Adventures in Online Dating or What Level of Hell is This?

It’s been more than a year. And truth be told, I had a long time before my divorce was “official” to mourn and process the dissolution of my marriage. Which is a convoluted way of saying I’m ready to go on a date. Now, there’s a dearth of single men in my area- as in- zero, zilch, nada. Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic, but if I want someone reasonably not-messed-up the pool shrinks from “narrow” to “nonexistent”.

So I thought, what the heck, I’ll toss a profile up on an LDS dating site, and see what happens. I snapped this picture with my laptop two days ago, and wrote a quippy little snippet about myself and popped it out to the interwebs. You know that song “It’s Raining Men”? They lied. I don’t know how to write this without sounding snotty, but I’m going to try…

In the two or three days my profile has been up at the LDS site, more than 130 men have looked at my profile. More than a dozen have emailed me, and 12 additional men have sent what is called a “flirt” which is a canned message saying something like “I’m interested in you!” (ok) or “You’re cute!” (that’s nice) ย or even “Blowing Kisses!” (ick). Of the more than two dozen men who initiated contact of some sort (canned or otherwise) more than HALF were older than my father (60). Of the other half, two could not speak English (which is fine, but it’s hard to communicate anything, right?), one admitted up-front that he was unemployed and lived with his sister (thanks, actually), one asked me in the first email if I would start an eternal family with him right away, one was younger than my youngest brother (ick again) and one has repeatedly sent “flirts” despite my emailing him and asking if we could have an actual conversation. Two are “separated” but not divorced yet- yeah, that means you are STILL MARRIED. That leaves a handful of guys.

Now, let me assert forcefully- I am not being persnickety about looks or income or children or profession. I would like a guy who is legally single, who is employed, who does not live with his mother or other family member, and who is not old enough to be my father. Is that asking too much? ย Evidently it is. Yesterday I got an email from a new man. He enclosed a photo of himself leaning on his big truck, and another of him holding a hunting rifle. He is 81 years old.

So help me…

Somewhere there has to be a single man who fits in my (incredibly broad) demographic, right? I’d like himย to be an intelligent, honest man who is not afraid of a traditional family situation, but who is also supportive of independence within a relationship. I’m not looking for someone to take care of me, but to walk next to me, and who is comfortable with a woman who is her own person. I’d like to get to know someone slowly, especially since my children are involved and effected by anyone I may date. If he is divorced and has children too, that is perfectly okay. Life happens and none of us have perfect situations.

Tell me friends, is this unreasonable?

37 thoughts on “Adventures in Online Dating or What Level of Hell is This?

  1. Is the 81-year-old rich and in bad health? It might be easier to find Mr. Right in a few years using Mr. Old’s money to do so. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Now, back to reality:

    It’s tough – and your parameters aren’t too narrow. Living with and taking care of aged parents is one thing; living with a sister is something else entirely.

    What happened with the professor in IL – or am I mixing up online friends? If I’m not showing my senility, I can have my daughter do some more serious investigating for you.

    • We’re facebook friends, and we spoke on the phone a little bit, but then it just kind of petered out. I think because he was relatively nice and normal that he had a lot of women emailing him, and I’m half a continent away. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s okay.

      The odds are so stacked in favor of LDS men- SO many more single women than men! Ultimately it’s irrelevant though, I’ll keep moving forward, finish my degrees and figure out what I want to do next. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. You have to be speaking of LDSPlanet. I put a profile up there because frankly, I am lonley and would like to talk to some other LDS members who have gone through divorce while I wait in Mormon limbo. 99% of the men who click on my profile are above 55 and my favorite wanted to know if I would have children with him if we married (he is 53, is on disability and lives with his Dad and step-mom, but the house is going to him when they die – his words). I am now afraid of that site and think that maybe, just maybe I can handle being single and having no one to talk to for a very long time – there are a lot of good books out there.

    • Yes, and I have to say, if this doesn’t change in the next week, I’m totally pulling my profile and forgetting about it for the foreseeable future.

  3. That is totally reasonable, but having someone like that surface in the first two days, that may not be a reasonable expectation. All the wierd ones are going to pop their head in first.

  4. You are scaring me!!! I have an older sister who did several of the lds dating sites, and she has horror stories. But I also know a few people that it worked for. Either way, I think I’ll be waiting awhile before I even look that direction (dating, I mean)

  5. PS, for the record what sort of age parameter would not freak you out? Those of us who would eagerly set you up with any nice, sane, eligible, faithful men we know or meet would like to know.

    • Well, I guess mid-thirties to late 40’s would be okay. I hate to put an exact number on it because people are all different, but I don’t guess I want a guy who has grandchildren the same age as my kids- it just would put us at too different a stage of life. And if you know anyone, set away Em!

