    [Reply]

  • http://mikki.williden@aut.ac.nz Mikki

    So the online dating scene in Australia is just like it is in NZ? That’s comforting. Particularly the selfies in front of the mirror. Usually topless. And who knew that Shantaram was everyone’s favourite book? I couldn’t read it, it was too heavy. And simulatenously they want to travel, yet also want to settle down. They eat ‘healthy’ and love burgers, and exercise ‘all the time’… walking, and *gasp* they do housework. Sure you do. Rant over. Great post.

    [Reply]

    Stormageddon Reply:

    Another person who thought Shantaram was too much! Hallelujah! I thought I was the only one.

    The worst one is the guys who say how clucky they are. Then when you tell them you never see yourself having kids and want to tell them that upfront to avoid leading them on… all of a sudden, they are open to not having them? When they were clucky and desperate for a brood 5 minutes ago? Makes no sense.

    Mia x

    [Reply]

  • http://the-dame.com The Dame Intl

    I’m South African and moved to the UK in 1999. I also spent almost three years living in Australia. More than a year ago I signed up to two dating sites and wasn’t attracted to a single guy who messaged me here in the UK. Not even one date. So I switched my profile to say I was back in Australia and was suddenly messaged by intelligent, good looking guys I was attracted to. I have two dates set up for when I make it back to Perth next month but I can completely relate to your post. I am too unusual for most and too experienced to put up with the majority of brainless idiots on these sites. I am also a nomad that doesn’t like to go out to bars.
    I’ve done my own blog post about online dating but it was telling guys how to not suck at it because they facepalm fail so hard that they need all the help they can get.
    Honestly, I’d rather meet someone organically in person doing something I enjoy.
    The best relationships are those where you are good friends first, so Id rather start that way.

    [Reply]

  • CC

    Thanks for being so honest Sarah. It is lonely out there, and the online thing is hard. Despite it being more widely accepted and popular nowadays, you do feel like you’re entering the final frontier and shining a light on yourself saying ‘i’m alone, who’s interested?’ only to be faced with resounding silence or incompatibility. I’d be a millionaire if I collected a dollar for every time a friend or relative has said ‘your time will come’ or ‘it will happen when you least expect it’. As I get older, rather than thinking ‘is it me?’ or ‘am I not trying hard enough’, I think maybe this is just my journey and it doesn’t include another person…?

    [Reply]

  • Lissie

    If its good enough for Martha Stewart…………

    [Reply]

  • rachelle

    Sarah you have hit the nail on the head. hard. So here goes. I worked in IT for a number of years before engaging in a law degree. This required sacrifice and hardwork. I have worked in law for a few years now. It provides intellectual stimulation, money and security. I grew up in a single parent household, my mum worked as a secretary and cleaner to keep a roof over our heads. I got my first job at 15 and I really have not taken much of a break since. I turned 39 last month. I look about 32. I am slim, cook alot and try to keep fit.

    I cannot find a partner and I am desperately lonely. In some ways I think I put my head in the books because of being unable to handle rejection when I was younger. I now realise rejection is a part of life and like many unpleasant experiences you just need to work through it. Easier said than done, but I am doing better than I was 10 years ago.

    Here is the hard part. I am not a nomad. I have traveled for work when I was in IT, and I would love to travel more, but I have a job, and a mortgage and I dont feel like I can just up and go. My law job does not involve any travel and sometimes, like most people going into an office, it does feel like groundhog day. I love traveling, I read your blog about your overseas travels and I think I want to be that person. Maybe I could be that kind of person. I am passionate about telling stories. But I am not desperately unhappy in my current situation so I stay put. A large number of men who contact me on internet dating sites have been traveling, or they want to write or be a photographer. They dont have a mortgage. They dont appear to have many assets either. I dont want to marry them, have a baby (I would like to have a child) and immediately return to work because I earn more income so they can continue following their dreams. I could write, and travel and not have a consistent income. But I was not raised that way and it is hard to give up what you have fought so hard to achieve. Am I being selfish? Do I need a reality check? Am I resentful because deep down I want to change my life but I dont have the guts to do it? Is this what is stopping me from meeting a nice professional man my own age?

    My last boyfriend is a nomad. He travels constantly as a sound recordist. Thats why we broke up. Maybe I should just pack my bags like everyone else and become a nomad.

    [Reply]

    Some guy Reply:

    Doesn’t seem selfish to me. I like a few weeks overseas each year, and I’m maybe over-indulging in some of those time filling activities Sarah mentioned, but I have a mortgage and a job I’m committed to for a couple of years at least and I wouldn’t mind meeting someone special too… I have friends who’ve succeeded on RSVP. Good luck to us both.

    [Reply]

    Ali Reply:

    Hey Rachelle

    My two bobs worth ….

    If you recognise the limitations you are putting on yourself, and think expansively instead … Then I think things will happen for you. Sometimes we continue on a path because it is stable and safe … But open yourself up to all the possibilities! If you want to travel, then think “I wonder how I can make that happen”. If you feel a weight from working full time, yet want to have a child, think positively about what changes you could make to make that happen too. There are always solutions if we think creatively.

    Listen to your gut instinct … If you think you’ve put your head in the books for too long, then maybe it is time to raise your head up and be curious to see what else is out there?

    I was the same in my mid 30s, hard working and career-focused since the age of 15, then some big life challenges came along and they helped me reflect deeply and change the way I was thinking. Now I am much, much happier and healthier for the changes that has brought – I have changed jobs, stepped back to part-time, pursued my hobbies, and have much better life balance with a positive, flexible mindset – life flows for me better. Be brave – listen to your gut instinct, and use it to question and explore if you are living your life according to your deepest wishes and priorities.

    Hope this helps … Good luck, stay smiling!
    Ali

    [Reply]

  • rachelle

    I should add the person I just broke up with has a stable income, assets, but already has a child from a previous relationship – so that along with the endless travel opportunities means he is not desperate to have a child. We are not a match made in heaven. Maybe I was trying to travel though him?

    [Reply]

  • Melissa

    Sarah I met you at Alkaline last week and you signed the sugar book for my daughter Chaska. ( terrific book, congrats)…. I have ( haha, yes I could and still may write a book on it!) tried many online sites, suffered the bad selfies, found out that cute self professed ‘single’ guy who forgot he had a wife in Peru was actually married ( oops), realized that all the time I was spending replying to guys I had nothing in common with, just to be polite, was making me insecure, over sensitive to rejection and questioning my sanity, rather than ( praize de lord) where I am now- over a year since I took down my profiles- feeling content and at times – yes I’m a single mum nomad- downright euphoric that when I put the focus back into all the good stuff that IS working in my life and away from any lack or absence of a partner, pheww, there is much peace …. And being an optimist I still believe that if our eyes lock in aisle 7 at Woollies over the organic eggs ( unfertilized thanks) then I will be one grateful, jump for joy mother plucker! If not, hey, that’s just a first world problem, there is love in my life in so many other forms!! And truly, if its just sex one needs, that’s easy to find or pay for… What I’ll continue to hold out for ( yeehaa) is a best friend to share the journey…. And for the moment that would be my dog Mahika!!!

    [Reply]

  • http://indolentdandy.net/fitzroyalty/ Fitzroyalty

    Wow. Your hypocrisy is absurd.

