A 47 year-old straight guy in a rural area is new to dating because he’s shy. “The one relationship I had after high school was because she was the aggressor. That was back in ’87, and it lasted about a year and half.”
“I fear putting sexual information in my dating profile. Like, I fear I may be sitting in front of a potential employer or even my current employer or fellow employees and they start laughing and say ‘So, I see you like to have your women’s genitals clean shaven?’ or ‘So, you love to give head to women?’ or ‘So, you like your women to dominate you?; I mean, if I wouldn’t wear this info on a t-shirt, why am I putting out there for everyone to see? This could even get back to family too. Yikes! I also have trouble just contacting the women I’m interested in. So many of their profiles list things that they are looking for, and there’s bound to be something I won’t measure up to.”
Let me assuage some of your fears:
- No one cares about your profile–at least, not that much. At worst, if an employer or family member finds your profile, and if they take the time to read the match questions that no one reads, they are in the exact same situation as you. That means you have the same exact dirt on each other. Remember, a dating site is not Facebook; your name is not on it unless you go out of your way to put it there. Moreover, family should expect you to be having sex. The bargain we make with them is not to talk about it even when we overhear or, godforbid, come across it (on Christmas Eve, say, in the basement while pretending we were wrapping presents). Also, who doesn’t like licking shaved pussy on orders from a dominant woman?
- Women want you to message them. No, they don’t want to be harassed, and, yes, they get a lot of terrible messages, but they wouldn’t be on dating sites if they didn’t want to receive messages. So write them.
- Women are going to reject you over and over, but it’s easy online, so get used to it. The converse side of wanting you to write them is that women will not want most of the messages they receive. It’s the easiest way to get rejected, however; all they have to do is say “no thank you” or nothing or even “fuck off, dipshit.” Then they delete your message, you delete theirs if they sent one, and you never have to face that again. There’s no risk except a little bit of typing. And the more you do it, the easier it gets.
- Get wing men; don’t rely on the site. First off, dating websites require a density of people to work. If you’re in a sparsely populated place, this might not be the best option for you. You need a lot of people whom you can write to, be rejected by, or reject for a site to work really well. You mention in your profile that you have friends, so have them help set you up with women in person at bars. On the other hand, that will involve rejection, which is slightly risky. David mentioned that it gets easier, which is true, but you’ve got to be willing to deal with it.
- Man up, dude. You’re attractive enough, so you should do well. With guys, it’s often about the story they tell, and in your letter to us and your profile you tell a story of someone who is fearful and timid. You even say that maybe you’re just looking for friends, but no one joins a dating site for that, so why say it? These are the things that turn women off the most. Even if you are fearful and timid, you shouldn’t make that the focus of your profile or your interactions with us. It will help you if you practice slowly with rejection using online dating sites and then slowly in person with your friends’ help, but it will be a process of manning up.
- Say it loud. Building off the man up point, don’t hedge things. Say what you want no matter what other people might think. Some will like it, some won’t like it no matter what, but you have to own who you are and communicate that you are worth being with. Don’t be evasive about, for example, your job on your profile. If you have a job say it. If you don’t, don’t beat around the bush. Instead, focus on the things you really like to do, like hiking and camping.
Dating can be fun, and online dating can be an adventure, but they both risk rejection at every turn. The flip-side of rejection is variety, adventure, instant feedback, and newness. We could repeat our points from above, but they will be likely hard for you to act on. They boil down to stop worrying and do it already. But if you’re anxious, and we understand anxiety, that doesn’t sound like a good solution.
Because you’re 47 and haven’t been in a relationship for almost 30 years, we highly recommend seeking out professional help in addition to help from your friends. You can build up tolerance for rejection and risk-taking on your own, perhaps, but that doesn’t seem likely at this point.
We’d recommend a therapist of some kind (psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker) who has experience with cognitive behavioral therapy, which would involve exposing you to the things that make you most anxious but doing so in limited doses. It’s been proven to work really well. It’s often expensive, and we don’t know what your income or insurance situation is, but there’s a different kind of expense to living without romantic relationships and sex.