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How to survive Tinder


It’s a jungle out there, sisters.
A jungle, a swamp, a black hole—and just about as comfortable as being stuck in traffic. For many hours. With no GPS.

Actually, a real jungle is way more hospitable than the Tinder jungle.
At least it’s natural.
And the rules makes sense.

Yet, one in 10 of us adults have used online dating in the hopes of finding love.

And some people actually do find it.
My Mom’s fiance’s granddaughter met the most incredible guy online, and I performed the marriage ceremony for them, last year.
One of my best friends is engaged to a wonderful man she met online, and miraculously enough, so is her daughter! The mom met her match on OkCupid, and her daughter met her guy on Tinder.

And yet even the thought of going online can create a huge emotional response in a woman.
That’s before she even puts pen to paper to make her online profile.

(If you’ve never done any online dating, are happily married, or in a relationship, read on. Why? Because—spoiler alert—this post is really about how to trust yourself, speak your truth, and stand in your power in any situation that challenges you.)

Anyway, last night I was having dinner with my girlfriend, Meg, who told me she needs to work on herself more, before she can put her profile up.
Really? Work on herself more?
Are you kidding?
Do you think a guy would ever say, “We can’t go on a date until you do more work on yourself?”
Don’t think so.

The bottom line here is that dating triggers the shizzle out of us*.

(*This statement, and everything you read here, is true no matter what gender you date, so please substitute pronouns as needed—love is love and sex is sex.)

Now, I am a gal that loves a system. A regime. A practice.
Relationships are hard enough. I don’t want to feel like I am shooting online dating blanks in the dark.

And the tricky bit about online dating is that you cannot use the same rules that you use for regular dating (if that’s even a thing, anymore).

I want to feel like every time I swipe on Tinder, or check my OkCupid account, I am making some kind of progress in the direction of my most beautiful dreams of deep connection with men.

And so, here you have it:

7 Survival Tips for Online Dating

1. Especially when you are just starting out, don’t do it alone.

Grab a trusted girlfriend who wants the best for you, and ask for her help setting up your profile. Make sure she is the type to lay a little truth on you about how cute your photos are (or not!), and that your written profile is truly you. Meet weekly to go through the men who show up in your inbox, or shop together for the ones that look like fun.

(Side note: I know this kind of sisterhood isn’t always easy. We’re taught as women to bond through our complaining, and take each other down—or just stay on the surface and be “nice.” A huge part of this work, and Mastery, is about understanding the technology of sisterhood. And learning how to stand powerfully for one another. Which changes absolutely everything.)

2. If it’s not a ‘hell yes!’—it’s a hell no.

We women are generally so people please-y that we will often give “B guys” a chance, in the hopes they improve to an A, one day. No fixer-uppers, sisters. We are going for the gold.

As you look at these different guys, you have a chance to really learn how to trust your pussy (aka: your instincts, your deepest truth, your fool-proof intuition). Check out his profile, his photos. If he is not wearing a shirt, he’s drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, you do not have to go out with him, even if he thinks you are hot.

It is super important for women to learn how to be discerning. We want guys that are emotionally healthy, physically healthy, kind, sexy, interested in us, living their purpose or are happily successful in their career of choice. If you find yourself thinking ‘uh-oh, he’s kinda creepy,’ or ‘there just isn’t enough going on here for me’—trust it. Let him go.

3. Every now and then, say yes to someone you wouldn’t normally pick, just to see how the dialogue goes.

Sometimes breaking our own mold can lead to fun adventures. I had a great time dating an inappropriately young man, last year. It was a fun place to visit, even though I didn’t want to live there. I have gone out with guys from obscure countries, guys with mysterious jobs, and guys who were passing through New York.

A little known secret? Dating is not about the guy. It’s about you with you. You learning you. You trusting you. It’s useful to experiment here—as you research what you most desire and expand the possibilities for yourself.

4. Do a pre-interview and check in with your girlfriend afterwards.

I am not a fan of agreeing to go out with a guy without taking the step of talking first. You can do this on skype or on the phone, for no more than 10 minutes. Basically, you want to figure out if he is what he says he is, if he can remain interesting or engaged in a 10-minute call with you, and if you have chemistry.

You want to notice if all he does is talk about himself, or if he asks you lots of questions. Guys get big points when they want to get to know me. Check in with yourself at the end of the call. Are you turned on? Or shut down? If you are shut down, it’s a no go.

Before you go out with him, check in again with your girlfriend. Give her the rundown on how the call went. It’s so easy for us to compromise on our dreams and desires because we don’t want to disappoint anyone. If your girlfriend is not feeling it for you, it’s probably a cue to shut it down. There are millions of fantastic men out there. We are looking for the unicorn in a sea of horses. If you spend all your time with horses, you will miss the unicorns.

5. Use the opportunity to speak your truth.

Use your online dating as a way to practice being radically honest, as nicely as possible, to the men you meet. This is such good practice. I like leaving a man better than I found him, which results in me giving instructions, sometimes.

For example, I have told guys that they need to stop making small talk and just ask me out. Or if a guy gets his feelings hurt that I have turned him down, and gets cranky, I will tell him how unattractive that is by saying something like, “btw, that kind of emotional behavior is not gonna fly with any woman. It’s not attractive and it sure didn’t make me wanna get closer to you.”

Conversely, when he likes me first, then we exchange a message or two, he asks for my number and calls when he says he will—he gets big points with me. And I let him know!

6. Whatever you do, don’t put him in the “husband suit.”

Ok, this is the worst . . . we start trying on his last name and imagining our future children and grandchildren. Which can happen even when we just kinda like him. Or even before we’ve actually met.

And then we wait . . . and hope . . . and wait . . . for him to (please!) like us back.

I know that some of you want to be married. Yesterday. And after a string of shitty dates, when you finally have a good one, wedding bells start ringing.

The problem is, when you stuff him in the husband suit, he can feel it. He senses that he is being manipulated. Why? Because you have stopped truly and deeply enjoying him, and enjoying yourself. All of your attention is on the outcome and the goal. The fun vaporizes. And he stops calling you back.

Practice the hard work of standing in your desire for love in your life, but staying in the moment to moment enjoyment and pleasure of experiencing connection with your new guy.

7. Have fun. Really. If you are not having fun, get off line.

There is no reason you have to suffer through this. Stop swiping. Or cut out early from your date.