    You’re being a complete passive princess, putting yourself up on a pedestal and expecting men to do all the work, pay the money, make the first move etc while complaining that nothing is happening for you. That’s precisely why nothing is happening for you.

    If you want a modern egalitarian relationship with a man who is your social and intellectual equal, he will probably expect you to contribute as much effort in forming a relationship as he does. He also wants an equal, not a doormat.

    If you behave like a princess, you’ll attract cavemen. If you want more than that, you have to make more effort.

    [Reply]

    Theresa Reply:

    Compatibility is the first hurdle. To get to the point of building a relationship, that has to be there first. Thats the hardest part of all this….

    [Reply]

    Theresa Reply:

    At this point, all I want is integrity. If thats there, everything else falls into place. If its not, nothing does.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    problem is I’m FAR from passive. blokes find it hard that I “control” so much…so sitting back and allowing the dating realm to be their domain is a win-win.

    [Reply]

    mw Reply:

    Hey Sarah
    I think some men, myself included, would probably be a little intimidated by teeing up those potentially awkward first dates with a “foodie.” I love good food and I know a good wine when I taste one but I don’t see this area as my strong suit. I’d be more inclined to leave the eats department to my “date” if that is her area of expertise. I like to make sure that once we’re out and about we are relaxed. That we find a good place to dance.. sit and chat, mingle etc. That we get from one spot to another safely .. and in heels !
    That’s where I tend to come into my own.
    Just a thought ..

    [Reply]

  • with love

    Read “Calling in the one” Its beautiful.

    [Reply]

  • Erin

    OMG, Sarah, thank you so much for your post! I feel like a massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I’m not the only one who thinks this way!
    For months now, friends and family have been urging me to do this online dating, and I caved, put up a profile, spent way to much time and effort tailoring what to say, looking at other profiles, trying to come up with the magic formula that will see me catch the eye of Mr Right, did my share of emails and kisses, but all along I had this knot in the pit of my stomach, this was not how I wanted to meet the one! I love hearing the story of how my parents and grandparents meet, how my dad courted my mum, that’s what I want, the story to tell our kids. So for now, it’s on hold, my evenings are going to be spent with books I’ve been meaning to read, dinners with friends I haven’t seen in months, I’ve got to get my life back.

    [Reply]

  • Edwina

    Hi Sarah,

    I disagree with your courtship comments. I met my boyfriend over a year ago on RSVP (he is 34, I am 29) and he wooed me left right and centre. He says he was just “ready”, that is the difference. If a guy wants to woo you, he will.

    I saw all the rejection (I was on and off the site or years) as a good thing – it meant that if he was rejecting me, then he wasn’t the one.

    Thank goodness I persevered as I now have my ONE.

    xoEB

    [Reply]

  • E

    I love this post. Happy but sometimes lonely I know how that feels :-) xx

    [Reply]

  • http://www.undertheolivegrove.com Emma

    Perfectly written. I could not agree more. It’s so refreshing to know that there are other fabulous women out there that are similar to me and that you don’t have to be married with children to be someone. Thanks! …ps 2 weeks into quitting sugar and feeling great!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.myvirtuallifecoach.com.au Ally

    Hi Sarah,
    I only glanced through your article but read your closing paragraph and agree that despite the number of success stories people have been willing to share with me, I have found online dating a heartless endeavour. It didn’t suit you and it didn’t suit me either but I do have one belief though Sarah. My belief is that we all deserve to be loved and that to give up and say that we don’t need a relationship to be exclusive, romantic or permanent may be a subtle sign that there is something deeper in our sub-conscious that is creating a block for success in the area of love.
    There is an old saying that if you don’t have love it is because you don’t want it. A challenging theory but what is stopping you from accepting the love you most whole heartedly deserve from others? (If you knew the answer to this what would it be?)
    You are a beautiful woman who deserves love – exclusive, romantic and permanent.
    Open your heart and love will find you. xoxo

    [Reply]

  • http://SarahWilson.com.au Louise P

    Hi Sarah,

    I have to say I love your blog about online dating and have found the exact same experience! I recently took my profile down and feel much better for it! Well done for giving it a go anyway xx

    [Reply]

  • LaurenMaree

    Absolutely my favourite article that you’ve written. I’m in my mid-twenties and after two months on the same site I deleted my account. It felt too unnatural to me and in the end I learnt more about myself and the fact that I could be happy and lonely at the same time and that if I do meet someone he’d have to be pretty special to be able to add something to my life :)

    [Reply]

  • http://atwentysomethingsjourney.wordpress.com/ Lauren Rose

    What a wonderful, honest and raw piece I loved it!

    Dating is tricky…but I think I will stick to waiting for that ‘click’ outside of the cyber world.

    However this is now by far my new motto sarah – I tell you, when you care less, your heart opens wider.

    X

    [Reply]

  • Evmoburg

    Loved this article, it takes me back to my days on RSVP!…. There is so much pressure to create a profile that stands out, no wonder so many people seem like they live an exciting life!… One guy caught my eye (I only went on about 3 dates before him) because his profile opening was a funny story that confused me, so I sent a kiss! I needed an explanation! He responded with an email, wanting to bypass the whole back-and-forth text/phone/email rubbish and just meet over coffee. He was a man and courted me like one should – showing interest, organising dates, talking about himself in a genuine manner, not to impress!
    That was November 2006, we are now married and expecting our second child in August. There was something very different about him (and still is).
    With online dating, I started treating it like a job interview, take away expectation and be confident, and give yourself a chance to talk openly about yourself and learn about the other person, and whether YOU like them, instead of worrying whether they like you!
    It can be frustrating and hard to decipher whether someone is worth meeting based on a written profile…but it’s damn hard to meet men in your late 20′s & 30′s!!
    I think we were in the right place at the right (same) time!
    GUY 1 – lived interstate, came to Sydney to meet, was a complete bum and never mentioned his two kids!!!!
    GUY 2 – Police officer and traveller who would show great interest and then vanish, returning 3 months later asking for another date, whist unbeknown to him, i knew he was trying to court my cousin on RSVP at the same time! lol
    GUY 3 – Same profession as me, was more interested in my salary to see if he earnt more than me…and only wanted me to come over and “watch DVD’s” at his house…hmmm

    [Reply]

  • Sylvia

    There’s a difference between online dating and finding “the one.” That’s what makes browsing page after page of these online dating websites so addictive – maybe ‘the one’ is on the next page …

    Instead, why not just go on lots of dates, without being too fussy beforehand. Meet lots of men so that you know what you like and don’t like, you get to dress up and go out and have a conversation with someone new. What’s to lose? Just make the whole thing less “weighty” and enjoy making new friends, or learning what you don’t enjoy!

    [Reply]

    Evmoburg Reply:

    Agree Sylvia!!! … I went on there to gain some confidence, with NO intention of actually finding a husband…6 1/2 years later, I’m still baffled that this all happened!!!
    Go and have fun ladies, I had friends on there that would start planning their whole life with a guy they only shared an email with! lol

    [Reply]

  • http://www.gfblog.com.au Katie

    I did RSVP for a while. Don’t do it Sarah… with love, like lots of things in your life, love will find you, and it will be in ways that you don’t expect. Just do your normal things, but try to go out more, not stay at home, when that friend rings and says ” how about a quick catchup” just say yes, and you never know… it can happen at any age and any stage in life. Don’t give up. Guys in big cities are the worst, because they seem to think its all about money, and sometimes guys in the country have none. Somehow you will find that happy medium. I met a guy, he had no money, I had a bit more, we have been pretty happy together, and have a good life… I feel like the saying ” entrepeneurs are like actors, passionate and broke”.. but hey life goes on. Wait for love, it will catch you unawares!

