Dating the Alphabet: Lessons Learned

LessonsLearned

Lessons Learned

Having dated my way from “A is for Adam” to “Z is for Zak” over the last year, I’ve learned a thing or two about dating. Dating, especially on the Internet, is not for the faint of heart. It is a blood sport. I’m not kidding.

1. Stay Open: It’s amazing how quickly one becomes jaded when Internet dating. I’ve had to remind myself repeatedly that there are good men out there, and that everyone, whether they end up being a good fit for me or not, deserves to be treated kindly and with respect. Every one of us is taking a risk by putting ourselves out there. We all deserve to be treated with dignity. I can’t control how anybody else behaves. But I can do my small part by staying open, being kind, and seeing the good in the men with the courage to make contact.

456

2. Pace Yourself: There is no easier path to exhaustion and overload than spending a few months Internet dating (especially if, like me, you also document the experience on your blog!) How many hours can one woman spend in front of her computer in a single day? You’d be shocked.

When I had a profile that was public, I would receive a number of new messages every day, and could end up spending hours returning emails. Even if many of those emails were of the “No, but thank you” variety, there would still be a few men that I’d think, “Maybe,” and thus would find myself not only juggling emails, but also coffee dates. (It is not a good thing when you forget key details about a man – like his name – while you’re having coffee with him).

Though I miss the attention, I’ve learned that it is best to keep my profile hidden and to only contact men who I think would be good possibilities. My Slow Dating Manifesto, wherein I resolved to only date one man at a time, has made a big difference in my life. Not only can I get to know one man without thinking about who out there might be a better catch, I also have time for other things. Like sleeping.

Discerning

Discerning

3. Be Discerning: I know that my first point was to stay open. For a while I worried that I was being far too picky. After all, I’ve had first dates with close to thirty men in a little more than a year. Surely one of them would be right for me? I worried that I was just being too picky, until a wise friend explained to me the difference between discerning and picky.

To be discerning is to show good judgement, to have insight and understanding. I am being discerning when I choose not to date somebody because I see that he has a negative outlook or is selfish or has no interest in kids. These are qualities that I know won’t work for me long term. I understand this about myself.

To be picky, on the other hand, is to be overly particular about inconsequential details. I’d be picky when ruling out men because they lack a university degree, they don’t meet a certain height requirement, or they have little sense of style. There are lots of smart men without university degrees and lots of sexy men under six feet tall. And for those lacking style, there is the mall.

It’s been good for me to get clear about what really matters. What matters to me is loyalty and warmth and generosity of spirit. What matters to me is intelligence and humour. What matters to me is finding a man who shares my values around family and parenting.

And one of these days, I’ll find him.

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About Sally

Poet, seeker, author, mom. Celebrating the beauty and mystery that surrounds us and learning to trust in the journey.
This entry was posted in The Alphabet of Dating, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Dating the Alphabet: Lessons Learned

  1. kingmidget says:

    Yes, you will.

  2. words4jp says:

    i do believe you will find what you are looking for – 🙂

  3. kp says:

    Great insights and beautiful photos!! kim

  4. El Guapo says:

    Of course, all the effort put into the chase makes the catch that much sweeter!
    Keep at it, Delicious, and Kudos to the man who sets your heart a-flutter.

  5. You got me thinking a little more deeply today…

    Being a financial markets player, I was going to say whiz kid, but I’m neither 😉 but I do like to look for correlations in things.

    Now when you talked about “Pacing Yourself” and documenting the experience, I wonder if there were some that you “documented” less because you ran out of time, because you were so engrossed in them…could be a pointer!

    I’ve far too much time on my hands today, seemingly!

    Trust you are well!

    • I’ve been thinking about your message for the last day now, wondering about which of those men I might have given short shrift because I was caught up in the cataloguing… Certainly food for thought. I’ve wondered how much the Alphabet Dating Game became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I’ve also wondered about the impact of writing about a relationship as it emerged. It put a lot of pressure on Will, for example. Lessons learned…

      • 2fast2spurious says:

        De De,
        I have some insights I’d love to share with you, but I don’t want to fill up your blog with lengthy responses. Is there a way I can contact you, or perhaps I can write them up in a blog and you can read them at your leisure. Some of the things might seem harsh to the timid, but they are meant to be helpful.

        😉

      • I’d love to hear your insight! You’re welcome to leave your thoughts here, or write them up and link back…. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who could benefit from a different perspective. Thanks so much for dropping by!

  6. I stumbled across this blog today. What wise words! Thank you for sharing.

  7. Marianne says:

    Yes, he’s out there, Sally – but you WILL find him 🙂

    Hugs x

  8. Such a great portrayal of the online dating world and lessons learned. I’m forwarding your post on to my friends who Internet date and are simply discerning, not picky–an important distinction. “It’s a blood sport” made me laugh out loud!

  9. amb says:

    You’ll find him, I’m sure of it!

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