I’ve been divorced for almost four years now, after a twenty year plus marriage, and have not had a relationship since. Nothing past a date or two. Crazy as that sounds to most divorced people my age.
I had tried the online dating thing, for about a hot minute, right after my divorce was final and felt that it was the “right time and the right thing to do” only to find out that…nope, it’s not.
So not the right time, so not the right thing to do.
But lately I’ve realized that I am in a better place, emotionally and mentally – no more anti-depressants or day drinking for this girl, thank you very much – and I think I am truly ready to give this dating idea another shot. My kids are pretty much over the shock of the divorce, and the following rollercoaster of drama that lasted for the first two years or so, thanks to my ex. They are finally settling into lives and social lives of their own. My youngest is 15, and while he loves me and enjoys my company most of the time, I am not his first choice on the daily.
I’m learning to come to terms with that milestone, sad as that may be.
Considering that my regular life does not normally put me in the pathway of many available single men if any, remotely near to my age, and adding in a pandemic complete with quarantining and social distance parameters for good measure, online dating seems to be the best answer.
To say that things in the single world are strange and different is an understatement.
I have read other blogs and articles about online dating in midlife, so I know that this isn’t news to most, but I still was not as prepared for the journey as I thought I was. Just creating a profile can be stressful enough, but first you need to choose which site you want to use, there are so many out there now, which presents its own challenges.
Am I a Match or eharmony kind of girl? Maybe OKCupid? Or should I give in to the idea that I am over fifty (by a few years now) and just wave the white flag and sign on to Our Time?
Forget about Tinder, my days of wanting just to hook-up ended when Cavaricci’s and parachute pants went out style. No thank you. Full disclosure, I did try Tinder for another hot minute early on – a week to be exact – and thought I was going to puke from the stress of it by the end.
Too much, too soon.
I am known to be a nonconformist in many ways, online dating is no exception, so I opted for Facebook. Did you know that they have a dating app? Neither did I!
One day while I was doing my normal aimless scrolling I noticed that little heart icon, near the bottom of the app on my phone, and decided to tap it out of sheer curiosity to find out more. Still unsure that I was ready to take the first step, but too curious to stop myself from looking. The bonus of this one? It’s free.
Risk reduction is the name of the game at this stage of life.
Free to try it out, free to stay on for as long as you like or want, basically the training wheels of the online dating world. Sounds about right. I went ahead and filled out the questionnaire, uploaded the best photos of myself that I could find, photos that weren’t too old and had some variety for my looks. I am trying to be as fair and honest as I can, pretty much my life rule really, so I don’t want to skimp on that now when I could possibly find the love of my life – or at least a nice guy who likes some of the same things I do and would actually consider doing them with me.
This little exercise made me realize that I am rarely in the photos that we take as a family, or with my friends. Mainly because I’m usually the photographer, so there are fewer photos of me to choose from during any given year, making this a more involved project than I had anticipated.
Do I lose points, views or matches, for poor selfies or a lack of interesting photos?
I have had a few comments online along the way, that men want to see “full body photos”, which I honestly don’t have at the ready and I’m not about to attempt those as a selfie. I’m 5’3″ so my reach with a phone camera is limited to say the least. I’ve tried it, and believe me, it’s not doing me any favors (unless I am completely delusional and actually do look like a female Oompah Loompah…)
Once I got everything uploaded, all of the preference questions answered and finally posted my profile, I put my phone down and walked away…well, actually it was more like I threw my phone onto the bed, like it was on fire, and ran away!
To say that it was overwhelming doesn’t really do it justice. Within the first hour I had thirty “likes” – thirty?!
By the end of the first day that number continued to increase, and I continued to be surprised and overwhelmed by the possible opportunities. It felt like I had walked into a bar and every man in the room was watching me and sending me signals. I’ve had some decent luck in the bar scene the last time I was single – back in my twenties – one or two interested in a night maybe, but this was like the entire bar was looking at me.
Who are you people?? Am I the only woman on here??
I was never this popular in high school or college…or anywhere for that matter. How slim are the pickings out there?? I asked a guy friend, who has used online dating sites over the last ten years or more, if this was normal only to be told that it is for women. Men? Not so much.
Then the real work sets in, now you have to sift through the profiles and decide who/what sparks your interest enough to connect or “match”. It suddenly felt like a homework assignment, and I had no idea who was grading it in the end, or what was even considered a passing grade.
It’s only been a few weeks now, and I’ve been lucky enough to have a few very nice “first dates” and a couple of still nice second dates. But I’ve also had the odd message or two – would you consider a threesome? are you poly tolerant? right out of the box. A few have written in their profile that they are in an “open marriage”…
…yeah so was I, I just didn’t know it.
You have no idea what or who is out there until you try this I am finding out.
I’m getting the hang of it, slowly but surely. My guard is still up and I really don’t know what I’m looking for in a relationship, but I guess that will come to light eventually. I’ll just be happy to find someone who makes me laugh, wants to join me in doing some of the fun things I like to do while discovering a few new fun things that they like to do, all while encouraging me to continue unwrapping the version of myself that was hidden and buried for so long in my marriage.
That’s not too much to ask, is it? I guess we’ll see.