    [Reply]

  • http://dogrosehealing.com.au Kelly

    I love this and all of your honesty.
    I met my husband through internet dating. My profile status was “Difficult, but worth the challenge”. Hey I was honest.. Although my profile photo was a pic of The Living End. I am thankful that he stood up, manned up, and committed!

    [Reply]

  • Rebel

    Funny post Sarah, I met my husband online. It was no an easy journey, I wouldn’t recommend online dating because it is such a hassle most of the time. A real rollercoaster ride, but it was worth it … finally.
    Most people I tell them I met him in the pub because we met for the first time in real that way. My husband is younger and was a real newbie to online dating, so he still had that initial optimism that most people lose after a while.
    So I guess if you forget about reading to much into their online profiles, quickly glance at their stupid photos because selfies aren’t a good representation, meet for a quick drink to get that gut instinct, check for real chemistry and try to forget how you lined up that first drink.
    If he’s truly into you, then all the chasing we all want/love/deserve will happen! Just hope it comes from someone you actually want to be chased by!
    Don’t use your normal email address and get a temporary mobile number! So when you find Mr Right! Nothing worse than a random phone call while in the company of your new beau!

    [Reply]

  • Camille

    I have been on RSVP and eharmony many times. When I go out to a bar to meet guys with a few friends, no one approaches me. Furthermore all my friends are married with kids and have no one to introduce me to. So I go online, and I do get approached there.

    I have never had a bad experience…. a few memorable aka “you don’t look at all like your photos – your hair is brown online and grey in person!” …. but overall I enjoy myself. I like meeting new people and having a chat.
    I’m still hoping to meet a guy that actually does want to commit. So many say that they do, but I don’t seem to meet those ones!

    I’m an eternal romantic and hear stories of other people that persevered and met the one. Fingers crossed!!!

    [Reply]

  • bekh

    Hi Sarah, thanks so much for being open with us. I am married with lots of kids, and can still connect with your article. Loneliness is common, even among the married with kids. I think most of us think of ourselves as weirdos, well I do anyways, hard to find someone out there like me. I love connecting with people, and find life odd and funny. Then other times I just want to be locked up in my bedroom with a good book and by myself. Actually most of the time.

    My husband loves me and I feel lucky to feel secure in that.

    I don’t think you should give up on online dating….the brainiacs are getting better at putting apps and sites together.

    I have read about a new one called ‘Tinder’.

    You deserve to be in sloppy messy LOVE. it’ll take that to adjust the wonderful life you are living.

    [Reply]

  • Trikiwi

    Great post – so articulate and obviously resonates with many.
    I’m in my mid 40′s, 5 years into a relationship with my partner who is 9 years my junior – it works!! Lucky neither of us desperately wanted children.
    Before that I was single for the longest time so been through all the online dating too. Part of me still misses those single years, I knew who I was – where I wanted to go and had the confidence to go out and just do it all – without consultation!
    Wherever we are, it’s always good to take stock of the person you’ve become and want to be…. maybe I just need a 6 month “sabbatical” to rekindle what that is/was again?! :-)

    [Reply]

  • http://www.bookfinds.com jocelyn

    Sarah-
    Would love to see what you wrote for your profile?

    [Reply]

  • http://retrainmybrain.wordpress.com/ Barb

    Thanks for an insightful post! I found online dating more exhausting than regular dating, and decided when I set up a profile to only keep it up one month at a time. The first time resulted in 3 dates, nice enough guys but there wasn’t a future there. The second time I met the man who would become my husband in less than a week. I got very, very lucky. I did have some rules when deciding whether to respond to someone – if he mentioned in his profile that he wanted his date to be slim, he got eliminated. A gentleman doesn’t write that. If he wrote “no head games”, forget it. That’s something you say when you’re still playing the victim from getting hurt. I don’t date the walking wounded. But it is a hard slog, and it’s not for everybody. No shame in that.

    [Reply]

  • Becca

    Wow – I hated internet dating, i really though i was was the only one. I found it to be a very disheartening experience. I did put myself out there, faults/querks and all and found people (men) to be very shallow and degrading. Above all else – it was not the story i wanted to be able to tell my grandkids, i wanted a story!
    So i gave up everything men, stopped looking, and was content with my nomadic life with my fluffy dog.
    You know when all the old ducks say ‘oh you will find someone when you least expect it’. Well thats what happened to me, i wasnt looking. I was in the smallest, remote town imaginable, and he spoke to me, brought me a beer and the rest is history. Its not a romantic story but its ours! So if i can sound like one of the old ducks now ‘Sarah – you a worth some much more then looking for a bloke, enjoy life, and when your not looking it will happen when you least expect it to.’ oh and ‘ be yourself, coz your awesome!!’.

    Also for the record my BFF found her hubby online and they are happy and have 2 kids and one on the way, so what is right for some is not for others.

    :)

    [Reply]

  • Ali

    Wow, Sarah – it is so enriching to hear your honest perspective – it really resonates with me …. and all the insightful comments that have followed. Thank you! Please keep posting about this subject!

    It is curious, isn’t it, that attractive, accomplished, thoughtful women like you have trouble finding good men?! But be strong … you are great, it will happen!

    I am 41 and after leaving a long marriage was coaxed into Internet dating for only a week by my friends. In that short time, I unexpectedly was approached by a lovely man and this led to a positive and fulfilling, fun relationship for 5 months, in which he said he wanted to stay long-term … But alas (I hear this from so many girlfriends now), when I felt things were going swimmingly well, something changed for him and he ran with virtually no explanation! I am an attractive, positive, kind, loving, loyal person, with a profession, and all my friends think I am a great catch – so I am honestly left perplexed … But obviously have more to learn about men and relationships, so I am actively doing that. But there are many positives out of each relationship and encounter if we look for them – the journey teaches us lots along the way!

    To me, here’s the key:
    I think the main thing is to be happy and fulfilled in your sense of self, very clear about what you want, and know your boundaries – if we focus on this, and enjoy living our lives and pursuing our own dreams, and not needing a man, then we will be more attractive and seen as a real catch when the right man comes along.

    …. Read Gordon Livingston’s book “How to Love” – it is so worthwhile. It shows personalities to avoid, and gives ten virtues to look for in a partner, and to work on in ourselves: Kindness, Optimism, Courage, Loyalty, Tolerance, Honesty, Beauty (I read this as inner beauty), Humour, Flexibility and Intelligence (matching our own interests for good conversation).

    I too find Internet dating daunting, and a bit depressing at times – so I only dabble in it occasionally – but as so many of your followers say, in the end it really only takes one good man to make it all worthwhile. For that reason, let’s enjoy the journey and be optimists! I am now mainly enjoying following my passions in the social setting of like-minded people through meetup groups. I can be myself, and meet lovely new friends, without the pressure of needing to decide if I want follow-up dates. And I intend to make the occasional foray back onto dating sites too … But not driven out of those occasional days of feeling lonely, instead coming from a strong sense of self and looking for companionship and love if the cards fall the right way.

