Earlier this week, I removed my profile from the online dating site. Again.
I’m exhausted. And I think I’ve exhausted the group of men who found me interesting and who I found interesting enough to meet, as well. And there’s only one of them I’m going to see again. Frankly, I have no inkling or notion or expectations about whether that will go anywhere, but I know that the last couple of times we saw each other, we spent a lot of time laughing.
You know I’d been questioning why the heck I was doing crazy things like going on four dates within a 24-hour period… I’m not sure I know the answer other than to give it a chance, to see if just maybe something felt right with one of those fellows. But there was no magic.
So, as I look back over all the online dating I’ve done in the past year and a handful of months, here’s what I’ve gotten from it:
- I’ve learned that I am patient and have perseverance and that I can be incredibly kind while being honest about not wanting to see someone again.
- I’ve learned that men can be genuine and authentic in courting in ways that I hadn’t experienced in my younger years.
- I’ve learned that I have more important personal needs and priorities than meeting a slew of new guys on my child-free weekends.
- I’ve made a friend who, for some time, I resented for not sharing the same interest in me as I had in him…my god, I was so crestfallen when he Facebook friended me!…even as I knew our energies weren’t quite right together at the time (and perhaps never will be).
- I had a wonderful, loving, nurturing relationship in which I was accepted, adored, valued and in which there was honest and open communication. It was such a positive experience and a joy that I continue to feel blessed and grateful to have shared so much with such a special soul! Though we were not meant to last, what a gift it was to have shared what we did! (and p.s. that thing he did after an afternoon stroll around a sculpture park was pretty memorable, too!)
- I’ve gotten really good at being authentic about myself. I am fabulous — and also fabulously flawed. I have a freak flag, which I not only accept, but also wave proudly. So I’m no longer contorting myself to try to make someone like me or to meet some relationship need as I foolishly did when I was younger.
- I’ve learned how much I love my life, right now, and even through all the challenging times I’ve lived through these past few years.
- I was tested for and became more educated about sexually transmitted diseases.
- I learned to speak frankly to my children about dating and relationships (and they could not be less interested).
- I learned that I’m still learning how to prioritize myself — whether that means a massage or mani-pedi, getting a sitter, hiring a lawn boy to cut the grass, or finding time to exercise.
- I’ve learned that it’s easy to dismiss and not give second chances, but that life can be so much more rewarding when one does leave a door open, even if just a crack.
- I’ve met an extraordinary number of people I would not have otherwise met.
- Out of the whole ball of yarn has come only one lover, my ex boyfriend, who was generous and giving. And I’m okay with that part of the record, too.
It would be easy to say, “ugh, this sucks!” about online dating — and, in some ways, it does suck. But look at how much I’ve gotten from the experience. The whole thing is a social experiment, to be sure; it’s far more natural to fall for someone we’ve met in high school, college or a work place along the way, and with whom we share people in common who can vouch for or vet these potential mates.
And I think that’s what I’ve been hoping for all along…to meet someone with whom it seems that natural, with whom it all began as a friendship and…
On second thought, I’ve got to save some content for a future post. So I’ll leave it at that, for now.