by Rachel Blumme
Hello, my name is Rachel Blumme, and I am an online dating addict.
My addiction started, precisely, on April 22, 2015 when I began a dating blog for AARP for people 50+. I called the blog Eleven to One. Eleven to one is the ratio I’d read about earlier on an online dating website: If you’re in your 50s (the new 40s!), there are eleven single women to every eligible man. Yikes say it isn’t so.
Despite the discouraging statistic I began my online dating adventure with very little dating experience, let alone online dating experience. I was previously coupled pretty much my entire life.
In some ways, I felt like Mary Richards in TV’s Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Mary moved to Minneapolis/Saint Paul to start a new chapter of her life. She was a professional single woman. I moved to southern Florida to start my new singlehood, but I am probably two decades older — and tanner, I might add. Unlike Mary, I am an empty nester. I perched my new nest near my aging parents in 2015 to live closer to them.
Four years have passed since I started online dating. I am now sixty, the new fifty, and my chances to find a healthy love relationship is shrinking like my aging body.
However, I refuse to feel and be discouraged.
I continue to participate on various online dating websites and engage in other date-seeking strategies to see what fate has in store for me.
During the first year I wrote that dating blog, I shared advice and resources to help other people navigate through this electronic “meat market.” Little did I know how time-consuming and addicting it would become. The human mind is set up to seek pleasure and avoid pain. I found myself sucked into going online and checking all the men that were contacting me and flattering me. They ranged in age from nineteen to eighty. Some were bots (electronic impersonators trying to extract information from me.) Others were scammers stealing very handsome photos of mature men with fictitious well-written profiles. Men would try to seduce me into either opening my pocketbook or my legs for them. Those were relatively easy to detect compared to the general mentally unstable men who appeared normal at first.
I started a bit naive, wearing rose-colored glasses, and all “red flags” just looked like flags. Then I read books like Dating Radar: Why Your Brain Says Yes to “The One” Who Will Make Your Life Hell by Bill Eddy and Megan Hunter. After reading this book and experiencing some disturbing relationships, I tossed my rose-colored glasses in the air and became a suspicious dater dangerously close to becoming a skeptic.
Have I given up my online dating habit as a result?
No, but I am happy to say that I am a more discerning dater with more realistic expectations. I continually arm myself with new information to help me avoid the minefields and enjoy the process. I would be happy to share with you what I’ve learned so you can avoid my mistakes and make the process even more pleasurable. Who knows? Maybe we could double date sometime!
Visit Rachel’s blog (https://blog.aarp.org/2015/04/22/and-so-it-begins-my-11-to-1-blog/)
originally published 9/26/2018