Cosmo and I are big proponents of online dating and both came face-to-face with our own unrealistic online dating expectations.
We met on one of them and we both knew on the second date that this was “IT”.
We were at different points in our dating careers when we met.
Cosmo had just started dipping his toes into the pool, after breaking off a bad relationship several months earlier.
He had never used online dating sites, but felt ready to take a quick look around on a few sites, to see who was out there and get a feel for how it all worked. He went into it with few, if any, expectations.
I was back on the sites for the second time, and spent a year and a half weathering the ups and downs of online dating.
Online dating had worked for me several years earlier when I met and had a long term relationships with another lovely man. Unfortunately, he died suddenly a few years in.
I knew I didn’t want to grow old alone so, once I felt ready, I got back into online dating.
But I was feeling burned out, as often happens when you’ve had a long run of dating disappointments. I was planning to take a short mental health break from dating, a good practice when it really starts to get to you.
Even so, I gave it another go-round.
And there was Cosmo on one of the 3 sites I belonged to – attractive photo, nothing offensive in his short profile, and a few shared interests. There was enough there to interest me . . . so I pounced and reached out to him immediately.
We both went into our first date with low expectations. To me it was just another first date; to him it was just an initial look-see into the online dating world.
But generally speaking, it’s easy to have unrealistic expectations with online dating sites. They kind of set you up for it. Log on, and you’re looking at a sea of people, any one of whom could be “the one”.
Naturally, with such a huge pool of potentials, you expect to hit the jackpot quickly. But it’s best not to set yourself up for disappointment.
3 Signs You Need to Lower Your Online Dating Expectations
If you’ve been using online dating sites for even a few months, these signs may be familiar to you.
If you haven’t tried online dating, you may be afraid or hesitant because you:
- Think they’re overrun by scammers, predators and losers who can’t find someone any other way
- Worry that it’s not safe
- Think it’s better to meet someone the old fashioned way
In my own experience, the majority of people I met through online dating (and there were many people and many dates), were decent men whose goal was the same as mine: to find a life partner to be with through the final chapter.
Worrying about safety is understandable and wise. But, just as when you meet someone through traditional dating, if you take simple precautions, you should be fine.
1. You believe everything you read in all those dating profiles.
I doubt it would be a surprise to even someone new to online dating that people stretch the truth on their dating profiles.
Chances are you’re doing it yourself . . . or you’re considering doing it. As time goes on in your dating life, you’re likely to come across people lying about all kinds of things.
Women tend to lie about weight, age, and physique.
Men tend to lie about their jobs, height, and weight.
Cosmo had a date with a woman who took fibbing to a higher level.
She had written in her online profile about being into cross-fit exercise. He exercises too, so it was on his mental list of things to talk about.
On the date, he mentioned her cross-fit reference and she looked at him like he was crazy.
Then she insisted that he was confusing her profile with someone else’s. Chagrined, he said that perhaps he was mistaken.
But he was positive she had mentioned it in her profile.
So he checked when he got home and sure enough, right there in the first two lines of her profile was “cross-fit enthusiast.” And she mentioned it in her profile a second time.
If you discover your date has fibbed, don’t automatically run from them.
It may not be a big enough offense to be a problem.
For instance, if their profile claims they’re 58 and they look about that age, but you find out they’re actually 62, does it really matter in the long run?
Unless it’s a really big lie – or a deal breaker that you’ve decided ahead of time you won’t accept – just let it slide.
On the other hand, if you find out down the road that your date stood firm with a lie on their dating profile, even when you asked them about it, you may want to think twice about continuing with them.
Likewise, if you’ve played with the facts a bit on your profile, come clean with your date early in the game.
2. “Love at first sight” is at the top of your list of dating criteria.
In other words, if you’re not feeling that knockout chemistry from the get-go, you cross them off your list.
Having that giddy, love-at-first-sight feeling is magic . . . like floating on a cloud. It’s something many of us hope for, but may never experience.
Let’s take a look at what that feeling really is, and whether it’s wise to put too much stock in it.
More than likely the feeling is an overwhelming physical attraction for that person.
In my dating experience, NOT feeling that overwhelming attraction to someone didn’t at all mean that they weren’t a great potential partner with whom I could expect to have a wonderful emotional AND physical relationship with.
Sometimes, it takes a few dates for the chemistry to develop. But suddenly, there it is. Just give it some time.
In fact, there is good reason to be cautious when you DO experience love at first sight.
These two things, among a host of others, could be going on:
You have a potentially dangerous overwhelming physical attraction
That very strong physical attraction you’re feeling is coming from an actual chemical reaction you’re having from surging oxytocin, the so-called “sex hormone”.
Under the influence of oxytocin, people tend to move the relationship forward too quickly and otherwise fall prey to poor decision-making, which they later regret.
A “love bomber” may be working on you
You may be a victim of love bombing. That is, your date is a master charmer (aka a narcissist) with a keen talent for making you feel like a million dollars, by lavishing you with excessive compliments, gifts, public displays of affection, etc.
You fall under their spell but soon enough, it all falls apart. They have no real substance, and they’re incapable of partnering in a healthy relationship.
3. You expect that everyone on dating sites is actually interested in going on dates.
People are on dating sites for various reasons. Some have no intention of actually meeting with people in person.
I recall a few men with whom I had several nice phone calls, but I couldn’t get them to commit to a date. They’d either back out at the last minute or hedge about setting a time.
Unfortunately, some people only want to look at profiles.
- Some are married, which usually explains why they won’t bother to respond to any of your messages.
- Some only want to chat on the phone . . . some may use your phone calls to pleasure themselves (I’m pretty sure I was on the phone once with one of these).
- And some may be scammers who have no intention of ever meeting you in person. They just want your money. Here’s how they operate, according to a Consumer Reports article:
“Typically the scammer builds trust by writing long letters over weeks or months and crafting a whole persona for their victims. That big investment gives victims a false sense that the relationship must be real.
Eventually a pitch for money comes. Often the scammer will say an emergency situation has arisen and money is needed fast to avoid dire consequences. This makes it hard for the victim to do due diligence. The scammer might say that an immediate family member has a medical emergency and needs money for treatment, or that he has been wrongly arrested and needs help with bail money and legal support.”
If you stay alert to the possibility that this could happen, you’ll avoid falling into their traps.
In general, if you’re having a hard time setting a date to meet with someone, DON’T keep trying. They’re telling you who they are. Give it a few tries, and then move on.
Most importantly, don’t wait for ANYONE at the expense of meeting others. Keep your options open and date others, until you connect with someone who really seems promising.
More About Online Dating Over 60
Our Best Advice for Better First Dates Over 60 (a roundup of 16 of our “first dates” articles)