Let the Games Begin…Later

It’s already been six months since my big breakup. Time flies whether you’re having fun or not—have you noticed?

It’s time to get back on that horse. (tee hee hee! Save a horse; ride a cowboy? Nevermind. I will spare you the stream-of-consciousness “riding” jokes. Sorry.)

Let me tell you, as much as I would love to start dating again, I’m having a little trouble.

A) I don’t know how to meet men in real life. Remember the mattress guy?
B) That leaves online dating, and OH MY GOD, I’M SO SICK OF ONLINE DATING.

Here’s what happened.

A few months ago, I re-activated my profile on OKCupid, which is a free online dating site. I hadn’t been on there in a couple years, of course, because I’d been dating someone. I was surprised to find that all the familiar faces were still up there.

I’m not speaking archetypally here. It wasn’t just any old foot fetish guys or twenty-something cougar hunters: the actual same people were still there on the site.

Buncha losers, right? Still on the same dating site after TWO YEARS? I was feeling mighty superior until I realized that if any of them logged on and recognized me, they’d assume that I’d been on there for two years, too. I was tempted to post a disclaimer: HEY, DON’T JUDGE ME. I HAD A REAL LIVE BOYFRIEND FOR 18 MONTHS!

I skipped the disclaimer. No point in drawing attention to my failure. Instead, I updated my photos (my favorite!) and refreshed my catchy, definitely-not-desperate, sexy-yet-respectable profile.

This is so ridiculous it makes me cringe. And yet, I'm not above it.

Oh god, the shame. Either way. This is why internet dating blows.

Let the games begin.

Within a couple days, I had begun corresponding with a man who seemed intelligent and pleasant. He was reasonably attractive (a ginger, but I’m open-minded, you know) and had a job that was absolutely fascinating to me: a dealer in rare antiquities. Yes, my BS radar went off, and I wondered if he really was just an unemployed guy who believed he’d found the Holy Grail in his great-aunt’s basement. Nevertheless, he did seem smart and interesting. If he actually was a legitimate antique dealer, then that’s about the coolest, most Meg-perfect occupation I can think of.

The Ginger was quite romantic, and had big ideas about a romantic first date: walks on the beach, picnics and the like. I asked him, “Have you ever done this before?”

Nothing says “I’ve never been on an internet date” like premature romantic hopes. Let me tell you, a couple internet dates will kill those early romantic impulses dead. The first meeting is not a date; it’s an awkward, fact-checking, mutual evaluation exercise that is best accompanied by strong drinks in a public location with at least two exits.

So I convinced him to settle for ordinary drinks in an ordinary bar and scheduled a meeting for the following Friday, just a few days out. He gave me his number and encouraged me to call him.

I didn’t. I grew a big knot in my stomach instead.

Thursday night I found myself sitting on the couch, eating ice cream out of the container, bawling in front of the TV for some unidentified reason.

ABORT MISSION. REPEAT. ABORT MISSION.

I sent the romantic, unsuspecting Ginger an apologetic email cancelling our date and took my profile down before he could reply. I’d never called him, so he had no way to reach me and tell me what a flake I am.

Newsflash: if you’re still bingeing and bawling on the couch, you’re probably not ready to date yet.

Fast forward a couple more months. I was starting to get lonely, among other things. Time to try again. Couldn’t go back on OKCupid because the Ginger would probably be on there still, along with every other guy I’d interacted with over the last two years. So, I tried Plenty of Fish.

Plenty of Fish is known as a hookup site. It’s free and there are a zillion users so it’s like a giant man catalog. Incidentally, it’s where I met my ex. (There’s more where he came from, right? That’s why they named it Plenty of Fish.)

New profile. New pics. New inane conversations with men that have absolutely nothing in common with me, except that they like vaginas and I have one.

After a few days, I had begun conversations with two men who seemed intelligent and interesting: a tall, quirky I.T. guy, and a short, well-dressed Art Director. Both seemed like decent guys—courteous, articulate, and genuine. Both gave me their phone numbers and made tentative plans to meet me.

