Deciding to remove myself from all of the online dating sites was a good choice, but it’s been hitting me in different ways as the day progresses. At first it was this feeling of relief because I had been irritated with every alert on my phone. I was receiving likes, winks, views and matches that were draining the battery on my phone and they were from people that saw me as a smile or a body and not as a person. Suddenly my phone was silent. It was around that time that my work flow slowed down and I was bored. I didn’t miss the attention. I missed the mental stretch from flirting and running several conversations at once and staying on top of the details they shared that were really boring in themselves, but fun to keep straight. There’s confidence in low stakes flirting because you really don’t care.
Then there were the few text messages from men that I was thinking of seeing or the ones I had seen, but didn’t plan to see again. I kept shaking my head in exasperation or vocalizing frustration because of the things they were saying. I wondered what I might have said to give them the impression I was okay with being treated as a body. My pictures weren’t sexual or revealing. I wondered what would make them think I was suddenly in love with them when we had never met in person and I reserved the right to be annoyed by the sound of their voice. I tend to think anyone that starts professing romantic ideals before meeting me is laying it on thick and can’t be trusted. I started saying “this isn’t a good fit and I can’t see you.” One response was, “if it doesn’t work out with this person, let me know,” as if I needed to have a replacement to release someone that made me feel like less than I am. There are some that I am going to say goodbye to by text. We talk almost daily but I don’t really care to offer my beach sunsets in exchange for an interview.
There are others that will text me to see if I remember them after a week or two of no contact. I’m just blocking those numbers. They have other options to feel out and I’m just part of the herd. I’m on reserve as a back up. They feel like telemarketers to me.
I set up a date for lunch on Monday and I haven’t cancelled it because he hasn’t made me feel bad about being a woman. I’m also not attracted to him and I may just cancel because it would be a kindness. He lives in Pointe Dume and I couldn’t see myself wanting to go visit him all that often. And yet he’s coming to Burbank for me.
It dawned on me that I was setting myself up for constant frustration and allowing others to abuse my self image. I was allowing it for the idea of company so I wouldn’t have to have dinner alone when my kids are gone. I gave up on finding Mr. Right or Mr. Right Now. I was looking for company and even then, I was so irritated with it all, and it was the suggestion from Mr. Give Me a Second To Wipe Away the Drool that I don’t need to be online to find a date that set off this chain that became cut ties to the abuse I was receiving. It was aggression and it was abusive. Sexualizing a conversation without consent was abuse. Even if I never fell for the game being kicked, emotional manipulation for a catfish game is cruel when your prey is genuinely lonely and only looking for a connection.
So why would I accept what I was receiving for the hope of company? That’s the greater question. I’m great company and I can continue to enjoy my alone time.
I had lowered my bar to find company because I didn’t think I’d find someone worth committing to. Even with a goal of companionship, I felt happier on nights alone than with the dates I did meet. That’s really sad. My standards weren’t that high. I wanted company I could talk to and that was it.
My actual dating profile:
You: A pretty face with as much appreciation for your own body as you expect from me. Be able to take care of yourself.
Me: I take care of myself and my boys (50/50 custody). You won’t meet them unless you can offer them more than my happiness. I’m a happy person. I’m healthy and avoid drama.
Us: I’m looking for company to go out with. I’m most giving and fulfilled in monogamous relationships.
As for Mr. Right, I would love to meet someone smarter than I am. That would be incredibly sexy. And yes, I want his body harder than mine is. I would want to be stunned into silence because his words can monumentally shift everything for me. I would want him to make me question my confidence. Not in the way where I wonder what my value is, but in the way where I’m more curious about where I’m placed in his value system. He should be able to take care of himself and find ways to be happy that aren’t reliant on others.
“Loving another person, even several people, will make your life fuller…But it will not make it complete. You have to do that. You must decide what you live for.”
Wisdom, Amanda Hocking
I had a moment today that shocked and surprised me. I was talking and got caught up in a moment of checking out this beautiful body in the same moment when he said something that made me think, “why have I never considered that?” He has the kind of smile that makes you want to smile and just enjoy being dumbstruck and I had this really stiff smile on my face that was probably all shades of wrong because I was so shocked and uncertain. I haven’t had that feeling in decades. The idea that he could be what I stopped looking for hit me so hard my mouth went dry and my usual smile lost it’s way. As much as it scared me, I didn’t run from that feeling but I had to really sit with it to understand that the feeling in my belly was sexual arousal because my mind was stroked in so many ways. Just wow. Then I resorted to hiding behind a keyboard because in that moment I was okay with being 12. It was a just a moment, but it was full of the feels.
So yeah, the real boy thing just means I’m no longer looking online. I’m following that gut instinct when I get past nerves and shyness. I’m going by what I feel and think and not looking at pictures and what car he drives or where his career takes him because that didn’t matter before I was online and I don’t want it to matter now. There aren’t profiles to pick through and I can just enjoy an invite into his world instead of a need to take it apart and look for cracks in the plaster or shifting foundations with outdated electrical and rusting pipes. I can see and feel and just be.
Until I’m there, I will enjoy the ocean and quiet dinners alone and continue finding the perfect rocks to stick around my pond and set on my porch. I will consider watching more television and maybe even catch a movie. I hear it’s a thing and I should try it because I might like it. I’ll watch night time skies and see if there are any stars shooting through it and this summer I will catch a grunion run. I will get lost in a book while my boys are gaming and the sounds of their joy will filter through the tension I read through. It’s not sad, I promise.