    So I am sending you and all the lovely people here who are single lots of positive thoughts! If we surrender a bit and worry less, I think the universe or fate will guide us in our own time to follow our purpose in life, and guide us to great matches and fulfilling relationships! Good luck :-)

    Ali

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  • Anthony

    This dating game is not easy, and it does seem harder when you get older, and though I have not found the mate yet, you do meet some nice people.

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  • Bec

    I’m glad I stopped waiting to be bowled over with my socks blown off by someone who did the man up thing and chased me. My husband of just over a year did make the first moves and didn’t back down but by personality he isn’t going to be aggresively chasing me and we didn’t have a typical hollywood style courtship. He is gentle and kind and thoughful but these are great qualities in a man. He is also strong and protective and passionate about his ‘passions’.

    Anyway the point is that if I’d stuck to my guns about wanting to be courted and chased and if I had made no small moves of my own I wouldn’t have had my eyes opened to what was out there. I would find it very very difficult to cross and room to talk to a man, I don’t expect it is any easier for them to do it either.

    Just sayin….

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  • Fi

    Thank you Sarah. So honest. The same month I set up an internet dating profile I met my now husband – and not via the internet. I only went on one rsvp date, it was interesting, but definitely not an ongoing thing. I think it was kind of like my signal to myself and the universe that I was ready to make a commitment to someone, or settle down or whatever. I think I was just open to it so it happened.

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  • Ali

    Oh, by the way Sarah … I think quirky (your dates’s terms of unique or odd) is GREAT! I think living a life full of variety is awesome.

    Be yourself – the right man will love you for just who you are – don’t change a thing.

    Besides, we all love your post and your topics, so why wouldn’t a good man? Don’t settle for anything less!

    Ali

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  • ruth leon

    I was widowed quite young (age 43) and I guess my first thought ” was that’s it, my life is over” because I felt that single women at that age are on the rapid slippery slope to invisibility. I did try Internet dating several times and was fairly specific about what I liked and did not like. I did meet a few men and had a couple of reasonably long term relationships, both lovely men. What I discovered about myself was something I noticed a few times, we often go out with people who are not entirely compatible or with whom we are happy. we persist— and I wonder why?
    I have to wonder whether we just do not have enough social occasions these days: we seem such an isolated lot. Pubs and bars are not ideal for meeting the people I would like to meet and the concerts and musical occasions do not lend themselves to socializing. So, as I have officially ‘given up looking’ and I spend a lot of time alone, I have taken to joining “meetup” groups– movies, walks, lunches— wonderful. There seems to be a wonderful array of people, men and women similar ages to myself and very companionable: I have really enjoyed my time going on expeditions. Life does become more interesting when there are social occasions, and if I have lots my love as I did, I remember Deborah Kerr in The King and I, singing Hello young Lovers — “I had a love of my own!”

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  • http://ayogafiedlife.com Kate

    I reconnected with my partner on RSVP, having first hooked up 10 years ago at University ! There’s no such thing as coincidences..
    xx

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  • Em

    I met my partner on eharmony after years of no dates or dating mr wrongs, and seeing some blissfully happy friends who had successfully tried it. our relationship is fantastic, we are living together and just celebrated our two year anniversary.

    Although I do agree that online dating is brutal (actually dating in general is brutal, until you find the one, but online dating seems to ramp it up a notch)! Also I still get weird about telling people how we met as so often those who haven’t tried it judge it harshly.

    Good luck daters! Xx

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  • Pam

    I just loved your article because it is exactly how I’m feeling. At 43 I have a great house, great job, great son, great cat, great friends…and if there’s going to be a man in my life he’d have to be great. Online dating has been nothing but disappointments and lies, or men who don’t man up. I’m tired of the guys who send me their number in the first email or send a million texts but never get around to meeting. My profile is coming down today which is why a friend sent me this article…I’m ready to take my chances in the real world and find a man who invites me on a date like men used to do. Maybe it won’t happen until I’m 90 but in the meantime I’m happy with all the other greatness in my life.

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  • Kate

    I agree with Bec’s comment about some men not being suited to ‘chasing’ women. I met my now-husband on RSVP six years ago, when I was about to turn 39 and was pretty depressed about being alone. I’d been on and off the site for about three years, and yes, I’ll admit it was exhausting at times. But I learnt that you sometimes have to put yourself out there, so I made the first move in contacting this guy who looked and sounded a bit blokey, but fun. And kind of cute. I sent him a free kiss (guilty as charged), but we soon started emailing and he admitted later that he would never have contacted me first, fearing rejection. We are very different – and no doubt would not have crossed paths if it wasn’t for internet dating – but I’m so glad we did. Sometimes I just think it’s good to be jolted out of our comfort zones, or regular circles, especially if they’re not producing the result you’re after – which in my case was to meet someone to share my life with. I’m not good at being alone, and I’m happy to acknowledge that :-)

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  • Some guy

    Wait, scared to put themselves out there? Maybe, but also we might be missing opportunities to meet potential partners. I work from home for a small company and I have hobbies that are in mostly male groups, so that doesn’t give much of an opportunity to meet people. I’m not going to head to a bar and try to pick up strangers.

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    Jane Reply:

    Agreed, I think going on a dating site IS putting yourself out there, not everyone’s day to day life entails meeting people…

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  • Elle

    While I think each person has to live out their own relationship Sylvia, if I was the person in that relationship with you, I would prefer to know. If you are worried about their feelings, you clearly have some respect for them as a person. In which case, why not respect that they deserve to be with someone who thinks they are the bees knees?

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  • Aish

    Sarah, you need a Burmese cat. A reason to come home early, someone to share your organic chicken and it’s so lovely to snuggle on the couch next to. There have been studies that show that having a cat reduces your need for human companionship. And then, when your not expecting anything, you might find that your life has the space for a significant other too.

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  • jane

    Wow this was such a great piece I love your honesty and you just seemed to hit so many nails on the head I totally relate to your situation in several ways!

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  • Megan

    Great article Sarah! Just wanted to say that I met my husband on RSVP. We have been together for 6 years and are now married. We emailed for awhile before we saw each others photos, and then met up for coffee at a local cafe. We talked until the shop had to ask us to leave because they were shutting (about 4 hours later). I origanally went on there looking for something casual. I was not lonely, sad, afraid, looking for an ego boost or the like. And I certainly was not looking for a husband! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would go on online, but decided to give it a crack and have an open mind. I understand that there are creeps, odd balls galore out there on these sites, however theres always a good egg, and I thank my lucky stars that I was lucky to find mine.
    Best wishes and keep up these great articles!

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  • Kat

    I really enjoyed reading this post and the following comments (I haven’t read of them yet but hope to).

    I found that internet dating (or the way I conducted it) was not for me, but I did learn some valuable things, not only about myself, but importantly what I wanted in a relationship.

    In the end, it was when I went travelling and went outside my comfort zone and became more open that I met a fantastic guy.

    I still find it sad that if I had met him before I went travelling (when I tended to subscribe to stereotypes and relationship ‘myths’ e.g. men like younger women, must kill spiders and be able to fix things etc etc – I would have dismissed him as not suitable, and missed meeting the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.

    Once you treat (and respect) people as the individuals they are, let go of your own fears and anxieties and have the courage to communicate openly and clearly without playing games or caring about being liked all the time, it’s amazing how fulfilling and wonderful your relationships can be.

