Monday, April 05, 2010

The EDate Revisited 2010

The EDate Revisited
An insight to online dating

Rewind: 2004, I wrote an article called The EDate after working as a relationship coach for author John Gray, “Men are from Mars”. I was an Edate back then but never thought that 6 years later, 2010 I would be an Edate again. Sad but true. Had my heart broken?

Flash Forward: April 2010. I am back into the dating pool wondering if things have changed over the past 6 years. Light bulb, no, not much has changed except everyone I am looking at is “older”. Wiser? No, it’s just that more birthdays have come and gone.

What is different? I think it’s the same game for men, although women are gaining an edge. It’s still the preverbal box of chocolates with men and women looking for the ever elusive chocolate “truffle” in a swarm of maple crème, caramel and nuts. Disappointing? Definitely yes. Demoralizing? Often times yes. Women wanting younger men, yes. Men wanting younger women? Not so much. They tried that and some seem back to finding someone who they can relate to.

Enter the 2000’s. So what makes this unique dating system of the millennium different than meeting someone at a friend’s house or at a single’s group? The first thing would be you get to know someone by their thoughts and written words. That can be a good thing and that can also be deceiving. People do not always speak or write in the words that correlate to their thoughts. Pictures often represent who we might be or want to think people might like, when in reality you need that personality to link both the physical and mental. A photo can be doctored, can be old, and can be someone else’s photo. Do you look the same as you did when you were 20 or 30 or even a year ago. Probably not.

It’s a sad state when we must gauge our needs and wants by a photo.
There are many what is called “handsome” or “beautiful” people who you might never guess without knowing who they are or what comes out of their month. Take for example, Jeff Goldblum. His photos say nothing about his charming and witty personality that makes everything fit in. True for woman as well. Heidi Montague, beautiful before and after plastic surgery but I don’t quite see the “inner” Heidi when she speaks. Flat liner. So we stoop to being judged by our photos and we in turn judge by the photos of probably a lot of nice and sweet men who might never be heard.

Expectations: As a relationship coach listening to people’s problems, I learned that many of us if not all of us put on high expectations of who we think the person we see in the photo really is. Instead of tackling the meeting as just “a meeting” we think that we might find Prince Charming, Cinderella, the perfect girl or boy next door. Is anyone really perfect and can we really know someone by talking with them over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine? Actually have a couple of glasses of wine and your opinion might change!

Who is that person in the photo or list of likes and dislikes? It takes years to find out who anyone is because we are always changing. In science, we and our world, galaxy, solar system are in the state of perpetual change. We as molecules of life are always growing, dying, and changing our state. How can we expect to be the same today as we were yesterday, or 10 years ago?

It could takes years of loving someone before you find out that they have a dark side, a hidden secret. Some kinky fantasy world that goes unnoticed by your state of love and acceptance. I know, you shot a humming bird because it was fighting over your feeder? I had to think about that one. On the other hand, someone you might think is just cold, is tough might be underneath a helpless little puppy just looking for love but putting on a brave front to fool the world.

List of Likes and Dislikes. Our likes and dislikes change. If you are not open to new things, how can you possibly know what you might be missing? Perhaps I didn’t like sailboats or getting over my fear of water but once I started to sail, I loved it. It was a whole new world I was introduced to. If I had not spent 6 years with someone who owned a tree plantation I might never be in my current occupation of working on a degree in natural resources. No matter how old you are, I do believe as in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, everyone we cross paths with has a part in who we are.

I am basically an A Type personality being slowed down a bit by age.
But not just age, by learning from a relationship to appreciate the NOW. Life is today, not yesterday and not tomorrow. Plain and simple is good. It’s a calming to your soul when you do not let a moment go by without opening your eyes to the world around you.
Can we get this from one or two meetings with someone we talked to online? The answer is no. Things take time. It took someone who almost died to get me to understand that this moment is all we have in life.

The Time Factor. Maybe that is the problem with our lives today or in online dating. We want it now. Fast, quick, magically have the best relationship of your life happen this minute. The older we get, the more we try pushing that urgency.

Right Choice: In our time criteria, do we expect to find someone who will be just another relationship or do we approach each photo with “is he or she the one”? No one wants to say I was married for x amount of years to the most wonderful person on the planet and I find you who will do….for now. Would you want to date someone who compares you with their happily ever after past that did not happen?

Temporary Princes and Princesses. How many times do daters stick with someone for a couple of weeks while continue seeking online for the “perfect” match? Are we wasting time, your time and their time in putting up or are we giving that person a chance. Will we settle for just “something” any “port in the storm” or will be honest to ourselves that something is missing. Does hope try to win in this game?

Value systems. I took a class from Prof. Morris Massey, a leading expert in human value systems. Massey’s theory basically says that our value systems are formed in the following:
Imprint – Birth to 7 years old
Modeling – 8 to 14 years old
Socialization – 15-21 years old
It’s true. You can understand and relate to almost anyone if you understand their core value system, where they grew up, and the family they grew up in, the world events at that time. It is our value system that makes us who we are and how we act. My mother stored a year of food, a product of a child who grew up in the depression. “We” grew up in the throw it away, replace it generation. It does work, get a new one. Does that influence apply to our relationships in comparison to our parents who hung on until they wanted to kill each other? A divorce was a no no in a lot of families?

What do we want? I have come to the conclusion, whatever you write on your profile, that we are all alike as human beings. We want to love and be loved. We can deny it, hide it, or pretend it doesn’t exist but in the end we need and want love. A mighty lion can even be tamed by the affection of a lioness. Touch, smell and feel will exist no matter how old you are.

It’s obvious in each profile no matter how you phrase it. We want someone and someone special to ask us how we feel, what did you do today, to have someone tell you they love, want, desire and need you. And “needing” is not to be mistaken with helpless need but a desirable need to be with and next to that person, sharing a common bond of language and touch, experiences and fun.

My grandfather was 86 when he died. My family never understood he needed to feel love; he needed a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Just because he was in his 80s did not mean he lost all feelings of love. I saw him sitting with my own son who was age 3, on the couch holding hands and watching cartoons together. I realized just being near a young soul made him feel alive. I never left him without giving him a hug and a kiss. I know he appreciated it.

Where do we go? Admitting we want love and to be loved is a start. We can talk sex, carnal knowledge, etc. but we do need that mental connection as well. I am probably disqualifying anyone in their 20’s right now, that’s a whole different dynamics in dating!

Find out who someone really is. Do not put anticipations, motivations, expectations, and demands on another individual. Take the time to spend quality time with that person. How will you ever know if you can’t make the time to try? So you may have to kiss a lot of frogs or try to find which foot fits the glass slipper. Either way, you might gain not only an insight to yourself but also experience some new things in life. Especially interests.

I like fairy tales, have had my fairy tales cut off by reality bites but I am not giving up on my hopes and dreams. I have had to adjust that things might not be “happily ever after”, maybe its only one chapter at a time in the book of life. Whatever way it ends up, I believe that it’s all good and it’s all part of being in love no matter how many times you have to try.

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