In a two recent personal updates, I mentioned online dating. Here is a summary of my experience. Before getting into the details, though, I want to make two things clear: while my experiences with online dating have sometimes been hurtful and sucky–I know they have taught me valuable lessons;I recently began online dating again, because I know I’m going to find the woman I’m seeking. I don’t know if I’ll find her online. I’m certain I’ll find her though. Yeah, there’s one more thing I should make clear: online dating has also shown me areas of personal weakness that needed work. In the interest of transparency, I will address those too. I never claimed perfection. I promised a willingness to keep growing–even if growing means accepting difficult truths and working to fix them. I can’t ask you to confront your stereotypes if I won’t confront mine.
Previously, I had an experience where I messaged several dozen women. Not a single one replied. I also didn’t get a message from anyone who seemed at all real. Sure, I heard from a few people who wanted to be emailed. I heard from one who wanted money. I even heard from one who wanted a green card. I didn’t hear from anyone who was actually interested in me.
Frustrated and hurt, I conducted an experiment. I posted a photo of me waring sunglasses. I removed the paragraph from my profile where I discussed blindness. Over the next few weeks, I got messages from several dozen women. Almost all of whom seemed legitimate.
Thinking I had proven my theory correct, I quit. I wasn’t ready to handle the expected rejection when I let these suddenly-interested women know I was blind. I kept wondering how so many people who claim to be open and/or progressive could be so superficial?
Later, I was back for more. Having realized what would work, I hid my blindness. It didn’t feel right, but I was doing what I thought I had to do. If, after a few messages, there seemed to be mutual interest, I told the women about my blindness. I wound up meeting four of them. Although none of those experiences, obviously, resulted in me finding the woman I am meant to share life with, they taught me a lot:
- I learned I hate not being totally honest in my profile.
- My belief that if I met some people, whether it ultimately worked or not, I could have fun and learn was confirmed.
- Sadly, I had to acknowledge part of the reason I failed so spectacularly was that I expected failure. As long as I expected rejection, I wouldn’t be my most confident. I wouldn’t be my natural self.
- As long as I couldn’t be myself, I couldn’t expect anyone to want to date me. After all, they didn’t know who the hell I was really capable of being.
- Over time, I forced myself to admit that, I, too, was being judgmental. If a woman lived in a certain place, I didn’t write. If she had more than a certain number of kids, I didn’t write. If she didn’t graduate from college I didn’t write. If she didn’t have a job that impressed me, I didn’t write.
- Yup, I was doing to many exactly what hurt me when it was done to me. Admitting that sucked and felt good at the same time. You know what I mean?
When I decided to try again, I did so with the knowledge that I would have to contact many women. Of those, very few would reply. Of that small group, an even smaller group would actually give it an honest try. But I also knew I would put my best foot forward. I truly would show everyone who read my profile who I am as a person. I would address my blindness with the understanding that if someone is turned off–they certainly aren’t right for me. I have fully embraced the idea that I’m only looking for one special woman with whom I can form a magical relationship. And, of course, I’m casting a wider, more honest net. Now, I’m writing to any woman whose profile makes me believe she’s a nice person and we would get along. I hope I’m finally as open and progressive as I long claimed. After all, it’s the heart that truly matters. Yes, I once used that as a tagline while failing to live up to its lofty ideal.
Armed with more confidence, a truer understanding of whom I want to find, and the peace of mind stemming from the harsh lessons my previously judgmental behavior taught–I’m honestly enjoying online dating this time. Obviously, I have no idea if it will work. But I’m certain it will continue helping me become a better person. The better person I become, the better chance I have at finding the magic I seek.
If you promise not to judge me, I’ll do the same for you. Who knows, we could help each other go farther than we could ever go alone.