The object is for you to enjoy the experiences of communication with men, or to enjoy the experience of being with a guy on a date.

This is all about you learning how to feel really good about yourself, and grow as a woman, while navigating the challenging world of online dating. Your desires will take care of the rest.

And now I want to hear from you—leave a comment below and let me know:

  • Which one of these strategies are you going to try?
  • Or, what are your personal tips to stay turned on in the dating jungle?

Whatcha got, sisters?
I can’t wait to read what you have to say on this topic.


p.s. Wanna go deeper? The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program is where we get to really dig deeply into the terrain of getting what you want from relationships, the man/woman game, and how to use the power of attraction—along with so many other challenges and opportunities for a woman today.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the program, click here to learn more, or book a one-on-one chat to explore the possibilities.

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40 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 12:18 pm

    Regina, you know I love your work and have taken nearly every type of seminar you offer. But I feel someone needs to point out to you that not every woman has a girlfriend she trusts and likes and is constant touch with whom she can do everything with. Nor does every woman want to live her life through the lives of the “pack.” I stand on my own and challenge your idea that women are herd animals like men. We are lone predators. Have no doubt.

    Since my best friend’s marriage she has treated me like a social leper. I met her husband on their wedding day and never saw him again. I never found anyone she dated vaguely attractive, so I can’t imagine that she thinks I have designs on him. In fact, my only interest in him extends to whatever part of him she wants me to get to know. I held her hand through hell and back for seven years until she met him and now she’s a married lady and I am a second class citizen in her world. It’s pathetic. My ex-husband and included her in every aspect of our lives. I had the ability to create a boundary between myself and her when needed or I could not have survived a friendship with her. She wanted to be together all the time–she would never have met her husband if I had not held my ground because never picked up men when we were together. We were too busy having fun. The last time she called me she had spent the entire summer on an estate in New Jersey with her husband but he was going away for two nights. She’s afraid of the dark and didn’t want to be alone. I almost agreed to come and then his schedule changed and I was off the hook. She called later in the week when he was going to be away for one night on Thursday. I am so dumb I thought she was trying to make it up to me then realized she had no intention of extending the invitation into the weekend. She just didn’t want to be in the house alone and though I had never even had dinner with their pair since their marriage was willing to use me to handle her neurotic fear that someone will come out of the dark and try to murder her. (What has she done that might make her fear that, I wonder? Hmmm….) So, I don’t mean to sound cynical, but the sisterhood aspect of your work has always been the weakest part of it for me. In every group I was in there were bullies and women who only wanted to fraternize with gals with Havard MBAs and so on. By the end of every mastery all of the good wishes that each group had started out with toward one other had disintegrated. One woman even let her boyfriend listen in on our calls without telling us. Women are not the angels that you seem to imagine they are. You’re the leader of this pack, so they are k———-g you lovely a—-s. But they aren’t any nicer than women everywhere and women in groups are about the worst company on earth. I’ve always found friendships with men much more even keel, reasonable, enjoyable, etc. Women are abusive and critical. My own sister is a lesbian and the furthest thing from a feminist that could possibly. Her advice when I got divorced was to marry millionaire like she did. When I had spine surgery and had to go on Disability she told me it was in her head through I had trained my neck typing for 34 years and in grad school and it had proven that keyboarding for 8-10 a day makes my condition worse. She said go get a job as a legal secretary. For years I had put with her “This is the way we live now, we plan our lives months in advance, we are so blessed, we are not like you and other people, but of course we are happy to help when we can.” My crazy aunt lived with us when she had breakdown in her forties when she ran the first Head Start Program in Harlem and the female teachers under her allied themselves against her, out of jealousy. She was the gentlest soul on earth–never an unkind word and they completely destroyed. Her schizophrenia manifested. She tried to work but was always turned away for being over qualified or, if she got a job, people sensed something was not quite right about her. So she lived with our family and no one ever complained. She and mother chatted and had drinks while my mother got dinner together. But when we moved into the city my father shipped her off to his brother’s family, feeling it was his turn to take responsibility for her. After that she got worse and worse and became completely paranoid. She thought the Black Panthers were trying to murder her. She spent the second half of her life incarcerated and sedated in a facility in Westchester. Yet my sister has no recollection of the generosity and compassion that my mother and father showed my aunt when the bottom fell out from under her and mental illness crept into her life. I believe if she had remained with our family that her illness would have taken much longer to get so bad she had to be incarcerated. My point is that I am lone predator. I don’t find women supportive or particularly polite most of the time. I hate rudeness and I hate people in charge who don’t know what they’re doing. I’m not about to call some woman every time I have to make a move. I stand on my own. I make my own decisions. Please remember that not ever Sister Goddess is a follower, a tribal person, a pack animal, etc. I don’t believe women make good pack animals, actually. I think you don’t really see what goes on in your seminars between the women. There are always the dominant ones who get most of the attention. Then there are the stars and freaks who capture your affection. Then there are lots bullies and snobs and fragile women wandering around doing their best to pretend they feel so much love for each and every woman in the room. Remember, too, that many women attract a great deal more jealousy than other women and have to contend with that every where they go. This sisterhood you describe is comprised of students and followers of your work. Why do you imagine they have the same relationship to each other that they do to you?
    With respect and honesty and great love,
    Janet Shannon

  • SG Jules January 28, 2016, 3:41 am

    Thanks, Mama Gena, for rallying my spirit with this article, lol. I love, among others things, “The bottom line here is that dating triggers the shizzle out of us” and ” A little known secret? Dating is not about the guy. It’s about you with you.”. Cool perspectives ! I’ haven’t dated in eons, but I’m making progress, lol. I’ve been working on adopting the Nike attitude, lately, “Just do it”, rather that playing games of mental pinball with my thoughts and “concerns”. Now I’ll get back to reading other SGs comments … Nice to be able to share.

