Online Dating

A friend of mine is dipping her toes into the pool of online dating–except she is severely limited in her comfort with computer use. She got as far as setting up her profile on Match.com a few months ago, but has done little to further her cause since. So every week I’ve been going to her house to provide tech support and encouragement, but usually she stonewalls and we end up talking instead of finding her a mate.

Tonight was different. Tonight she made no excuses, and we got down to business. She logged on and had 35 messages! Honest to goodness messages from fellas who had obviously read her profile and not just looked at the pictures. Messages that were actually polite, even sweet.

So she began replying to some of these messages. Not just some; many. She replied with simple messages, inviting more conversation but not desperate for it. I expected her to be nervous and anxious and filled with trepidation, but she seemed to be taking it all in stride, with the tacit understanding that this was just the casual introduction to the possibility of dating. No big deal. One after another, she responded. She must have sent more than a dozen messages. She didn’t even need my help thinking of what to say, she just made a comment on something they’d written, or else she’d ask them which super-power they would choose if they could be equipped with one. (Okay, THAT was my recommendation.)

Her facility with this task was amazing to me as I compared it with my own utter paralysis undertaking the same task two years ago when I was on eHarmony. To be clear, I had nowhere near the quantity of interested fellas seeking my attention–and the majority of those who did seek it lived in the far reaches of Timbuktu instead of within the 100-mile radius I specified. Still, the trickle of souls who dared smile at me put me into a state of complete apoplexy; I would do a thorough search of their profiles to glean any hint of possible deep connection, and most would fall far short of what I knew to be a compatible realm of date-worthiness. I responded to practically no one. I wasn’t able to take a light-hearted approach to the whole dating scene; the idea bored me. No, I was seeking something special.

And I thought I found it. There was a fella who smiled at me, whose profile was well-written and thorough, and seemed real. A fella who answered all the questions–all 1,200 of them, just like me, and came up matching 65+% of them. Not bad odds in my book, considering all the ones that were complete bullshit (like “Which Katy Perry song is your favorite?”).

I thought he was The One.

And for a while he was. We were together more than two years. Ultimately it was the worst two years of my adult life thus far.

Seeing how my friend worked her Match.com account, I wondered if perhaps a different approach to the whole dating thing would have produced a better outcome for me–one that kept me warm under the covers and provided me with a ride to the emergency room when my retina detaches without also being micro-managed and yelled at for not understanding the role of a “good Christian wife.” I must be somehow wired differently, and as yet I can’t tell if that’s a good or a bad thing.

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