Sunday, June 23, 2013

Oh boy

Friends. I have a confession. But before I get there, I need to tell you I have dating fatigue. I am really tired of going on first dates. Like, really really tired.

I think this is partly because I'm introverted — I'm energized by alone time, and often feel drained after hanging out with people, unless they're close friends. Hanging out with virtual strangers in a date setting is most exhausting of all.

I don't think my introversion is the only thing to blame, though. Because I rarely meet a man to whom I am drawn romantically. I meet loads of fantastic, godly men each month, but I rarely feel that thing with them. You know, that inexplicable chemistry and connection.

I've tried to talk myself into feeling that thing with many of the amazing guys that have asked me out. I've gone out with dozens of good men with the hope that an evening with them would kindle a spark. I've told myself that x-factor attraction fizzles with time, and then all that's left is character and commitment.

But it's so disappointing to go on date after date on which nothing develops, and I can't bring myself to maintain a purely practical approach to love.

And I've realized that if that thing is not there, it's not there. Sure, it could develop over time, but it's probably going to develop in a comfortable friendship setting. Not over a few forced dates.

So I've recently changed my dating policy. I'm game to go on a first date with a man if I initially feel some spark of attraction and chemistry; otherwise, it's dinner and dancing with my girlfriends for me.

Typically, a guy with whom I have chemistry and connection comes along every two years or so. And since I recently got out of a relationship with an "x factor" man, I realize it could be awhile before I go on another first date.

But...what if I got more exposure to men? Would that lessen the gap in time between meeting men who are romantically interesting?

I've been asking myself this the last couple of months with the knowledge that I'm already meeting so many men in my social circles that I don't think I could do much more to meet others. So if I'm going to try to meet more men it's going to dating.

And folks, this has never, ever been an option for a number of reasons.

Reason #1: Um, hello, welcome to LoserVille. Population: Me and 500 other desperate singles in my area.

Have any of you ever felt the stigma of online dating?

I can't figure out why, but online dating has always seemed dreadfully embarrassing to me. What if people find out I'm doing online dating? What if men I know are on the same dating website, see my profile, and then suddenly realize I'm a loser??? 

The possibilities make me squirm.

They shouldn't, though.

Because I know online dating is normal and accepted nowadays. At least in Orange County, anyway. A ton of my attractive, fun, godly friends are online. Some of the best men I've gone out with over the past year are currently online. Many of my friends met their spouses online. Heck, even my most recent 'x-factor' guy is online! So this stigma thing should be for the birds ... it should be.

Reason #2: How can you possibly assess attraction potential via an online profile? Won't I have to meet lots of guys in order to see if there's actual potential? And won't it be exhausting to meet up with all these random men — so exhausting I just avoid it all together?

Reason #3: Do I even have stamina for this? I mean, dating is like a part-time job. And if I do this online thing, I'm going to have to go out with guys with whom I'm not sure there's attraction. I'm not sure I feel up to taking that on right now.

So I've told myself I will join an online dating site when I'm no longer getting regular opportunities to go out with the men I meet organically. When that day comes I'll consider crossing the online dating bridge. In the meantime, I will try not to think about online dating, and when I do, I will make sure I have my inhaler and a paper bag nearby.

And then, yesterday, something came over me.

I don't know if it's that I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold, or if I sat in the sun for too long, but I decided to do a three-day trial with an online dating site.

And I don't know what happened between yesterday and today, but I decided to sign up — I mean actually pay — for a few-month membership with an online dating site.

Someone call the medic. Or the shrink. I am not myself and do not know what happened.

I just felt a strong impulse telling me I need to try it, and now is the time. It was such a drastically different attitude than I've had the last few months that I promptly signed up before I could chicken out. And then I got the shakes and felt like throwing up.

But still, I did it. I'm in.
And it feels vulnerable. Like I'm standing on the top of the pole jump on a ropes course, wobbling
wildly as I survey the landscape.

But it's also kind of fun. Because I like new adventures, and I like getting outside of my comfort zone.

So we'll see what happens.

And as my sister reminded me this afternoon, if nothing else, I can write about my experiences. And I will.

Somehow that makes me feel loads better.

© by scj


  1. I tried online dating 8-9 years ago - before it was as socially acceptable as it is now. I didn't do it long but I did meet some interesting guys and had fun conversations, if nothing else. Also one of my best friends met her husband online, and my sister in law did as well. It's sort of the thing to do these days. Have at it - good luck!

    1. Jenny, you're right. It is "the thing to do" nowadays. Gosh, and yet I still feel so much anxiety this morning. So I guess this adventure is revealing something in my hidden heart that I need to address. And it's always some kind of grace when things bring anxiety to the surface, alerting us of something within that isn't resting in God's goodness and sovereignty.

      I'm glad to hear more success stories of people meeting online! Yay for good people meeting other good people they wouldn't have otherwise met!!!

      Thanks for the encouragement.


  2. I found there were lots of guys who said they were Christian and who even went to church and listened to Christian radio but it was quite another thing to find a man who really walked with Christ in his daily prayer life and knew the huge commitment Jesus asks of men as husbands and fathers. We're all in different places on our journey with Christ but I wanted a man who was comfortable saying I LOVE JESUS and wanting a wife to grow with!

