Friday, March 8, 2013

Navigatng the World of On-Line Dating

                                 TRAVELING THE UNKNOWN  ROAD

As we grow older, it can be a real challenge to meet a potential partner in this fast-paced world.  What sounded good on paper can backfire in person.  One gentleman ten years my senior had the energy to drive his jeep on back roads for days, camping wherever he landed.  This would be torturous for my body, though I do love adventure and being outdoors.  So an actual date allows fine-tuning regarding different expectations!

After two years exploring this world, I am learning it is most helpful if we become clear about our own values, limitations as well as strengths, and priorities. We need to ask ourselves:  Is a friendship critical to me first, or am I ready to leap in where the more cautious would fear to tread?  There are folks who want instant gratification in this game, and others of us have learned honest relationships take time, for trusting one another means making and keeping agreements. This requires patience, good communication skills, and a willingness to check within and say “no, this person makes me uneasy, or “I truly don’t want an e-mail friend who lives beyond where either of us are likely to be able to drive.”  If money is no issue, fine, fly and check one another out.  For many of us, this would bust the budget, so part of being at peace is accepting what is practical, given our finances, age, and health limitations.  What may be realistic to a young, energetic person in her or his twenties is vastly different from someone in her or his sixties who no longer drives at night nor travels lightly.  This form of dating is the modern version of men posting a letter in a newspaper to get a mail-order bride.  Until you actually meet, both parties can present themselves however they choose, and there are no guarantees. We all have baggage from previous relationships, too. This means discretion is in order!

There will be “success testimonials” on many sites.   This is their form of advertising to hook us into thinking this will be easy. Rarely can you actually speak with a live person by phone to express your concerns or frustrations to someone familiar with the system.  Computers often do the matching based on questions you answer regarding factors important to you.  As we grow older, we don’t have the flexibility to move across the country on a gamble that might have seemed exciting a few decades earlier.  One needs decent computer skills to navigate on these sites, and post photos that may attract a potential friend.  In short, there is quite a learning curve to creating peace with a dating process very unlike old times when we met in school or on the job.  On-line dating is a new game, courage and persistence required!

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