  • Alex January 28, 2016, 1:44 am

    I just went on my first date in 16 years with a guy I met online. I am getting divorced after 14 years of marriage, survived a brain tumor on my own and am a single mum to three girls. I have been online for about two months. Mostly just virtually chatting and flirting because its been fun to chat to guys who aren’t my doctors. On Friday I got a message from someone online, by Tuesday we’d spoken briefly on the phone and last night we met and spent over five hours chatting. I looked and felt sexy in a girlfriend’s borrowed white jeans and a red blouse. He sent me a text when he got home to thank me for a lovely evening. We had a lot of fun. It was so great to do something real and for me. I hope I can hang onto to this curious attitude and keep learning about myself and my needs and giving myself time just to be fabulous! Not sick, not someone’s mom or someone’s ex…

  • Alana January 27, 2016, 11:12 pm is a great site! I met my lovely husband there :).

  • Eva January 27, 2016, 11:01 pm

    Hi Mama. I’m a psychotherapist of 16 years and have seen quite a number of people through the on and off-line dating process into amazing marriages. And like you said, the key is getting clear on what you truly want, also what you can be flexible about and what are just bottom line nos. Sticking to this clarity has time and again brought the most unexpected and fabulous relationships. And Mama’s right. You’re perfect for being loved just as you are.

  • SG Tracy January 27, 2016, 9:00 pm

    I am one of the online dating success stories. I met my husband online- our connection was so strong that we traveled together within 2 months of meeting, got engaged after 10 months, and married a year and one week after we met. That was 7 happy years ago. I think you can find love on any site- but I do think there’s something to be said for eharmony’s matching based on interests and values etc. I’ve also heard good things about Why Don’t We….?! And yes! Sharing the ups and downs along the way with friends is so helpful to keeping a sense of humor about the whole process!! Good luck sisters!! Ox

  • Audrey January 27, 2016, 5:48 pm

    I was married for 47 years. When my wonderful DH passed I couldn’t even imagine a life with anyone else. After 5 years of dealing with grief and guilt a lot of things in my life conspired to make me realise that I didn’t want to be alone the rest of my life with no one to touch and be touched.
    At age 71 I was convinced to try a dating site – I was so against it! It seems to me to be unnatural!
    After many emails and conversations with the first man…. I realised I definitely was up for someone in my life …..just not him! He was overweight and very unattractive but did seem to know the right things to say to get me sizzling! He was only interested in him and even said not to listen to friends. I finally met him for coffee and realised that I am not going to spend my life, or even date, with some one so unattractive and boring and self centred.

    One week later I met a lovely man who thought I was magic. It has been the most incredible ride. He is perfect in all the ways that matter most …..and awesome sex. I thought that part of my life was gone ….but we are like teenagers!
    Six months later we were engaged and bring so much to each other’s life. The positive energy is enormous and everyone we meet notices it.

    • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 3:29 pm

      WOW! This is the most beautiful and encouraging thing I have read on this site all day. Thank you so much.

  • Eugenia January 27, 2016, 4:13 pm

    Amen! I miss you!

    Love you so much!

  • Kim January 27, 2016, 3:07 pm

    I went on a date last night with a guy from who I thought was perfect — cute, funny, tons in common, financially secure, and we’d talked on the phone for an hour and it was great! That’s the problem: I broke my own rule and spent WAY too much time in the digital world with him (texting) before meeting, and when we finally met last night, both of us about ready to explode with anticipation, I’m not sure I’m attracted to him! Ack! He looks nothing like his photos, and has a kind of a twitch and his mannerisms sort of bothered me. I was so disappointed because he was still most of those things (I’m not sure I would call him cute now), but I didn’t feel it in person. Mama Gena’s email was perfectly timed. I spent all evening trying to talk myself into giving him another date, but if it’s HELL NO unless it’s HELL YES, then… HELL NO! 🙂

    Awesome advice. Here’s to staying open and vulnerable, without losing hope. Onward!

  • Karen January 27, 2016, 1:52 pm

    Oye! The uncomfortability of all this! Damn! I have just this week hit that word about a number of areas in my life. I don’t like being uncomfortable, and all this brings up all the anxiety/rejection from my high school years and of course my marriage (a 25 year disaster). Talk about settling.

    But that is not my story any more and as an SG and Big of the Bigs, I have taken MANY bold steps on this journey and this is just another one. This is simply an attitude adjustment! Having had much younger men as pleasure partners, Tantra partners, this shouldn’t be that hard!!! (And ladies, I do like younger men…they have been 10 – 20 years younger…and fun:).

    SG Jen Freeman hexed me this week and she’s right…it’s time to get out there again and turn it into a GAME…enjoy the hell out of dressing up, meeting new people, researching what I want, practicing radical honesty.

    So thanks, Regena…you caught me…again!!!

    • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 3:23 pm

      Radical honesty is lovely in the hands of the right people. In the hands of someone who visits someone they love in the hospital and gasps, “Oh, my God! You look absolutely terrible. You probably don’t have more than five days to live!” radical honesty is a destructive and worthless form of self-indulgence. Just because something is a fact does not mean it creates value to say it aloud. TIming is everything. Tone counts too. So does wisdom.