    Online dating really helps to narrow in on those men. Profiles get you a long way and then a few emails usually show whose ready to settle down and if it's the same kind of lifestyle you're looking for. It also helps minimize awkward/boring 1st date syndrome because you've usually talked about some big and serious things before sitting down to that first hamburger!

    I met my husband on eHarmony 3 years ago and we've been growing in love and Christ ever since! I would have NEVER ever ever given him a chance if I had met him in person but within two weeks, I knew he was the man for me. I also love knowing that if God calls me home early, my husband would continue to make it his top priority to lead our girls in a life for Christ, and really isn't that we're all trying to do in the end?

    Sterling Peake Jaquith

    1. Sterling!

      I was JUST talking about you the other day with my colleagues. We were sharing most beautiful names we've ever heard, and all these years after high school I still think Sterling Peake is takes the cake. :)

      I have had the same experience you mention in your first paragraph. Nominal Christianity is so pervasive in Orange County, it can be hard to find a man who is really committed to picking up his cross and following Jesus. Thankfully, I do know a lot of men who really love Jesus; alas, there just hasn't been that spark with any of them...;)

      I've seen already, in this first 24 hours of trying online dating, that it's super easy to identify the men who appear to love and serve Jesus. Their pictures, values, vision of life, and messages to me are really telling. So this could be as helpful for me as it was for you!

      I love that you met your husband online, and that he wasn't what you expected. He sounds like a good and trustworthy man of character. :) I've heard similar stories, and they always make me smile. God has a way of giving us more than we could dream up on our own!

      I'm glad to hear from you, Sterling. Thanks for your encouraging insight.


  3. Eharm doesn't screen their people. I got matched with a guy who had just gotten out of prison for TOUCHING LITTLE GIRLS. Eharm also has deceptive pricing and matching. They will hold off sending matches until you recommit to more time and money.

    1. Oh Snapdragon, that is so yucky. I'm sorry you had to experience that.

      I'm on a site that's a little more lax than eHarmony (no algorithm), and intend to be ultra careful.

      Thanks for the heads up.


    2. Well, at least the guy was open about what he had done, and I think there may be someone out there for him- someone without daughters.
      The good thing about meeting people online is that you can usually figure out pretty quickly who WON'T work for you and then move on to those who might. Saves time.
      But do be careful. There are worse things than remaining single...

  4. Great entry Sarah! *steps on soapbox* Not a desperate move AT ALL, the dating culture in urban areas in the U.S. is fundamentally BROKEN due to a number of factors (emphasis added because I believe our culture forces people to turn online dating as one of the best options out there besides perhaps Christian speed-dating (google Christian Speedmatch if anyone is interested) I believe one of the biggest factors to blame for a broken dating culture is the highly idealized romanticism we see in movies that purports that a romance that begins with any kind of assistance or begins in a way that is less than a 100% "organic" is somehow lesser or not as valued as other romances. And this relates to an unhealthy emphasis placed on chemistry as a deciding factor for whether or not someone is worth going out with initially in addition to the "grass is greener on the other side" mentality that plagues people in urban areas mostly. All three ideals are completely false. These ideals are only a few hundred years old and they show up more heavily around the time that things like freedom and personal liberty were he debated and discussed.....hence so a many arranged marriages before that time. Compound these notions about romance and another American ideal called financial independence and you have men who are encouraged by mostly everyone to not pursue a woman seriously until he is "financially set" which will take him into his early 30ies at the earliest to achieve that's without any interference from his own mistakes or a poor economic conditions interfering, so early 30ies is best case scenario for many men. (Now if a decade or more of sexual sin were not a consequence here then I'd be all for it) This leaves women in their 20ies forced to accept that a man who would be ready to marry her might be significantly older than her, something manyaren't willing to accept or open to for reasons I can understand. Combine this with the fact that communities used to be more involved in the matchmaking process (arranged marriages) then they are today, then add in other cultural factors like it being increasingly accepted to 1.) have sex before marriage and 2.) move in together before marriage and you get a general devaluing of marriage as a whole and even Christian gentlemen who are less willing to get serious about taking the plunge because, after all, why should they if they can get their needs met outside of a risky thing called marriage? Add in the use of pornography here and you have a whole host of guys who in their 20ies and 30ies who are 1.) not financially ready 2.) Not motivated enough for reasons that are debatable 3.) Not convinced marriage is the best option as evidenced by trusting in God's plan for male and female relationships and you have 4.) a lot of women that are condoning the behaviors, making poor choices themselves and are completely confounded at how the dating culture seems so confusing and broken. Now I sound like I'm harping on men quite a bit here but I think our cultural values are more responsible for the predicaments men and women find themselves in when it comes to dating and that men and women are just products of this environment (although they can definitely choose differently if they make up their minds to) Wow *stepping of soapbox now* haha. I would like to add that if you met your spouse without any outside assistance and married before 25 you are LUCKY and the EXCEPTION, NOT the norm! So please don't criticize people who were not as lucky as you were! Thanks!