2015 was my first year of dating post-divorce. Since the relationship that led to my marriage was something that I stumbled into unexpectedly at the age of 20, 2015 was also (in a lot of ways) my first year of dating as an adult. I probably wasn’t your typical 33 year-old divorcee looking to get back into the dating pool for a couple of reasons: (1) I’m very serious about my faith and want to find someone who will attend church regularly with me, (2) I’ve only slept with one man my entire life, and (3) my preference is to wait for marriage before sleeping with anyone else. Being those things in the age of “casual” sex… oh boy.
I tried three dating sites over the past year: OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, and eHarmony.  Here’s what the past year has taught me:
You wanna see men get emotional? Tell them “no” – The “women are emotional” stereotype was always misogyny at its most transparent, but reject a man’s advances as politely as possible and (in some, not all, of them) you’ll get a sea of raging emotions that rivals that of any teenager. They get mad when you say they’re too old for you. They get mad when you say they’re too young for you. They get mad when you write back to say you’re not interested. They get mad when you ignore their message altogether to show you’re not interested. They get mad when you ghost them. They get mad when you let them know soon after the date that you had fun but you’re clearly not a good match for them. They get mad when they write to you to make fun of your Christianity and tell you to read some Richard Dawkins, and you tell them Dawkins is for pansy pop atheists who need other people to do their thinking for them and to try a little Foucault or Martineau.
There are plenty of good men out there who handle rejection gracefully. But the #ByeFelipe hashtag (which is wonderful, which you should read all about) exists for good reason.
People will ask you for “casual” sex no matter what you want – You remember when it was actually considered rude to approach perfect strangers and ask them for sex? I miss those days. I realize there’s a good feminist argument to be had about sexual empowerment and liberating women from the virgin/whore complex and blah blah blah – but some of us have made an informed choice to abstain from sex even though we have high sex drives and really enjoy it. That choice should be respected every bit as much as that of the woman who takes home a new guy every weekend. She shouldn’t be called a “slut”; I shouldn’t be called “frigid” or a “prude.”
And I most certainly shouldn’t be getting messages from guys asking me for sex when my profile says I’m waiting for marriage and not looking for “hook-ups.” Makes me want to punch the sexual revolution in the face.
Be prepared to get very specific about your standards – You say, “I’m waiting until I’m married to have sex,” he hears “only blowjobs and anal until the wedding.”Watch for yellow/red flags, and know when to walk away – Guy (who identified as Christian) had an OKC profile that said he would prefer it if his next sexual partner was a “virgin,” but also hoped his next relationship would have sex “after 6 dates.” He swore he respected my standards, and I liked other things about him, so I spackled away my concerns and dated him anyway.
[Note: In the future, non-virgin men in their 30s+ who have answered that question on OKC with “virgin” will not be dated by me at all.]
The most important thing – The biggest thing that I learned about myself this past year was this:
Lots of men want to date me. I don’t have to put up with being treated like crap.
You shouldn’t put up with being treated like crap no matter who you are; it really is better to be alone than to have a partner that treats you horribly. I’m far happier now than I was in my marriage for that reason. But part of the reason I rushed to marry my now-XH as fast as I did was because I doubted I could do better. I thought I was too tall, too ugly, too smart (this seems to intimidate a lot of men), too undesirable. I thought that if I passed up the chance I had with him, I would spend my life alone.
I’m learning that 21-year-old me was full of crap. Good men who are also compatible with you aren’t always easy to find, but men who treat you like crap are a dime a dozen. Beyoncé was right: they’re replaceable. So don’t put up with it.
Despite the perils of my past year of dating, it was totally worth it to learn that last thing. Looking forward to 2016, whatever it may bring.
 I’m not in a relationship, but currently my profiles on all three of these sites are deactivated. Perhaps I’ll review those sites in the future.