      When I took the Inner Circle Jen, the lady who hexed you, said to me, “It’s good to see you here because I know what a stretch this is for you.” She wasn’t referring to the courage it had taken to sign up for Inner or expressing her concern about my internal growth as a Sister Goddess. She was reminding me of what a poor little church mouse I was and how Inner Circle had probably cost me an arm and a leg. I didn’t find her remark a form of support. It embarrassed me and made me fee looked down upon by her. How did she even know my prior circumstances? I had done a “catering” job a few years earlier for her partner in her law firm on the night before Christmas Eve. He was having a party in his three story town house with poor water pressure and no dishwasher. He did a great Christmas tree that reached all the way to ceiling on the third floor where the kitchen was. Jen had been looking for Sister Goddesses to drop by, look decorous and pour wine. I had contacted her and she had sent me over. I needed the cash as I was making a trip to my sister’s the next day. When I arrived her partner was alone with his parents, who were driving him nuts. I was aware that he disliked Mama Gena’s work and all women that Jen had fun with, but I assumed he would be minimally polite. Ha! Ha! He treated me like a domestic and a complete imbecile who deserve his wrath. I was decked out scarlet chiffon Capri pants and a matching top with a plunging neckline. I had done my hair. I was escorted to the kitchen on the third story overlooking the living room. The guy started rattling away about making rice in the microwave, which was about above my head on top of the refrigerator. I had not had a chance to get out my reading glasses and could not make out the print on the face of the microwave. I raised up on my toes and tried to squint. He started screaming at me. “Don’t you even know how to work a microwave?” I assured him that I merely needed to get my glasses and was perfectly capable of making the rice. Not to worry. While I did that, he proceeded to have a huge fight with his parents. Later I was told to carry dishes of food out onto the table in the kitchen. Guests began arriving and his mother began hovering in the kitchen, afraid to talk to anybody but me. Dirty dishes started arriving and I was given the task of being a human dishwasher in a five million dollar townhouse. His mother was so eager for some task to do that she insisted on showing me how to wash dishes. I allowed her to teach me and continued her good work while her son chased her downtstairs and forced her to talk to guests. His girlfriend could not come to the pary. A woman kept saying to him, “Darling, you have no models at your party!” and I thought “That’s right! The only good looking woman is up here washing dishes!” Men came over and tried to talk to me, but I didn’t want to be seen slacking off. This guy was a loose cannon and for all I knew he might use it as an excuse to try not to pay me. (I needed the money that badly.) Jen finally arrived looking wonderful and being lovely to me and everyone as she always is. I didn’t bother to tell her what an S.O.B. her partner had been to me. Obviously she must know what’s he like; they worked together. At the end of the night I had hoped to be paid in cash, but Jen insisted that we had agreed I would a check. I have no recollection or hard evidence of that to this day, however her partner did write me a check as I left her apartment. It would not cash in time to pay for my ticket to my sister’s so she would have to pay for it and give me cash on the way back. I was exhausted upon arrival Christmas Eve in Provincetown. When I arrived at my sister’s she made me chili even though I told her I couldn’t eat spicy food and would just make myself a sandwich. She insisted I have chili. Then she proceeded to get angry over goodness knows what and tell me that because she was a lesbian I should really cultivate a friendship with our aunt because she couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand her. I thought I had been invited for the holidays; we had just come from a service at the Unitarian Church nearby lit candles and hugged each other and sung songs. When I got home to New York I was really glad to be back. A man in my life sent me money for a present without knowing my circumstances. Boy was that a relief and a much deserved award.

      Jen didn’t tell me she was glad to see me in Inner Circle because she liked me or she excited that I was doing some new part of Gena’s work. What she meant by saying “I’m glad you’re here because I know it’s a stretch for you” is that she knew I was a poor little church mouse who had no money. She was glad I had been able to scrape together my pennies and do Inner Circle. I didn’t appreciate her comment. If that’s Radical honesty, I think Radical honesty is Radical rudeness. It so happened that I had received an inheritance and was treating myself to something I thought might help me learn and grow. I became so ill within a month of the first meeting that I was flat on my back throughout nearly all of Inner Circle. I missed nearly everything. What I did see of it I didn’t find to be a major improvement over Mastery. In fact I disliked the close proximity to women too certain they were ahead of the game. I hate club and cliques. And everyone applauded the same people again and again for goodness knew what reason. Two lesbians were so rude to me when we had to do an exercise that involved cooperative that I was really turned off. What did I need that for? Some of it was interesting, but it seemed more fun for Regina than anyone else. That’s my little bit of Radical honesty. What I learned from the experience that was of major importance was never to feel badly about being broke or having to make a partial payment toward a Mastery Class or whatever it is in life that you want to do and are moving toward. Until then I had always had to do Gena’s seminars of various kinds in partial payments and she and her team had been great about making it possible for me to do that. But I had always wondered what it would feel to just be able to write a check for the whole amount and not have any stress about it. It had felt good to be able to write the check. But look what happened. I was so sick I missed the whole course. I had signed up for Inner Circle from my head, not my heart. “Oh let me check that off that will be good for me it always is good to do this work.” When you have money piled up in the bank you don’t feel your desires as sharply because you can provide for every little you need when you need it. When you’re short or juggling things, it makes you appreciate everything little thing that comes your way and creates suspense and investment in what you are participating in. Financial stability is not a sign that you have your act together. It does not mean you are a nice person or a good person or a fun or happy or attractive person. I was the best looking woman at Jen’s partner’s party and I spent the night washing dishes and avoiding men who no one else would talk to. Be broke. Be humble. Live close to your desires! It’s harder to feel them when you have material security and start to think you’re better than other people. It’s an arrogance that goes with the territory, judging those who have less than you as being less than you.

      I went to a party at Jen’s during Inner Circle where we were supposed to watch the film Pride and Prejudice. The lawyers and Harvard MBA’s were talking and laughing in the kitchen and hardly looked you in the eye if they didn’t know you. We had to go into the bedroom to watch the film. Half-way through a woman with red hair who had fascinated Regina in Mastery arrived. The film was put on pause and everyone turned to this woman as though she were a golden Buddha who had just plopped herself down on the bed and was ready to give answers. She was new to Gena’s work but very nice. But nothing special that I could see. No witty repartee. No outrageous humor. No style for sure. Nothing striking. I wondered what it was that Jen and her close friends found so important about her. I assumed either this woman’s husband had an enormous amount. Probably both she and her husband were immensely wealthy. I was not raised to genuflect when people with big bank accounts come in the room. In fact I’d grown up in country clubs and had every possible financial and educational advantage. I’d been taught to be polite to everyone and not spend money foolishly. I had brought a girlfriend to movie night and she was going with the flow. But I began to feel that Jen should take her party into the other room–she had several huge, comfortable rooms where they could have their coffee clutch. That way I could have continued watching the movie, which was on Gena’s recommended list of movies to see. At one point I asked Jen if we were going to continue watching the movie. She looked at me with her nose in the air and said, “No,” then turned back to her red haired friend and ignored me completely. I guess she thought I was being rude.But when someone invites you for a movie night and they have lots of room you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out you can accommodate everybody by being a good hostess. I wasn’t interrupting their conversation. I just wanted to finish watching the film. I left shortly afterward without saying goodnight. My friend came with me. She was happy to stay or leave; she didn’t care. I was offended by Jen’s poor hostessing skills. I didn’t see why I should have a passionate interest in this great orange blob of a woman. Her money wasn’t going in my bank account just because we were breathing the same air. I had plenty of friends with money. It doesn’t work that way. When you don’t want from them they love to offer you help. You don’t ask. You don’t hover. You don’t show them you worship their money. Pathetic! Crass! So my girlfriend and I went to a coffee shop and had a bite. I’m sure Jen would not have considered it a very elegant place but it was just fine. That was our form of Radical honesty. Years later I did catch the end of that film. Elizabeth Bennett would never have stuck around to worship the orange Yoda.

