So let's get right to it. For the first 3.5 years after my beautiful husband died, the very idea of dating or "someone else" literally made me sick to my stomach. It made me feel physically ill, and I couldn't even discuss it without having a slight panic attack. Around the beginning of year 4, there was a slight shift inside me, for no reason whatsoever, that went from feeling physically ill, to feeling sort of "okay" with the idea, but still not willing to actively pursue anyone. Then, about 9 months ago, someone appeared out of the blue. A widower, with connections to my husband. We started a budding and wonderful friendship. We met in person in March, and our connection felt more real, because now I could touch it. The details don't matter here, because I want to protect his privacy, but the time we spent together over those few days was meaningful, beautiful, and the perfect mix of familiar and brand new, all at the same moment.
When I returned home, I was very excited about this connection. Several people, even total strangers, told me over and over again that I was glowing, asking me point blank: "Have you met someone?" I thought the answer was yes, but as it turns out, this person is nowhere near ready for a relationship or commitment of any kind. This person is not in a place, emotionally, to move forward with me. He is very aware of how I feel, and he agrees that there is something between us, but now is not the right time. So, we continue to be wonderful friends, and I have chosen to trust in the outcome, and to have faith in the possibilities and potential of what we might become. I'm kind of a romantic like that. Plus, I really feel this is coming from my husband Don, and he would never steer me wrong.
Meanwhile, the act of spending time with this person and going out with them to dinner and breakfast and many other things and places - it gave me just a tiny taste of remembering what it's like to have that special person in your life again. It reminded me what it's like to spend time with someone who thinks you are special or pretty or who holds the door open for you and kisses your hand and forehead. Seriously - who does that??? This amazing guy, that's who. When I got back home, I started to think to myself just how much I MISS all of that in my life. Having someone to do things with on weekends. Go to dinner with. See a movie with. Holding hands. All of it. So, in a conversation with my incredibly smart friend, she suggested that while this person that I very much care about can only be my friend right now and nothing more, that perhaps I would be a better friend to HIM, if I were getting my own needs met elsewhere; i.e; going out on a casual date now and then. Perhaps if I could have that back in my life again, I would be more content and not be pushing my friend to go places he isn't ready to go right now. This seemed like the most insane idea in the world to me, but the next day, I got an email from a popular dating site, offering one month free membership. Next thing I knew, I was creating a profile and putting up my pictures. That was about 3 weeks ago.
And let me tell you, the past three weeks have been a complete shit-show.
Here is what I have learned in three weeks. Dating sucks. Dating on dating sites sucks even more. The last time I "dated" was decades ago. NOTHING is anywhere near close to the same anymore. Nobody knows how to have a conversation. It is a trainwreck of epic proportions, and nobody will let me off. People no longer talk on the telephone. They text. As in, right away. The way this particular site works is that it shows you pictures and profile info about a member, then you click YES or NO on if youd like to chat with them. If the feeling is mutual and you both want to talk, the chat box opens up and you can type back and forth. At first, only seconds after I joined, I was feeling a bit cocky and good about myself, because I was getting a BOATLOAD of chat requests. "Well this isnt so bad", I naively thought to myself. Then I started clicking on them. Here is just a short sample of a few of my first day chat conversations. And no, I am NOT exagerrating or joking. These are 100% real. Names have been changed, obviously. Everything else, real:
John: Hey gorgeous
Me: Hi there, how are you doing today?
John: I'll be better when you're pressing those titties on my face.
Greg: Hey Darlin ... sup???
Me: Doing okay tonight, how about yourself?
Greg: I don't have time to talk on here. Heres my digits. Hit me up right now 714-6**-****. Ill be waiting.
END CHAT. (this was 90% of the chats. They DEMAND your number or demand to give you theirs IMMEDIATELY.)
Carlos: Hey baby, I love brunettes. You got nice curves too. Any chance you are kind of bossy and could boss me around and tell me what to do, insult me a little?
Me: WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN, YOU LOSER!!??? IM NOT BOSSY!!! NOW LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE!!!
Carlos: Oh yeah, that's so hot .....
That is just a small sample of the moronic crap I've been dealing with. Most of these people, as you can see, just want something sexual, with someone they don't even know at all. Then there is the category of men who chat with you, call you on the phone, have a number of nice conversations with you, and then completely disappear forever with zero explanation. This happened to me with 3 different people I was talking to. There are no manners. No class. No sense of building a foundation of some kind. Just mindless and pointless texting that leads to more nothingness. The whole thing is extremely depressing. There was one guy who seemed normal, sweet, and we had a nice long chat online. He gave me his number and I called him, and we had a nice phone call too. Our phone call was not sexual in nature by any means, but after we hung up, he sent me a text telling me how sexy my phone voice is. Then, two minutes later, he sent me a long-winded voicemail where he basically "got himself off" while describing all the things he would do to me. Later, he left another one. In this one, he referred to his penis as "The Champ." As in, "The Champ is so ready and big for you right now. The Champ is monstrous." Finally, I texted him back and told him that "The Champ" would be getting a call from the police soon, if he didn't stop leaving me these sick voicemails. The Champ stopped.
And then there was my first date. An actual human male that I met for drinks and dinner in person, the other night. We had talked in the chat, then on the phone, and he lives nearby, so we agreed to meet up in the city at this Cuban restaurant. The evening was nice, but there was no spark between us. It had a friendship vibe, but we laughed and talked and had a seemingly nice time. At the end, we hugged each other goodbye, and I got back on the subway to come home. All I could think about was how if this was my friend that I met in March, he would have been a gentleman and made sure he put me in a cab home. This guy held the doors open for me at the restaurant, but it didnt feel genuine. It felt like he was showing off.
This morning, I woke up, and I decided to leave him a message on the site just thanking him for the date and saying I had a nice time, and maybe we will do it again some time. You know, because that is what a polite person does. A few minutes later, I received this message response:
"I will not be seeing you again. I do not date fat girls. You do not look fat in your pictures on the site, but you are fat in person." When I tried to respond back, he had made his account so that I could no longer reach him. He had disappeared with no explanation, as these men seem to like to do.
I was crushed. Not because I give a shit what he thinks - I didnt really even like him. I was crushed because this is what is out there for me. Crushed because some men are so shallow and mean. Crushed because I didn't want to do this in the first place, and it was supposed to be fun, and I was supposed to have a lighthearted and fun time with it. Crushed because talking to these idiots and trying to navigate these stupid conversations and figure out what their agenda is and who is being honest and who is going to disappear after a really nice conversation - is really exhausting and not what I want to be doing with my time. Crushed because Im 44 years old, and I am so tired of being alone. Crushed because NONE of this would be happening, if my husband wasn't forever and always DEAD.
On my drive to work this morning, after this happened, I spoke to my friend on the phone. I had to pull over to talk to him because I was so close to sobbing and having a panic-attack. I told him what had happened, and told him about why Ive been doing the dating site thing, and how none of these clowns even come close to the true gentlemen that he is - and he listened and he said all the right and supportive and lovely things that a good friend says. And it was the most real and meaningful conversation I have had in weeks - with my friend - which is right where I wanted to be in the first place.
Love after loss is not for the weak of heart, folks.
Strap yourselves in. It's going to get extremely bumpy.