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  • Dianna Love

    Dear Sarah,

    You echoed all of my sentiments to a tee. Thank you for helping me feel not so lonely. May you be blessed with wonderment and enchantment. I am eternally grateful for your transparency and guts.

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  • Bridget

    Awesome Rachel. Thanks for sharing. Hadn’t ever thought that online dating would lead to self awareness, but it makes perfect sense.

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  • Bridget

    Haha totally agree! It is really offensive when people say your standards are too high!! Happy for you Toni.

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  • Rich

    I read this with great interest. But there’s a few things missing. First. Every woman says “why are men old fashioned and romantic and courting anymore” but only a very small selection of women allow themselves to be romanced. What I mean is. There is a certain game to being romanced. A smile, a look. You chop a Mans legs off if you show no expression when a man glances in your direction. I have actually been yelled at for holding a door for a woman. You can’t romance a dead fish and it seems as if men get blamed fairly frequently for something that is a two person game.

    The other point is. In my experience woman love to tell you they want all these brilliant qualities humour, camping shows up in every second profile, integrity, honesty, a brain. But it doesn’t stop the manic judgement based always on that little picture. I am a fairly eclectic person. I don’t write anything about 2 and a half men and I have my shirt on in all my pictures. I am straightforward, open and honest and my inbox is perpetually empty. It’s not for lack of me putting myself in. Inviting women to meet in the real world. But nobody on there actually wants to meet. They want to browse with no intention of buying.
    They want to let the world know they are bubbly. And just looking. ( nothing less attractive than reading just looking) and they want to begin their profile on the attack. “Not here for sex, if you are don’t bother messaging me” “no pic no response” and then they complain about why men aren’t more romantic?? How do you romance a woman (let alone become attracted to her) if she begins like that?

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    Ali Reply:

    Hey Rich

    Good on you for your reply. It is good to hear there are some decent guys out there, and it is good to hear this feedback. Not only you, but the post by “SomeGuy” further up too – it gives me faith! I would rather get positive, helpful feedback than be depressed by all the online challenges so many people seem to have had.

    Maybe if like Sylvia and Angela said above, we all let go of the fear of being rejected (hence no need to put any clauses on about just looking etc), and simply enjoy the fun and curiosity of meeting up with people, and feel strong and happy in ourselves, most of the time there won’t be too much to worry about?

    For the record, I met a great guy online and we dated for 5 months, and I very much enjoyed and accepted him generously romancing me … I think there are plenty of women who love this, so please don’t give up on doing it!

    Unfortunately despite us both seeming to be very happy and no real trigger, he broke it off by stopping wanting to see me with no explanation … and other men seem to have done similarly a number of girlfriends of mine … This sort of stuff is perplexing and difficult for us girls. Maybe you can shed light on why men often do this? …. In the end, every relationship is a good learning journey I guess, and hopefully leads us to being stronger and more appreciative for the right man in the long run!

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    Rich Reply:

    I’m pleased you received my comments in the spirit they where intended. Thanks for that.
    I wish I could offer any sort of explanation as to why blokes do that, but one thing I know about myself is, I am not like other blokes. (And I will never stop being romantic -I love it as much as the girl). I suppose without actually dating you I cant do anything to change your experiences with the fellas

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    Theresa Reply:

    I believe you Rich. After a tremendous amount of healing, instead mentally deleting your posts because they didn’t fit into my “all men are evil” statistics from my past, I actually HEAR you and believe you. Thank you! Keep being you!

    Why do guys dump a woman mid air with no explanation? One reason: they are cowards. They either found someone “better,” and never intended to be long term anyway and are just using you (ie: stringing you along) until they rustled up something hotter, cuter, younger, less threatening, stupider, (certainly not more of an intellectual challenge. Men like this always down shift in IQ, along with dress size and age if at all possible) or are married and got busted. Either way-COWARDS.

    But good news, as Rich up there testifies to, not all men are cowards and some actually still have integrity. I am much relieved to hear this.

    Best advice I ever got was from myself: do what it says in the Bible, do not settle for less for even more than 5 min, put God first in my life and live with integrity, and only interact with men that do as well. Then it can’t NOT workout. :)

    Rich Reply:

    I hear and agree with all of that, and I am smiling because it is nice to be heard and understood, However I have one last (albeit fairly pessimistic) thing to add; guys like me, with honour, kindness, compassion aren’t sexy. Therefore stay alone.

  • Rich

    I hope it doesn’t seem like I am bagging out women. I love women :) I love all people. I just I have really noticed men getting trashed a lot lately and as a man who honestly tries his hardest, works hard, is a great dad, READS profiles and tries to come up with something worth saying to say, I tire of hearing it sometimes.
    Good article. I’d be so interested to read the same thing as written by a man.

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  • Ange

    This article was like reading my own thoughts. However a liitle while back I came to thinking in days of “courting”, woman where happier with allot less in their lives. I think our generation has been lead to believe we can and should have everything we want. I now think that concept is overindulgent. I think the “disconnect” is our expectations of life. In the days of “courting” woman and men made sacrifices. Rather than a man “adding” to your life. You might need to give up something to gain something.

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  • Deborah

    I agree with a lot of what you said Sarah. .I was/am a hopless romantic and was waiting to be struck. .. courted etc. … but basically that didn’t happen for most of my thirties. .I simply wasnt meeting any single men! !! As Dr Phil wisely”told me” How’s that working for you? What ever I was doing wasn’t working so I had to change something. . I had to MEET some men. .. Then at least I had a chance to be”struck “!!! Romantic me went online much to my horror. .. and I felt all the things you describe. . But I remained open. .. One of those free kisses. ..( and it just takes ONE out of all the not so great ones) was from a guy. .who is now my husband. ..
    His kiss led to many emails which led to a chat which led to a date and on that date I was physically struck and he courted me thereafter but I was struck first by his email. .I liked him straight off. ..I tell my friends yes you have to be wooed and feel all gooey and in lurrrve etc but you have to MEET men first. . There are so many great guys on line they are not at pubs. . And neither are you. .. do it !!!! All the things you describe are exactly how I felt when I used to go out to a bar or the like. . There is no difference. . Dating is dating. .. Get on there ladies. .a free kiss could change your life :) x

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  • Julene

    Sarah,

    I had to laugh when I read your article as I have just recently drawn the same conclusions about online dating. Although, I must say that you have been very diplomatic in your descriptions of the available men of the online dating world. I’m not sure that I would have been as kind.

    Caring less does seem to make it a bit easier. I have noticed more men approaching me now that I have let go of this idea that I can find a love online. It will happen when it happens. That is my new mantra. I no longer wish to kick in doors, that should remain shut, all in the name of being in love. There is contentment in this new understanding. It’s a hard pill to swallow all at once but, in little bites it isn’t so bad.

    Thank you for your fresh perspective. It was very sweet of you to be vulnerable before us all.

