When I get restless, I look for a way to feel better. Some are healthier than others.
So yesterday, when I was uncomfortable in my skin because the body that it lives on lives on a planet where there is much to be uncomfortable about, I looked for a way to comfort myself.
During the stress of the pandemic, I have allowed myself to add cookies and cake as two new food groups as a way to comfort me. I do not abuse them, I just eat them. Like a little kid who just wants a treat. Not like the adult woman who once ate them to the point of having a distended stomach and a huge sugar hangover the next day because she ate the ENTIRE batch of Toll House which was preceded by an entire Domino’s pepperoni pizza the night before to fill a God shaped hole.
Which brings me to my topic, filling holes and online dating. Many people have met their “person” through this social media method. Some choose it over the bar scene.
So the appropriate question I ask myself when I go there is this. “What is my motive for going to Match.com?” If my motive is my desire to practice dating, then that is an appropriate step to take. And since it is my heart’s desire to share my life with another, this is a good plan to be open to.
I also have a heart’s desire to be a published author. But that is not going to just happen if I don’t take the action of practicing my craft. Same is true for me when it comes to dating. I need to practice it.
Example: I met a guy last fall online. We just had a little chatter about liking chocolate. So in my healthy balance of work and pleasure, I gave myself the gift of a coffee date with this man. We exchanged chocolate bars but I was not a fan of his chocolate and we parted with no real connection, but I left that coffee date feeling like I had taken care of myself by taking action toward’s my heart’s desire. And got more practice dating.
I never dated much before my marriage at age 32. All of my dating for the first 15 years prior to married life was clouded by alcohol and a complete absence of the primary two relationships for me, which today are with God first and with myself second.
After spending 24 years in that marriage, I exited it four years ago without that God relationship or much of the one with me. You can see where this is going.
First out of the gate post marriage was Tinder.com and George. George was on a peacekeeping mission in India, so he courted me for thirty days online before he let me know he was coming to Oklahoma for me. And oh, by the way, “I may not get my leave if I don’t have the money to buy this earth moving equipment that I found at a good price to have shipped to the states for my contracting business…blah blah blah” and when he asked how much I had on my credit card, I knew.
George was not real.
We were not on a peacekeeping mission in India.
And I was broken hearted.
Online dating lesson number one. Make sure that who you are talking to is real. Now I can spot them. And I report them.
That was about four years ago and after “George” or whoever the f*** that was in front of their keyboard in a third world nation looking for women like me to catfish, (a term used to describe the predators on the internet who seek out lonely hearts with money to break hearts and rob bank accounts), I spent hours looking at dating profiles to try and fill that God shaped hole with the idea that a person could do that, avoiding the grief that needed my attention for the loss of my marriage of half my life. That came later, and with a bunch of fungus on it for the neglect it suffered at being delayed in the processing.
Some nights, I had several tabs open to OkCupid.com, POF.com, Match.com, Zoosk.com, OurTime.com. I would sit there making faces as I saw the same people on all of the sites. Judging them with disgust. “Wow. You really get around.” Under my breath while in denial of the fact that I was on ALL of those sites too. Not proud of that. But it is all true and let me tell you, the stories I am telling in chapter form on this experience are rich.
So there I sat yesterday. Uncomfortable. Thinking about the racial issues at hand and what part I can play to contribute to positive change. Thinking about the fact that I have 57 days to downsize and pack a house, line up movers, get a colonoscopy, line up new doctors, get my eyes checked. The fact that I am leaving my home of 30 plus years and all of the people who have loved and supported me here deserves my respect when the emotions come. And they have been. Tears of gratitude.
And as I was sitting in my discomfort not wanting to be with much of it, I get the perfect distraction! Gmail says “Blurry faced Dean from Match.com likes YOU!.” It’s almost like Match.com catfishes people too. Once they have been subscribers. Trying to lure them back. Tempting their loneliness or boredom with another “25% off special on three months from $87.96 to just $65.97!” when you click to see Blurry Face Dean’s profile.
