Tag Archives: dating

Online Dating At Its Worst and Best (…and my advice to those seeking love on free dating sites)

10 Mar

I want to preface this entire post by saying that I am in no way, shape or form an expert in online dating or dating in general, for that matter. I feel, however, that I truly have experienced the best and worst of online dating in the past year, and I hope that these experiences can help others who may be in the same situation or who are exploring online dating for the first time.

The Worst

A year after I had ended an awful two-year relationship, I met a man — we’ll just call him X — on a start-up online dating site. I actually wasn’t out looking for anything at that point, I simply enjoyed talking to him because he was from the Netherlands and I’m sucker for learning more about other cultures. A few months went by and we admitted that we both liked each other a lot but obviously the whole long-distance thing was a bad idea. Even with that said, we still continued to Skype once a week for a few hours. Fast forward to a year (yes, a year) later: I have stopped talking to X a couple of times because, deep down, I knew that it was unhealthy. Despite all of this, he kept coming back and telling me that he missed me. In June of 2012, he told me that he loved me. He was drunk when he did it, and I knew that this wasn’t the way I wanted anything in my life to be. We agreed that we wouldn’t date anyone else until we had met, and we made plans for him to come see me in October.online dating

Before I go any further, I want to outline some characteristics of X that I knew were bad but had dismissed because I thought that I was being paranoid:

– He was a partier, good looking and very cocky

– He spoke of having sex with multiple women and even kissing a girl who was in a relationship with someone else at the time.

– He lived with his grandparents and didn’t have a real job (he dropped out of law school). Instead, he kept in touch with all of his international friends and pretty much visited them and got free places to crash all of the time. In a way, I felt like he was using these people.

– The only time he ever said he loved me, or said anything romantic, was when he was drunk.

– He wanted me to fly to him even though I was the one who had a stable job and had never flown overseas before. He said that where I lived seemed boring with nothing to do, and he used that as a way to keep pressuring me to come see a city (Amsterdam) that was actually cool.

Even with all of these signs, I had strong feelings for this man. My family was extremely concerned about me, and they had the right to be, but I defended him. I had a feeling that he was lying about being faithful to me, and so I did go on dates with other men but didn’t tell him about it… I never was serious about any of the men, though, and I did it more to have the “upper hand” if I ever found out that he was lying to me.

In August, I noticed that his relationship status on Facebook had disappeared. Around the same time, he “accidentally” deleted me as a friend and then added me back. A few weeks after this, I randomly clicked on one of the girls who had liked a picture of him only to find that her public profile said that she was in a relationship with X.

Suddenly, I figured it out: he had defriended me so that he had time to hide his relationship status from me. I found out that he had been dating this girl for several months, and I told him to never speak to me again.

I can’t express the feelings of anger, embarrassment and shock that I felt about this entire situation. He most likely would have continued to lead me on and I would have spent who knows how many months delaying my OWN search for love because of this man. That, more than anything, was the crux of my anger.

After this experience, I want to stress that long distance relationships do not work if you meet online first. I’m sorry, but the odds are seriously against you. I would never, ever recommend the experience that I had to anyone, and I would advise extreme caution to anyone who is taking this route. Yes, I have heard of success stories, but they are few and far between. In addition to this, I want other online daters to know that this can happen even if you are talking to someone locally. Ignore any person who takes forever to make plans with you, seems like he is playing around or just gives you an “off” feeling. I can’t tell you how many times my gut was telling me to walk away, and you need to trust that gut feeling even if you think that you are crazy.

This situation caused me a lot of pain and anger, and it was only because of this that I decided to get back into online dating SERIOUSLY this time. I made a profile on Plenty Of Fish and OKCupid, and I got to work on finding a man who truly was going to treat me right. For some of us, myself included, you need to get angry before you get happy. Never let a bad experience or relationship cause you to retreat from finding love. Instead, get pissed off about it — only then will you truly put your heart and soul out there and become determined to make your life better. Just make sure that you are in it for the right reasons, and not for revenge or attention.

The Best

After becoming very angry at my awful situation with X, I met a man on OKCupid about a week later. Apart from loving to travel, this man and I didn’t really have that much in common. He had cats, though, so we talked a lot about that. This man insisted on calling me, kept in constant contact with me and planned very nice dates. Even after the third date, I was struggling to find things to talk to him about. On top of this, I discovered that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend of five years and that they had been engaged. I was outraged, I told him that I refused to be a rebound, and I seriously considered dropping him every time I talked to him. My co-worker, who had met her fiance online, told me to not give up and to give him a chance. “Everyone finds out what they want at different points in their lives,” she told me. 

