Online dating – a Smorgasboard?
As a single guy in this electronic age, I have tried online dating. That is very hit and miss. It is also very deceptive in a subtle way. Suddenly I am looking at all these pictures of women who are looking for a male partner. Wow, seems almost too good to be true!
After reading 3-4 profiles of woman who look somewhat fit and physically attractive, with similar values, I am feeling quite optimistic. I wink at all of them, “might as well play the odds” I think to myself. The profiles all sounded reasonable. I check for a response from these women several times over the next few days, looking forward to hearing one positive response. I received 2 winks and 2 messages. Better than I thought.
A week later, after meeting with two of them, and having another meeting with a third scheduled, I start to wonder what to do next. One was nice, but much more over weight then her picture portrayed. Another looks much older than her picture, but both seem like really nice people. No real spark so far. After a month of this, I have met two more women. They seem nice, but the one I am attracted most to, seems to have a stumbling block for me in her outlook. She talks about cutting back on the bar scene, but hasn’t set foot in a church since Xmas about 8 years back. I’m not a bar scene guy, but I’m not against hitting it with friends once a year just to add some spice to a night of fun. But it seems my radar is picking up that this girls biggest aspirations are traveling to a tropical hot spot every winter, and going for drinks at a local lounge every friday night. I’m not opposed to either, but I know myself, and I need someone who is comfortable in a church venue, and a laid back lounge venue. I need light talk, fun talk, and discussions of spiritual content that will rise from my heart spontaneously in a discussion. I need physical activities, chemistry, and playful teasing. I’m not looking for the church mouse, and I’m not look for the party all the time girl. Actually, I’m really having trouble describing it here to my satisfaction. I’ll know it when I see it.
Too many choices = too many distractions!
But here is the toughest part I’m noticing with online dating. We chat online, and give a lot of text-book answers. We decide we need to meet before continuing farther in our discussion, to make sure there is potential for physical chemistry. We meet somewhere, and over a drink or simple activity make a decision if this is someone I would like to hangout with again. She may be cool, and seems worth getting to know further. I get home, and there are more messages from some really promising looking/sounding women. Yikes. I don’t want to pass on these possible golden opportunities, so I respond, and set up a meeting. Now I have 3 reasonably potential girlfriend type women on my mind. I want to meet all three of them before I pursue any further with one. Sometimes their schedules don’t match with mine, and it takes longer then expected. By the time I get to meeting the first for a second outing, she has experienced a similar process. We are both quite distracted. I kind of now think of this scene like going to a all-you can eat smorgasboard buffet. Everything looks good at first, so you want to try everything. At the end of eating, I am so stuffed, I am uncomfortable, and wish I would have had more of one thing and none of another. But now I’m too full for anything else, even the good stuff. Online dating is like this. It seems like there are all kinds of options, and you want to try all the good options. Problem is that I don’t take enough time to get to know someone to see if they really are cool. Instead every meeting is high pressure to establish chemistry, and determine if this could be your forever mate. Some books state that we should be able to know in two dates or less. I kind of agree. But in Christian circles, it seems to take some time for people to lower their defences. Is he Christian enough? Does his theology agree with mine? He’s drinking that beer pretty fast….is he a heavy drinker? So we have to put our best foot forward. Wow, this gets tiring. I just want to relax and be playful. I know you attend church at least once a month or similar, so lets not split hairs about theological perspectives. Lets see if we can laugh together. Chemistry …hhmm. Does she have too much opinion about everything? Does she have no opinion about anything.
My latest dating experience
I went on this dating experience with one woman recently. She was a single mom with a 4-5 year old daughter. I had met this girl previously through work meetings. although she was with a different company. When we saw each other online, we were both surprised. I assumed an attractive women (physically, and professionally) like this would be married or in a relationship. We agreed to meet for a walk at a park after picking up a coffee at Starbucks. We walked and talked for almost 3 hours. She asked many questions, and I was feeling really good about the potential with her, so I have her detailed answers. I also learned lots about her, even though her answers were sometimes short (I had to ask more questions to get enough understanding). At the end of our walk we agreed to use her phone number to set up another date. she had told me her availability based on her daughter being with her birth father (left us two night to choose from). I ended up canceling something in my schedule as she had already made plans with her girlfriend, by the time I called her. So instead of three days later, we met again 8 days later. It was raining, so we ended up playing indoor mini golf. She was noticeably nervous I thought. Good, because I was feeling so excited that I was kinda not being as cool as I can be. We jumped in my car and went for drinks at a local lounge. She had lots of questions, and so did I. I probably volunteered information more easily, but I felt I had a gained a lot of understanding about her. The major piece of info, was her feeling like an only child because there was a huge gap between her and her older siblings. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class, but considers herself to be introverted. She likes to blog/journal. She is also a fairly good athlete, as am I. I am also on the introverted side, despite appearing to be quite assertive. This looking very promising to me. I can’t wait to find out more about her. I dropped her off, and gave her a hug at her car. She has a great sense of humour, as we jest back and forth. She talks about loaning me her book on Peru’s lost city.
Wow…everything is looking great! Here comes the curve ball…
I texted her for the 3rd date. She emails back that she is sick today, and not at work. She states that I did not seems interested, and that she did not feel pursued on our dates. I must know nothing about her, she says. I’m taken aback, and surprised by this. She says that she is shy and needs to be coaxed into revealing info. I try to validate what I do know of her and how impressed I am over the phone, but I can tell she has already shut down. She admits she has been in a relationship where the guy was always outshining her. She implies that my history seemed to “over-shadow” her story. I was lost for words and didn’t what to say. I apologized for making her feel this way, and wished her the best.
Inspired again…I have a new plan!!
After discussing it with a couple of friends (Female, and male), they stated that they were surprised how much I already knew about her in two dates. My female friend thought she needs to feel really wanted and needs this because of wounds in her past. I could see this being plausible. I decided to take one more shot. I wrote a long detailed note/poem in a card with a picture of a beautiful faraway exotic landscape. I focused on knowing about all the stuff in her life from serious relational stuff to humorous silly stuff. I picked up some flowers. I put one bright yellow rose with some lighter yellow carnations, and some white baby breath, plus greenery. I wrote a quick card note with this that stated, “You are like a rose, amongst ordinary carnations”. Then I had to find her work place that is purposely off the map, as it is usually only accessed by phone number. It took some effort, but through contacts and resourcefulness, I found her secret work offices. I buzzed her secretary, and the door opened. My heart was pumping hard, as I ascended those stairs, hoping I could drop them off without her seeing me. Success. I received a text several hours later stating, “This rose thanx you for the nice card/note, and beautiful flowers”. I responded with a “Ur welcome”.
Then no response for several days. I had sent her a clever text the next day to invite her to meet me for an activity, as I thought her response was positive. She responded quickly, “I’m still thinking about it”. Two days later, I had pretty much given up hope. I politely texted again stating that if this activity was not to her liking we could try something else. I added that if she doesn’t respond, i will assume she is not interested, and this will make me sad. She did respond, by stating that she was just not interested.
What happened? Baggage?
Who knows for sure what was going on in her mind. Maybe she had started dating another guy already. Quite possible, as we know with internet dating. Maybe I should have thought about the flowers immediately instead of three days later. She seemed like quite a good fit, but my therapy side told me she had some raw unresolved wounds, and perhaps what she was looking for was healing, that only God could provide. We all have some baggage. The more we are aware of it, the more we will process it through God’s filter, and the less fear it will have in our lives outlook. Thus we will not put so much emphasis on filling our void by some external source. I see that in a lot of women’s profiles or taglines: “Not looking for someone to complete me”. Hhmmm.