There was a time when, over at TCIE, you'd see the Title of the new blog post: Dating, and assume it was a post about Pregnancy Dating, perhaps insight from a FertilityCare Practitioner on a client, or even a story of a Sonographer, measuring those tiny little miracles as I've done so many times, before...
If you had told me back in the day that I'd be writing a VERY DIFFERENT post about dating on This Cross I Embrace... well, I would have laughed in your face! Me?? Dating??
Joke's on me, cuz here I am.
Something a bit daunting occurred to me as I discerned getting back 'out there' following the declaration of nullity, and that is, I've never dated as an adult! College and post-college relationships were Insta-Serious, and before that, well, the opportunities were few and far between. I had literally been on ONE DATE in my life, as a 17 year old, with someone who wasn't already a "boyfriend." Now, having been civilly married 10 years... the prospect was decidedly more weird.
Armed with the advice of many girlfriends with much more experience than I, I dipped a toe in when the time was right and my discernment was complete. I was mostly nervous about knowing (or not knowing) what I was looking for. I could see that my checklist of desired attributes had been constantly vacillating very early on. "Is he awake at least 6 hours of the day? Excellent, marry me!" to "Oh, weird, he said he was Christian on his profile but he's Catholic, that must mean he's not really proud to be Catholic... delete!" My trust in others, and in myself, was most certainly *off* - and it was a blessing in disguise that the civil divorce process took as long as it did, because I know there would have been NO WAY I was ready to put my best self forward until I did.
But I did.
Very first thing I noticed is that a) it is an entirely different world out there from the last time I was out there (was I ever really out there??) and b) online dating isn't A thing, it's the ONLY thing. Obviously as a single parent it makes things easier for meeting new people, but even the never married, no kids crew seem to congregate to the "hide behind a computer screen/iPhone" world, now.
But, I grabbed the reigns and went with the flow.
And, quickly discovered I am not cut out of the same mold as the rest of the online dating population.
Evidently, as a woman in her 30's online dating, I should be:
Asking a man his height before I even know his name.
Ascertaining a man's bank account and timeline for when he thinks he can fertilize my eggs.
Making the first move. Then continuing the make the moves, until it becomes abundantly clear that he has no moves, no thoughts, no opinions, and no cares of his own. #thanksfeminism
Posting pictures of myself jumping on a beach, covered in mud, and with an elephant. (All in one would probably score me even more points.)
Demanding to know when and where all of the man's pictures were taken.
Interested in starting tons of meaningless texting conversations that go on for months on end without ever actually meeting in person.
And, last but not least, open to the "ethical, non-monogamous" relationship possibility.
Now, hopefully you've established that these are not from Catholic-specific sites or apps. But, lest you think it was any better on those, here was the checklist for men on those sites:
CRICKETS (i.e. no contact and no response to messages) from the same men who "like" all of my photos.
Multiple creeper messages pledging their undying love and resolve to make me the "happiest woman on the planet" (boy, do you have me pegged, after all, happiness is all I'm really after...)
Rad Trads who have already established that I'm going to hell since I'm divorced.
Men who seem normal enough... at first... until I let a day go by because, you know, I have more important things to do, and then get the angry "What do I have to do to get you to message me back????? What's the secret???!!!" messages.
Profiles that utterly and completely contradict their actual status.
It's a ZOO out there.
And here I am, trying to find my way to the panda exhibit...