If you get too excited about an online dating profile before meeting, this could happen to you.
Two years after my divorce, I joined my first online dating site. I was petrified. It had been 25 years since my last first date (yikes!). The last time I dated, I was wearing mini-skirts and platform shoes. Wait, I think they might be back in style. I digress. The whole idea of online dating was foreign to me. How would I even begin to write about myself in a profile essay, and where would I find current photos to post? I was lost and overwhelmed. But I got the profile up, and here’s what happened.
I was contacted by a few men who were not a good match. But, a few weeks later, I got an email from ‘Alan’. He was a widower with four children, and his profile was lovely. He asked if he could call me, simply to hear my voice, and I said yes.
Our first call lasted three hours. We seemed to immediately click.
We shared a similar outlook on religion, healthy living, and what we were looking for in a relationship. We were both entrepreneurs. We seemed to have so much in common. I loved the sound of his soothing voice. He was a good listener, gentle, warm, and kind.
He was deep and thoughtful, proactive in his life, doing great work in the world. He seemed to be managing as a single dad with ease and grace, unlike any other man I knew.
The next day, we exchanged several emails and another phone call.
I couldn’t wait to hear his voice again. In his third email, he sent this poem:
Come to my garden in spring
There will be wine, flowers and pomegranates
If you do not come, these do not matter
If you do come, these do not matter.
Wow, what a romantic guy! With every email, I was falling for him a little bit more. Following our nightly phone call, I sent this email:
I am wide-awake from our great conversation. I’m really enjoying getting to know you. I think it’s a good sign that with each connection, I yearn for more.
I once heard a psychiatrist say that his marriage was like a good book. He couldn’t wait to turn the page each day. I have thought that was a good way to see a great relationship. So far, I am enjoying turning your pages!
Good night…sleep well.
And he responded:
To paraphrase Rumi (last Rumi reference for a while, I promise)
When you are with me, I cannot sleep
When you are away from me, I cannot sleep
Thank Gd for these two insomnias
And the difference between them.
I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Oh, come on. This guy is laying it on so thick. How is she falling for this crap?”
Hey, I was new at dating. It had been several decades since my last date. And I wanted to find love.
I was vulnerable, aching for the kind of connection that had been missing in my marriage. I was hopeful that he was the right man for me. I didn’t realize I was projecting all of that onto Alan.
We exchanged several daily emails and phone calls throughout the week. I was restless, hardly able to sleep or eat in anticipation of our first date.
We were going to meet on a Friday morning. We couldn’t wait. We were sure this was it, the relationship that would take us both off the online dating market for good.
You can imagine where this was heading …
I wasn’t sure what he’d look like, because he only had one photo posted to his online profile. It was dark and he wasn’t smiling. Still, when Alan approached me, I was taken aback. How could this be the same guy I’d been speaking to all week? He had bad posture, and when he smiled, he revealed teeth that were discolored and crooked.
There is an energy that gets exchanged when two people meet in person. The energy I felt with Alan was negative. I could not imagine ever kissing him. I’m really not a shallow person, and I do believe attraction can grow with the right person. But there has to be some spark of chemistry for that to happen. With Alan, there was none. Zero.
It felt like someone had let all the air out of a balloon. Because essentially, that’s what this was, a fantasy that we had both built into a relationship.
I now realize that I so badly wanted what was missing in my marriage, I projected all of that onto Alan.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Perhaps it wasn’t as extreme as it was for me and Alan. Perhaps you spent too long on pre-date emails and phone conversations before meeting, and were let down when you met in person.
Here’s what I learned:
- You don’t know a person until you’ve spent time together.
- A profile is not a person.
It’s been several years since that fateful date, and I no longer project or fantasize about my dates. I build real relationships with people after I meet them in person and really get to know them.
I only exchange a few emails before jumping on the first phone call. I keep that conversation brief. The purpose of that call is to decide if we both want to go on a first date. And if the answer is yes, we meet as soon as possible to see if there’s a real live connection, not a fantasy.
By investing less emotional energy before meeting, there’s far less disappointment, less burnout, and dating actually becomes more fun. And when dating is more fun, that’s when the magic usually happens.
Have you ever fallen in love with potential? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.