online dating strategies

Online Dating Apps: Do You Have the Time and Energy for Romance?

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Online dating is too easy. You just set and forget your profile and hope that someone sees the value in your smile and the comfort in your description.

I know, for me, the online dating app world holds promise. The promise that my desire for a longterm relationship will be spread far and wide, beyond the borders of my personal reach in the real world. My dance card is out there on two sites and two apps, and in my mind, is painting a realistic picture of myself and my hopes and dreams for the next relationship chapter of my story.

But something about online dating is not working.

  • There’s a lot of swiping left going on
  • 80% of the profiles are not even close to my preferences
  • I’ll know it when I see it
  • She’s out of my league
  • Yes, what she does for a living does have an impact on my first impression

Maybe I should try something else. Or, maybe, I should sit out a few rounds, disconnect and reset all the apps again in January.

I have been reapproaching the dating idea with a new mindfulness approach. But I’m getting bored and lonely. (Okay, that’s a bit dramatic. I’m quite happy and not lonely at the moment, but I’m feeling the distance from my last passionate embrace.) I haven’t even opened the two sites ( and OKCupid) for weeks. And when Bumble or Tinder offers up little encouragements, “Oh, someone new has liked you,” I’m not opening the app with much enthusiasm.

So what’s the problem with online dating?

It’s too easy. You just set and forget your profile and hope that someone sees the value in your smile and the comfort in your description. But, I know for me, that’s not how it works. I either get a hit or I don’t. And lately, I’m not getting any right swipes. Have I seen all the Bumble candidates in my hometown, or in the 30-mile radius? Is everyone giving up on online dating?

Or is it something more critically damaging? Are we all looking for younger people to date? If I am attracted to women in their 40’s is it possible that women are also looking for younger, perhaps more passionate men?

For me, I don’t naturally reach for a younger model, but… I have noticed that women of my age, are often less athletic than I am, less fit, and less rested. And, I’m beginning to imagine, that women in my hopeful target demographic, don’t need or use dating apps/sites.

I’m wondering if attractive and fit women in their mid-50’s, who are also single, are being bombarded with offers and interesting flirtations at every turn, in every hour of their lives. When I imagine the women I was “coffee dating” a few months ago, I can only imagine the pursuit she gets just walking into a busy Starbucks. So, she is probably not going to be on Bumble. Heck, she’s probably not interested in a relationship at all, at this moment. She’s busy with a youngest child who is a senior in high school. She’s got more on her mind than a “date,” or a romance.

Are we all looking for a romance?

Ask yourself: do you have the time and energy for a relationship?

My guess is, the answer is no. Romance is a lot of work. With the approaching holidays, my “target” woman might be battening down the hatches to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas, sprinkled with a few birthdays. This is a busy time. And she’s an attractive busy woman. And I’m a hungry jackal who is looking to woo and flatter her all the way to the bedroom. Hell, when I put it that way, I get a bit exhausted too. Romance is a lot of work, for both partners. And being single is consistent and less demanding.

I am not giving up on dating or online dating.

I’m not letting go of my idea of romance and dating and being in the next long-term relationship. But, I’m also not putting all my hopes in the apps and sites, either. I’m trying to learn from my swiping activities. Are there simple metrics that cause me to swipe right? Am I able to identify the obvious ones that cause me to swipe left?

  • Not smiling (if I don’t see joy it’s a pass)
  • Too much cleavage (this cannot be the best part of you)
  • Too much drinking (if every photo features you and your wine glass)
  • Lack of enthusiasm (it’s easy to spot the “let’s just put this up and see what happens” profiles)
  • 20% overweight (you don’t have to be an athlete, but you do have to take care of your body)
  • Too serious, too glamorous, too sexy (probably wouldn’t have time for me)

These are things I notice right off the bat. These are the initial YES or NO clues we all respond to. (Do you know what clues you are tuning into?) But, I’m beginning to think my next partner will come from a real-world encounter at the organic grocery store, the local tennis club, or on some spiritual outing with a group. I am noticing that my selection criteria are very high. And even walking through Whole Foods Market, the majority of the women don’t light up my antennae. That’s good to know. In the real world, as online, I am very selective, even on the surface.

Of course, it’s what’s underneath the outward appearance that is even more critical. I am strategizing and thinking about how someone would go about determining a potential partner’s fitness for a relationship. After the initial spark of interest is lit, there is a lot of relationship history and ambition to cover before a “woman with potential” can become the girlfriend.

Can we identify emotional maturity in a potential partner?

What are the questions you would ask a potential date to size up their compatibility for a relationship? Do you want to know how their last relationship ended? Is their divorce story (provided they’ve been married) important to understand? Do they need to know about Love Languages? Does their vocabulary carry the same emotional intelligence as yours? How do they speak about themselves and what they are looking for?

It’s a long and exciting road towards the next romance in my life. The woman who I find has to be ready and energetic enough to keep up with me and my delusions of grandeur. And she will probably have delusions of her own. If either of us is exhausted by life or the busy overwhelm of our lives, well… There’s not a lot of room in there for the kind of romance and relationship I’m looking for.

So, she’s got to be amazing, available, and able to clear some time on her schedule. I know that’s a lot to ask. I’ve got to believe I’m worth it. She’s got to believe it too.

*Note this post was originally published in 2018


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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