  • Kimberly January 27, 2016, 1:34 pm

    I signed up for and was having a pretty good time. But in the end the person I chose wanted something else that was not me. And said if were going to continue dating that I’d have to work on myself…yup…a relationship improvement plan. That sucked, I hope to be better each day but have some person say go work on yourself really sucked!

  • elise pettus January 27, 2016, 1:03 pm

    I love this post, especially the admonition against putting him (or her) in the “husband suit.” I only disagree about phone calls before meeting up with someone. I get much more from a ten minute coffee (and really I don’t even think of my first meeting with a guy from Ok Cupid as a “date”–that happens when and if the coffee meeting went well), than from a 30 minute phone call! I also find that men who opt for the phone call first can be fearful about meeting up, and so they call again and again. Oy, I get impatient with guys who want long conversations on the phone. Is this just me?

  • Agota January 27, 2016, 12:41 pm

    I am a CEO, woman from Hungary. I keep doing online dating for many years without finding my man.

    I read Gena’ s post with interest. I think the point is not to loose interest after so many bad dates. Also it is important to keep your self esteem high.

    I think the point in my county is that power and money belongs to males and they think only women aging. They do not look at the mirror before matching themselves to us.

    I want to feel myself a sexy woman at the age of 60 Fit, beautiful, successful, independent MBA person in amazing outfits.

    Where can I find my unicorn?

    • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 2:12 pm

      For every fit, beautiful CEO who is 60 there is a 30 year old who is broke and working as a waitress, paying off student loans. The 30 year old may imagine that if only she had your accomplishments and financial fortune more men would be interested in her. Nobody’s life is perfect. I am 59 and envy all of your achievements myself. There is always something we think is lacking in ourselves or missing from our lives but it’s simply that we can’t be and have everything all at once on the same day. When we’re young we’re gorgeous and terribly foolish. We age but if we work on ourselves and take advantage of what’s out there to help staying youthful along we can extend our youth much further today than ever before. Oddly, I always wanted to weigh what I now weigh–effortlessly–after years of straining to keep my weight down. A few years ago it got so low my doctors went into a panic. I couldn’t gain weight to save my life! It was like being Heaven. I felt so fashionable, so svelte for the first time. So now I’m up to about 105 and that’s great. I miss being in my 90’s but it wasn’t worth having to have my doctors in a state of alarm all the time. But most of my life I was 116-128, heavier in my 20’s. And I’m busty and broad shouldered and jackets don’t fit and the top button comes undone…and that used all drive me crazy. Now I don’t even have to think about it! None of it makes much sense but at a time when most women gain weight I lost weight, whereas in my youth all I had to do was look at an olive and I put on a pound.

      Now I wish I had your achievements and financial fortune. I could easily say, “If I had success and money I’d have all the men in Ne w York eating out of my hand.” And maybe that’s true. But even if I did, I can promise you there would be something else in my life that I would feel was missing, something I wanted. And that would make me believe other people wanted me to have that too. It would maybe make me believe they would withhold their approval until I did. I might even pick partners who would put that on me to reflect that. This where I think we make the mistake. The things we want for ourselves are not necessarily what others want for us. Some men don’t care if you have a career and money. Some men really think it’s important for a women to have a career and money. Some men like women their age, some like them really young. Some want to go out with 14 year olds–and we need to worry about those guys. Men are crazy when it comes to sex and if were not for the presence of women on the planet would have killed themselves off long ago. We are the humanizing influence. It’s not an easy job but somebody’s got to do it! No use getting mad at them for being the way they are. At the same time, no serious man of a high degree of sophistication and accomplishment wants to take a 20 year old who listens to Rap and doesn’t know who is running for President to a corporate dinner. Sometimes the joyful, evanescent spirit of youth will attract an older man to a younger woman–she hadn’t lived long enough to be angry at the world or men. Usually she’s just angry at her mother! If we middle aged gals can let go of our anger and find joy in all the things at our fingertips, men will feel much more drawn to us. Men love confidence in women. I’m not arguing the fact that younger women definitely have a huge advantage. That has been true since the beginning of mankind I bet. It would be ludicrous to deny that truth. But if you are comfortable in your own skin and satisfied with yourself, then you come everything you do from a place of strength. When you come from that place the world comes to you. It’s a hard “practice” as Regina calls it to keep yourself in that place but it works. If you can get there even a few days a month you’re ahead of most of the rest of the world.

