The Problem with Match: Too Many Choices

Lobster_14
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Last week, this Texan was sitting around a kitchen table in rural New Hampshire surrounded by a group of people I barely know who are suddenly very much my family happily eating fresh lobsters that were gradually being cooked, one at a time, and I thought, “How on earth did this happen?”

It happened, of course, on Match. But what a process!

I came across this article recently on the nature of having too many choices and how it adds to our stresses, sometimes making it nearly impossible to make any decisions at all.

I thought about my months on Match and silently agreed–the world of too many choices is making life–and romance–ever more difficult than it is to begin with.

First, let me say this: being an older woman on a dating site is pretty well a miserable experience. May as well be honest about this.

The men my age are almost all looking for younger women, often ten to twenty years younger than they are. That essentially leaves for a women in her 60’s the late septuagenarians and octogenarians, many of whom really want a nursemaid and someone to help with their grandchildren.

Second, being an older man on a dating site is like landing in a candy store with an endless supply of new products.

And there is the problem.

When I first decided to try the online dating services, it was mostly out of simple curiosity. I never expected to be single again, certainly not at this point in life. I was also quite happy, deeply contented, enjoying my retirement life of writing, walking, travel and new friends.

But . . . I had been a pastor to adult singles in the early 2000’s. It was work I deeply loved and I had a sense that something like that might happen again, although this time informally. I wanted to see what their world was like now–and was certainly not averse to the idea of meeting some new people and enjoying some different adventures in this time of unusual, and again very much unexpected, freedom.

So, what happens on these sites? A floodgate of names, pictures, possibilities, nudges, winks, “yes” or “no” marks, “likes” and “absolutely not” decisions made with almost no real information.

Then there is the misinformation. At one point, I decided that every man on online dating sites is 6 ft tall, toned and well-muscled, athletic, accomplished and with a large yearly income.

And they are all looking for the ideal woman in looks and body with “no baggage.”

Yeah, right. Best of luck to you–as if you guys have “no baggage.”

Folks, we’re older. We bulge and sag. We have creased skin and age spots. Many seniors are not in particularly good shape financially.

But we are also seasoned, often wise, gentled by age and experience and astoundingly adventurous .

But how does one choose? Daily, Match delivered 24 different names to my inbox. Picked just for me, they said. Really?

I made one rule for myself: I would answer all emails that came my way. And that led to several intriguing conversations, some great friends, some fascinating connections and eventually, to this man I married and whose large family is now becoming mine.

More later.

2 comments

  1. I would love to hear some of your ‘failed’ dating adventures/attempts to compare with my previous ones (no longer on any dating site). I was asked to help share farm work and expenses, or asked to assess my body as the 70 year old man bragged he was physically fit and in great shape himself (yeah right, ol’ rose colored glasses), another said I would have to give up my friends bc he wanted all my attention, and the ever so favorite “Ohhh, so you will be getting Texas Teacher Retirement.” And my reply, “Yessss. I earned it, so I alone will be spending it.” I was even groped at a popular restaurant and immediately left, sent inappropriate pictures at times, asking for mine. etc. Glad you had fabulous success!

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