If you’re like me, your first thought about dating sites is that they’re forums people use as a means to engage in casual sex or just for fun. The idea that you may be able to meet the person you meant to be with is clouded by other peoples nightmarish tales of bad dates from online dating. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my share of bad dates while on these sites, but what I never imagined was that I would meet the man with whom I would spend the rest of my life.
When I was ready to date, about a year after my divorce, I had not clue how or where to start. I had been married for 13 years and felt like the rules of dating had since changed. I had gone through a painful period of soul-searching first, followed by the grim realization that I needed to make some personal changes. There was nothing terribly wrong with my old self, however, after many months of therapy, I realized that I needed to enter the dating world as the woman I had grown to be. I was no longer Albert’s wife (my ex) or a stay-at-home-mom. For the first time in my life, I felt free of emotional baggage. I was confident and eager to start my new life as a single mom and a woman who had learned to stand on her own two feet.
It took me that long, a year! But I’m glad I took the time to heal and grow. I also needed that time to help my precious son through the divorce as well, and I must say, it paid off. My son has blossomed into an emotionally balanced young man who I believe has learned at an early age to battle and conquer adversity.
I started with this brief introduction about myself for a reason, and it will make sense to you in a moment. Back to when I began dating …
I was lucky to have a bubbly, fun-filled friend during that time. She was also very much informed on the latest trends in dating, and for the most part, they included bars, noisy dance clubs, and home parties at friend’s houses. That pretty much shattered my dating expectations, because I felt the men who were there, were not right for me. After many of these emotionally and exhausting activities, I considered online dating. After all, what did I have to lose? I was getting nowhere dating “organically.”
The first site I tried, sadly, was match.com. I say “sadly” because my experience and that of many others I know has been that most guys just wanted to “hook up.” Not many guys I went out with were looking for a serious relationship. After many failed dates on that site, I decided to give eHarmony.com a try.
I want to clarify that I’m not suggesting that one site is better than the other, nor that any one of them will produce a lasting relationship. This is also not an unsolicited ad for eHarmony.com I’m only introducing the idea that it is possible to meet your life partner on an online site, as I have.
On eHarmony, you start by going through a series of questions that qualifies you to become a member of the site. Once you are approved and trust me, I’ve known people who have been rejected, you start receiving email matches. Each match does not have a photo, which leaves you to rely solely on the answers given by your prospect during the course of an extensive online courtship. If you make it to the end of the questionnaire and you are still interested, you are granted access to view his entire profile including photos, and shortly after you can exchange phone numbers or any other form of communication with which you feel comfortable.
During the first few months of a six-month membership, I was almost certain that this online dating venture had been a waste of time and money. Two weeks before my membership expired, I had to rush to Puerto Rico because my father had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. I spent almost every day of my stay there at the hospital, caring for him along with my exhausted mother. Each day was an emotional and physical challenge and the only time I had to myself was checking my email in the evenings. It was during that time that I started communicating with my husband, Glen.
At first, the questions were “get to know each other questions” that didn’t really say much about the other person. Then I decided to make the questions more challenging. I decided that if I was going to bother with this individual, I was going to drill him hard. My last questions centered around key issues I knew I needed in a partner such as similar parenting styles, religious views, how to manage finances, and retirement goals. Each answer he posted to my questions made me feel more interested in meeting him, and after I was satisfied and had seen his photos, I decided that he may be worth my time. We set a time to talk on the phone when I returned to Colorado. (Not to leave you hanging with my father’s story: he passed away two months later. It was a very devastating time for my family and me, but we got through it).
Soon after I arrived home, Glen gave me a call. We didn’t speak much because we were both on a lunch break, but that brief conversation reiterated that I did want to meet him. We set a dinner date a few days later. When I arrived at the restaurant, he was at the door, showcasing a huge, enthusiastic smile. I think that’s what hooked me at first, his smile. And not to drag this story out any further, we’ve been together since. We’re going on seven years, at the time of this writing.
Finally, I must add that the reason Glen and I are an online dating success is because we were honest during the entire process. On this particular site, if you are truthful with yourself and your prospect, you may be able to find someone with whom you can be very compatible. I must say that the psychological profile concept this site is known for, worked for us. We have similar backgrounds and personal beliefs. And we agree on key issues, such as family, raising children in a blended family, finances, retirement and what it takes to build a new relationship out of the ashes of old ones. He and I had also gone through a painful divorce.
There it is. Finding your life partner is possible through an online forum. However, like with anything else, there’s no guarantee. I encourage you to give it a chance but go in with no expectations and great caution. Always take care of yourself because many horrible stories you may have heard about online dating are probably true. Good luck, and I hope you find the right person for you, whether it’s through online dating, or organically, like in the good old days!