ThinkstockPhotos-453462741I overdid the on-line dating thing and am now in recovery.   I have killed off my avatar of amour, my doppelgänger of dating. I am no longer on any sites, my phone is quiet, and I have stopped over-using the emoji library.  Since we are mortal and I hate to think it was all a waste of time, here is what I learned from being Ladywriter99 on Tinder, Plenty of Fish, J-Date and OK Vapid.

1.  I’m not a Commodity

Meeting new prospects required serious maintenance.  No dirty nails from gardening.   Dieting to remain at my “fighting weight.”  No postponing appointments with my (ahem) hair colorist.

One Harley-driving fellow suggested I put up hotter pictures on my dating profile. Perhaps in heels and a tight black dress because I looked too girl-next-door.  It’s hard to think of yourself as merchandise.   Although it’s probably realistic.  

One of my girlfriends met her soul mate within a few weeks of going on-line.  She gloated “I don’t stay on the market for long!”  I contemplated my far longer time “on the market,” i.e. Plenty of Fish, and felt like a cut-rate flounder.  Maybe I should discount myself.

Enough.  No more marketing myself to strangers.  I groom less.  I’ve stopped wearing eye make up.  I eat lots of carrot cake.  I’m in a happier place.

2.  My Time is valuable

Even for an unemployed slacker like me, on-line dating takes a lot of time.  Some guys proposed a first meeting on a day they claimed to have free time, saying they’d text me that day with the meeting time.  And that day, I heard….nothing.  

After I’d arranged my day so I wouldn’t be covered in gardening dirt or exercise sweat around the meet up.  Which never happened.  I hadn’t insisted on a set time because I wanted to seem flexible and chill.   Actually, I am rigid and high-strung.  If you don’t want to meet me, just say so.  I’m a writer, I can deal with rejection.

3.  Dating and Regurgitation Do not Mix

After a few first dates with the “not yet emotionally processed” divorced, I started to feel like Miss Lonelyhearts.  This is a date.  I won’t tell you about my acid stomach problems.  Please don’t discuss your money-grubbing ex-wife, who didn’t appreciate you, and/or had an affair with your exterminator.  After listening for awhile, I start to question YOUR judgment skills.

One otherwise charming fellow insisted on discussing “The Women who Ruined His Life” in excruciating detail.  Like to understand him, I needed a topological map of his past relationships.  Um…no.

And yes, I did used go on too much about my late husband.  I’m working on that.   

4.  I’m Good at Meeting Strange Men for Vapid Exchanges

I was with my late husband for thirty-two years.  After he died, I planned to melt into my sofa in a haze of dark chocolate gelato and Nicholas Sparks movies.  I’d be the woman in the bourbon-stained bathrobe buying the giant, economy Bombay Sapphire gin and twelve Butterfingers at Bevmo.  

But I “got out there.” Too much.  

Still, I enjoyed the process.   Most of the time.  Having two or three meet-ups in one day, my multi-tasking skills improved.  I can simultaneously text, e-mail, eat pre-made kale soup (fighting weight) and watch “Californication”!  

Maybe this will prepare me for job interviews.   Probably not.  But I did feel socially adept.  And resilient.  Which is far better than isolated without options. Good bye for now, Ladywriter99.

You can find more from Debbie at

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