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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Confessions of an Online Dater

Thanksgiving, 2001. Nearly two years since I’d called off my wedding. The phone rings. God bless Caller ID.

“Hi, Mom.”
“Hi. What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?”
“Is this a real question? Football. Scrapbooking. Youth Ministry. Sleeping.”
“Sleeping? Is that a real hobby? Oh, well, nevermind. Bye!”
“Bye, Mom.”

Ring…ring…

“Hi, Mom.”
“Hi, honey. What’s your e-mail address?”
“Why? You don’t know how to use e-mail.”
“Your father and I decided it’s time for you to start dating again. We’re signing you up for Catholic Singles.”

And so it began.

Really, they didn’t get me to sign up at Thanksgiving. But when they offered to pay for it as a Christmas gift, I was sold. For your viewing pleasure, my initial Catholic Singles profile is posted in the post below this – circa 2001. Those of you who know me will laugh at my conversion to country music and Diet Coke, from the sweet nectar of the gods, fountain Coke from McDonalds!

I had my last date with my former fiancé just after Christmas 2001 – irony of all ironies – walking down the aisle together in the wedding party of our good friends, Matt and Lisa. After that, I was finally ready to re-enter the dating world.

I feel called to the vocation of marriage and motherhood, and it’s important to me that we share the same faith. That’s helped to limit the possibilities in our not-so-Catholic northwest area…which also opened me up to long distance relationships.

So it’s been nearly five years that I’ve been online. I began with Catholic Singles, added in a little eHarmony (the personality profile rocked, the rest – not so much), and finally settled on Catholic Match, Ave Maria Singles (with some encouragement from Fr. Dave) and Match.com.

I’ve dated tall guys, short guys, hairy guys (thankfully, only for a short while) and guys who are losing their hair. Guys from the northwest, the west coast, the midwest, the east coast, and right across town. Rich and financially-challenged. Mature and annoying beyond belief. Project managers, sales managers, owners of companies, youth ministers, coaches, financial advisors (!), teachers, attorneys, and therapists. Easy going and more stubborn than me. Guys who like my dog, and the dumb ones who didn’t.

If anything, it’s been an incredible experience of insight into the dating world and into myself. What have I learned?

  1. Everyone has something in their lives they aren’t proud of.
  2. Everyone has something that they excel at…sometimes you just need to look a little harder to find it.
  3. That those who profess to have a solid faith can be the biggest hypocrites of all.
  4. I can be demanding. (Really, did it take dating to figure that out?) But it’s only because I demand so much from myself.
  5. That people are not always what they seem – sometimes they can hide pretty significant things from you…like owing the IRS $100K, or being 12 years older than they say they are.
  6. JPII was right on with the Theology of the Body…naked without shame.
  7. Chastity is almost unheard of for a lot of guys these days. Temptation is everywhere – and rare is a guy who can withstand it. God bless the amazing guys who are faithful to a chaste lifestyle inside and outside of marriage. They deserve major kudos.
  8. I’ve grown up a lot in these last five years – become more patient, more forgiving, more loving. I needed to do that.
  9. That it’s possible to learn something about yourself with every person you go out with
  10. That google searches are interesting. You may find that an ex has been featured on CNN for his earlier experience in online dating and called-off wedding! AND...when reading his former fiancee's comments from her interview on CNN, you'll learn how to "claim your cleavage"!
  11. My papa has great advice and insight into guys. I'm so lucky to have him as my daddy.
  12. If you’re in an LDR, you accumulate LOTS of frequent flyer miles.
  13. God is using each experience to help shape me into the future wife/mother He wants me to be
  14. That my mom gives great advice, even when you wake her up at 2 in the morning because you can’t sleep.
  15. That God will place amazing people in your path that will teach you things about life, yourself, them…if you’re open to it
  16. No amount of money will ever bring about true happiness.
  17. That my vocation, right now, is to the single life, and not to sell that short.

I am blessed with the world’s best girlfriends – who are always there when I need it.

Overall, for me, the online dating world has been a blast. In my view, it’s terribly efficient – you have a decent understanding of what someone’s about before you decide to correspond with them. I’ve had some great boyfriends, made some incredible friends, and am finding the woman that I’m called to be – and I love it.

But the best thing is…the best is yet to come. That same Christmas of 2001, I handmade a 24k gold rosary for my future husband. And each day since then, I’ve prayed for him – wherever he is with whatever he’s doing – that the Lord prepares each of us for our life together. And that gives me hope.

And now, I can ask JPII to intercede for me. Can’t go wrong with that!! :)

3 comments:

Lindsay said...

You go girl! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one whose mother posted her profile online without much consultation (or permission). We lived...

kate said...

when were you engaged to be married? This is news to me.

shelley said...

called it off in 1999, otherwise, my 7th wedding anniversary would have been this july. crazy, huh?

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