About Me

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I am a wife, mother, and step-mom. I am not perfect, but try my best to reduce damage control. I have incredible family and friends that encourage us on this adventure. My mom always told me that motherhood isnt for whimps... and I couldn't agree more!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Daddy Shopping: My Series For Solo-Moms Regarding Dating

Online Dating: Really??? Am I gonna do this seriously?!

I couldn't believe that I was about to fill out an online dating application for Match.com. I knew I was in a place that I felt ready to find Mr. Right- I was no longer carrying the emotional pain my divorce left me with. But this is what my dating life really resorted too? Browsing ads, weighing options like I was shopping for a vehicle: Looks, Marital Status, Faith, Likes/Dislikes, Occupation, Amount of previous children, Likeliness of wanting children in the future, etc. This all felt so impersonal honestly, but I am a solo mom with full custody of my daughter and I work full time to pay the bills. I don't have the luxury of child support to help out. So, I don't have a lot of time or resources to spend at a gym, church, or Barnes and Nobles shopping Mr. Right. As impersonal as it felt, I knew that if I wanted to try this and see if it really worked- I would have to make a valid attempt to make it personal.

I had researched the online dating sites, and after considering eHarmony.com. and Match.com, I decided to go with the latter because it allows you to search for people- rather than pick from what the website recommends to you as a potential match. I wanted to do a site that participants pay for, with the idea that they would be more serious about finding a potential mate than some late-night company. (I have to also admit that the commercials for Match.com were inspiring, although eHarmony claims responsibility for 2% of all marriages in the US today. Does that also make them responsible for 1% of all divorces?? Ha ha ha- ok Cynical Erin needs to go have a time out now!)  

After writing a clever profile clearly outlining what I was looking for, I started shopping. I was very direct in my profile that I was looking for a serious relationship- not a fling. Despite my best efforts I soon discovered that online dating had to be approached with a critical heart. It could be compared to an airport- quick pick-ups, and lots of baggage it seemed. I found that a lot of guys weren't interested in a commitment as much as a hook up. The rest of the guys seemed to carry baggage they were looking to drop off: jealous ex's, alimony, child support, but most of all damaged hearts not yet healed from the pain of divorce. Few carried that magic "potential" that I was in search of.

I began to honestly doubt the ability for something so impersonal to actually create a personal match of substance. I wont lie and say it isn't time consuming. Maybe because I was focused on making a valid attempt, but I emailed back every guy back that showed potential. I was constantly analyzing their words from a critical standpoint with my most common question to them being, "if you are so wonderful, why are you on Match.com??" I mostly was matched with cops, or other law enforcement details- which came with it's own set of baggage. I was picky... but I felt that I am holding enough in my hand to play the game with cutting discernment. Being picky did present challenges and it was a lot of effort to email back and forth in a timely manner, just to watch "potential" fizzle out in the end. The iPhone app helped. Exhausting.

I have never dated anyone that I wasn't first friends with. Dating sites eliminated this important building stone to relationships. It seemed to be that most guys were interested in jumping into a date without first meeting and just talking. They wanted to see if there was a chemistry before they were willing to put in the time and effort to build any more of a relationship. This totally freaked me out. I have always been more than slightly concerned with the fact that child predators will often position themselves to date single moms so they can have access to the children. If you have ever watch Chris Hanson on Dateline, you will find that there is always one guy that looks completely clean cut, normal, and a responsible member of society that has twisted ideas of sexual attraction. With this concern in mind, I did not divulge the detail that I was a solo mom immediately. I personally feel that I am much more comfortable with a man walking away from me because he doesn't like the fact that I have a child, rather than be attracted to me because I do. It is my job to protect this little girl of mine- if I don't protect her no one will.

After spending a little less than a month on Match.com, I did meet two great guys I totally clicked with on a friendship level. However, one of them I was not attracted to. As shallow as that might be, this is a dating site!! Attraction carries is an important role in a relationship. He also carried some baggage that I didn't rule him out for... but it wasn't giving him any points either. Since he was uninterested in becoming friends first and working on that- I was not interested. C'est la vie! In time I realized that the other guy was not interested in a long term relationship, but rather a temporary distraction. Honesty is important in a relationship, and he had stated he was divorced on his profile... in reality he hadnt yet filed. Be open to compare what his profile says with what you see to gain clarity and avoid spinning your wheels and wasting energy.
I did have two moments of funny awkwardness... One when a good friend of mine from years ago found me on the there. We had a good chuckle over our inability to score a date with someone of substance and found ourselves shopping online. The second moment of awkwardness was when I found my old coach from when I was 14. I was just writing him to say hi, and I think because I was using a dating site to say hi, lines got crossed and things got very awkward because of the potential for creepiness. (Let me take a moment to say that it never got close to creepy! He was a gentleman completely. I think it was just awkward because it could be perceived as creepy. LOL!!) 

Dont forget when writing a profile to carefully protect your little one and yourself.
Many child predators target single parents because of the availability it gives them to the children.
So know when to fail to mention you have a child... and know when it is time to brag on your little one.
Most of all- remember that even though you have interacted online- THEY ARE STRANGERS.

Here are some websites with information on online dating I found useful!!

10 top dating sites:
The Internet Dating Guide

Happy Hunting!


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