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Online Dating: A Precautionary Tale

For a while, I was certain I would be alone forever. I joked someday I would be surrounded by cats, knitting sweaters long into eternity. Looking for someone special was impossible. Sure, I came into contact with people via my jobs and school, but aside from the typical salutations, I didn't spend time getting to know anyone well. As a business professional continuing education, I hardly knew who I was, much less have time to get to know another. Essentially, I was single and loving it, for I had no other choice. Nor did I have time to think of how lonely I was. With two full time jobs and a full course load, I saw myself as a dull, dull girl. All work and no play. Men were interested, but I had little time to maintain a relationship with them. A date here and a date there really didn't amount to the commitment I so desired.

The next semester, I decided to take things slow. I had the two jobs, both part time instead of full time. I wish I could say this was of my own choosing, however the failing economy did me a favor. My full course load was much easier to juggle since my jobs allowed me more free time. The free time was a blessing and a curse. Now able to finish my coursework in a timely manner, I had this creeping feeling. Somewhere between slowing down and opening my mind, I realized something was missing. Though surrounded by people day in, day out, I suddenly realized I was almost 30 and had no one special in my life. I doubted myself. Seriously Dating another was an ancient memory. By occupying all my time, I had pushed away any prospects for a meaningful relationship. Some were understanding, some not so much. At this time, I decided I needed to put myself out there.

With the many venues for Dating available, I decided to try online Dating. This was not my cup of tea, I met some interesting characters... let me emphasize interesting. There was the Sex fiend. I never met him in person, or had an actual conversation on the phone. His explicit IMs were enough to send me running!! How did looking for love turn up this Sex crazed maniac? Did I misrepresent myself? In fact, I did not. I double checked and had a friend peruse my profile just to make sure. The next person was not much better. I had moved from a man lost in promiscuity to a man just plain lost!! This man was cordial, polite, attractive, educated, and gainfully employed. He really seemed like the total package... the key word here "seemed". As we went from email, to IM, to actual phone calls, I wondered why someone this magnificent was still single. We met in person, had a great dinner, and had an overall great time. On my way home, he called no less than six times. Clingy. Before I could even call him back, he had left a few choice words for me on my voicemail. By this time, I was getting pretty discouraged with my selections. Then I met the clincher, this man was all of the above. The Deranged Sex Fiend. He was nice to talk to and was not outright inappropriate as the man I previously mentioned. We made our way up the ladder to talking on the phone. He was pretty complimentary, attractive, attentive. Though we spoke often, I was not quite ready to meet him and he didn't press the issue. I was satisfied with this slow progression. There was some promise there of a possible meaningful relationship. That is until his wonderful, loving wife gave me a call. I had no clue he was married. I apologized and reassured this poor lady only to be informed I was one of many. As if that wasn't a slap in the face, she went on to tell me a few were minors. A few?? Minors?? I never imagined I would be duped by a sexual predator! The entire fiasco really scarred me. I partially blamed the dating site for not investigating these people further. The drama of online dating was too much for me.

My coworkers knew of my recent slew of wayward online exploits. One lady even went as far as to set me up on a blind date. I wasn't even feeling worthy of a date at this point. Don't get me wrong, I had no problem making friends on my own, but unfortunately, I attract the crazies. I assumed this would be the same way. The man was a perfect gentleman. We hit it off. He too, had met some interesting people in his time. We could have made a contest out of our crazy date chronicles. Needless to say, internet dating was not for him either. We had a nice courtship. We layed our intentions out from the beginning. As it turns out, we had many similarities in what we wanted in the future. Time went on and we grew closer. Eventually, this amazing man asked me to marry him.

Now, many moons later, we are the happiest we have ever been. We still laugh about our strange suitors. Who knows, one day we may share those stories with our grandkids. As it stands, I don't own a single cat, and I don't knit. This one is forever.

By Terrie Fletcher -

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