This man asked if I wanted to be exclusive after our third date. I told him no. I went on two more dates with him and he asked me again, and this time I said yes. It took me about five or six dates to really start learning about this man, understanding his personality and finding things to talk about. Every single part of this process was painful, and I really took a HUGE leap of faith with him.

Fast forward six months later. This man has turned out to be the perfect partner I could ever ask for. I found that dating someone who wasn’t similar to me in personality meant that there was more to share and discover with each other. Once we became comfortable around each other, we were able to truly act like ourselves and I found that I absolutely loved the man that he really was, not the person he had initially acted like when we first started dating. He was kind and patient about my insecurities with his ex. What at first was a very shaky beginning turned into something absolutely wonderful over time, and it’s all because I knew deep down that what I was doing before I met him, and the men I was selecting before him, were obviously not working out. If you feel that you’re in a similar situation, I dare you to date someone that is a complete opposite of you. It’s probably the best decision that I ever made.

Online dating is, as I like to say, the best boot camp that you’ll ever experience on the path to finding love. By taking leaps of faith and by being patient and open, you can become very, very hurt by people, but you can also find love. I personally think that you have to experience the bad to find the good, and this was definitely my case with online dating.

Am I protected against getting hurt down the road? Definitely not. None of us, even the ones who meet people offline, are ever truly safe. We are all going to get hurt. It’s how we deal with this pain, and what we channel that energy into, that really determines what is going to happen. Ultimately, you have the power to determine all of this  because 99% percent of life is showing up, and how you deal with that 99% is going to shape what your life will be like. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “The most successful people in life recognize that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.” If I hadn’t met X and gone through that entire situation, I would have never gotten angry enough to truly go out and find what I knew I deserved. If I hadn’t been hurt, I would have never learned how to identify men who are unfaithful. If I would have never been open about my feelings to X and truly put my heart out there in a way I had never done before, I know that I would never have been able to open up to the man that I’m now in a relationship with as much simply because I used to keep my emotions very closed off. I really would encourage everyone to take the worst of online dating and channel that negativity in a way that you can also find online dating at its best.

When dating anyone online, you should:

– State exactly what you are looking for on your profile. Looking for hookups? Be honest about it. Looking for a serious, long-term relationship? Let everyone know. Put your personality into your profile and have at least two close friends read it. Ask them if it accurately describes you and, if not, what to change. Be sure to give your profile a good proofing, too. 

– Talk online to someone for a week, talk on the phone for a week and then you should be having your first date somewhere in this time frame. I don’t give a crap if you don’t like talking on the phone. Guess what? If you want to date someone, you need to find out if you can communicate well with that person. Suck it up, call them, and figure it out as fast as you can. If they do not suggest a date after this time frame, move on.

– Do not stop going on dates with others until you are exclusive with the person. I can guarantee that they are not focusing on one person at a time, and neither should you. Dating, online dating in particular, is about going through many dates with people and using that knowledge to determine what you’re truly looking for.

– Do not have sex with anyone you meet online, or anywhere really, until you are exclusive. I’m very traditional in this sense, and it really does weed out people quickly. Get rid of anyone who pressures you.

– Get used to the fact that online dating is a very fast-paced process. You may feel that you have nothing to talk about with the person, and that’s true because, um, you just met the person. This is the number one thing I struggled with in online dating because I was used to meeting and dating men by getting to know them in real life as friends first.

– Have a three date minimum. Would you like someone to judge and dismiss you after meeting you once? Give someone a chance enough to see them three times, and then make your decision to keep going or not.

– Keep trying. Online dating, just like dating in real life, is pretty much all down to chance. The more you put yourself out there, and the more duds you meet, the more you will learn about what you’re truly looking for. This is pretty much the best reward you can get out of going on a lot of awful dates. It also makes you a total pro at first dates and the art of conversing with someone you barely know.

Please feel free to comment or send me messages if you would like to ask questions about my experiences in online dating, long-distance dating or even if you have questions about how to make the perfect profile. I’d love to somehow use what I’ve gone through in a way that will help others to hopefully find love, too.

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One Year Recap: Life Outside College and How to Truly Embrace Your First Job – PART ONE

2 Oct

A few days ago, I had my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Only after that first warm, delicious sip did I truly celebrate the one year anniversary of me starting my first job out of college.

Last year at this time, I stopped by the local Dunkin Donuts and sipped that exact same drink as I made my very first one hour commute from my grandparents’ house, where I was living after graduating, to my new job. Though I’m not too slow to adapt to new surroundings, the first week of anything new is usually a huge shock to my system – so much so that my memory usually is completely wiped of that first week. I don’t think I remember more than five memories of my first full year of high school after moving, which was by far the worst mental shock I’d been through. I can’t tell you what I did that first week of my job, but I can tell you this: I was terrified and excited at the same time. I remember staring at my cubicle and having tears well up in my eyes as I thought to myself, “Is this my life for the next forty-some years? Waking up early, trudging to work and staring at grey cubicle walls? Am I cut out for this?”

