For the first month I was on one of the main dating sites, I spent a lot of time surfing profiles. It was only after that first month that I realized what I was actually doing: I was exercising my metaphysical gifts by “reading” these men. I would read a profile on a literal level, and then I would just know, “Hey, this guy has ADHD that he hasn't mentioned.” Then I would read his answers to the multiple choice questions associated with his profile, and lo and behold, I would find where he had declared that he did indeed have ADHD. Over and over again this happened, and what it taught me was that I should trust my instincts about what men weren't declaring in their profiles. My instincts were almost always right to the extent I could prove them.
On a less positive note, I learned that online dating is very much like being back in high school. It’s the skinny, pretty girls who are willing to have sex on one of the first dates who get all the guys’ attention. I stayed away from sites like the one that is superficially based only on someone’s profile picture appearance and instead focused on others which actually allowed me to learn something about the person whose picture I was looking at. Unlike most users, the pictures were the last thing I looked at most of the time. However, most of the people on these sites were still very superficial in their beliefs and behaviors, including the one site for spiritually oriented individuals that I checked out.
I also discovered that fat prejudice is rampant in online dating, moreso than in society at large. When I’m at a restaurant or grocery store, I have no problem getting men to at least talk to me casually about the weather while we wait in line. But online? The rules of the game are very different and very disturbing. Most men have no problem blatantly stating that they find overweight people disgusting and/or they wouldn't consider dating their dream woman if she wasn't a perfect weight.
I am one of those rare women who doesn't have any qualms about messaging guys who looked interesting at least as potential friends and possibly more. Some of the guys on the websites even pleaded for women to message them and promised that they would respond to anyone who sent them a genuine note. The reality was far different than that. I rarely got responses from men. The default acceptable practice in our society has become rudely ignoring messages. When I received a genuine message from a man who wasn't anywhere near what I was looking for, I would send a brief note saying, “I appreciate your message, but I don’t think we have enough in common to start a friendship (or more). Good luck with your search!” However, the vast majority of men just ignored my messages. To me, a comparable reaction would be saying “nice weather” to someone in the line at the grocery store, and the person you were speaking to would make a disgusted face and then turn around so their back was facing you. It’s just plain rude.
All those horror stories and blogs you've read about online dating making women targets for men’s lewd sexual behavior? They’re true, too. Even as one of the less popular women on the sites, I still received messages that were often generic notes sent to any possible woman that the male user could spam. Most of them were pointless one or two word notes that said, “Hey babe.” Others were more sexually explicit. One of my favorites declared, “U r 2 cute.” As a former English teacher and an over-educated woman, I need complete sentences from potential mates. Both one friend and I also thought when we read it, “Too cute for what?”
Let’s face it: I am a woman who marches to the beat of her own drummer, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I have experienced things in life that most can’t imagine such as being bedbound for two years and homebound for six years. I've given birth to four children and seen one of them die. I graduated from college at 19. I've earned a Ph.D. I talk to dead people for a living. I have a great deal of self-confidence. I don’t wear makeup or subscribe to false societal ideologies about beauty. I am definitely very different, and what I found on dating websites is that different is not good. Rather than making a woman stand out in a positive way, these things scare off most of the men who use these sites.
I've known for quite a while that I wouldn't meet my next major love on a dating site: My spirit guides were quite clear about that. They've given me a general location where I will meet him that could be any one of dozens of places. I remain open to the possibility that might change and I might meet him elsewhere. However, I know that it won’t be on a dating site. Today, I deleted my last account. I am happy to be done with that experimental phase of my life. For a person like me who is very much outside the mainstream in so many ways, online dating is not the way to find emotionally and spiritually healthy men. I’m still perplexed at where all the fabulous middle-aged men are, but I’m certain that one day I will meet my match.
© 2015 Elizabeth Galen, Ph.D., Green Heart Guidance, LLC