09/16/2014 05:31 pm ET Updated Nov 16, 2014


Sir Winston Churchill advised that: "Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." By those terms, I am having great success with online dating. With each 'failure' I learn something new. Pioneering in the wild west of the online dating culture is definitely an adventure in consciousness.

To keep your enthusiasm fine-tuned, tools for managing emotions and dealing with disappointments are a requirement. Any time you stretch beyond the known, disappointment will inevitably occur. The bad news is that it often triggers our old stories: not enough, not worthy, not loveable, not wanted. And then there's the 'toos': too much, too plump, too skinny, too short, too tall or my latest too old. The good news is that if you're able to deepen into your most mature self and mentor that younger part, you can grow from the disappointment and not allow it to curb your enthusiasm. If lifelong learning is one of your goals, as it is mine, the process provides ample opportunity for evolving.

Life is filled with obstacles and delays. If you see them as dead ends you might use them as an excuse to give up. Instead, you could see them as red traffic lights, time to simply stop and explore inner obstacles. After much inner work, I now view the disappointments as stop signs. When approaching these posts, I employ the alternative: the California Pause. Metaphorically, I slow down, almost stop but, do not fully brake, reassure my younger self that I have the right of way, and then roll on through.

Also essential to sustaining your enthusiasm are the human exchanges, touchstones along the online dating highway. Extending yourself, when appropriate, often creates an exchange that restores mutual belief in the venue as well as those participating.

When a message from a legally separated man I'd rejected brought clarity as to just how long his separation had been, my never-date-a-man-who-is-enmeshed-in-separation/divorce policy softened.

I took a risk and made a suggestion: "You might want to add to your profile some of what you mentioned to me. Many women, upon seeing 'legally separated' in a profile may pass you by, believing more time between separating, divorce and dating again will increase the chances of your emotional availability. In your email, you elaborated on your amicable longtime separation being centered around healthcare for your partner. Mentioning this in your profile would make you stand out, even more, as an interesting man of integrity. You'd likely attract otherwise hesitant women who are looking for just that quality."

I received a lovely, poetic reply. He thanked me for being his cyberspace guide. Although deciding not to meet him, our exchange had served to restore my faith in the quality of the men online. I vowed to extend compassionate responses to all who message me, even those I'm not interested in.

Rejecting or being rejected is not easy. Even with a soft no, thank you you can get a sharp response. Included in my profile was a love poem to my future beloved saying:
I am walking through the world open and extended,
illuminating the space between you and me
that we may see and receive each other.
After sending a polite no, thank you to another man, he responded with: "You ought to follow your own advice, you weren't very open to me." It's no wonder those of less courage simply ignore initial messages.

With the legally separated man, however, our pre-meeting parting was sweet and left us both encouraged. In this techno world, a bit of care and human relatedness shining through motivates one to keep calm and carry on.

Sometimes a short break or change of locale is needed to stay the course. I'm going to do a search with a New York zip code for potential meet-ups on my upcoming trip to visit my 89 year old dad. The thought of researching east coast participants in the online dating world is upleveling my enthusiasm.