    Best wishes for your future,
    Julene

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  • http://toolboxformen.com Rees

    I completely agree with you Chaos, the majority of men don’t have this trait. I sure didn’t use to. It’s the reason why a lot of “nice guys” tend to miss out on the girl, as she runs off with some w@%ker who has heaps of confidence, which usually ends in tears. The interesting thing is most of these nice guys are reasonably confident in every other area of their lives, like at work, playing sport, or when they’re out with their mates. I think the ticket to approaching a woman is not to take the results personally, and having confidence in this area is a skill we can learn. There are lots of great people to meet out there in this amazing world, online or otherwise, so saying hello to someone without being invested in the outcome takes the pressure off us. You might make a good friend online, only to find only one of her friends thinks you’re her dream man, who knows. The funny thing is, as your confidence grows in this area, women are more interested in you.

    I’m all for nice guys finishing first!

    Sorry for hijacking you’re thread Sarah.

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  • Soph2

    Sarah, thanks for writing this and being so open with what you’re doing. I too was doing online dating recently, until I became tired of it. The number of guys who are into ‘cars and motoring’, afl and ‘drinking with my mates’ makes it really difficult for me to come across anyone who I feel I can make a connection with. To top it off, I ended up meeting a guy who found me on facebook (simply by knowing my first name only and knowing what I looked like), and now knows my last name and has tried to intimidate me when I said I wasn’t interested. I still keep getting texts from him which has caused me to lose quite a lot of sleep as I worry if he has found out my address too.
    But I may give it another go in the future, I just need a break. And the difficulty of meeting someone now, compared to when I was younger, has made me realise I have to think of relationships differently now. My life as a single person is lonely, but so fulfilling and independent and busy, that dating is tricky to fit into my life.

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  • girlbarista

    Read this post a couple of days ago, feel somewhat compelled to comment on it now.

    I did RSVP the last time I was single. I had fun. Communicated with some good guys. I scored(!). I was on it at a time when I was actually enjoying being single and the excitement of romantic possibility that comes with it. Who’ll be the next boy? How will we first kiss? What adventures might we have? I saw it as another avenue to meeting people who wouldn’t normally be in my regular social mix. I didn’t hang all of my romantic hopes on it. I still went out to pubs and spent time with my lovely girlfriends and joked around with guys who came into work.

    Anyway, after a few months I got together with a guy who I’d known through work for a long time. It turned out he was on RSVP too, at the same time I was. There’s a 14 year age gap. Online we were both looking for someone closer to our own ages. He liked 80′s punk and country music. I liked 90′s rock. He loves poetry and and modern literature. I like fan-fic and PlayStation and marathoning TV series. On the RSVP laundry list we weren’t a match. In real life we had fun. He found my nerdish pursuits and hippy inclinations cute. I learnt to love country music and let him pick out my first pair of cowboy boots. The sex was/is great. Been together now for six and a half years, and I’m heading to the USA with him in a couple of weeks to meet his family for the first time, and hopefully kiss on top of the Empire State Building.

    Internet dating often doesn’t allow for the all important ingredient of chemistry – people chemistry just isn’t a neat equation. But I still feel like we were giving out some signals about being ‘ready’ to be in a partnership by engaging in the online process (at the risk of sounding a bit ‘woo’). I think it’s cool. I wouldn’t write it off. Just keep it light. Keep your options.

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    Stormageddon Reply:

    I love this story, it’s gorgeous. :) Even though I am not in a relationship at the moment, my experience echoes this. I have had amazing relationships with men who do not share my weird interests. If you are both kind to each other and open, you can often discover a middle ground which brings you both happiness that might not be apparent on a dating profile.

    Good luck, and may I recommend the Rockefeller Centre tower also? Apparently it’s where the real New Yorkers go, and you can see the Empire State Building from the top.

    Mia xx

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    Rees Reply:

    Great story. I think one of the best ideas, as so many have said, is to keep an open mind. Over 60% of women in a recent survey said they had a fulfilling and loving relationship with a guy that, at first meeting, they weren’t interested in. Think outside the box, but don’t lower your standards. Use intention to believe that great someone into your life :)

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  • Karla

    I know the song you would just love Sarah. I think it sums up this article beautifully: Perfectly Lonely by John Mayer.

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  • Eliza

    I had a similar experience to girlbarista above. I tried online dating on and off for years and it was at times really disheartening. I met some amazing people, met some snakes and got severely knocked around by rejection (and I’m sure, I knocked others around too). I’m now happily engaged to a guy I met on RSVP three years ago.

    The thing is, when my now fiance sent me the password to his photos I thought, ‘I know that guy!’ I remembered meeting him years earlier at a festival and I remembered there had been an attraction but he was with someone else at the time. Online, his photos were awful (I still ask him why he chose a pic in which he looked like a serial killer?!), his profile was pretty random, he lived too far away and I am pretty certain that if I hadn’t have recognised his face and remembered a connection I would not have given him the time of day. He is seriously an amazing match for me, I pretty much fell in love on our first date and while our relationship has had it’s ups and downs it’s changed both of our lives for the better, no doubt in my mind.

    Online dating is a medium that allows you to say ‘Actually, I’d like to meet someone!’ and say it to others in the same boat. But it’s really difficult to portray your real self online so it’s so important to keep an open mind and give people a chance.

    x

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  • Lea

    Dear Sarah,

    After reading carefully your post that concludes with the question “don’t you think”, here are the thoughts I’d like to share.

    Why do we do what we do?
    You’re familiar with the importance of learning about yourself and your values, and also about the idea of being brutally honest with yourself. I guess the first question is: Why did you sign on in first place two month ago?

    What do we really want?
    « I learned I don’t like internet dating, but I stick to it to see if it can surprise me ». Why would you continue to do something you don’t like? They are many ways you can be surprised and I believe Internet may not be the best place for this.
    « I want to be struck. I want to be pursued, courted ». This statement more than anything else says something about your expectations. What if your man would like the same thing? What if men would like women to female-up?
    Men « lose sight of what kind of woman they actually want ». Men may simply don’t know. Maybe you can let him discover that you’re the kind of woman he would like to be with. Let him realise he has never found a woman like you before, and did not even know such a person exists.

    What do we really mean by the words we use?
    « I am a nomad. I am not a nester » – What does it means really? Is this incompatible with the relationship you dream of? What is actually the relationship you’d love to have?

    What do we really want? (Again)
    « I am too busy to pin down a date » – That is a personal choice. When you meet somebody you really want to spend time with, you make the time. Sometimes it’s good to have a limited time to commit, you have to make the most of each moment.
    « Relationships become a distant second to everything else » – If relationship is not part of your values, if it’s not important for you, then it’s ok. But is it really the case? Values change all the time, so does life.
    « A relationship has got to be special enough to enhance my life, and not detract from it ». – A relationship requires always a bit of work. Some people have learned their biggest life lessons through relationships and have discovered themselves through it too. Sometimes, it happens the hard way though.

    Are we consistent with what we want?
    « the higher the bar for someone to be able to come in and add something » – It’s never one sided life. If someone comes in, it means you come in too, you’ll have to add something too, you’ll have to enhance his life too. The relationship requires some work from both sides. The better the relationship, the bigger the challenges sometimes. It’s a matter of balance.
    You don’t need a man, you want one. You are a “nomad”. In my world this means you’re are independent. Independence has many levels though. You want a man, for what purpose ? To share, to love, to be loved, for sex, for attention? It’s ok to be a nomad, as it is ok to settle. But not all relationships mean « settling ».
    « We don’t like commitment » – You’re unique, and so will be your relationship. We can’t make generalisation. It’s more about your take on commitment. Would you like to be committed? For you, does being nomad means non-commitment? What commitment means to you?

