It’s been almost a year and a half, and I’ve made it through that early period where hope was hard to find and just climbing out of bed was a major accomplishment. I am a survivor. The pain is easing, and I’m starting to feel better; in fact, I was feeling pretty darn good.
So, there I was at the start of 2014, finally feeling whole again. Realizing that I was tired of being alone, that I wanted more. It was time to move forward and start facing the next step in life: reentering the world of dating. I was ready, and fully expected that within a few days the phone would start ringing with invitations and offers. Except that… it didn’t.
On to plan B.
Back in late January, I located a few pictures that didn’t include Rick, wrote my dating profile and hit the upload button to an online dating service. Which means, it’s time for another chapter in the Guide for the Recently Widowed, where in my role as guide to all things widow, I will enlighten you on the wonderful world of online dating.
After joining the site I felt great. I was taking control of my life, choosing a new direction, being active instead of reactive. I was on top of the world.
I had a fantasy, one so dangerous I tried my best to keep it under lock and key. There would be an email or two, then a decision to meet. There would be instant rapport, that sparkly thing that happens when you are attracted to someone and it’s reciprocated. We’d talk and it would be a great conversation, and at the end, there would be that wonderful feeling that happens when you totally click with someone. We’d move forward slowly, but there would be constant, steady movement forward.
That didn’t happen, of course.
Here’s what has.
Right off the bat, I started receiving winks and nudges or whatever the hell they call them. Mostly these were from men that were hundreds of miles away, despite my stating I wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship. Some contained messages that were a bit creepy. Others were just sadly off.
I started viewing profiles, and realized there is money to be made in helping people write these. It’s not that dissimilar to a job interview. A few hints, Mr. and Ms. Widow, on what not to do in your online dating profile:
— Don’t put in pictures where you’re topless (this is addressed to Mr. Widow). Especially when sporting a beer gut.
— Nothing says “I’m stupid and lazy” like a profile rife with misspellings, typos and incorrect word usage. If you don’t get the difference between they’re, their and there, have a friend proof read your profile.
— We’re all adults here, so the expectation of a physical aspect to a relationship is completely rational. But don’t start the conversation with it. That’s just not right.
— Pathetic loneliness or seething anger are not real attractive.
There were the men I contacted who were not interested in me, and vice versa. There were the email exchanges that were creepy or just plain hostile. There was the in-person meeting that was pleasant but completely devoid of interest.
And then… there was the one perfect, wonderful meeting that totally met the fantasy. He was intelligent, and attractive, and we talked and talked. At the end we both expressed interest in meeting again. I left excited, looking forward to what might happen. Instead, it seemed to lead nowhere. A few weeks in I realized I was the one initiating all contacts, and decided it was time to ask why. Then we had another great date; a wonderful conversation where we talked about the hesitation and reticence. His final words to me were “I’ll call you”. And that was it. No more calls, no emails, not even a text. Yeah, dating sure is fun.
And all that positive feeling of taking charge, of making decisions and restarting my life, of being able to look forward to the future… was gone. Completely, utterly, totally, kaput.
But still, I’d rather be trying and losing than doing nothing. So I’m back in, reviewing those profiles, still hoping for some success. Or at least a decent date. And keep in mind, Mr. and Ms. Widow, we will make it through.