Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Dating Pool: Part Three ~ A Success Story

Medical Alert:  There are reports of an illness circulating called "dating site fatigue." It's especially toxic in single women forty-five and over. Symptoms: ennui, mild depression, low grade romantic fever, and a reflex spasm in the typing fingers that sends nasty responses to every man on every site who calls himself "Captain," or "Sailor Boy" or expresses a need for a "first mate." Why are so many boat-crazed men trawling for women online anyway? No matter, if you've absolutely had it with too many "hot4U"s who are not right 4U and despair of drowning in the dating pool, have I got a cure for you! Here's a heartwarming success story from our guest blogger who hung in there and made it work in spite of the odds, the circumstances and, mostly, in spite of herself.

Hello, everyone! 

I'm "Deb," the woman Toby mentioned  in a previous post who was swimming in the really deep end of the dating pool thirteen years ago. That's when Matchmaker.com led me to my soulmate--and  husband.  Yes, potential partners really are "out there."

Dating for over a decade after my divorce, I'd tried everything (or so I thought): church, alumni groups, personal ads (remember them?), blind dates, intros by friends, volunteer work, and flirtatious encounters in the light bulb aisle at Home Depot (but no light bulbs came on; not even any sparks).

I'd pretty much accepted that if it happened, it would happen, and if it didn't, it wouldn't, and I'd be just fine either way.  What other choice did I have?  When I'd tell the men I dated that my elderly father lived with me and we were a package deal--take us or leave us, that my teenagers were in the middle of adolescent angst and associated  crises, and that my dog  was having extensive, expensive dental issues("You mean the German Shepherd that wouldn't let me in your house?"--YES, that one)my dates often left visible skid marks taking off!  Like they didn't have any "challenges?"   Sure.
Then, one day, while reading a weekly newspaper published by my faith tradition, I saw this: "Christians seeking other Christians---try------.com"   What the heck, I thought.  Although the site delivered what it promised, the men were all over the country (together with some not yet "over” their marriages), and my budget simply didn't allow for a "quick bite to eat" with an interesting orthodontist in Ohio.  BUT... on that site, other links popped up.  I clicked on Matchmaker.com, and it was really at the deep end of the pool in 1999--not mainstream at all.  I jumped in, and it changed my life.

Fearing my friends and family would think I'd lost my mind, I told nobody of my online adventure. I could hardly believe it myself.  I screened many postings, and answered only five.  Out of those five, one stood out, and was the only one I met.   He not only stood out, but a year later stood with me at the altar. But, as he tells it, it almost didn't happen.
After three months of emailing, sending romantic cards, and pen-palling, he asked a really crazy question: "Do you think we could talk on the phone sometime, or maybe even meet?"  OMG, I thought, the moment of truth!   Could I really do this? I wasn't so sure.  Why ruin a perfectly fine online romance?

He was patient, however, and assured me that (in addition to the many things that we seemed to have in common) he had a high level security clearance, and that if we met in a public place like a restaurant, I could protect myself by having a cell phone handy, a knife and fork for defense, and I could disguise myself before entering to "check him out."  If I didn't like what I saw, or simply changed my mind, I could leave and he'd  understand completely.  He did make me laugh (very important), but was this man for REAL???
Yes, he was. Real and wonderful.
Given the lives we were leading at the time, there would have been NO way we would have met without either of us taking that leap of faith into the "deep end of the dating pool," and trusting our online "Yente." 

OK, so it wasn't reminiscent of "Fiddler on the Roof," but it worked.  He is a "good man."  "A fine man."  A man I never thought I'd meet let alone marry, but did.  I am blessed.
Matchmaker, matchmaker made me an electronic match.

Try risking that dive into the deep end.  Life is short, and love is grand.
Deb

Thanks, Deb. Readers, we'd love to hear your stories of dating adventures, misadventures or strategies for making the most of dating sites.  Just post a comment or send an email to midlifepassions@gmail.com.  We derive knowledge (and courage) from experience--our own and what we learn from someone else's life lessons. So let's share our strengths!
Toby Devens

19 comments:

  1. Truly heartwarming story. I have heard similar ones from several others who have met THE perfect partner through an on-line service. Someone they would never, ever have met otherwise. Thought provoking isn't it!

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  2. Toby-

    I really enjoyed Deb’s online matchmaker “confession.” When I was a mere child (just entering the working world), a very influential rabbi in my community asked me to chair a singles group in his synagogue. I knew nothing about anything like that, but his reputation preceded him, and (for my sins) I said “yes.” It wasn’t terribly successful, but certain things do stand out in my memory. One such occasion was a dance. I danced with one of our members. It was a slow dance. I don’t remember the song, but I do remember what he said to me: “If I ask you out, it’ll be the best Chanukah present you ever had.” DUH. Needless to say, we didn’t go out, so I didn’t have a happy ending as far as real romance. However, IMHO, nothing is ever wasted. Years later, when I was writing short stories, I wrote one about a woman who’d had a terrible time with singles dating disasters. One such date used the exact same phrase my erstwhile dancing partner oaf had used. This time, though, there was a happy ending - both to the story (the heroine met another guy) and because I sold the story to Woman’s World, and later to a magazine in Great Britain.

