Somehow, I became the girl who almost always had a boyfriend. They weren’t always the greatest boyfriends, and I wasn’t always happy with the one I had at the time, but I was just about always with someone. I’m not sure how this happened.
This changed last December, when my live-in boyfriend turned to me one seemingly uneventful, South Park on the couch night, and said, “Stacey, I can’t marry you.” I found this shocking. We hadn’t been talking about getting married. Us getting married was a nebulous, it’ll-happen-someday, sort of thing. He apparently didn’t see it that way anymore.
The couple months after that were extremely difficult. We lived together for two weeks after we broke up, then he moved out. Another six weeks later, I moved out too. I walked out of the apartment that had been our home and walked into a much different life.
I found a therapist and began trudging through getting over the breakup. Therapy turned out to be a magical thing. I realized the relationship had been the wrong one for me. This realization made the getting-over-it process much faster. I became excited about meeting new people.
Single and Ready for Dating
Once I had come to grips with my new single status was ready to date again, I didn’t know how to meet these new and exciting men. My friend Susan had been using match.com for a couple years. She had had luck with it and hadn’t met any freaky stalker types. I gave it some thought, then decided to give it a try.
One frigid February morning, I sat in front of my computer and began setting up my profile. This would be my dating home page. I had to upload photos and answer standard check-list questions about my age, income, religion, and drinking & smoking habits. Those were the easy ones.
It was when I had to answer free-form questions that I began to get upset. My mind raced with thoughts like, ‘How did I get here?’ — I was physically sick twice. How had I become single and what was I doing filling out an online dating profile? Was I ready for this?
I took a time-out and sat on my couch for a couple hours, pondering the situation. I decided that I had no idea if anything would come of this online dating thing. I may as well give it a try. I sat back down in front of the computer and came up with essays on my favorite places to go, hobbies, general interests, employment, and what I was looking for in another person. Coming up with honest, yet witty and attracting, answers to these questions is tough.
After I finished answering all the questions, I went through with uploading my profile. I got an auto-response email telling me it would take 72 hours to approve all my information. Basically, they had to make sure I wasn’t naked in any of my photos and didn’t use any curse words in my responses.
My Inbox Overfloweth
I must have quickly passed the Match.com screening process. When I checked my email the next day, it turned out that 72 hours of approval was more like 12 in reality. Men began to be delivered to my inbox. It was amazing when I first started with Match. I’d see new possibilities every day in my inbox, just waiting for my response. Some of these people got responses, some didn’t. I started learn the etiquette of the Match world. It seemed the premiere rule was that no one used the ‘No Thanks’ button. It comes off as mean.
I quickly learned that using match.com takes up a lot of time. You need to send a lot of impression-making emails to people you are already in contact with, keep up with new people coming your way, and look for new people yourself. I found myself spending at least an hour a day on the site. It was interesting and entertaining for a while.
I spent seven months on match.com. I quit for a few months in the middle of those seven because I found a Match delivered boyfriend, then needed time to get over it when we broke up. In those collective seven months, I went out with eight men. I kissed six of them, had sex with three, had one boyfriend, and kept one as a friend. Everything worked out pretty well. No one was completely awful or misrepresented himself. There were definitely some men I liked a lot more than others, but that is the nature of life.
Done with Dating For Now
I’m not currently dating any of these eight people and have quit match.com. The system works almost too well. I found it difficult to be constantly pulled in a different dating direction. Having been the ‘always has a boyfriend’ girl, I’d prefer to focus on one person than date a bunch.
For now, being single is the right thing for me. I don’t need to have a boyfriend just because everyone else is part of a couple. It’s my turn to focus on myself and not a relationship. When I’m ready, I’ll go back to Match and focus on one person at a time. The site isn’t going anywhere, it will be there when I want it. The longer I stay off the site too, the more time it gives new possibilities to sign up.