One of the nicest things about being with the same person for such a long time, is that you know them and they know you …inside-out! Your likes and dislikes, the things that make you happy. It’s easy and comfortable, reassuring and lovely…. And it’s truly not until it is gone, that you realise just how perfectly fabulous your life was. Claytie and I were so very lucky to have, and love each other as much as we did. I know that not everyone has that and I am so incredibly grateful that we did.
A lot of those people who have maybe not been so lucky are the ones now on dating sites. All of these people, me included, have all sorts of baggage, and it’s up to you to work out how much you’re willing to carry when you’re trying to meet someone on line, and I guess anywhere! I find it incredibly sad when people make negative comments about an ex as part of their biography…. Saying what a mistake it was to have been married. It is meant as a joke perhaps, but falls very flat for me because it is completely the opposite to where I’m coming from. There are also plenty of people who have had some sort of ‘mid-life crisis’ … countless photos of dad bods on motorbikes or fancy cars, and there are others that just scream desperate loneliness.
It’s a very odd feeling looking at pictures and swiping through, trying to picture what a meeting with someone would look and feel like. It’s quite nerve wracking initiating a conversation, online, where tone is so easily misconstrued. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am absolutely an open book. Usually if it’s in my head, it’s out in the universe. I don’t play games and I find it impossible to be someone I’m not… but a lot of people are not like that, so I find myself second guessing everything!! It’s exhausting!
I haven’t been on an actual date since before Clayton and I got married. We would have date nights sometimes, just the two of us, but nothing too fancy, and none of the butterflies that you get with the new and exciting. So when someone I had been chatting with online, suggested actually meeting for dinner, I was nervously excited. Over the phone, he was lovely, full of stories about his kids and a granddaughter, his job, and mowing the lawn at his mum’s place – a gentleman. He ticked a lot of ‘safe’ boxes …. Everyone has all kinds of advice about safety when you’re online dating, and it can be scary. I told the boys what was happening – and we all agreed that the whole situation was a bit weird, but they were really lovely and told me to have fun.
My date and I had decided to meet at a local pub for dinner – in hindsight, mistake number 1. His suggestion was to meet out the front as he wanted to walk in together, both of us a bit nervous about seeing friends there but keen to meet….. I had been in my usual default state of tears and snot on and off all day – raging anxiety and nerves. Terrified but also excited at meeting a new friend and having a night out doing something different.
Two of my kids decided that they were going to the pub as well and got a lift over with me – mistake number 2! My date saw the kids with me while he was on the phone to me, working out where to meet, and at this point things turned to shit!! Clearly I wasn’t the only nervous one, as my date went into full panic/anxiety mode and without too much conversation, got back into his car and drove off……!!
I was left in the car park, phone in hand, head spinning and dumbfounded at what just happened….. stood up on my first date! So with hurt feelings – and the tears that go with it, I got back into my car and went home!
My boys were so incredibly lovely and supportive, saying all the right things, trying to cheer me up… the consensus being that I had clearly dodged a bullet! And thank god for girlfriends… because almost immediately a message came through to straighten my crown and get my ass back down to the pub and to forget about the dud date. A couple of drinks in, I laughingly told my story to a friend, who then offered to step in and give me a happy ending! – an offer that I very, very awkwardly declined!…. In the end, I had a great evening, and was able to have a laugh about it all! I did delete the app for a couple of days, but loneliness and not knowing how else to meet new people, meant it didn’t stay deleted for very long!
Online dating and trying to see what comes next is a funny thing… everyone you speak to will tell you how weird and awful it is… but there are so many people giving it a go! Surely we can’t all be crazy!? … having said that, if you have any other suggestions for meeting people, let me know! In the Spirit of working out the new next, I’m giving a whole lot of things a go that I’ve never done before, so maybe I’ll try your suggestion and see what happens!?