Here are some actual messages guys have sent me. (Don’t be like them.)
From Zoosk, 2 days ago
Setup: One last one for the road. I’d just joined Zoosk last Wednesday, and received the following, message from a guy on Friday:
Him: You have 8 kids? Your unit must be all stretched to hell and gone!!!!
It was a first-contact email. I’d never “approached” him previously, had never “met” or “seen” him before. It was completely out of the blue. He was good-looking, 51 years old, lives reasonably nearby, and had a decent profile. I was dumbfounded. Part of me wanted to respond with a snide remark (“Shocker, that you’ve never been married,” or something like that), but instead I took the high road:
Me: Wow – you could’ve just clicked away. Didn’t have to be mean. I hope you are able to find healing from whoever hurt you. Peace.
(Of course, I’d declined him from being able to interact with me just before I decided to respond to him at all, so I don’t know if he got my response.)
I know that people say mean and nasty things as a result of having been hurt. But this psychology-insight didn’t stop the onslaught of negative thoughts I had about myself that night – things I’d worked very hard to put to rest – especially that exact thing he’d said about me: that my body was destroyed, that I was damaged goods, undesirable, and unlovable, etc.
Fortunately, I’ve learned that the sensation I was experiencing was shame, and that the best way to deal with shame is to call it out. So I posted about that interaction, and my response, along with my negative self-feelings, on Facebook. Well, I may have taken the high road, but my Facebook friends did not feel the need to do so. In words that would make a sailor proud, they assured me that the guy was a jerk, and that I was beautiful, wonderful, etc. (Sometimes social media can be a very good thing!)
So I’m still trying to navigate these waters, pretty badly at times. I quit sometimes, take a break, and then dive back in. I’m admittedly being very picky, sticking to my age- and distance-parameters. But I figure there’s no need to rush. Online dating is good because you can identify people based on specific numbers… but you don’t know if there’s any chemistry until you actually meet them. Speed dating lets you know the chemistry part up-front… but, in my case, I’ve wound up meeting a lot of great guys who live too far away – like south-Denver. (They need to do speed dating for north-Denver. That would help.) But sometimes I wonder if any of it is worth it, because you’re going to some lengths to meet someone who wouldn’t naturally be on the path of your life. Sometimes I think that maybe I should just give up and let life take its natural course and see what happens…?