When 37-year-old ‘Tracey’ ended a two year relationship, she decided the time was ripe for her to try online dating for the first time. She consulted with her friends before choosing the ‘perfect’ profile photo, enlisted their help writing her all-important bio, and then she started swiping.
It wasn’t long before she matched with 42-year-old ‘Felix’, who was not only extremely good looking, they seemed to have similar interests and – just as important to Tracey – he seemed to have a good sense of humour.
“But, I will admit the main reason I wanted to meet Felix is because he was so handsome. Well, his photos were sensational and, looking back, I know I should have spent a bit more time getting to know him online, or on the phone before I agreed to meet him for a drink,” Tracey says.
So what was Tracey’s first blunder?
Blunder #1: Looks are everything.
“Firstly, the photo of his profile was definitely him but it was a photo from at least 15 years ago, when he told me he had dabbled in some modelling. Instead of the lean, dark-haired 42-year-old, I was confronted by what was really a lie,” Tracey says.
“He was grey – nothing wrong with that, I love the silver foxes – it’s just that his profile pic was taken well before he went grey.
“Also, he was no longer lean. Again, I have nothing against men who are carrying a bit of weight, as I am far from being skinny myself. But I was really disappointed that the image he chose to ‘sell himself’ with was such a big lie.”
Kerri Sackville, the author of Out There: A survival guide for dating in midlife tells 9Honey that even if the man you’re interested in online is incredibly good looking, you should be wary.
“Attraction is important! But you should still screen the man carefully because attractive men are just as likely to be arseholes or ‘playas’ or narcissists or ‘almost separated’ as the next person. Maybe even more so,” Kerri explains.
“And beware of men who look improbably attractive. If the guy looks more like a male model than the accountant/tradie/teacher he claims to be then he probably is. Do a reverse image search to check the pics haven’t been stolen from somewhere else online.”
Tracey decided Felix wasn’t quite right, so she lined up a date with ‘Rodney.’ This time she spent a couple of weeks getting to know him on the phone and asking him a lot of questions.
“Then we met up for a really nice coffee date and, really quickly, he arranged to take me out for dinner, which was also lovely. I thought things were going pretty well. But, during our dinner conversation, he had asked me if I’m dating anybody else and I told him the truth, that I prefer to just date one man at a time,” Tracey says.
“I asked him if he is dating other women at the same time he’s dating me and he said, ‘No, I’m only seeing you.’ So that was probably my next mistake, assuming he was telling me the truth because I found out on the third date that he had at least two other women lined up to see when he’d finished his date with me.”
Blunder #2: Don’t assume you’re the only woman he’s dating.
Kerri Sackville says it’s not wise to assume others follow the same moral codes as you.
“If we’d only date one person at a time we assume the man we’re dating would too. But many people date multiple people until they decide to settle down with one,” Kerri explains.
“Many people sleep with multiple partners until they decide to commit to monogamy. It is important to ask your partner the hard questions so you know where you stand, even if it’s an uncomfortable conversation.”
Moving along, Tracey met ‘Dave’, a man who told her he was single but, a small amount of investigating showed Tracey that Dave was still married or at the very least, separated but still living with his ex wife. (She never found out the whole story.)
“He was clearly just looking for a ‘bit on the side.’ In fact, he was still wearing his wedding ring,” Tracey explains.
“I guess I was a bit of an idiot. Or he was an idiot for keeping his ring on!”
Blunder #3 Not screening people well before you meet
Kerri believes it’s crucial you ask basic questions so you can reassure yourself that the man you’re dating is actually available.
“Ask questions such as how long have you been separated, what are you looking for, where do you live? You must ensure you don’t waste your time. Dating is emotionally draining and you want to make it worthwhile!” Kerri says.
“Also don’t spend weeks texting before you meet up. You can have a great connection in text but none in person so it’s really important to meet ‘soon-ish’ to avoid investing in someone you have no chemistry with.”