  6. I met my husband on eHarmony. We have been married for 6 1/2 years, spend all day, every day (minus 2 hours at church on Sunday) with each other, and we’re still in love and go everywhere together.

    The nice thing about eHarmony is that it is based on personality and common interests/morals/values, you can set age, distance, and religious perimeters.

    Good luck with your dating adventure!

  7. I’m with Ray. How rich is the old dude? NOT REALLY.

    You nailed it, though, the LDS single scene is way skewed against women. I always tell my husband that if I died, he’s going to get snapped up in a heartbeat. A normal, faithful guy who can cook?

    I hope you find a great date soon. Even if he’s not long term, good dates are fun.

  8. Tracy, arrange to travel to Nauvoo. We will meet you there, obviously. Then, we will arrange to go to college to meet DD – who will just happen to have arranged a meeting with professor – so we will just happen to have to find her and just happen to introduce you as if you had never met online – and we will just happen to have to leave for a few minutes to do some shopping for DD – so of course we will have to ask professor to show you around campus while we are gone briefly – and we will just happen to get stuck behind someone with an excessive amount of coupons – etc.

    It could work!

  9. That does not sound unreasonable. And, sadly, your experience does not sound too far out of the experience my sister-in-law had when she was dating for the second time. She became a widow at age 31 with a one-year-old-daughter. She tried dating for seven years before finding someone and getting remarried last year. She met many of those same people–the really old guys, the widowed guys who really needed a new mom for their seven kids, the guys who still lived with their mom, the guys who were secretly gay and not ready to admit it to anyone, etc… It’s tough out there.

  10. This is reminding me of my girlfriend in UT. She arranged to meet one guy she met on LDS Singles for conference. Her apt. was right near the conference center so he came there. He kept walking 3 feet ahead of her all the way to the conference center. Right after the opening prayer, he disappeared only to reappear right before the closing prayer. He again walked 3 feet ahead of her back to her apt where he proceeded to put up his feet on the coffee table and ask “What’s for dinner?”

    For every strange person on there, there has to be a good one, right?

    (no she didn’t feed him, she kicked him out of her apt.)

  11. No, your parameters are not too narrow, Tracy, but I’m sure you already knew that. It totally sucks that the interest shown so far has come from such inappropriate sources. Love is a battlefield! But thanks for the inside view of what happens on those kinds of sites; I’ve always been a little bit curious.

  12. I know too many people who have had a similar experience to yours on LDS Singles. And I know a guy who was/is the guy who sends out those kinds of messages….4 engagements in 8 years (that we know of) and at times bringing 4 different out-of-town internet girls friends to church in one month. Never at the same time, of course. He had a little class.

    I say get your visiting teachers on the case! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Tracy!

    I’m a lurker (I think that sounds better than stalker… maybe not. Potato, potato). I really enjoy your stuff and found my way to your personal blog, so now I check in every week. LOVE your writing.

    I’m 36, Mo, and single. I have been on and off these websites for years. Will try it for about 6 months, when I’m feeling desperate and because I feel I should try SOMETHING, but then I find I have to go off for 6 months, to preserve my sanity. I consider it a necessary evil, and it can be uber depressing when you feel you have a lot to offer, are a generally likeable person, and are not all that picky. My friends and I laugh because the majority of men that show interest in us tend to be 60-ish and living in Nigeria. So that’s good times.

    I have no words of wisdom, just commiseration. I hate online dating because it is such a time suck, and an inefficient one at that. It kind of infuriates me that I have to spend time weeding through people I have no interest in, or trying to communicate with a vague person who in reality could just as easily be an 18-year-old dude as a 75-year-old lesbian. I can say that I have made out with a couple of (decent) guys from this online world, and I’ve made a few good friends from it. But you really have to take it in stride. My number 1 rule: he better at least talk to me on the phone right away so I get a feel for who he is and can confirm that he’s, ya know, real.

    Wow, I’ve written you a novel. Humiliations galore. Just wanted you to know you’re not alone in these adventures, and mostly tell you to please keep writing….

  14. When my mom died two years ago, women started chasing my dad the next week! He still isn’t ready to date anyone, and he is a little leary that they’re chasing him because his house is paid off. I have been teasing him that he should go to the singles dances and see if he can find a woman that has a 20-year-old daughter so he and my youngest brother can double date.

  15. I’ve tried all of the LDS singles websites and given up on them, so I was fascinated, although saddened, to see that it is still as bad as when I tried them. I do have some questions about your parameters, which I hope you will recognize as sincere and not self-serving because I have given up on the game. For full disclosure, I am one of those 50-something guys, albeit heterosexual and never married (and hence grandchild-free).