    Binnie Syril Braunstein

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    1. Binnie: I laughed out loud (really) when I read your description of my online matchmaker "confession," because it is truly that---although I really didn't think it was that obvious in tone! In fact, we didn't tell most folks how we met for many years, for fear of being judged, or of being sent to "confession" for entering into such a sacred contract with such a less-than-sacred start. In fact, when I wrote this for the blog, I sent a copy to a friend who has been asking me for years (literally), how I met my hubby, and I wrote, "The how-we-met cat is finally out of the bag" in the subject line. True confessions, internet style---appropriate, given how we met :) I loved your story about the task given to you by the rabbi in your community, and your acceptance of it "for your sins"---and the outcome that ended in publishing rather than perishing. He gave you a gift that kept on giving, although he clearly didn't plan it that way. Well, as we used to say in Queens, "tough!"
      ~Deb

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  3. I'm not sure I would have the nerve to do what your friend did. But I'm thrilled that it worked out for her. I find it interesting that she describes her husband in terms of his heart and soul, not his appearance. Sure, we women enjoy looking as much as the men do, but when it comes down to making the leap, who the man is and how he treats us is much more important than any other factor. Brava.

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    1. Willa:
      Thanks for seeing into the "heart and soul" of my post on meeting the man of "heart and soul" that became my husband. The interesting thing, is that for the three months we wrote, emailed, and sent e-cards to each other before even speaking one word to each other on the phone, I could see his heart and soul in his writing, the stories he chose to share with me, and the words in his e-cards. I believe that I fell in love with him before our first telephone conversation because of all that we had shared through writing to each other, which is what gave me the "nerve" to finally speak to him on the phone, and meet him in person. I thought that although it was possible that this guy had a great ghost writer communicating with me for him---that it was also quite unlikely---and I had to meet him, and see for myself. I couldn't wait to meet him, which I never would have had the nerve to do without our three month dating courtship that consisted only of writing to each other...Yes, as you say, when it comes down to it, "who the man is" is the most important thing---which was slowly revealed to me in a way that it never would have been had we met "in person" first. When we did finally meet, the fact that he was so handsome was nice--but the fact that he didn't leave skid marks next to the dinner table, was heavenly. Just like his love letters. Thanks for noticing...... ~Deb

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  4. I never tried on-line dating. I did try a dating service once, and it was a hopeless failure. They set me up with the most impossible "matches". Like, guys who "hate to read" and "don't have a fiction book in the house, I like magazines." Bottom line is: I'm a novelist. I write books! And they gave me non-readers? Money down the drain. So what did I do? I took myself out dancing (love to dance) and after trying a few different venues, I saw Mr. Right across the room, coming at me with a smile. We waltzed right into marriage. True. Kathryn Johnson

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  5. Binnie, at least you got a good story from your dance with that loser. Not that I ever advocate violence, but I hope you stepped on his toes.

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  6. I loved reading Deb's story. I met my own husband when I was in college. I went to a social at one of the student organizations and decided that I was going to go up to the guy in the room who interested me most and start talking to him. I picked him out. He was chatting with another guy, and I went up and joined them. He gave me a look that said, "Who are you interrupting us?" But I didn't give up, and more than 50 years later, we're still having good conversations.

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  7. Actually, Willa, I saw a photo of the man in question. The writer sent it with her post--though not with the intention that we publish it. He's very good looking. That she didn't mention it as an attraction says something admirable about her values, doesn't it?

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  8. Kathryn, your story sounds like the lyrics to the song "Some Enchanted Evening." You saw a stranger across a crowded room and somehow you knew. How romantic!

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  9. My marriage came about as the result of a blind date (blind, deaf and dumb date really). My cousin's college roommate was my husband's brother. On paper, it looked like something that would never work. It was a really convoluted setup of two people who had nothing better to do on a holiday weekend which resulted in a marriage that has lasted for nearly thirty-two years. I guess my point is you have to be open to moments of serendipity. Sometimes, good things do come from left field.

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  10. Now that's a happy ending, Rebecca.
    In my mom's generation, women waited for men to approach them. She was taught not to even initiate a phone call with the opposite sex. She bristled at the restrictions and didn't even try to pass them on. Imagine our daughters or granddaughters dealing with that unbalanced dynamic. No way!

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    1. I'm not sure most women of my generation would approach a guy. But I've always dared to be different.

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  11. My parents got together because my mother invited my father to the Sadie Hawkinsdance, which was girl's choice. Glad we don't need a special occasion to be more equal now.

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  12. Pearl, I especially liked the part of your note that talked about being open. If you're still grieving an lost love, if you set unattainably high standards for what grandma used to call "suitors," if you have something else huge and stress-making going on in your life, you might want to get the old issues resolved before embarking upon a new romantic adventure. People of both genders give off open/shut vibes and unless potentials have super powers, they can't walk through a closed door. You really need to be emotionally ready to swim in the dating pool.

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  13. Me, too Elizabeth. We really worked hard for that equality. We're not there all the way even now, but as the old ad (a cigarette commercial--ugh!) used to say, "We've come a long way, baby."

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  14. very helpful and useful dating article. I really liked it
    I suggest you a very interesting dating site
    http://www.angelreturn.com

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