My profile is active, but my subscription is not, so while others can see me, I am only able to see that there have been 100 plus men look at my profile, 43 men liked my profile and 10 men have sent me messages. Beyond that, they hold hostage who likes me and the ability to read my messages, so when my ego Elvira sees all of this, she nags at me from behind her big boobs and matching bouffant to consider coughing up the dough. “Look. Just do it. Maybe this time, it won’t be the guys who haven’t addressed their facial hair…ever. Maybe it won’t be the ones who have sunglasses and snakes in all of their pictures sitting on their Harley wearing a Jack Daniel’s T shirt that they chewed the sleeves off of all by themselves.”
Thankfully, I kept my money and left Elvira in suspense. Because this was not the time and place for me to be looking at a date.
On my walk today, I was doing what friends call “playing the tape.” I rewound and reviewed MY stellar online dating history, in terms of actual relationships. And after “George”, there were two significant relationships. And both ended with people getting hurt. So to take care of my heart and respect the heart’s of others, I intend to be clear with me that my motives are good the next time if I choose to cough up the money for another three months of Match.com or POFFOT.com (Plenty of fish floating on top.) Ever.
Also, I have decided that I will reward Elvira with a housewarming present that costs $65.97 when I get to Florida in lieu of throwing that money at something that may not be necessary for me to meet people and date.
When I was active there in February, I had one date with a guy who actually started the conversation before me. That was a first. We talked long distance for a month. Then, one date in person. And that was that. I had one other date that was scheduled and to be honest, I was more interested in the dinner out than the guy. His Facebook was arrogant and label conscious. So, I made a big decision for me. I cancelled the date. That was new behavior. And it was uncomfortable because there was a part of me that feared, “What if no one else will want to go out with me? Maybe I should make myself go just to see.” And when I saw myself having THAT kind of dialog with me, I decided I was done with online dating. Until further notice. And that I was only going to be in the two relationships. One with God and one with me, letting God come up with the partner on his own time. Can you say surrender? That is what it was. And it was unfamiliar to do so with the relationship department.
Since that time, I have become closer to me and to God. The me part has been surprisingly delightful. I listened for a month to Deepak and Oprah on a meditation where Deepak talks about how the love that we want outside from another has to come from inside. Only then can we attract what we want. By being the thing we want.
With that in mind, it is my intention to continue to treat me as I would want to be treated in a romantic partnership. That means I make myself the same nice dinners that I would for a date. That I make time for the things I love like a good movie, rather than hanging out in the wasteland of Facebook all night long. That means getting a good night’s sleep. I can get the physical needs met. All by myself. (Use your imagination.) Companionship ala social distancing, with friends and physical touch, I am going back to massage therapy.
As for the God shaped hole issue, I am uncomfortable for many reasons. All of which need my full attention. Without the distraction and time spent sitting in front of my computer. Looking at dating profiles. Wondering if there is a “the one” on online dating.
That also means NOT wasting the same time I would trolling Facebook to be on Match.com or
Time that could be spent resting, packing, writing, painting, watching movies, enjoying my 22 year old daughter, who launches into the world when I move 800 plus miles away from her.
I am about to start a new chapter in a new home in a new state, so I can’t think of a better time to just do what is in front of me, allow God to do what God does best. Everything. My friend Margie knows how much I long to love another to old age. She said “What you want is a tall order. When you go to a restaurant, a tall order takes time to prepare. You don’t want fast food.” Margie is right. I don’t.
And in the meantime I gotta say, I am a lot of fun. I’m funny and talented and worth my time to get to know better. So I will write my book. And practice my canvas art. Doing all the next right things that come up.
I will stay open. And I trust that God and the Universe are conspiring on my behalf. So with the prayer asked by me submitting to God my heart’s desire to have a loving partnership in my life and the three answer option being “yes, no and wait”, I am going to wait.