    1) Why is a 20 year age difference such an absolute bar? In other cultures and historically in our own, such an age difference was not so unusual. Yes, I know, it was because of disproportionate allocations of power among the genders, but let me ask this abstract thought question. Do you know absolutely no married men that much older than you who would not be at least worth thinking of as companions if they were to suddenly become widowers? I know such an age difference is not preferable for many reasons, but it is impossible and inconceivable?

    2) I recognize the undesirability of a man who has never moved out of his parents’ basement, but you are aware that we are in the midst of a horrible recession which has hit men particularly hard? Is a man who has a good job history but who is struggling because of the current economy unacceptable?

    3) Which brings us to the hard question. I admit I am new to your blog, and don’t know your story. However, the post indicates that you have more than one child and are currently a student. Do you recognize that taking on a wife who has children and no income imposes some extra burdens on a man? I say this to myself as much as to you, but we older single people perhaps need to adjust our criteria in accordance with our own changed circumstances since we were younger.

    • Renverseur, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Let me address each of your questions.

      1) A twenty year difference is not automatically a deal-breaker. Sure, their are men older than me that I can find attractive in many ways. My concern is, my youngest child is 4. If my potential partner’s children are grown and he is enjoying grandchildren, we are at very different places in life. I’m still raising my family- he is done and now enjoying the fruits. It puts us at ideological and logistical cross-points. But as I said in the original post, I hesitate to name an absolute cap on age. Although I am comfortable saying 81 is too old. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2) Yes. I do understand extenuating circumstances, and would consider them if everything else seems good. But it’s is a yellow flag to me nonetheless, due to my history.

      3) As I said, I am not looking for someone to take care of me. I am working to finish my advanced degree so I can support myself and my kids independently-forever, not just until I can marry someone to carry us. I understand that my children and circumstances might be seen as a liability to some men, but I consider my children and my education to be an asset, and if the men interested in me don’t see it that way, they aren’t really interest in me, and should look elsewhere. My children are not a burden to me, nor would I even consider making a life with a man who sees them as anything but a blessing to OUR family.

    • Just for the record Ren-

      The man I met online, had never been married, no kids.

      I had been married for almost 12 years and had 4 kids-no college education etc. (I was supporting my family)

      HE moved from another state to mine so as to not uproot the kids. HE gave up being near his family, his job, pretty much everything and entered “my” world unemployed and pretty much not knowing another soul. He will tell you HE was the “lucky one” because he got a wife, kids, and literally a “white picket fence” life almost overnight. He says “I got 5 new people to love…you guys only got one”.

      In my case, it could be said that “he” imposed some burdens on me. I was the only one with a job, and it was “my” mortgage and life that was taking on another mouth to feed etc. But I was sure I wasn’t marrying an “anchor” before I agreed to marry him. He got a job, and over the years we’ve moved onward and upward-adding two kids of our own to the mix. He now works full time and I work from home when the mood strikes me-and he’s thrilled to have been able to provide for us all as his own.

      It wasn’t “easy” for either one of us. But he loved my children as much as he loved me AND he saw “my” family as “his” fondest dream come true. ALL marriages take compromise, and endure hardships and good times along with the bad ones.

      Just my 2 cents

  16. Going way back to an earlier comment in order to respond:

    “in Nauvoo next time Iโ€™m there” — Wahoo! Tracy, that sounds like a “someday in the future” plan, not just a wishful thought in passing. It would be awesome to meet you IRL!!

    As to your post… I have no experience except for the well-known horror stories of friends. But I like the way you are approaching this adventure. You have thought this out carefully and are willing to be flexible yet firm in meeting your needs. It sounds to me like Patience is going to be your friend yet again… Good luck!

  17. Bad news-when I was your age and a single mom (of 4) dating LDS men-most of them were messed up somehow. The stories I could tell you….it IS Halloween season…and they WOULD keep you up nights. LOL

    Good news-met and married an LDS guy I met in an LDS chat room (remember those?) not an LDS dating site. It’s been 11+ years, two more kids, and it hasn’t always been easy or perfect-but we’re still happy, we’ve built a great life together, and I can say it’s been worth it.

    Be available and open minded-but don’t expect much from dating sites. One of the best ways to meet new people for me was to join a local/regional singles group that met for things like football games, barbeques, firesides etc. It was a casual way to make friends and hang out and it made attending dances or other LDS activities a lot less “icky” because if it was a lame activity, the group would bail and find a place to eat and talk. They also did some service projects which was great too and once a month they’d invite the “kids” to come which was a great way to get a look-see at the parenting etc of others.

    You can even start one of your own. OH…and the LDS Singles Conferences (held all over the US but most noticeably in Utah) were FABULOUS. Kind of like Education Week for singles-classes, seminars, firesides, activities and dances and THOUSANDS of people would attend. Just a thought…..

