Online Dating Led Me To Someone Unexpected — Myself

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Online Dating Led Me To Someone Unexpected — Myself.

Molly Birnbaum | Cognoscenti / WBUR

 

I would love to agree whole heartedly with every word this darling woman has written. Oh, how I would! But some of us just aren’t as fortunate as others (read: her) in the realm of online dating…specifically, I’m the unfortunate one.

My second 3-month tour in the online dating scene just ended. As a result, I’m being treated for PTSD from exposure to rampant illiteracy and genuine stupidity. Since my first go-around with online dating was a smashing success – I met my best-est friend ever – I signed on for this tour earnestly enough. I really felt I was ready to “put myself out there,” and “open myself to love.” Three months later, and that whole putting and opening didn’t go so well. In fact, there was no putting or opening happening at all, as I didn’t attract a single date. Apparently, either I’m not young enough, my kids are too young, or my staunch, “no sex without monogamy” stance scared them off.  As a result I’ve become delightfully more cynical, jaded and, well, bitchy than ever. For some of those less-than-delightful attributes, I take responsibility. Classic defense mechanism. Blah, blah, blah…I’ve been hurt…he was a dick…all men are dicks now. You know the drill. But for the advancement of my cranky, borderline-curmudgeonly attitude, I blame those guys who were, well, dicks. To wit, the three suitors who began the wooing process with the, “How r u?” email.

Really, boys? You call that a panty-dropping opening line? Think, dear boys, of the message you are sending with this not-charming invitation to conversation.  I’ll give you a hint. It looks like this: “If he doesn’t have time to tap out four more letters, how am I to believe that he has time to build a relationship.” or “So. I’m not worthy of complete words from you? Great. Screw you.” Am I being picky? Overcritical? Maybe. But if they had simply typed, “are” and “you” this whole conversation wouldn’t have had to happen. Yes?

Quite frankly, I don’t buy into the crap that I could have thrown away Mr. Perfect over four letters. My Mr. Perfect can spell. That ends that argument. And my Mr. Perfect is willing to demonstrate his command of basic English grammar. Now that’s damn sexy. Show me your grammar, baby. Oh, yeah. Say, “participle phrase” for me…

I digress. Clearly.

So what have I learned from this second tour in the online dating trenches? What’s my big takeaway other than having the misfortune to interact with cretins? It is this – I am comfortable with my alone-ness. My compulsions to re-up for another online dating tour have been sated because I have opened myself up to a different kind of love. It’s no longer necessary for me to seek comfort, reassurance, and support from a romantic partner. I have been reaching out to my friends for that. Like so many people, I had a difficult time asking for help from my friends. I’ve relied on the man in my life for help (obvious reason why so many have run screaming from me). In the absence of a romantic relationship, however, I have had to ask my friends for help. I had to make myself vulnerable to the people who have been closest to me. I know that sounds counter-intuitive. After all, aren’t we supposed to be vulnerable around our friends? That’s what they’re there for, right? Well, yes…but I held back and instead took on the role of the one who would be there for them, who would always be strong and have her shit together when their shit was falling apart. I was the classic caretaker. And I still am, but, not as much. The past year-and-a-half has been a series of baby steps to taking care of myself by slowly asking my friends if I could lean on them for a while.

And they didn’t disappoint. True friends never disappoint.

This doesn’t mean I’ve devoted myself to a life to spinster-hood. I do miss the trappings of a romantic relationship – having someone reach for my hand when walking side-by-side. Seeing someone smile when I walk into a room. – but now I feel comfortable allowing love to happen organically (you know, the old-fashioned way) rather than making it happen electronically.

And as an added bonus to eschewing electronic love, I no longer have to suffer the soul-crushing disappointment of seeing that 347 guys checked out my profile, and stopped there.

Not gonna miss that one bit.

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