    We are all lonely
    « I learned to be lonely is to be human » – We’re always alone, even in love, and this is true even when you are in a relationship sometimes. Humans struggle with solitude. Facebook is the biggest example of this I believe.

    What do we really want? (Again and again)
    « You can have relationship at all kinds of levels. It does not have to be exclusive and romantic and permanent » – It really depends on what you want and what’s important for you in a relationship. It is so different for each of us. Sometimes we start by acknowledging what we don’t want…

    At the end of the day:

    You’re beautiful, successful and talented. And I am sure you’re beauty is even far more radiant inside. Nomad is just a label; you’re more than that. Each relationship is unique, just because it is built by people, unique by nature. And as for everything else in that matter, there are no rules. You have unlimited opportunities in front of you. And this is not being optimistic. Let’s be real, it can happen at any time and in most cases, at the most unexpected time.

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  • Dan

    G’day Sarah.
    Your honesty, insightfulness and intelligence is an impressive set of qualities. IMO woman of your ilk will find ‘the one’, if that is your desire, the trick is once again IMO, meeting someone confident enough not to be intimidated by such a woman.
    Best of luck and take care.

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  • Emina

    Hi Sarah,
    I loved reading your experience about online dating!!! It made me laugh, as I could relate to everything that you were saying.
    I joined the online dating scene late last year and feel the same way… I don’t like it.
    Yes I agree most men have commitment issues. They openly say that they want to meet someone on the site, but still can’t commit when they do.
    I will try to adopt your positive attitude with regards to being single. I’m lonely but take comfort in having my 2 golden retrievers around.
    xx

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  • Vee

    I did Internet dating in 2006, met a nice guy who ended up being a moron. It’s worth comparing Internet dating to visit a pub. 99% of the guys there you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

    One lonely Saturday night I got bored and signed up again, got contacted by a a guy who seemed a bit boring but entertained me on chat for the night… He turned into my husband and is far from anything he tried to represent in RSVP!!

    I often think what would have happened if I hadn’t taken a risk on it again… I can’t imagine life without him.

    But I don’t think it’s for everyone… It can rough, time consuming and down right frustrating…

    All the best to everyone out there on the Internet dating scene!!

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  • Fiona

    Sarah – I’ve actively followed you for years and this post has just left me speechless. You have articulated my feelings perfectly. Its because of you that I don’t feel ashamed to be single anymore. The constant questions of “why don’t you have a boyfriend” bother me less and less. I still long to find my “fella” but I know I will find him when I find him and not just because i’m 35 and feel like my time is running out.

    Thank you

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  • http://www.sparkyourself.org Sophie | Spark Your Self

    Often when I read blogs I have to remind myself not judge my inside by other people’s outsides. You’re one of the few (if not only) writers who brings their inside out, raw, vulnerable and true. Thank you for sharing x

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  • Tracy (@fromthekiwigirl)

    Hi Sarah
    What a hoot!
    You hit the nail on the head. Sometimes I feel lonely and check out my status on the online site of choice and there are few and far between any select options available out there. There are ones who play games..yes even well into their 40s and others who are not compatible but come out hitting/trying to get a date.
    I agree that courting, romance, dating and even being friends would be a truly realistic way of meeting people. Men are honest, raw, tell their stories and share their pain. I have been on 4 dates and 1 I had was delightful but thats where it ended. There is a lot of choice when you age ranges from 30 to 48 and obviously they want the younger end of of the spectrum. I realise that I am not everyone’s cup of tea..only to the selected few, which really, is what you want. Yes I am still there hanging out..looking elusive but I do want someone to enhance my life and not derail it. I like my life and its taken me a long winding road to get here, where I feel at ease in my skin and enjoy my quirkiness. So be at peace with your choice, follow your heart and love all the beings that come in to your presence.

    [Reply]

  • Somone

    I tried online dating once. I hated it. So then I went back into the real world. I made contact with a woman that my friends said I should meet. Turns out she was a bit of a celeb. She even came from my home town. Dinner was ok. I don’t think she really liked what I was wearing. I then bumped into her at cafe – she was sitting right next to me. I said hello but she didn’t even remember me. I didn’t know whether to be insulted or amused. Then I bumped into her at a stylish ‘cool’ party. She looked straight at me and kept walking. Shame.

    I think I’ll go back to online dating.

    [Reply]

  • Simon

    When you said “I tell you, when you care less, your heart opens wider.” it really resonated with me.

    Usually when I say I’m pretty easy going and there are only a few things that I really care enough about, to fight for. Red or white, cook dinner or eat out, movies or a moon light walk. People tend to take it the wrong way as if I’m not passionate.

    Maybe from now on I’ll just say…I tell you, when you care less, your heart opens wider.

    [Reply]

    Rich Reply:

    What a great thought. Thanks for ( inadvertently) giving me some excellent and much needed advice

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: RubyRadar Responds to Sarah Wilson's On-line Dating Post | Australia's No. 1 Dating Site For Professionals

  • wanderlust

    “you can have relationships at all kinds of levels. It doesn’t have to be exclusive and romantic and permanent.”

    Yes yes yes. I’m happily married, but yearn for new connections, new relationships, that are platonic yet deep, stripped of artifice and pretension. I have a lot of friends, but always have space for more, and particularly as I too am a nomad, they’re scattered all around the world, so take a lot of work. I really believe that you can’t get everything you need from just one person, and I really yearn to meet and connect with someone – or people – who stimulate parts of me that my husband, as much as I love him, simply can’t fulfil. I remember from my very brief foray into internet dating, before I met my husband, that I was struck at how easy it was to cut through the crap and reach the person inside; now, that’s so much harder. I wish there was a site for people like me, a non-dating website, if you will. Just because you’re happily married, it doesn’t mean you still aren’t lonely.

    [Reply]

  • Jo

    I wasn’t keen on internet dating until my son got tired of me sitting by myself because all my friends had partners so I was alone on weekends…joined up to a free site, had three dates and the last one was fantastic! We just clicked…he was up front, he knew who he was and what he wanted, almost a male version of myself! We agreed straight away, no committment, let’s just have fun. It was so easy because we already knew so much about each other from our profiles. We found so much more in common as time went on…we are now definitely committed, living separately for now as we have teenage kids to look after, seven months on and loving every minute of it! Tho’ I’m happy to tell anyone how we met he likes to keep it quiet…it’s not for everyone, it can be depressing and frustrating but personally,for me, it worked.

    [Reply]

  • Sarah Wilson

    Hmmmm, it’s a mystery to me!

    [Reply]

  • fromthekiwigirl

    Cheers for sharing..insightful, caring and understanding. Its like Target ..they are giving you choices..to try on..feel..get up close and finally buy it, to take home. We are all doing the same and hopefully meet the perfect fit. I agree with you, that God knows who we are and what we need in a significant other and happiness is a self- serve option..only you know what makes you happy.

    [Reply]

  • reader

    Sometimes your perfect match is someone you already know.
    My husband was an acquaintance whom I got along really well with but was very reluctant to date due to feeling no romantic attraction. After a run of very bad man-luck and when no other options presented themselves I accepted his (persistent!) invitation to dinner which led to another and another until I realised he was as close to perfect as I’d ever hoped for.
    Every night I sleep soundly and contentedly knowing my marriage is strong, stable and immensely fulfilling. I could have turned him down in hope for something ‘better’ but then I would never know this happiness.