    Chin up. The best things in life appear when you aren’t looking for them…..

  18. Hang in there. Really. Been there, done that. I met my husband online 12 years ago, 3 years after my 1st husband died and a year, yes a whole year after I signed up with LDSinglesonline…or whatever it is called now.

    Men are such different creatures than us. My husband said he had my profile bookmarked for many months before actually writing to me.

    When you are ready, and it’s right, I will happen.

  19. my mother uses ldsplanet, and while she will completely admit there are a lot of ‘weirdos’ and people who clearly dont read her profile (she wants an active, temple worthy member of the church, and yet so many people who are not temple worthy email her!) still message her. However, she has seemed to have met a couple of roses in amongst the thorns! Just keep looking, and chatting! Just have good filter skills, so that you can easily click delete!

  20. I was engaged over a year ago, and after he broke if off, I moved back to the small wyoming town I was raised in. This town is FULL of LDS people, and it seems like veryone there comes back for summer break and winds up engaged…Ive been there since last june, and I have not had a single date with a guy from this valley so full of LDS guys, and in the last 18 months, Ive had 3 dates total. I feel like Im ready to move on from the nightmare my engagement was, but its a seemingly impossible task. Ive had horrible experiences with guys throughout all of my dating escapades (Everything from a ‘good RM propositioning me for cyber sex, to being stalked by a convicted rapist, to having one guy tell me that “your not the kind of girl any guy takes home to meet mom, but your the kind of girl thats perfect in the backseat on saturday night”) Im in total despair about ever finding a normal, good LDS guy, and have come to the conclusion that even though I am a good, pretty normal LDS girl, that its just not meant to be. I wish I could give you some advice, but all I can say is that you are a fantastic person, and even though Ive never met you, I love you and your family for inspiring me to be better. ๐Ÿ™‚ You deserve someone totally great, and maybe the Lord is outting the finishing touches on him for you ๐Ÿ™‚ (you dont want anything thats not done yet!) Best wishes and good luck!

  21. Quin — mazel’tov, as they say where I’m from.
    Tracy — God speed, as they used to say.

    Living someplace where there are many cultures, I have been struck over the years at how, despite the supposed importance we place on marriage, comparatively LDS culture is really quite lame in its method of acheiving that. I know it has its disdavantages, but in so many other cultures matchmaking, either formal or informal, seems to be so much more culturally significant than in our culture. Maybe it is because our culture (or at least its senior members) is still so close to the times when most Mormons (or at least most American Mormons) lived in majority Mormon environments where finding an LDS mate was just not that difficult. I sometimes wish there were stronger cultural or institutional responses to the challenge older LDS singles living away from areas with large LDS populations have in finding possible matches.

    • Very good and valid points, Ren. I too would love it if there were better ways to go about this process- especially since, A) it’s so important and B) the dating sites are so abysmal.

      Mazel’tov- are you living in Israel?

  22. Thank you so much for coming to my blog today! I love to meet a new friend, and I appreciate your words of validation. The one year mark is a hard one. My ex filed on my birthday, so we kinda have that in common too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I see you have a Segullah tag. I need one of those! I got to be in the latest issue, all about marriage, ironically. And the other ironic thing is that I know the LDS singles site you’re referring to, because it’s the one I happened to meet my husband on! (Not that that’s been an all good thing, but I digress… life is HARD!) Your post made me laugh because I know exactly how true it all is. But it will be fun, and you never know…

    • Jenna, I loved your blog, and that’s awesome about the issue of Segullah- I have my copy right here on my piano bench. Kathryn Soper is a very good friend of mine- I’m suspecting we know some of the same people. It blows me away how small Mormon world is sometimes.

      The friend who sent me the link to your blog is from my ward, and not involved in the blogging community at all, so it’s even smaller than I suppose! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  23. You may have to play hardball to win this game. I’d go for one of the not-yet-divorced guys who contacted you. Another option would be to identify an unhappily married couple in your ward where it seems divorce is imminent. You could be waiting in the wings for the guy when he’s on the rebound.

    (KIDDING, everybody, kidding! Well kinda.)

  24. Yikes, wow, that is so familiar.
    I was on LDS dating sites for something like 7 years because I loved in a very low-Mo population. I got messages and flirts from all kinds of crazy people. My favourites were the ones in broken English from south America declaring their love for me and desire to have an eternal family with me (after reading my profile… wow, I must be a GREAT writer!).

    I also got lucky, and found my husband online. However, the first few times we went out it didn’t go anywhere, and it wasn’t until we were reunited a year and a half later by freaky circumstance that we actually fell in love. After that I never looked back. So, I have kind of mixed feelings about how useful those sites are. I guess they introduce you to people outside your geographic area, but after that, fate and chance play pretty big roles.

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