      One more thing! A certain type of man is at an advantage in New York, for example, but there are plenty of available guys in New York who are lonely and invisible. Women are not eager to date them. I’ve listened to cab drivers who told me women have told them point blank they wouldn’t date them because the drove a cab. Can you imagine speaking to somebody in such a crass, cruel manner? A person who is serious can make a very good living driving a cab, especially if he owns it. Women are snobs in their own ways. A guy without a successful career by the time he is forty is at a huge disadvantage in the dating pool. So when we talk about the men we want to date we’re usually talking about a certain type of guy and forgetting that there are other guys out there who are considered virtually “untouchable” by the female sex. How nice are we really? New York is probably the hardest city to find love in if you’re a woman–but I think it’s really up to the woman. I found love here when I was 35. Not on the Internet. It was a mystical process. My boyfriend was such a nervous mess that he got the flu and thought he was dying. I thought he was trying to avoid me. Then I was taking the busy and saw a man bent over the seat in front of him as though he was really struggling internally. He raised his head. It was my boyfriend. And I realized he really was suffering and afraid he was going to die because he had the flu. Eventually he began calling me every day at my job and asking me very politely and formally if he could come over to my apartment and spend the night. He thought pigeons were defecating on his air conditioner and that the air at my place was so much better. For six weeks he called every day and asked if he could stay over. And I would say “yes” calmly without asking any questions. And then he just never left. That was how he moved in. No discussion. No announcement. Four years later we got married. He had big dreams and no money. But he had brains up the wazoo and he was extremely resourceful. I found this incredibly attractive. Someone might be good at a job or have money from their family. But a man who is really, really smart and resourceful will always manage in any kind of circumstance. He actually said to me when we were dating, “You know, if there’s ever a Depression in this country we’re gonna make out really well. I’m a scrapper!” I laughed out loud because it was such a bizarre thing to say. What on earth was he thinking? Was he nuts? My mother had lived through the Depression in the 1930’s and told me endless stories about it. She had told me that something like that would never occur again in the United States because of laws put into place by FDR. Eighteen years after I met the love of my life there was the Crash of 2008. I received an inheritance in November of 2008 when my step-father passed away and was protected to a great extent. When I got ready to look for a job I found one in a week because I spend so many years working I had a resume down to my knees. And yet and yet and yet the work I did put a great deal of stress on my hands and arms and neck. I had been doing in 34 years. I had to have a spine surgery and now I can no longer do that kind of work. I live on Disability. All of my life I could make money quickly and easily, but my body finally said “no more of this. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends and it’s got to stop.” Who do you think worked with lawyer to help me win my Disabillity suit? The love of my life with his fine brain and his resourcefulness. Who came with me to the doctors when at times my low energy brought out the animality in them and made them push me around. He did. He dealt beautifully with them. They saw him and said “Ah, a rational man. I can talk to him.” He got me whatever I needed, even if it was only respect. Don’t get sick when you get older–people will let you rot if you are a pain in the a—s. You have to be nice even when they’re impossible. My love taught me that. He accomplished many of his dreams in the course of our relationship but a falling out with a mentor in the first 7 years he opened his doors for business ultimately brought an end to the dream of a career he had had. It took another 7 years for him to find something else he was passionate about and he went back to school and applied for job. He ace his 3rd application and was hired without even being seen and relocated in 2012. We are not together but we inseparable. We are love. We are family. He is doing humanitarian work now, counseling Veterans with P.T.S.D. He could never keep a regular schedule in the past but now he has to be in at 8 a.m. and work until 10:00 p.m. 4 days a week. He’s excelling in everything he does. They love him. But would you know, he is not making as much money as a legal secretary in New York? I don’t know how he’s surviving, frankly. He would not do well at all on, I can assure you, although he’s very handsome. A man who doesn’t make a fair amount of money doesn’t even have a chance on Match. Nobody wants to go out with them. So the next time you think it’s only men who are unfair, think again. We women have our need for security. We think there’s something wrong with a guy if he hasn’t been able to make it big in the USA by the age of 40 or 50 at the very least. But there are tons of upright, honorable, smart, beautiful men out there who don’t make a million dollars a day or a year or even in a lifetime. I believe the man I love is unique. That there is no one like him on earth. And I believe the same of myself. We came together when I was 35 after meeting at a party. In order for our lives to move forward, we each needed a union. When a women comes into a man’s life the whole world suddenly wants to know him. I insisted we got married at one point because he had so many female friends intent on ignoring me that I knew I needed credentials to get proper treatment. He is one of those people who tries to keep everybody happy–they have their forms of suffering too.

      How I envy your success and financial fortune. How I would love to say on my profile, “successful, published writer who has been a teacher, advisor and traveled the world.” But none of that is exactly true. I have taught. I have written. I have traveled. But that most important thing I’ve ever done is love somebody from the tips of my toes to the end of my nose–not just a man–animals–enchanted places, enchanted things…You are enchanting, whether you believe it or not. Let go of your haste to get a result. A lot of our romantic desires are biological. I know because I run on nothing and have to use hormone replacement to even think about sex. Sometimes I go without for a year or more. It’s liberating because I don’t dream of sex or love or any of that nonsense. But since it exists and since you have to keep using it for it to keep working, I continue with it. I have hope that if I am meant to love another man again and transform my life through a union with him it will happen, whether I meet him online or not. Why not use all of your options. I know my life condition is the most important thing. An actor I knew who became very successful would not leave his house unless he was in a place in which he could run into any person in the entertainment industry–casting director, fellow actor, producer, film maker, etc.–and SWEEP THEM OFF THEIR FEET. He had learned from experience that he could lose opportunities if he headed out in a bad mood without having showered, etc. So he religiously made sure he was “up” and at his best when he was in publilc. He went to California eventually when the film world called. I don’t think women should put pressure on themselves to that degree but the point is it’s ourselves that we have to work on, not men. We have take better care of ourselves as we grow older or yes nobody will want to be around us. Or people will assume we want to be alone. I wish you the very best in your search for love. And again, congratulations on all of your incredible accomplishments! I wish I were so accomplished!

  • Dee January 27, 2016, 12:37 pm

    Thank you for writing this article, it could have not come at a better time. I just started and am a little overwhelmed with the process and online dating offers. I am just figuring out how to filter and have fun with all of this. I just started some dialogue with some interesting men, and funny how you mentioned about choosing the “B” guy, I told myself only the “A” guys are welcome! Thanks for the encouragement. I will definatley take your advice with grabbing some friends to help me filter even more. I love the Skype idea, my friend mentioned that to me last week, it has saved her from walking out of coffee shops on men who lied about their appearance and age:) I will keep you posted on my online dating experience, I have a couple of “interviews” lined up this week.

  • Catherine January 27, 2016, 11:37 am

    Oh, I love this post. I decided to try online dating. Met two guys who were okay, one lasted for two dates, he didn’t like my dogs (profile said loves animals). The other lasted a few months until he dumped me for someone young enough to be his daughter. I found that out by her tagging him on Facebook.

    Most of the rest of them who have started a conversation are scammers. Suddenly, the desperately need money for some business related reason and find it okay to ask someone they have never even met.

    I now know how to spot them quite quickly (generally they are widowed and line one always says they love your photo). Yes, there probably are many genuine guys on line, but sadly I do not have the emotional energy to try and weed them out.
    Alone till I die…….

  • Angela Sekston January 27, 2016, 11:22 am

    The subject line gave me shivers because my uninformed perception of Tinder is so bad (and because btw I am married), but I am so glad I read on because it was a fun analogy to my JOB SEARCH. After nearly 20 years of progressive roles with Fortune 200 companies, I am trying to take the time to find my UNICORN. It is taking a lot of discipline (and can be scary) to say, “hell no” if it’s not a “hell, yes” because I have obligations to my family and kids. But what you are saying Mama Gena is very relevant for me; if I trust my intuition, plan and lean on good sisterly advisors, I will come out on the right end of this and be happier for it. Many thanks for the parallel meanings of this post! I look forward to meeting you for the first time this weekend!

