Josie’s Internet-Dating Dispatches: A pursuit that’s not for the faint of heart

Today’s guest post comes from quite a distance, and from a blogger I’ve only recently met myself: Josie Speaks Up all the way from Australia! She’s a (young) widowed teacher with one four-legged child (dog variety), and she’s relatively new to blogging.

When Josie offered me her take on this particular topic, I went for it because her experience with it is a bit different from mine: many of y’all know that Tall Paul and I met online, and we’ve been together for going on six years now. Maybe this is one area in life where I’ve been luckier than most?

Being all grown up I’d thought I’d reached the point where I’m reasonably happy with who I am, how I look, how I conduct my life. I actually feel some self-confidence. Good, all good. Until I did some on-line dating.

I’d lost my husband to cancer 15 months ago and would really like to be in another relationship. Yes, I’d much rather meet someone through friends, or shared interests, but that hasn’t happened so it was back to the on-line dating.

Then it quickly became apparent that I was not in the correct age bracket, leading me to feel that maybe I’m too old now to meet anyone. I know this from first-hand experience because after posting my real age, I would get maybe seven people in a week check out my profile. However, if I shave a few years off my age – which of course is dishonest and duplicitous, but a means to an end – I can quadruple the number of people who actually look at my profile. This is the preferred outcome because if people never look at my profile they’re not going to actually contact me.

If you’re wondering what the ideal age group is, well, it’s not anywhere in your 40’s. Thirties is acceptable but apparently the forties means you’re overlooked in favour of younger women. (And, by the way they’re all gorgeous. I generally hold my own in social gatherings and look reasonably nice, but these woman have me intimidated.) However, the men who contact you can be in their fifties. Apparently that’s all well and good.

Then finding someone you’re actually attracted to is a bit hit and miss, especially when they’re 15 years (or more) older than you. Now, I tried to be reasonable about this because I do have friends with a large age gap between them but so far anyone that much older than me has seriously not appealed.

With a few exceptions the men who have contacted me have not read my profile and think I’d love to go out with a smoker – not so – or like watching a lot of motor sport – again not so – or appear to sit around and eat a lot and not exercise. I actually exercise a fair bit, at least every 2nd day, both to feel healthy and to look good. Or the men think my ideal way to spend time is watching the footy and drinking beer. No, no, no – and I said as much on my profile. It’s very, very disheartening and tricky. And can be very off-putting. Perhaps my expectations are far too high?

If you are tough and persevere you might actually meet someone who appears to be a good option. Someone you could actually go out with and enjoy their company. But, I’d forgotten that’s when the real pain begins. The whole self-doubt thing and the wanting a guarantee that it’ll all work out, that you’ll both be on the same page when it comes to how often you see each other or if you like doing the same things. The wondering is it going to be a couple of dates then they, or you, lose interest? Plus, I get keen quickly, how do I avoid that and not get too involved but just to be a bit casual and see what happens?

In fact the last guy I went out, after six months of contact with no one I’d actually consider, appeared promising, but then told me he wanted to go slowly. OK, so what does slowly look like? Apparently slowly is when you date other women too because you want to keep your options open, you know, get to know more than one person at a time. For me, and I would imagine most women, that wasn’t a very flattering option. I interpreted as: “I’ll see you but also see other women and maybe one of these other women will catch my interest more than you.”

Perhaps this is the wrong interpretation? At any rate, I nicely let him know that he can date as many other women as he likes but he doesn’t get to date me as well.

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