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Online Dating...Is It Right For You?
You've seen the commercials..."one in 5 relationships started with an online dating service" while the happy couple in the background cuddles and fawns over each other in some romantic restaurant, making you feel somewhat like sticking your finger down your throat. Reality Check One: I am here to tell you the majority of people on online dating services look in no way, shape, or form like that attractive couple on TV. Reality Check Two: Most of the people there are not looking for a long term relationship. Reality Check Three: Pathetic people like me still think they might find the 1% of the people on them who IS looking for a long term relationship. Sigh....
Online Dating Isn't For Sissies
My foray into the world of online dating started after a not very cordial divorce several years ago. My ego wasn't just bruised, it was bent, mangled, beaten with a two by four, and run over by a semi! I needed validation, I needed justification...heck, I needed a date! So I signed up for a popular online dating service a friend at work named Candy seemed to be having some luck with since she had signed up. Heck, with a name like Candy, you're bound to have men falling all over you. Either that or Hugh Hefner calling you and asking you to pose.
A warning to you if you sign up for one of the popular services...they have a little feature called "auto renew" that will keep billing you until the end of time unless you cancel your account. So if you do find Mr. or Ms. Wonderful, be sure and cancel your account unless you want your new sweetie to see your credit card statement laying around with the charge on it. That would make your new commitment look a little plentyoffish-y and make your relationship a little less e-harmonious... and you wouldn't want that!
Screening Potential Dates: The One-Legged Man Theory
The first man who contacted me told me that he was a man's man, he could fix anything. I was intrigued. Perhaps he could come finish installing my partially installed garbage disposal, so I could stop washing dishes in the bathtub. However, he also told me in the same e-mail that he only had one leg, but he "had never had any complaints from the ladies!" Nice...! I clicked delete.
I thought about this all the next day and at lunch, decided to share this experience with my best friend at work, Maggie. After she got done having a hysterical laugh completely at my expense, I asked her, "Do you think I'm a horrible person, because I don't want to go out with a man with only one leg?' Again the hysterical laughter. I really need a new set of friends!
Your Dating Bucket List
After she got done snorting and wiping her eyes, the two of us put our heads together and devised the one legged man theory to ease my troubled conscience. And it's this: If you're out looking for a new relationship after your marriage broke up, you're looking for more than Mr. Right. You're looking for Mr. Fly Me To The Moon and Back. And part of Mr. Fly Me To The Moon and Back's charm is he must have all of his appendages. However, after you become involved and hopelessly in love with Mr. Moon and through some tragic accident, he loses one of those big, muscular appendages, that would be a horse of a different color. THEN it would be a really bad thing to ditch Mr. Moon. THEN you would be hopelessly shallow.
So... make sure you are clear on your expectations. Make a list of your dealbreakers. They could be anything from not smoking to not still living at home with his mother. Or having all of his appendages, heck you're not picky here! Once you have your dealbreaker list, you can use it as a rough guideline, but let me warn you, there may be a time when you have to throw that list away, because you've fallen head over heels with your new and Improved version of Mr. Right!
Warning: Invest in Karate Lessons
Of course, you're smart enough to meet someone in public the first time you go out with him or her. That should go without saying. But what about the second or third time? Don't get lulled into a false sense of security... you still don't really know this person. I met one man and naively went to his house after only meeting him once for lunch on the pretense of watching a football game with friends. Turned out I was the only friend. Wrestling ensued, bad words were said. I blocked him from contacting me ever again that night. OK, kick me for being stupid. Meanwhile, Candy was being taken to Amsterdam, diamond capital of the world to pick out her engagement ring.
Dating is Dicey No Matter What
There was this guy I actually fell for...twice. He was a single dad. He ditched me for his ex-fiancee who ditched him right after he gave her an expensive coat for Christmas. Love is a many splendored thing. He moved to Miami to find himself, telling me he didn't know who he was anymore. Last I heard, he had turned into a XXX-rated hard core porn photographer. Meanwhile, Candy was coming to work in a brand new convertible that her new fiancee had bought her for Valentine's Day. Whatever.
So, a word of advice, have a clear sense of who you are before you start the process of finding a new relationship. Many people get right out of marriage where they were a spouse and a parent for years, but somehow in the process, they lost sight of who they were...their own hopes and dreams. Be OK with YOU before you go looking to invite someone else into your life. Otherwise, you're just going to end up becoming whatever the person you meet wants you to be instead of who you really are or could be.
Don't Throw In The Towel!
Not that I haven't met some decent men on online dating sites. I have.met a couple of men that will be friends of mine for life, including the double ditcher guy. However, there was something with those guys that was not enough to keep a relationship going for life. Or maybe it was because one of them kept telling me I should wear red lipstick and invest in some push-up bras!
Anyway, I know the love of my life is out there somewhere. Heck, it was for Candy. She married Mr. Man Of Her Dreams and quit her job, so he could support her in the lifestyle to which she'd like to become accustomed. So maybe I should settle for Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right...or maybe not. Maybe I'm OK alone. And maybe you are, too. But hey, let's keep those lines of communication open, because you just never know when that perfect person with most of their appendages who doesn't want us to be anything but who we are, will come along!
For more fun with internet dating, see this great article: Match.com Photos...What Were They Thinking???
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