And I did it again. No bingeing and crying this time, just a big panic in my gut that said NO FREAKING WAY. I CAN’T DO IT AGAIN. I sent more apologetic emails and deleted my profile, again. Left two perfectly decent guys in the lurch.

I can’t even tell you why.

This is not a self-esteem thing. I wasn’t feeling unworthy or what-have-you.

This is not about my ex. That’s water under the bridge and I’m not harboring any hopes or could-have-beens about him.

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. I just know that there was no way in hell I was going to call either one of them, or pick out an outfit and try to look pretty and show up in a bar and make dumb small talk or any of that first-date nonsense.

Just can’t do it. Not yet. Maybe never. Maybe this time I’ll have to drag myself out into the real world and not hide behind a computer. Or maybe I will go back to the internet dating sites when I’m ready.

I always say that online dating is like shopping at T.J. Maxx—you have to dig through a lot of crap, but if you’re patient you can find some good stuff there. Maybe I just have to build up my stamina a little bit before I’m ready to hit the racks again.

14 thoughts on “Let the Games Begin…Later

  1. Meg –
    I really enjoy reading your blog, some of your online dating experiences echo mine. In a certain… odd manner. I think that I have finally had some success with the online dating scene. I have actually been dating a wonderful girl for quite some time now and have been off of the online sites. We met on Plenty of Fish.
    I was hoping to read that you had some success as well, but I guess you’re just not ready.
    But I have to say… OMG Girl! I know the “maybe I’m just not ready” feeling. I’ve been there.
    I feel for you, but I know you have so much to offer. Some lucky guy is gonna snap you up!
    I know it’s difficult right now, but you deserve to be happy!
    Sooooo…… Get on that horse and ride!! He’s out there somewhere.

    Just a few words of encouragement. I hope they help or at least make you feel supported.
    Wishing you well!!!!
    Bruce

    • Hi, Bruce! Thank you for reading. I’m so glad you met someone and hope she keeps you off the dating sites forever!

      Thank you for the encouragement. I actually feel okay about it; I just find that I don’t want to go through that dumb routine anymore. I’ll get over it at some point. Might try Match next time. We’ll see.

      Thanks again, good luck to you,

      Meg

  2. How I love you, Meg!!! You are the prize, and not “just anybody” wins the prize. Keep holding out for the “winner”. 😀 Enjoy today ❤ xoxo

  3. Oh lordy, gave me anxiety just thinking about it! Been there, done that, not doing it again. ~sigh~
    But actually, when I committed to that, the desire to be “coupled up” diminished. Have taken the stance…if God wants me to have someone special, He knows exactly where I am. And now, I’m really okay with that. I don’t envy anyone going through the process!

  4. Hi Meg, I just came across your blog today and this post really resonates with me. I was in a 3 year relationship that ended over a year ago and I’ve opened up dating site accounts on numerous occasions, only to freak out and delete my profile when someone showed interest or I was on the verge of meeting someone. I’ve done it before (it’s also how I met my ex) but now it’s just so exhausting and anxiety-inducing! For now, I’m not on any sites but that may change soon. I look forward to reading more about your experiences.

    • Hi! Thanks for reading and commenting. Your feedback is reassuring; always glad to hear I’m not the only one who feels like this. We’ll be brave when we need to be, right? Good luck to you!

  5. I think the most important thing is to be OK with yourself and being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I miss being a couple. I miss the sense of belonging and the companionship I had. Since he left me a some months ago, I have run the whole gamit of emotions. But, I feel better each day and try to count my blessings when I get sad. Not sure I will ever be ready for internet dating. And that’s OK too.

    • Yes…being ok with being alone is critical. I think about all the things I didn’t have time for when I was in that smothering relationship and try to enjoy those things when I start to feel lonely. I probably will go back to internet dating, but there’s no hurry. Love you, sista.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

  6. Pingback: Keepin’ On: The Internet Dating Update | The Midlife Adventures of Meg

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