    [Reply]

  • http://haveyoumetmissjones.com.au Jennifer

    I know this is incredibly crazy to write but if you are still single and looking for a wonderful man, then I think you should have a coffee with my friend. He is an absolutely gorgeous soul and I think you two would have a lot in common! I met my husband on RSVP and we just had the most amazing wedding. I guess I was lucky. I think it’s hard to meet the right person and being on-line just increases the chances that you might stumble upon each other. So please – have a think about that coffee with my friend. It’s half an hour of your life and it could lead to something…amazing?

    [Reply]

  • Stephanie

    This is such a fantastic post (your writing gets better and better).

    I was starting to write a comment and then I think I deleted it. I totally agree with everything Kimmy said. Having moved incessantly since my 20s, I started online dating in a new city when I was about 36. I online dated for 3 years with very similar experiences to Kimmy’s, and then I met my husband when I was 39, on the street, in a foreign country (and have never looked back). My husband is the greatest guy on earth to me – serious, bright, curious, kind, funny, caring, devoted. People are always staring at us I think because we seem to be constantly having a great time together! Random people in restaurants tell us what a lovely couple we make. The thing is though that he would never have met any of the criteria I thought I needed when I was online dating. I did date many different types of men, remaining open to people with less education and implausible interests, looking for that “kindred spirit,” but my guy honestly would likely not have sparked my interest on paper, especially because he doesn’t write very well (he also is stubbornly against online dating, so I never would have met him there). I didn’t think I was being overly picky at the time, but I don’t think that I could ever have imagined my guy while I was dreaming up the different options that could suit me. There’s just too much magic involved, in my view. I am someone who I think has a great deal of self-knowledge, so the whole thing came as a great surprise to me. Something to ponder.

    At the same time, I wanted to write that I agree with Kimmy – the online dating thing was well worth it and worth continuing to do. I think it’s a part of the process of generating willingness and openness within yourself, so that when the right one turns up your face is turned to the sun, so to speak. While online dating, I made a point of going out with men of all different types, often going on second or third dates just to see if first-date nerves had gotten in the way. I had some terrible experiences and some other more pleasant ones in which I got to know different types of people in my city. In some cases we became friends. I am not famous in the way that you are, but I live in a relatively small city and have a high-level, serious job, so I was concerned initially about exposing my photo, etc., as you were. In the end I realized that all that mattered was what I thought of myself, not other people’s gossip and imaginings. Making myself vulnerable in that way served me, even though I didn’t in the end meet my guy through my online meanderings.

    Good luck and trust that your magic will happen.

    [Reply]

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  • Jo

    Angela.. this is brilliant especially the part about men not reading profiles. Men are visual creatures, I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that don’t worry about what you write but make sure your photos are enticing.

    I’m an ex internet dating gal and I totally agree with Sarah on so many points.

    What I’ve learned to add to yours Angela is this:

    - about 97% of single women I know dislike internet dating but do it because they are scared on the alternative which seems to be “nothing”

    - yes men are actually ok with women making contact – even more so in public. It can be a simple as eye contact, a random conversation. Talk to everyone and anyone – including women because talking to “strangers” is becoming a lost art.

    - If you don’t like internet dating don’t do it. My theory is, internet dating doesn’t work for a majority of women so if the majority of women were not online then men would actually “man” up and go out and ask girls out.

    - Oh and being “out there” doesn’t have to mean going to a bar. It could be a game of footy, a art gallery opening, a talk on something that interests you.

    [Reply]

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  • Vanessa

    Awesome post Sarah and i can relate so much. Im 37 and a very nomadic person- the 9-5, whit picket fence just scares me. Im in a relationship niw since January last yesr, but it totally took me by surprise and i was not looking and i was prepared to be alone. Im happy being alone, amusing myself and ive often thought this is due to me being an only child. Sometimes in this relationship i neec ‘me’ time and i like the idea of sleeping on my own at times.
    Here is one very important piece of advice i have for all single people is to remember that a lot of the happy couples you see are the exact opposite and many people stay in relationships when they should be brave and get out. My relationship before this one was nice- i was with a guy who was greatbut i simply didnt love him, or was in love with him. I was so unhappy, knowing that deep down inside of me i was not being true to myself and to the outside world we looked like the perfect couple and i almost fell over when a friend said that we were the couple that she thought of when thinking of the kind of relationship she would like to be in… It was all an illusion!

    Single un my opinion is being really honest with yourself abd i do believe when you are like this you can and do find contentment- maybe with a new partner or with yourself, either way its bliss.

    [Reply]

  • Vanessa

    Oh and the ‘fish’ pics- ive laughed myself silly when friends have showef me their suitors from the online world. Most men either have one or the other in their pics-
    1. Holding a fish in a boat, at the beach
    2. Standing next to car/motorbike or just a pic of the aforementioned
    3. Standing with a beer/can of alcoholic beverage at a mates bbq/at the footy/camping
    4. Selfie in tank too/singlet that shows of arms and all that gym work- this pic usually looks horrible as the flash in the bathroom mirror obscures a fair chunk of the image and/or the subject comes across looking like a serial killer due to focusing too hard on trying to do two things at once- pose, flex AND take a picture!!! ;-)

    [Reply]

  • Guest

    she used the word noncommittal<<<<who's she kidding?people don't date anymore ,they meet each other and move in together within 6 months and while dating,they're actions are as though their married.have to be together in all their free time.she doesn't understand why he wants to still play with his guy friends and becomes upset.after all..they're dating..if she's low on rent.,he's expected to take care of it.same thing if her car needs repair.remember shows like happy days and many of the teen movies of he 80's? dating was dating NOT marriage.a couple saw each other a lot but it didn't have to be every day.often times he'd see his pals and she'd hang with hers and sometimes they would all hang together..and yeah I understand I'm talking about high school.but dating should be the same at 35 25 and 55 as it is in high school..otherwise you're just 'meeting someone ,going out and afterward the other person has expecations of being with you at all times,asap every day,expecting the same duties and obligations of you that a marriage partner would..then sometime between 6 to 9 months you're living together as a married couple.that's insane..there's nothing wrong with dating for 9 months to a year ,seeing one's own friends often and living wihout the chains and obligations that would accrue in a marriage.have you viewed the woman's profiles on dating sites? it's common to read, "not looking for a one nighter" "be serious" ie,she's looking for an immediate hubby..don't go out with her just one time!!better be for life if you go anywhere with her at all!!
    I watch people date..one half of the couple becomes demanding of the other half's time..unless they both agree to it and then they jump into living together in 6 months or less.and I have seen so many issues occur over it./I don't date cause I want to date..i don't want to be part of someone who expects husbandry duties of me when we're just dating.some people aren't bothered by this .I am.

    [Reply]

  • caroline

    omg you had me in stitches reading your blog on online dating. god its my experience exactly over a 5 year period. 5 dates, 5 men and now in my mid 40s no closer to ”finding anyone”. but everything you say about the men is exactly the way it is. i love your creative style of writing, you should write a novel.

    [Reply]

  • Elizabeth Bella Rosas

    After being in relationship with emma for seven years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email: drinegbedionspellhome@gmail.com you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything. CAN NEVER STOP TALKING ABOUT YOU SIR HIS EMAIL ADDRESS

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