After being divorced for about two years, I had to admit I was lonely. Loneliness is a funny thing and
tricky as well. You start to believe it is not so bad, and after coming out of a lonely marriage, it’s better to sleep alone than to lie next to someone and feel the same way. But I think after a while, you miss all the wonderfulness of love and your longing for companionship rears its ugly head.
So strange signs began to appear; signs that led me to try online dating. The first sign was my neighbor telling me that her ex-husband was married again and had met his wife online. Then after a while, I was visiting with a dear friend, and she mentioned a mutual friend of ours was away for the weekend with a man she is crazy about. She met him online. But the final sign was when I decided to get away for a weekend and headed out to Lancaster to spend time with my friend Shelly. In her dismay with my non-existent dating life after two years, she literally signed me up for an online dating site insisting I “get out there” and test the waters. And so it began…
At first it was very exciting! Oh the thought of my prospects seemed so bright. My 22-year-old daughter helped me pick out my profile pictures and with her assistance, I wrote and edited what I thought was a well rounded “picture” of who I was and why someone would want to “get to know me better.” So my day started off with my daughter and I making a pot of coffee and looking at the matches that were “perfect” for me. Connections were sent to me and waiting for a mutual response seemed endless. It was disappointing when your “match” did not feel the same.
Suddenly, I felt as though I was in high school again and a bit insecure. Except that now I was 47 years old and being rejected by men online that were maybe a bit too good looking for me! It was ridiculous. Under normal conditions, I was very confident and comfortable in my own skin and now I actually felt rejected from “John, in Ossining New York” who was looking for “the love of his life." Oh, but here is where it got really interesting… After two weeks of this search, my daughter and I finally decided I should have the opportunity to look and choose my “matches,” and so we took a gander at my choices. Mind you, I could not communicate with these selections unless I paid another fee, but we looked nonetheless. Page after page, I was not a match for endless reasons. I was too old, not active enough, did not want to raise three- and five-year-old children, did not sail, rock climb or enjoy running the Boston marathon. And just when I was about to stop looking, my daughter said, “Come on mom, the right guy may be on the next page!” I said, “O.K., but only one more page!” And there he was. I couldn’t believe it. The man I once loved but was all wrong for me — my ex-husband.
We read his profile and looked at his pictures, and all I could think to myself was how misleading. I couldn’t stop staring at his picture. I read how he viewed himself and began to think about I used to love this man, how I have looked into his soul, and how we raised two children together. I also thought about how a computer determined we were a “match,” and if I were to choose him, it might take me 23 years to leave him again if I had learned nothing from the first time. The truth is we were a “mismatch.”
I am pretty sure at that moment I decided this was not the way for me to find love or to cure a heart that felt lonely from time to time. I would have chosen a man based on qualifications instead of the warmth of his smile at a glance in the supermarket or while standing on line at the movies turning to see whose soft voice was speaking behind me and our eyes would meet…the little things that connect us by chance.
As my daughter and I sat there, I thought for a moment about how she felt seeing both her parents online looking for companionship again but not with each other. I looked at her and said, “Do you think we’ve had enough of this Angie?” I turned to hug her, realizing loneliness wasn’t tricky at all and sleeping alone was not such a lonely option. I was O.K. without her dad and always believed in what I read once — that behind every great woman is herself. I assured her that at a time in my life, I did know love with her father, and I would know love again. This time of alone was not loneliness. It was my time to relish in the beauty of what it will teach me.