Excerpt from a piece I wrote in 2012 on Online Dating which now includes an Update:
I was married long before it became a huge phenomenon and had some harsh judgments against it. “It’s unsafe,” I told a friend once over a decade ago. “What if that hot guy you’re talking to is really a 400lb woman? WHAT IF HE’S A SERIAL KILLER?!!?!” I couldn’t get passed the secrecy of online dating. It didn’t seem natural. It reeked of desperation.
In the nineties, at the height of the AOL craze, we were all visiting message boards and cyber chats. Another friend met her future husband on one of AOL’s “single and looking” message boards. I thought she was crazy for even talking to a stranger online, but when she told me she was engaged to Mr. Cyber Man…I was appalled. Nevermind, the fact they had been dating for four years and were long past the “He’s my online boyfriend” stage. They were a real couple, planning a real wedding, looking forward to a real life together.
“BUT YOU MET ONLINE!” I shrieked. As if THAT right there was reason enough to throw true love out the window.
I had some serious, perhaps mental, issues regarding online dating… if you haven’t noticed.
Today, online dating is not only the growing norm-but it is easier and mobile. Dating sites such as Plenty of Fish have free apps for your smartphone. This fad known as “Mobile Dating” has an estimated 14 million people using free dating apps on their smartphones. Even the notorious cheater’s website Ashley Madison has a free app.
Online Dating: Finding Love or Lust?
“[Online dating] is not my thing. Not that I wouldn’t [do it], it’s just I’m an old-fashioned type of guy. I’m more into the ‘barely standing bar flies’- for me that’s the way to go.”
– My cousin, Rafael, age 36 (He’s also very single, ladies.)
My twenty-something friend, “Rachel” is against online dating due to the things she’s heard from friends. “My opinions of online dating are bad, due to the experiences my friends have had,” she tells me.
I have met some really dear friends online-stemming back from AOL Mommy Message Boards in the late nineties. We’re all still friends to this day…and with blogging and the social media outlets, I have created a wide circle of friends from all over the world. If friendships can develop online, it is quite feasible that one can find ‘true’ love online…
Three years after I wrote that piece for a now defunct online magazine which was going to make me SO FAMOUS and RICH…I downloaded a relatively new dating app and got busy. My goal wasn’t to settle down with one person. I wanted to meet new people and during the times when I didn’t have the kids, I wanted options for social activity.
Although I did meet a lot of great guys on there…I did settle down with one.
My father used to have a saying, “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter” and basically when you have two bullshitters come together there will be a lot of bullshit between the two. This is The Boyfriend and I. Our story would be best titled, Bullshitters Fall in Love- A Memoir. We both had our lines down pat, however, my ego isn’t as big as his. He’s been a big fish in a small pond for a long time, so he’s not used to having to do any kind of chasing. And regardless of his version of events…he did the chasing and I did a lot of bailing. I wasn’t even trying. I had ADD when it came to dating. However, it all seemed to work out…he got the girl and I got the guy, albeit a lot of the bullshit was dealt.
When he first asked me to be exclusive, I asked him, “But are you a good boyfriend?” He appeared to be insulted at the question. “I am!” he declared.
“Very much so,” he said.
There were other claims to that conversation and perhaps it was the IPAs he was drinking that were claiming, “Woman, I’ll romance you forever!” because when I hint now about my version of what romance is he gets defensive or rolls his eyes. He no longer claims to be romantic. I just want a Hallmark card every now and then. Maybe write me a cute little note and leave it for me. Surprise me! I’m not looking for roses or expensive gifts. I like sentiment and the feeling I’m still being courted.
Guys, don’t stop courting your women!
Despite the false advertising of being romantic, When The Boyfriend looks at me in a certain way, my heart melts. He never fails to make me laugh. He allows me to vent when I’m anxious and stressed about certain situations. He gives great advice when asked.
He’s my soundboard and loves me unconditionally.
I now believe it is quite feasible to find love online. I did. However, I wasn’t looking for love and honestly thought I wouldn’t get another shot. I think that’s how it works. Love comes when you’re ready…but when you’re not necessarily expecting it.
That’s pretty romantic when you think about it.