What's appealing about Internet dating is that it's easy to zero-in on qualities that matter most. For example, if I was a size queen, I could go to Adam4Adam and see pictures of all the guys in my area who have at least nine inches. Or, what's more likely, is that I could go to Match.com and search for guys who are willing to date someone with kids.
The ability to be specific and selective when it comes to Internet dating is both a positive and a negative. The negative aspect is that it's very easy for a few "must haves" to morph into an unexpectedly long checklist. When that happens, Internet dating turns into Internet shopping. Age, height, weight and dozens of other criteria become 'features' that you can use to comparison shop for guys, just as you would for a new TV. Dating-as-shopping is not an approach that appeals to me but it's nearly impossible to avoid when using the Internet. Too many choices require us to be specific and selective.
In an effort to be as open-minded as possible, I tried to think backwards. My pie-in-the-sky goal has been to find a life-partner that I'm absolutely crazy about and who is sexy, fun in bed and better looking than Matt Bomer. (If that seems ambitious, then just for the record, I'll settle for someone who is equally good-looking as Matt Bomer.)
Because a life partner has been the goal, what matters most to me is long-term compatibility. In my backward engineering approach, that has meant being honest about who I am and then figuring out what kind of personality and values would make the best match. This is different than saying I like guys with dark hair and green eyes who are no taller than 6 foot. It's also different from saying that I like the outdoors, intellectual discussions and traveling. My idea of compatibility is not physical attractiveness or shared interests, it's about communicating well and sharing the same values.
Over and over and over and over we hear about how communication is essential for a successful relationship. So, as hot as already-gay-married Matt Bomer is, if I am perpetually struck speechless by his stunning looks, we wouldn't make a good match. (I'm sorry about that, Matt. I really am.)
Because things aren't likely to work out between Matt and me, I've been wondering...when reading on-line dating profiles, how do you find a someone who you think you'll communicate with well?
Some of you may think this is an impossible task. You can't know how well you communicate until you meet. I agree. But I do think it's possible to make some general assumptions and those can be helpful. For example, do two extroverts communicate well, or do they constantly talk over each other and/or only talk and seldom listen? How about two introverts? Are they constantly waiting for the other guy to say something, which means there is no communication? And finally, in an introvert-extrovert match, can the introvert ever be flashy enough to keep the attention of the extrovert? Or, do introvert-extrovert matches tend to be problematic because the introvert is a doormat and the extrovert is too bossy?
Having spent my entire adult life in one relationship, I am naturally inclined to compare potentially matching personalities to my ex's. She's a life-of-the-party extrovert. I'm an overly analytical introvert. In a lot of ways, we compensate for each other's weaknesses. Or at least we balance each other out so that she's not out of control and I'm not a hermit. On the other hand, she IS bossy and I AM a doormat and I'm tired, tired, oh-so-very tired of that dynamic.
For that reason, when it comes to dating men, all the guys I've been messaging have been introverts. After putting up with hyperbolic Gabbie for so long I want someone who is cool, calm and controlled. I want someone who is happy with the small things in life and who doesn't need to draw attention to himself.
As I mentioned in my last post, all the dates I've been on have been pleasant but completely asexual. That's disappointing, but with each new guy I learn more about how easy or difficult it is for me to communicate with different personality types. What I've learned is a surprise. As much as I would like to get away from Gabbie's overbearing ways, I've discovered that I relish interacting with chatty extroverts like her. Apparently, opposites do attract. Or least, introverted me is consistently more attracted to extroverted men.
I'm glad that I've been open to meeting nearly any guy who contacts me. If I had been stubborn and closed-minded about sticking to a checklist I would have avoided the chatty extroverts. Now, every new date is much more exciting because I'm learning to let go of my preconceptions and I'm ready to be surprised.