  • Stephanie January 27, 2016, 11:21 am

    I just wanted to say I found this article extremely helpful. I have gone back and forth downloading and then deleting the Bumble App and it is really good to get some type of guidance from an empowered Woman like yourself. I am somewhat “old-fashioned” and I enjoy meeting people organically. However, that doesn’t seem to be working and some of my friends encourage me to “have fun with it” when being on dating apps. So I’ve been trying it but still feel kind of weird about it. So it is good to know there is nothing to feel ashamed of and to just stand fully in my truth and Woman Power throughout this! Thank you!

  • Ilona January 27, 2016, 11:20 am

    I like my profile and my pictures. I think I spell out clearly what I want. However, I get a lot of much younger guys responding (20 years younger) and old couch potatoes. When I write to somebody, they do not respond to my message. I am 62. Wondering what am I missing from this game ?????
    Loved your article

    • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 1:06 pm

      There are various opinions about whether you should contact men on online dating sites or wait for them to wink or write a message to you. I’ve dated guys I met both ways and in the end, if it’s not meant to turn into a long-term thing that will become clear. Generally speaking, though, the most “realistic” prospects and not “fantasy guys” were men I met online who contacted me first. There is everything and anything out there. My ex-sister-in-law went through a painful divorce just after I did. She dated on match and met one guy but it didn’t work out. Four years went by and she kept her profile up. Now she is engaged to be married to a great guy she met on match who lives near her and really, really wants to marry her. We’re exactly the same age, so I’m so happy for her! But she didn’t, obviously, expect quick results. She had kids who came up on the weekends and an elderly parent to care for and a busy job. She worked with her ex-husband all day. She had a lot of financial fortune too. All these things can make the “waiting game” easier, can’t they? But she is very likeable person who was always popular. All the family holidays were held at her house when I was married. So it seems inevitable in a way that in time, if she stayed in the ring, the right man would surface and court her. Hers was the victory of the long distance runner, yes? Some of us aren’t looking for that. We want to date. We want to go out with a few different people. We want to have fun. Online dating has provided baby boomers with the opportunity to practice the lost arts of flirting and conversation and seduction. When I divorced online dating was very good for me. I had not really dated much in my 20’s because I was very goal oriented, trying to be an actress and a singer. And I wasn’t attracted to actors. And they were not attracted to me. Businessmen and people in the art world were attracted to me. So I wasn’t meeting them until I was older. When I started dating in my 50’s after my divorce it was in a sense like making up for what I missed in my 20’s. I think it was a very nice thing. I also think that if you can’t go on a date and make it your business to have fun whether you are attracted to someone or not you have no business doing online dating. We all have a social responsibility to each to appreciate the privilege of a few hours with a man (or woman) we are unlikely to cross paths with otherwise. I determine to have fun whether I intend on seeing the guy again–and you know within seconds, don’t you? Sometimes I wish could remains with all the nice people I’ve met doing online dating who I just didn’t want to get physical with. But it never works out if you try, at least not for me.

  • Karen January 27, 2016, 11:18 am

    I am currently in the middle of a divorce, so I won’t be tackling this anytime soon. However, I must comment on the so-called attractive quality in a man who loves to talk about “you”. I was married to a narcissistic man and that is one of their main tactics to get you to trust them, especially if he is asking for very personal information like your childhood history . They are Mr. Wonderful in the beginning, but you can see red flags very early on. Does his eye contact and attention wander during a conversation. How does he treat/talk about others, even the waiter…does he complain or blame just a little too much. If he is divorced does he blame his ex for everything, how does he treat his mother or sister? As Mama G said, if you feel a bad vibe trust yourself. By the way, in response to 50+ ladies, my husband is 10 years younger than me, which has nothing to do with narcissism or lack of compatibility.

  • Terasha Li January 27, 2016, 11:00 am

    That is fabulous advices. ” sex is sex, love is love”
    I need a girlfriend’s advice how my photos looks as I realized that I attracted the men is older than me!!! That is not fun to date with a man over 50 and bold and with a big belly!
    I want to date some young guys to have adventure.

  • KT January 27, 2016, 10:43 am

    I am 65 and fit and fabulous. And online dating has been so frustrating for me that I’ve given up on it. And since I almost never meet anyone in my regular life, I’ve been dateless for 5 years now. I won’t lie about my age, which means there is ZERO interest. Fit men my own age specify women 50-60 (or even younger!) and won’t even look at me. And, yes, I’ve put up multiple photos that are great and recent too. Those who do want to meet me — well they are so old, retired and so set in their ways that I feel like I’m looking at death. They say they love “travel” but haven’t done any in 30 years. They say they are fit but haven’t even taken a hike since the Reagan era. . . Yes, I’ve gotten approached by some younger guys in their 20s and 30s — starving artists looking for a “sugar mommy,” guys with fantasies about the “experienced older woman” and, even a guy who just wanted to be 100% he wouldn’t become a Daddy. PLEASE, Mama Gena, dish up some online advice for us hot, older women.

    • Gayle Crist January 27, 2016, 10:48 am

      The only way I as an older woman ever met any guys to date using online dating was to choose them & write to them first myself. I highly recommend that. I even wrote to younger guys despite what age they said they wanted. My 2nd husband (met online) was 7 years younger & the man I’m having the best sex of my life with now is a year younger. Writing first shows you’re confident & know what you want. Go for it!

    • S.G. Mary January 27, 2016, 11:16 am

      Lie about your age. Use your mental age. And try e-harmony. I fixed up one of my x’s with it and he and his wife of 10 years are very compatible, happy and enjoyed taking me to dinner a few weeks ago. I am happily single, have a BF who’s all I can handle right now, but I’ve done a lot of internet dating and believe that for me a barstool tends to work just as well. Tho the internet dates do make for some good stories! Be kind to yourself and never, ever, ever agree to travel more than convenient to meet any male. They really will take advantage of your apparent desperation to act like perfect asses. And cheapskate, egocentric asses at that!

