One of the biggest shocks post-divorce was the “new” dating scene in a digital age. I married when I was 18. The only dating I had experienced was in high school. You can imagine the shock at 39 stepping into and navigating these uncharted waters. 

Dating Apps… WOW! It’s like an endless supply of men/women at your fingertips. I decided to sign up for Tinder after receiving some not so favorable advice from a girlfriend. I can laugh about it now, haha! 

Date 1:

I matched with an engineer local to Albuquerque, where I live. We talked for a few days, and I decided that it would be nice to meet in person to see what the energy exchange was like. I followed all of the rules, meet in a public place, share your location with a trusted friend, don’t drive straight home, and so on. The conversation during the meal was good and easy flowing. I thought to myself, wow, this isn’t so bad. THEN the bill came. Even though I am a bit old fashioned, I was prepared to pay for my meal. He said, “let’s just split the total; I’ll pay for half.” 

Is this man serious? He ordered a steak meal and had 3 drinks while I ate a salad and drank lemon water! My $15.00 meal quickly turned into almost $40.00. After dinner, he didn’t understand why there wasn’t going to be a second date. As in the words of my girl, Selna Gomez, Thank You, NEXT!

Date 2:

I matched with a man who was based out of Phoenix but traveled a lot because of his work. We talked and exchanged text messages often. It wasn’t long he decided to fly to Albuquerque to meet me in person. We had a great weekend together and continued talking once he went home. He flew me to Phoenix a couple of times to see him, which I thought was really exciting. There were definitely red flags, but I was interested in seeing where things went. On my second trip to Phoenix, something was just off. I know that both of us could feel the tension in the air. We went for a hike together as we did on the first trip. This time, however, he used his headphones and listened to music instead of talking to me. Following the hike, we went to lunch at one of my favorite restaurants. I sat at the table with my back to the wall while his back faced the restaurant. Throughout the entire meal, he had his phone in his hand, and I could literally see his fingers swiping…. YEP, right there in front of me while we were sharing a meal, he was shopping for women. Our waitress walked by twice while this was happening, and she gave me the eye more than once. You know the look I’m talking about. The “girl wtf is this dude doing look?” Long story short, my trip was cut short, and I returned home early.

Date 3:

I matched with a US Marshal. Oh my goodness, this man was sexy, strong, built, tall, dark, and handsome! We talked every day for two to three hours at a time. When he wasn’t working, we were talking or texting. Several weeks went by, and we decided to meet in person. Sticking to all of the safety rules I was following, we met for coffee before his shift. He showed up in his unmarked police car, tactical pants, and formed fitting shirt nicely tucked in. He had his gun on his waistband and his badge on the opposite side. We had a good hour together before he had to head to work. 

I was so excited after the coffee date that I decided to share the news with a girlfriend. This particular friend of mine was an attorney who had a close friend in the US Marshals office. She offered to ask around and see what she could find out about him behind the scenes. Within 24 hours, the report came back. Not only was he NOT a US Marshal, but the name he gave me was one of his know aliases. I was given copies of his criminal record. He had just been released from prison for multiple charges including, aggravated assault on a family member, false imprisonment, theft, assault with a deadly weapon, and so much more!

As a woman and single mother, this was the scariest thing ever. I couldn’t believe that this man was completely living a lie. He bought a cop car at auction, I assume, had a fake badge, and had a weapon with him when we met. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened if I was ever alone with him. 

This was the end of my online dating! As you can imagine, my desire to be apart of that world was dead. Actually, it wasn’t ever really there, to begin with. I was bored and tired of being single, which was crazy because I had only been single less than a year when I decided to join Tinder. 

As a certified Life Success Coach and Relationship Dating Expert, I knew that it was time to turn inward. What I was looking for wasn’t going to be found on the dating app. There is a huge difference between being alone and feeling lonely. I knew I was lonely and needed to reconnect with myself. I knew that I needed to rediscover who I was and what I wanted in life. I also knew that I wasn’t living my life aligned with my future plans and the life I wanted to create.

Are you fresh out of a relationship or marriage? Or are you struggling in the dating scene? Believe me; I know how difficult it can be! 

My top 10 dating tips and advice:

  1. Make sure you are really ready to date. There is no rush to find someone; slow down!
  2. Do your inner work first. Take time to heal from past relationships and traumas. One of my favorite quotes, “If you don’t heal what hurt you, you will bleed all over people who didn’t cut you.” -Unknown
  3. Get crystal clear on your values and what you stand for.
  4. Make a list of your standards. Standards are your must-haves and non-negotiables. He/She MUST have these minimum requirements for you even to entertain the idea of dating them.  
  5. Make a list of preferences. Preferences are the traits and characteristics that would be ideal IF they meet your standards.
  6. Absolutely do not lower your standards for anyone. Know your worth!
  7. Believe it when He/She says they are not ready for a relationship. You will not be able to change their mind. That is their inner work, not yours.
  8. Don’t ignore the red flags. Your gut is trying to get your attention, listen!
  9. Nobody is too busy to communicate with you, EVER! It takes less than 2.5 seconds to send a message. If you are even questioning whether or not they are actually interested. You already know the answer!
  10. Communication is key. Please do not assume they know what you want from them. Speak up. He/She is not a mind reader; remember that!

I am not at all saying that dating websites and apps are insufficient. I personally know several people who have found lasting love from online dating. I am saying that you need to be dating with a purpose. If that purpose is casual, then communicate that up front. If the goal is long term, do your work first to attract a Man/Woman who is on your level and aligned with the future you envisioned.  

Leave your questions and comments below. 

With love,

Melissa Lynn

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