I’m back online dating on Plenty of Fish and as expected, it has not been without hilarity and offense. Contrary to popular opinion that its filled with bottom feeders, I believe there are plenty (see what I did there) of quality men on the site. After all, it’s where I met Fox and Tony and no matter what happened in our relationships, bottom feeders they were not.
I don’t think the site has changed since I’ve been on there last (a year, maybe two?), but I definitely have. And it makes all the difference in how online dating feels.
Way back when, before I got smarter about online dating, I engaged differently with men. I reached out more, responded more, and wasted a whole lot of time. It served its purpose because I learned a lot about how men behave on the site, and I got a lot of attention which helped me get my mojo back. I also had some good sex, went on dates, and met a couple of boyfriends.
But there was also a lot of frustration. Men who would go silent mid-conversation, men who said they wanted more than just sex but would ghost after they got it, men who I really liked but who would never reply to my well thought-out opening lines… the list goes on.
I shudder now when I think about some of the men I engaged with and put up with, and some of the pictures I sent across the internet. Lessons learned.
I currently have a few men in my life whom I consider fuck buddies – I’d say “friends with benefits” except we never do anything other than hang out and have sex. Amazing sex, actually, some of which I have yet to write about.
Jake came back into my life via POF, so I will add another man to my roster. We had stopped communicating in the Fall – he didn’t reply to a text and I figured he’d moved on. Turns out he thought I’d done the same, so we quickly set the record straight and now have two dates set next week. I re-read my posts about him and look forward to the awesome sex and good conversation.
Admittedly, if I wasn’t getting good sex with some regularity, I might be in a different place. I’d likely be on Adult Friend Finder or Tinder trying to find an ongoing casual partner. I met Lewis three years ago. He introduced me to Clark and Todd. I met Jake three years ago as well. These casual relationships took time to develop.
But when I am looking for something more than casual sex, I use my dating rules which I wrote TWO YEARS ago. They still apply and they haven’t let me down.
And here’s the thing: when I use those rules, I engage with far fewer men. Because of how I’ve written my profile, I believe I also get fewer messages from men. Which is completely fine. I don’t want to waste my time anymore. I don’t need to get a barrage of “hey beautiful” messages to make me feel better about myself. Although humorous and good blog fodder, I don’t need to have debates with men who clearly don’t want the same thing as I.
I’ve presented myself online exactly as I am: confident, strong, articulate, no bullshit, looking for a relationship. Terrific that it weeds out those who don’t want me.
I’m also far more at peace with not having a boyfriend. I’m busy with life – my child and my friends and family – and while I can absolutely make space for the right person, I like focusing on the things that bring me pleasure and peace of mind. Not having a boyfriend hasn’t stopped me from anything I want to do: I travel on my own, take friends (both male and female) to the sporting and art events I have subscriptions to. I have hobbies for when I’m alone. I finally got back on my yoga mat and it felt awesome. I have a long trip planned this summer and most of my weekends are already full.
Therefore, unlike before, I’m not on POF constantly. I did spend some time “searching” at first to remind myself there are good men out there. I “favorited” those I liked in case I decide to send them a message. Otherwise, I’m mostly reactive.
I have replied with kind “thanks but no thanks” messages to the men who reached out but I know there is no connection. I told one man I texted with (now using a Burner app so they don’t have my real mobile number) that I wasn’t feeling it and I wasn’t going to pursue a first date.
My being on the site doesn’t take a lot of my actual time or emotional energy. But I know I’m still alive because I feel that flicker of excitement when a guy I find hot and interesting sends me a message. I’ve had two phone calls so far and the conversations were great. I have a coffee date planned with one of them and am hoping the other will get booked shortly.
If they don’t work out, that’s fine too. Although it took me a while to get to this place, I’m happy I’m here.
Image is from the 1960 movie “Never on Sunday”