      • janet shannon January 31, 2016, 12:45 pm

        I agree that women should feel free to lie about their age, especially if they look young and are fit. Men lie about their ages too. Yet they will sometimes try to make you feel guilty if they find out your age in your profile is a few years off–they have little mercy. First of all, no one looks their age anymore. We have so many things at our disposal to remain younger looking too, if we want to. It used to be rude to even dare to ask a woman her age, much less make an issue of it. And one’s profile on a dating website is not a legal document that has been notarized or looked at by an attorney. It is a calling card, an impression, an ice breaker–a way to get a conversation going, nothing more. To give it too much weight is not appropriate. If you like to write, you may find yourself reinventing your profile every two days and that can take up a lot of time and confuse the viewers. So I think it’s best to keep it simple and positive and feel free to shave five to seven years off–no more. If the guy likes the way you look when you meet he won’t care if you lied. The fact is that a woman’s biology is what can cause problems in terms of lying about one’s age or phase of life. If you go through an early menopause and end up having to be on hormone replacement in order to have sex at all because you have several vaginal atrophy no man on earth wants to hear about that. You have to deal with it on your own. Some will assume you’re lying. Others will just say “So long!” If you’re new to online dating you might want to have that part of your body up and running before you put up your profile. It’s a far trickier topic to navigate than age is. The less you have to talk about it the better. I’m sure there are guys out there who are understanding but that’s more likely to occur when they already have had great sex with you and the problem develops after the fact. You wouldn’t be eager to take on someone with erectile dysfunction, would you? Only if you already knew them and loved them. Then you could deal with. Lie about your age if you are over 60 and look great! Age is just a number. My eldest sister died at 36 after so many surgeries she was not really herself anymore. We’re lucky if we’re alive and in no pain and able experience pleasure. Anyone so spoiled they’re hung up numbers is someone you don’t have time for. A sophisticated expects a woman to lie about her age. Only a dufus wants 100% honesty about in a dating profile on a website. What men hate is if you take 10 or 15 years off your age or if you say you are slender when you weigh 400 lbs. Then they get really frustrated and disappointed when they meet you. That is only fair.

  • Andrea January 27, 2016, 10:42 am

    Perfect timing , I am on the edge of online dating and trying to runaway screaming or jump in , thanks for the reminder it can be funx

  • Sherrie January 27, 2016, 10:42 am

    I am inspired by these suggestions…I have not exposed myself to online dateing for the simple reason of not haveing a protocol . Thank You for the tips…now I feel like I would not be grasping for straws in the dark. Instead allowing yet another forum for my yummyness to be appreciated .

  • Jenna January 27, 2016, 10:42 am

    This article was genius! I have been online dating for 6 months after ending a 21 year long marriage. I am mostly having the time of my life learning about me, rekindling a sex drive that now blazes like a not-quite-out-of-control fire, and meeting some really nice guys. I feel the most alive I have ever felt. Thanks for the reminder, Gena, that unless it is a “hell yes!” it is a no go. I made a couple mistakes early on where men who didn’t deserve my pussy, got it and the sex was abysmal. Now, I am only having amazing sex, going out, expanding my sense of the world, and all the possibilities my future might hold.

    My profile is very narrowly written — I cite my favorite poets, talk about the passion and depth I seek, and I am unapologetically me. The upside: I only date guys I want. Yes, the Republicans, grandfathers, 22 year olds, and body builders still “like” me, or send me a generic, “hi.” I ignore them. I am seeking someone specific, and it is not any of them. So, Sisters, have fun, believe in yourself. Believe your intuitive sense when something doesn’t feel right. Say no to guys, even if they are hot, or rich, or seemingly talented. Settle for nothing but out-of-this-world sex, and amazing connections. You deserve nothing less.

    • Kim January 29, 2016, 1:22 pm

      Thanks for your comment Jenna. I too am out of a 21 year marriage and have dated men that I knew intuitively were not right for me. I am an Empath, so I am often drawn to someone who needs my help. Wow, can you say opposite of self-care! I am educated , intelligent, fit and funny. I am now learning to be a Goddess. Great comment. I will take your lead.

  • Gayle Crist January 27, 2016, 10:36 am

    You nailed it, Mama! I’ve been a dating coach for women over 50 for 10 years & recommend to them everything you said here. I met my 2nd husband (at age 50) on Yahoo (now part of & the loving, affectionate, sexy man I’m dating now (at age 61) online on & highly recommend it. Just follow these tips to stay true to yourself & your desires, and you’ll find there are LOTS of wonderful men out there looking for someone just like YOU. I really believe online dating is the best tool for meeting them!
    P.S. I have been doing & recommending Mama’s work since 2004 & I know it was a key to me being able to attract the man of my dreams!

  • Joan Goldberg January 27, 2016, 10:35 am

    Mama Gena (or anyone else) What websites do you recommend?

  • Heather January 27, 2016, 10:34 am

    I had a rough day yesterday because I was affected by a bleak podcast about dating as you get older (and in cities like NY).

    I checked in with myself and found that I feel wonderful about ME. I’m lovely as I am and get more valuable with time. It is strength to remain true to your standards, which is why I appreciate that you write about desiring an emotionally heathy man. Yes!

    This email came at a great time. Thank you. Looking forward to this weekend!

    • Jenna January 27, 2016, 10:45 am

      Yes! Dear Sugar, perhaps? Yes, go with who you are and what you love. Let the right guys find you, and seek them out, too. I pay more for OKCupid so I can look at profiles without the guys knowing I am doing it. I want the privacy, and it lets me recheck profiles without seeming overly interested or stalk-y. Have fun, Heather!

    • S.G. Mary January 27, 2016, 11:24 am

      HEATHER! Who writes these bleak podcasts you’re reading? Some misanthropic gay male? Remember, there are white lies, gray lies and statistics – all in the same league. What baloney. Be an individual, make your own road, your own rules, and your own life. Don’t read magazines or podcasts. And don’t listen to me, listen to you! Methinks Mama Gena did offer some good advice about the buddy system…

  • Jessica January 27, 2016, 10:30 am

    Why did I read this if I was happily married? Sorta missed the point

  • Vivianne January 27, 2016, 10:27 am

    It seems to me that mating, courtship, flirting is a natural part of us….maybe we could just remember that part of us that knows how to engage in that whole process with a bit more ease and grace…..and maybe fun!!

    • jo January 29, 2016, 11:18 am

      I’ve been divorced for 15 years and have not been interested in dating. I’m ready to give it a try. I just turned 68 and retired so I have time to play. thanks for the on-line dating support