A Cautionary Tale of Online Dating
My friend Laurie is still searching for love via her online dating sites. Thankfully, however, she's become a little more discriminatory in her selection of potential mates. Of course, this has only come as the result of another biting disappointment.
"We Haven't Even Met Yet"
She was contacted by two males from her favorite dating site. Initially, they both sounded ideal: stable employment, like to watch movies and read books, and want a meaningful relationship with a loving woman. Laurie called and told me about these men with sheer glee in her voice. “I finally have the pick of two normal, good-looking men,” she told me.
Numerous hours-long conversations ensued. She liked them both equally, citing positive traits in each that she hadn’t seen in a long time. “Jimmy likes women with curves,” she bragged, “He knows who C.S. Lewis is and listens to country music. He’s a gem.”
Another day it was, “Rich wants to take me to Atlantic City for the weekend. We’ll walk the Boardwalk and eat cotton candy. He’s so romantic.”
This last remark made me take a little more notice. “You’re not going to go with him this weekend, are you?” I asked nervously.
“Of course not,” she replied like I had lost my mind. “We haven’t even met yet.”
I paused, not wanting to voice my concern, but finally it got the best of me. “If you haven’t met yet, why are you making plans to go away together for a weekend?”
I had caught her off guard. “I don’t know,” she replied honestly. Her voice lost its previous exuberance and turned sad. “It’s just a dream, I guess. It’s a fantasy. I feel good thinking that a man finally wants to spend time with me.”
Her words tugged at my heart. I know Laurie’s been lonely, but I can’t imagine just how severe that loneliness has become, because she hasn’t had a serious relationship in more than five years. And the worst part is she never wanted to be single. She would have moved heaven and earth to make her marriage work, if he’d been willing to put forth the effort. It was the same with the father of her daughter; she loved him and wanted a relationship with him, but he wasn’t capable of being faithful. So now she’s a single mom, still searched for love.
We talked a little more, and I implored her to be careful. Apparently she took my words to heart, because she called me the next day with shock and offense ringing in her voice. “I ran background checks on Jimmy and Rich.” she told me. I braced myself to hear that Rich was a convicted murderer. But surprisingly, Jimmy was the one with a less than perfect past. “He’s been convicted of drug possession, battery, and aggravation,” Laurie told me, “multiple times. I’m never going to speak to him again.”
What about Rich? She’s agreed to take it very slowly with him. When we speak, she doesn’t relay any more stories about planned weekend trips or the amazing traits with which he’s blessed. Instead, she speaks bluntly: “We’ll see what happens. After all, this is me we’re talking about. Anything might happen, right?”
I agree; she’s right. We laugh and hang up to go about the reality of our daily lives.