Reinventing Romance: Online Dating Nightmare

Dating expert tells how to avoid bad online dates and rude men.

By Sherry Amatenstein

Q. Is there a school for dating? I’m only half joking. I’ve been single after a 14-plus-year relationship. I’ve been on so many dates I’m starting to doubt myself. Most of my dates have been from online…and when we meet, these guys are so rude and mean. One got up and left before I was even finished with my drink. How can I avoid this? It’s really starting to diminish my personal vitality. People at work love me; men look at me on the street. I’m attractive, smart, and nice but am a total dating nightmare. — AmyA. The great thing about a horrifically rude blind date is that it quickly becomes crystal clear you don’t want a repeat performance. If you do, more advice is necessary than I can offer in a few paragraphs. There is no excuse for someone to walk out in the middle of the "look see" — which is what you were on, versus a bona fide date where a man and woman have acknowledged that there is a connection each wishes to pursue. Even if you’ve lied about pertinent details such as age, height, and weight (don’t significantly misrepresent yourself in your profile!) such vulgarity is all about him; nothing about you. Upgrade your screening method. Or as Kimberlee Roth, founder of Should I Dump Him or Not?!?, puts it, "Raise the bar; expect good respectful treatment (i.e., a nyet if he’s people watching, looking at his BlackBerry, engrossed in the TV over in the corner, etc.) and don’t be afraid to end a date with a guy who can’t step up!" But you can spare yourself an uncomfortable 45 minutes (the max an Internet date need last unless mutual chemistry comes a-calling) by paying attention to red flags in his initial e-mails. Mary Jo Fay, RN MSN, author of When Your Perfect Partner Goes Perfectly Wrong asks, "Does he only send a picture, want to know about your body measurements, or disappear for days on end, then suddenly reappear?" If he passes this test, have a quick phone chat (call him and make sure you come up as anonymous). Sometimes a person’s boorishness doesn’t emerge until you’re exchanging verbal sentences. Can he form one? Is he very negative or volatile? Is he a good listener? Before instituting these sanity-saving measures, take a dating hiatus. You need a break from the stress and the hunt. Use this time out to assess whether desperation to meet The One has been driving you to engage in self-abusive behavior. Karen, 45, a Seattle based-architect, admits, "I hit bottom the night I sat for a half hour in a sleazy bar putting up with an online date crudely demanding I sleep with him. It was a wake-up call for how low I had let myself sink."The Staple Singers sang it best: Respect Yourself. Do you have a tough question about dating or relationships? E-mail Sherry at and your question might be featured in an upcoming E-Mail Sherry Check out Sherry’s second book, Love Lessons from Bad Breakups Check out Sherry’s first book, The Q&A Dating Book Originally published on, May 2007.

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