If you’re single, chances are you’ve dipped into online dating sites that promise pearls, but more often than not, only deliver rocks.
So here we are well ensconced in the digital age, where online, one can find anything from a used Jedi light saber to the promise of undying love.
According to an article in a 2013 issue of Forbes, there are more than 2,300 dating services in the U.S. and approximately 8,000 worldwide to service some 90 million singles between ages 19 and 45. Add another 40 percent for the married cheaters who surf the single turf, not to mention a legion of romance scammers who prey on lonely hearts.
For a mere $36 per month, dating sites promise to match you with your soul mate (or at least a playmate) based on ethnicity, tastes, and perhaps even a chronic illness. Sounds nifty, doesn’t it?
While the Internet has been a culture changer, as with every change, there’s a cost. In the world of dating sites, where photos of happy couples fill the ads, but very few make a true love connection, most singles just pay the price.
When something as important as love is involved, the so-called “easy” way, with limitless options and anonymity is a risky way to make critical decisions about an important part of your life. Most of us live in the “real” lane, which to my thinking is where we should stay when looking for a romantic connection. Let’s look.
Dear Marnie: I am 37 years old and until recently, was miserably alone. I met this wonderful man on a dating site about a month ago. He is everything I ever wanted in a man. He makes time for me and we have so much in common. All of our hopes and dreams are the same. I am totally in love with him and he says he is in love with me. We have been totally honest with each other about everything. The thing is, we live six hours apart and I’m worried if might be our downfall. Please help. Can you trust someone you’ve only met online? — Miri
MARNIE SAYS: My dear Cyber-Cinderella! I’m the original happily ever after kid. So why, oh why, are you making me rip that glass slipper from your dainty foot? Your downfall isn’t distance. It’s that pesky trust issue you raised.
Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:
* Listen … to you. Your own words: “We’ve been totally honest” with the chaser: “Can you trust someone you’ve only met online?” You say you’ve shared all, but admit it’s only been a month. Lovers have clawed their way across continents to meet, yet you ask if a six-hour distance could doom two cyber-soulmates. Even you don’t buy it, angel or you’d be hopping a bus and … you’re not. It’s time we look at what all this is really about.
* You’re miserable untied. So, your M.O. was to enter that Big Anonymous FantasyLand known as a dating site in search of a personal prince who would become your happily ever after.
* Will your cyber-prince turn froggy once you meet over a latte? The answer is … who knows? Cyberspace is filled with heroes, fakers and frogs. What if you meet and then, despite a whole four weeks of promises, the passionate chats and emails, you start to hear a little croak. He’s not thrilled with your desperation. He has more cyber-ladies in his email harem than a sultan in 1920 imperial Turkey, and he’s got “time” because he hasn’t had a job since the Reagan administration. Ask yourself, was the risk worth it to my ego and my already shaky self-esteem?
* Onto the real problem: Your desperation. Instead of the Great Fantasy Escape, re-write your story as a reality show. That means looking at your life as is. It means re-framing your self-view. It means turning off the computer and connecting with resources that can help you learn to be OK with you.
But, princess, it’s my hunch you know all this and just needed me to be the good witch who holds up the looking glass.
OLD DOG, OLD TRICKS
Dear Marnie: Two months ago I met this incredible man on a dating site. We emailed for weeks and then moved to the phone. The clincher is that I thought he was the same age as me, 38. After getting to know each other and starting to really care, I found out he exaggerated. He just turned 62! But I fell for who he is, not how old he is. So Marnie, do I have dinner with him even though he fibbed on his profile, or do I tell him thanks but no thanks and go back to the search? — Misty-Eyed in Malibu
MARNIE SAYS: Has all that mist fogged your vision? Fibbed? A man going from 38 to 62 is more of a stretch than me in a pair of Spanx. Of course if you were to meet him, it would afford you that all important ability to pick him out of a line-up.
Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:
* You say you know each other? Pish-posh. The man was “Blowing in the Wind” with Joan Baez before you could catch your own gleam in dad’s eye from the backseat of a ’77 Chevy. If he’s neglected to tell you in what decade he was born, what else (I’m shuddering) has he omitted?
* What’s all this about? You need to figure out why connecting with this “creative writer” is still something you’d consider. Look inside and ask yourself: How does this relationship make me feel? Why do I need it? What do I want? Be specific. Be honest.
* Cancel your membership and take a two month sabbatical from online dating! You need to cool off those fiber optics so you’ll have time to see who is available in the real world, where hopefully you’d notice if a prospect has a home, or if he’s living in “the home” (as in Shady Rest).
Trust me. If you keep up this online “relationship” you could wind up being a serious patsy of your passion plays.
A STEP AHEAD
Dear Marnie: I’m 37 and have been emailing and chatting for about five months now with a 24-year-old woman I met online. There are some things that bother me about her and I’d like to know if you think it’s an issue I should be concerned about. Simply put, she’s childish. When a question arose about her faithfulness to me, she admitted she belongs to several online dating sites. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but when questioned (in a nonthreatening manner), she became irritated, saying, “I have invested so much time and effort into you, why would I cheat on you?” It made me sound like her pet project! She went on to say, “I don’t have to prove anything to you; this conversation is over.” There are some other issues, as well. I really love her, but don’t like the way she pouts and is so dismissive. — Tired of Baby sitting in L.A.
MARNIE SAYS: My friend, you are so vigorous in your superb analysis and so bugged by the blatant narcissism of this baby, that all you need from me is an itty bitty push over the threshold to truth.
Getting It! Your Personal Push:
* About the cheating thing: She could swing from a chandelier. It’s not my business unless she’s making it your problem. And she is. She’s has more hanky-panky with online profiles then most people have on a honeymoon.
* The “if it walks like a duck” theory: She’s into multiple online dating. Why? Is she surfing for duck à l’orange recipes? No. She’s surfing guys. And you don’t trust her.
Follow those instincts, sweetie — sometimes they’re all we’ve got. The facts:
- She de-personalizes you as an emotional investment. Yet, her major investment sounds like Match.com, as her heart (among other things) seems lodged in her Internet presence.
- She huffs and puffs your feelings away. She’s got a massive “Do Not Disturb” sign on her psyche.
Yes, I know this walk on the wild side seems sexy. Danger “babes” are often aloof, tortured, creative types who conjure images of Bond girls, intrigue, and truly bad poetry. See it? But you already have seen it. Your sign off said it all. Tired of Babysitting.
So my question is how long will it take before you let go of the rope? Because, sweetie, this is one time the farther away she is, the further ahead you’ll be.
Copyright © Marnie Macauley / 2015 Singular Communications, LLC