I have been brutally honest to the several friends that I have who are still in their senior year of college: Graduating and having your first job is a very rude awakening. In fact, it’s best described as a serious of ruthless smacks on the face and shoves into concrete walls that continue for at least two months, maybe more. The beauty, however, is that each day as your brain and heart and body get pushed around, you are transforming into the best person you’re going to be. In a special two part series, I’m going to touch upon a few of the experiences I have had so far a year into my job and how I dealt with them. I truly hope this provides comfort and knowledge to others in similar situations.

pumpkin spice latte

The only time of the year when I’m totally okay spending money on coffee every day.

Making Office Friends

I am the kind of person who wants to be friends with everyone. When I jumped into my job, I was faced with a very tight-knit group of girls in my marketing department who all seemed to have their own inside jokes and interesting stories to talk about. I felt so alone and left out, and it was mostly because (here comes the tip, people!) I was comparing it to college. Only now have I put both things together, but it’s true: In college, it is pretty safe to say that everyone is there to make friends, and it’s pretty darn easy to do it. In the workforce, it’s a bit different. People come and go and there aren’t activities to really ease yourself into friendship like school does, so it’s a completely different approach. My best advice is to be cordial and nice and let the relationships with your co-workers develop slowly. Once you get really comfortable there (and for me it took about seven months), you will loosen up and talking to co-workers will come naturally.  I was pretty shy when I started, and now I joke around and waste time talking to people as much as the next person.

Expand Outside of Your Department

If you work in a medium to large-sized company, there’s a high possibility of you never really speaking to anyone outside of your own department. In your first year, make a mental effort to change that. You will come upon a time where you will have to call someone in another department for help or to assist you in a project, so use that time to your advantage and let yourself become a familiar face to them. Here’s an extra special tip: Befriend your IT department. They are usually full of the coolest, most laid back people and are super approachable. They also will give you extra special treatment when you are having computer issues or need access to top-secret things, such as the color printer or the privacy-protected mobile wifi access.

Don’t Date a Co-Worker

Don’t do this. Let me repeat: Don’t do this. Ever. Ever ever. Even if, like me, you think that it helps you to relate more the next time you read Bridget Jones’s Diary. Dating a co-worker makes the workplace awkward because you have to watch your every move. Word will spread faster than wildfire that you are involved in an office romance and it could potentially ruin your professional appearance and job. In my case, I didn’t start a relationship with a co-worker, but I did go on a date with one. During our (awful) date, I told him that I would “be the biggest bitch and make your life a living hell” if he ever told anyone, which he did. Pro tip: Threatening men isn’t as successful when you are drinking raspberry cider ale. It just doesn’t seem as hardcore. If you do decide to date someone in the workplace, which I hope you don’t, try to date someone in another department. And by another department, I mean one at least one floor down from yours. Preferably two.

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Oh hey, Bridget, who’s there? NOT YOUR CHEEKY (those Brits can get away with using that word so well) OFFICE ROMANCE. Nope.

Stay tuned for the second half where I’ll share some more of my wonderful nougat-centered nuggets of wisdom.

My Own Personal Mordor (or Why I Chose Not to Wear the Ring)

14 Jul

A week ago, I consulted one of my closest straight male friends about an issue that I was having: what is it with men and approaching women/asking for their number? I thoroughly enjoy observing people, and nine times out of ten I’d say that I witness girls coming on to guys, asking for numbers and doing all the work more than I see men doing this. As a girl who digs nerdy guys, this rings especially  true: most of the time, men are completely oblivious to how you feel about them unless you tell them straight-up. What, I asked my friend, goes through a man’s mind when he’s contemplating approaching a girl or flirting with her?

He immediately started asking me what I considered to be very random questions. One of them almost made me laugh out loud: “Do you wear any rings on your fingers?” Don’t get me wrong: I like jewellery and shiny, sparkling things, but I tend to keep all of that to a minimum in my everyday life. I think that too much jewellery looks tacky. Therefore, I mostly only wear one important piece on my right middle finger: a  gold ring with an opal heart in the center that my great-grandmother used to wear. I have gotten so many compliments on this ring that I hardly ever take it off. Well, until I got that text message from my friend.

