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online datingUntil three months ago, Lisa* had never dated. Ever. She’d never been presented with the opportunity, and might not have had the confidence to seize the opportunity anyway. But recently things changed for Lisa. She worked hard to lose almost 100 pounds (you go, girl!), and admits a boost in her self-confidence as a result. She’d overcome a huge life issue and felt her tides were turning. So she took a deep breath, picked up her ten-sizes-too-big britches, and set out to give online dating a shot.

In the first three months of online dating, Lisa met up with three different guys.

Date #1: He was nice and funny. Lisa enjoyed hanging out with him. But the more she got to know him, the more she knew that he wasn’t the one for her. To be perfectly honest, she wasn’t attracted to him. Being someone that had struggled with accepting her appearance in the past, I imagine this dichotomy was difficult for Lisa to accept. Her date tried really hard to kiss her, but she simply didn’t want it to happen.

Date #2: This guy was confident and funny, and Lisa was “way too attracted to him.” It felt good. But the more she got to know him, she realized they didn’t share a common faith, which is really important to her. As she wrestled with this imbalance, she let him kiss her. It only made it harder to break things off, which she did finally work up the courage to do.

Date #3: This guy didn’t last past the first date.

Three different dates. Three different guys. Three different disappointments. Now what? In Lisa’s own words:

Not that I believe that I wasted my time at all, but I came away from these three months even more discontent and frustrated. After meeting these guys, I am more aware of what I want and should be praying for in a future husband. Now I am struggling with what to do next. (This might sound like a rant.) I hate being in the waiting time and being patient. I feel like this will never happen for me. Perhaps I have too high of expectations or standards and no one will ever meet them.

And that’s where she left it. Blunt and brutal honesty — just the kind I like. I remember reading this letter and thinking, I feel your pain. Because I truly, truly do! I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve met man after man through online dating — some dates better than others — and have found myself, again and again, left alone in the end.

frus•trat•ed /ˈfrəsˌtrātid/
Adjective
Feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.

I consider myself both a positive person and a realist. I don’t deny that the hard stuff in life exists, but I also don’t deny myself the right to smile through it. So for Lisa, I immediately found myself searching for the silver lining, which wasn’t hard to find at all. You see, I consider Lisa’s story a raging dating success.

You might be thinking, A success? She had three dates in a row that didn’t work out. How is that a success?

I see you. And I raise you 12 Lucky Charms. And I ask you this question: What constitutes a successful date or match?

If your answer is marriage, calm down. It’s daunting to think that the only way a date could be successful is if it leads to marriage. That would mean every date you ever go on is a failure until you meet your husband or wife. That can’t be right.

So what is it? What is it that constitutes a successful date or match?

      • A connection?
      • A spark?
      • A paid-for dinner?
      • Delightful conversation?
      • A kiss?
      • A roll in the hay?
      • Pregnancy? (I kid, people.)

I’d like to propose that a successful date or match is simply an opportunity to learn more about yourself. It’s an interaction or an experience where you discover more about yourself and what you’re looking for in your ultimate match. And in this regard, Lisa is wildly successful. After all, she did say: “After meeting these guys, I am more aware of what I want and should be praying for in a future husband.”

Lisa, you are miles further down the road than you were just three months ago. Hang in there! No, I can’t save you from the pitfalls of online dating (of which there are many). But I can say with complete certainty that you are moving in the right direction.

Be true to yourself.

Be true to your faith.

Be true to the journey.

Well that last one sounds a little Oprah-esque, but you get what I mean, right? It won’t be long before you have one of those annoying stories about how “you just knew when you knew.” And I guarantee I’ll roll my eyes while you tell it, all the while smiling in my heart.

~Ruth

*Name changed to protect this incredibly brave reader’s privacy