How to Handle the Inevitable Online Dating Drive By

I recently began online dating again. Dating advice is what I do, and I tell all my readers they should be active on at least one online dating site, if not several.
05/22/2013 02:11 pm ET Updated Jul 22, 2013

I recently began online dating again. Dating advice is what I do, and I tell all my readers they should be active on at least one online dating site, if not several. Dating is a numbers game and expanding your exposure will only increase your chances of finding someone to stand by your side brushing teeth in tandem every morning. Or perhaps you are like me, and consider weekend fare of movie dates and lengthy brunch followed by an afternoon of running errands together an excruciatingly painful scenario. Maybe you desire pleasant dinner conversation followed by a heavy make out session, capped off by one of you exiting gracefully... a little wine, dine, and I'll just sleep at mine.

Apparently those of us that have a different set of needs than what's considered the norm are making some online daters pretty angry... and they aren't afraid to say it.

No matter how disillusioned you become with the dating scene, and believe me everyone becomes cynical at some point or another, it's always nice to see a message from a potential suitor show up in your inbox. That hopeful moment when you think, "This could be interesting."

Unfortunately, I've opened up a few lately that would be considered the online version of a drive by. You don't know your assailant, but their intention is a to use a massive amount of written firepower in an attempt to wreck your day. One recent would be suitor felt my choice of reading material did not coincide with that of having moderate political views. Another told me he knew I had opened his previous email and I would "pay dearly" for not replying to a great guy like him. Needless to say, I triple locked the doors that night! But the drive by that did the most collateral damage was a very angry email unhappy with my wide age range for my dating preferences.

"What could you possibly have in common with a 25-year-old?" His one sentence email struck a chord. I date 25 year olds and I date 55 year olds. I enjoy them both for different reasons, and I don't feel that's something I need to explain to Serious4Luv482. But of course, not being able to resist, I gave him what I considered an eloquent and thoughtful reply. His response was swift and direct: You are what's wrong with the entire online dating process! The irony in this, of course, is that his preferable dating range included 20-somethings as well.

What's the best thing to do when you're putting yourself out there in a public forum, being vulnerable and honest about your wants and needs when suddenly someone rolls an armored tank right up to your online doorstep and points the barrel at you?

1. Don't take it personally. There's a great quote by Dita Von Teese, "You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there's still going to be someone who hates peaches." You can't be for everyone, and everyone can't be for you. Believe it or not, sometimes a negative approach is someone's way of trying to get your attention. (A tactic extended from the schoolyard apparently.) It's a poor choice, obviously, but regardless, an attack on you says more about the attacker than it does the one being attacked.

2. Don't waste your time responding. Any moment you waste defending your position or becoming agitated in return is one too many. Walk away from confrontation. Nothing you say will change their opinion, and quite frankly, would you really want to date them if it did?

3. Remember why you started this endeavor. When something like this happens, there's a feeling of wanting to throw in the towel. Don't. There are far more positive attributes to staying in the online dating game that the occasional negative encounter. Don't let one bad apple ruin the whole bunch.

Whatever your dating needs are, be honest about who you are, despite any criticism you may receive. You'd rather have the one that appreciates you for who you are than an entire army that wants you for who you aren't.