“So, you’re telling me that as a modern, single woman I can’t even wear a friggin’ ring on my right hand? Are you nuts?” I furiously texted him back, hoping he’d realize his mistake. What he told me seemed so simple and so lacking in logic that I knew that it had to be the way that the majority of men think. “Well,” he replied, “my fiancé never wore any rings until she got engaged to me. And if I saw a girl with a heart ring on any of her fingers, I’d probably assume that she was attached in some way.” Apparently Frodo ain’t the only one who had problems wearing a piece of jewellery on his hand. If I had to ask whether I was going to get an A or an F in the whole being single department, Gandalf surely would be standing here telling me that I shall not pass.

lord of the rings, cate blanchett

I was going to put a picture of Frodo here until I stumbled across this (freaky) picture of Cate Blanchett. Damn, girl, what under eye concealer do you USE?

Sure enough, once I had taken off the ring my dating/love life got a little (may I stress the little part) better. What, I wondered, started this whole ring business anyway?

History for Reptards: What is This Gold Thing on My Finger Edition

According to Wikipedia, by far the most reputable site for finding all historical facts on the world wide interwebs, wearing and giving rings has been going on for over 6,000 years. As many may know, the ring finger of the left hand is used for engagement and wedding rings because there is a belief that there is a vein in that fourth finger that connects directly to the heart (does that creep anyone else out?). Want to know the craziest part? The custom of wearing a wedding ring on this finger was only established as the norm in World War II.

Based on these very few facts, and with over 35 different kinds of rings listed on Wikipedia alone, it seems odd that men would find a girl wearing a ring on her right hand to indicate any sort of attachment to another person. With a designated finger for engagement and wedding rings, I feel like it can’t get more obvious that I am not, in fact, engaged, and I certainly would never be lucky enough to date someone who would be cool enough to find a vintage opal heart ring.

I find that taking off my ring may become a hobbit habit if going out and mingling with people. Beyond that, however, I see no reason to take off a piece of jewellery that I hold so close to my heart.

I’m curious — has anyone else experienced something similar? How do you feel about wearing rings (or maybe even other types of jewellery) when not in a relationship?

How do you say “I know that feeling” in Simlish?

24 Jun

Two weeks ago, I put my ghetto pink laptop from college to rest. After dropping it once (okay, three times), forgetting to ever clean the screen and letting it overheat on my bed for five years, it was starting to fail at performing basic tasks, such as opening a browser in less than a minute or properly playing my Sims game.

Let me start by saying that I am totally 100% okay with the fact that I am addicted to the Sims. Perhaps it’s because I’m a control freak or because somewhere deep down I enjoy manipulating people, but I find the notion of creating a family, watching it grow and letting them live out their ambitions to be rewarding, challenging and extremely fun. The Sims 3 came out a few years ago, and I’ve been dying to have it ever since I heard about all the exciting features: the seamless game play (no loading screens except for the beginning), focused more on achieving goals than guiding your Sim to the bathroom every five minutes, the  crazy awesome expansion packs… I wanted it all. Now that I have my new laptop and have installed the Sims 3, I’ve found that Will Wright may know me a little too well. It appears that he designed this game to perfectly reflect several aspects in my life.

proposing in the sims 3

Lucky betch.

I have absolutely no idea how to properly hook Sims up anymore. While it was relatively simple to do in previous versions, I have struggled to even have my Sims go on a successful date. I seriously had a Sim say, “That was boring…maybe we can go out on an exciting date next time?” after taking the couple to a movie and an art gallery. What the heck is considered more exciting than that? Skydiving?

When I first tried the game out, I created a relatively good-looking girl with high ambition and commitment issues. I figured that I would have this Sim avoid dating, level up in her career and then maybe adopt a kid after a while. My Sim goes to work, however, and finds herself attracted to a man in the office and immediately wants to date him. Flash forward a few minutes hours, and I’ve taken this Sim out on nine dates with nothing happening… not even a kiss or a hint of wanting a relationship. My Sim ends up reaching her career goals and living her life out alone.

When the grim reaper came and her frail little elderly Sim body was taken to the local cemetery, I paused my game in disgust as I realized that the Sim I had created — the Sim that was so adament to achieve success that she didn’t know what the hell to do in her love life — was ME. Off in the distance, I swear I could almost hear Sims developers laughing as yet another hopeless nerd fell into the trap of playing their tragic life out through what can only be described as a high-tech adult version of a dollhouse. What I’ve worried about most has finally been confirmed: dating in this age is extremely difficult, even in the Sims.

I feel like my attempt at finding someone special has been so depressingly close to what my first Sim experienced: I meet someone who I feel would be great for me, and then one of two things happen — I run away the moment I find out that they have feelings for me too, or I somehow mess everything up. I have placed being on my own, not having any attachment and focusing on my career far higher than finding love, and I worry now that I am doomed to meet the same fate as my poor Sim.

