My friends, i am here to tell you; in my quest to find love, i have done the legwork.

By Erika Farber
Contributor
Woman Newspapers

On the heels of a broken heart, I began a brand new experience: online dating. Since I’m glued to my smartphone anyway, what better way to fill an empty few minutes than to scroll through profiles of potential suitors? Surely the perfect guy had to exist right there in the palm of my hand! Right?

    Thus, I embarked on the sometimes scary, often weird and bizarre quest to find love online. It started out as a lonely, confusing and challenging venture, but I stayed the course. Having faith in myself help me make light of the disappointments and appreciate the sweeter moments during my search. And it helps me understand most men just want someone to love and someone to love them in return.

    Let’s just say, after more than a hundred dates, I have enough material to fill a filing cabinet full of the chronicles of dating in early-middle age. I couldn't help but categorize my suitors.

    There were The Sad Dads: men just trying to pick up the pieces, figure out what went wrong and learn how to care for small kids on their own after their wives left.

    The Angry, Divorced Guys: men whose hatred toward their exes burn with red-hot intensity…and they can’t wait to tell me all about it.

    The Criers: men so overwhelming lonely and lost that simply sharing a little about themselves over a casual cocktail usually winds up with tears and/or weeping, and then apologizing for the rest of the date.

    The Bitter Boys: men who feel compelled to point out my flaws because they have been rejected so many times, by so many women (and within the first few minutes of our first date I have already decided that I was also going to reject him.)

    The Angst-Filled Dreamer: those whose fairy-tale quests for romance - usually in any shape or form - invariably leads them down a long and winding road to the devastating conclusion that their perfect rose is covered in thorns.

    The Something-To-Prove Guys: this breed stares at his phone most of the evening, and then decides either; it was time for him to leave, or it was time for us to go to bed together. Very little effort is made into making sure I am having an enjoyable time, or if I am even interested. These are not-technically-single guys out to test their manliness and add to their list of conquests.

    And then, of course, there are The Sexual Deviants: this all-too-common genre in which the main objective is sex - the weirder, the better - but cleverly disguised by genteel manners and witty banter, coupled with an unsettling eagerness to suggest strange scenarios that involve anything from methadone to an orgasmic meditation class.

    Don't get me wrong, I’ve dated lots of very nice guys, as well. But after a while I begin to really wonder if all of the effort that goes into putting on a dress and fixing my hair and makeup is really worth it. I am going on different dates to different places with different men, but it began to feel as if I was on the same strange amusement park ride - a combination of a roller coaster and a freak show, with a dunking booth at the very end.

    I'll never regret having gone on so many dates. In the process of getting to know these men, I’ve gotten to know myself better. It's given me a new insight into what different kinds of love looks like, and what I want for myself.

    If you find yourself still single or suddenly single, mustering the strength and courage to get out there and meet new people can seem scary. If you have faith in yourself and faith that there are still plenty of good ones out there, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Love can come in all shapes and sizes.

    I want to find my true love, so, I’m not giving up. However difficult this task seems to be, I am determined to stay the course, if for no other reason than to have some funny stories to tell my married friends at cocktail parties.