Just like in real life, helping out a person in the Sims has many challenges. Unexpected things happen: You fall in love with someone who you know isn’t really right for you, you try to figure out where your skills lie and how you’re going to use them to make a living, you try to make friendships with individuals that can add happiness and fulfilment to your life and, in between all of that, you are struggling just to pay bills and get by. No matter which way you play it, though, the end result is always the same: death, darkness, game over. Perhaps it’s time that I take a step back and think about why I, like my Sim, have chosen to let the fear of commitment and vulnerability rule my life. Hopefully my Sims and I can find love and happiness. Maybe the answer is staring me right in the face — flailing its arms around on the computer screen.

Not OK, Cupid.

15 Feb

As a late Valentine’s Day treat, I thought I would share some of the gems that I have encountered while wading through the cesspool of crazy, awkward individuals on dating sites. Let’s begin, shall we?

I received a message that read “I know since we don’t know eachother my opinion probably doesn’t mean anything to you but I think you look prettier without the bangs.” Okay, first of all? How dare you insult my bangs. They are amazing and I love them. Second of all, take a look at yourself:

Shouldn't you be on SatanicMatch.com?

I seriously almost fell off of my chair laughing. Please, for the love of all that is holy (or in his case, Satanic), do not give style advice to a woman if you look like a serial killer.

Here’s another great one:

Huh?

Actually, I must say that I was flattered to be called a gangster. Finally my days of rapping to Nicki Minaj have paid off!

This one is, hands down, my all-time favorite. Not only did he openly admit his shoe fetish, he also assumed I was enough of a freak to wear SIZE ELEVEN SHOES.

I couldn’t even wrap my head around this one. First of all, how the hell do you market a tugboat company? Second of all, I didn’t even know tugboats still exist. The last one I saw was a Little Tikes one floating around my bathtub when I was four.

I’m not going to lie: there are a lot of nice people who are doing online dating, it’s just that this is only a very small example of the useless crap you have to wade through in order to find them. Happy belated Valentine’s Day!

They can’t ALL be funny!

23 Nov

Light. That’s how I felt when I first met him. I was nineteen and I had just exhaled the last fragment of my cigarette, watching the ashes drop from outside of my car window and onto the school parking lot. The sparks, similar to the butterflies in my stomach, danced against the breeze of the warm spring night. I saw him in the distance, smiling and motioning over to his car: time to go.

When I was little, I came to the shocking realization that nothing was permanent. Every time I experienced something amazing or beautiful, I would feel a pang in my heart akin to the ache you feel when you have your first real, sincere cry as a child. I will never experience this moment again, I would think, and one day I may not even remember this moment anymore. The realization plagued me so deeply that I decided the best solution would be to go over a beautiful event in my mind as many times as possible—the sights, smells, noises—so that I would etch it into my brain. A memory tattoo. I felt comfort in the knowledge that, if I could remember the happy times in my life to the fullest extent, I could relive them and hopefully experience the same joy later on. I remember that I tried explaining this concern, and the solution, to my sister only to be met with confusion and disinterest. The way I looked at the world, I realized, was not something that every other six year old experienced.

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As we walked into the first bar that I had ever been in, I looked down at the hand intertwined with mine. I had never held a man’s hand in this way before, and I felt a sense of electricity run up and down my arm as I experienced the warmth of another person’s body  linked with mine. It felt so foreign and, yet, so intimate and important. The hand squeezed reassuringly. Back in the car, he had passed around a water bottle filled with cider ale, and I walked around the bar with a relaxed, happy demeanor that was foreign to my usual stern self. I remember that the bar was filled with noises but all I could really hear was the sound of his voice. The only two sensations I felt were the chill of the beer bottle in one hand and the comforting heat of his hand locked with mine in the other. Later on, he would take me outside and we would spend an hour, away from his friends, just holding hands and talking. Everything about that night, from the smell of his cologne to the feeling of excitement and nervousness as I looked at him, was so new and beautiful that I thought my heart and mind would explode.

Two years went by and the memory, once a symbol of the innocence of our first love, became a painful reminder of the feeling that I had lost long ago. When I decided that it was time to move on, I cried not for what I was walking away from then, but from the pain of the memories of nights like those when everything was exciting, vibrant and perfect.

Looking back, I couldn’t be happier that I have become such a meticulous tattoo artist of my memories. The surge of emotions from days past keep me from becoming bitter, and the ink has bled onto new memories that I have created now, reminding me that even the most faded colors can be retouched and made new again.

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