Cyber Connections Cafe\’

Real Stories of People Riding the Internet Wave

Dating Dilemas

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I was widowed suddenly, at the age of forty, with four children between the ages of 9 and 17. After a couple of years I decided to make a clean break and move south to be closer to the family and to try and start afresh in a new place.
I joined a hiking club and did evening classes but it was hard meeting enough new people. I tried the local widows and widowers groups but found them to be full of predominantly older women who were not the most warm and receptive people, particularly when I was the youngest in the group by twenty years and attracted the attention of the few men that were there.
I tried match.com but I didn’t want to post a photo for fear of meeting people in the grocery store that I had met online, it would be too embarrassing. But, without a photo, it seemed the contacts were limited. Finally, I settled on trying eharmony.com. The joining process was extensive, with seemingly endless questionnaires, but soon I was emailing with a variety of possible guys. I liked that the contacts were private, I could email through eharmony until I felt I was ready to give out my email address or cell phone number and I didn’t have to exchange photos until I wanted to; eharmony also posts a page of safety concerns.

First date: Terry
Terry and I had long email chats and a couple of phone conversations, he had posted a photo, and he looked great, very athletic like the runner he claimed to be. I sent him my photo and we agreed to meet.
I was so nervous at the first date that I arrived too early and was then awkward about taking a table in case he didn’t show. I was so embarrassed about the whole idea and I felt sure the waitress must know I was meeting an online date that by the time Terry showed up, bang on time, I was completely flustered. However, he turned out to be charming and social and we had a pleasant evening eating dinner at a small restaurant conversing over commonalities and, naturally, about how eharmony was working for us. Terry mentioned some of the women he had dated and I, not wanting to admit this was my first date, talked about some of the interesting men I was talking to online. But, I found myself analyzing his words. Did all these women he mentioned mean he was just intent on dating numbers, a commitment phobic? What was he really looking for in a woman? Was he boasting or just filling in the conversation? I tried to relax and focus on the actual conversation and soon realized the evening had flown by. Terry was good looking and charming however he had one flaw I struggled to get over- he reminded me of my Dad! Which was just too weird. Not much either of us could do about that but apart form that he was great.
As we parted ways at the end of the evening there was a difficult pause, should I shake his hand and say ‘nice to meet you’, give him a quick hug goodbye or perhaps a peck on the cheek? Fortunately he closed the gap with a quick, warm, hug and the comment that “it certainly looks like you have them all lined up!” I walked away baffled. Had I really made it seem that way? I had only been trying to keep up with the conversation. I waited for sometime for a follow up email, we had had quite lengthy chats before the date but nothing came. Absolute silence. Finally, the reason for closure: ‘Other’! What does that mean? ‘Other’ can make you paranoid. There are a whole list of reasons from ‘Too far away’ to ‘Too busy’ but ‘Other’ doesn’t tell you anything and I certainly wasn’t going to ask!
I chalked the date up to experience and was kind of glad he looked like Dad anyway because I don’t think I could really go for someone who reminded me of my father.

Second date: Jim
Jim posted no photo, I wondered why but as I hadn’t posted one I couldn’t complain! We began to email and he seemed a pleasant guy, his emails where short and to the point, no slick comments like Terry here, but soon we swapped photos and decided to meet.
Despite his brevity on the emails Jim turned out to be a really great guy, he was divorced with one child, whom he adored, and he spoke respectfully about his ex wife which I liked, he seemed genuine and honest. He had said in emails which company he worked for but he explained at dinner that he hadn’t posted a photo because he was the CEO of the company and he was embarrassed about anyone from his company seeing his photo online. That made sense to me and we had a great evening, he seemed like a really decent man. But, between these two dates and the slow progress of the whole process I had met a guy at work who I was now seeing on a regular basis. I had turned up at this date not expecting too much and now I was stuck, did I see Jim again and in effect cheat on them both. I just couldn’t do it. It’s not me and Jim was just way too nice to be messed around. I ended up sending him an ‘Other’ closure message. How ironic is that!

Third date: Tony
By now I felt like a pro at this. The guy at work was turning into an ‘on again, off again’ thing so I couldn’t resist another try. I scrutinized Tony’s photo looking for clues to him, his mode of dress, the dog in the photo, the outdoor look, the tan, everything seemed to be giving away little clues to his life. I read each email over and over again looking for the meaning between the lines and I analyzed his voice on the phone.
We met at an Indian restaurant and I was a little surprised when he turned up in a cowboy hat and boots, somehow it didn’t quite jibe with my idea of a N.J born, Italian American lawyer, unless perhaps he was trying to curry favor with the Bush family somehow.
However, he was smart, witty and well mannered and the evening flew by. We hit it off so well that we were the last ones in the restaurant and then he insisted on lingering over dessert. When we finally left the car park was deserted with a dull street lamp outside and my car parked in the far corner. Tony insisted on walking me to my car, despite my protestations, and kept up a steady chatter. I opened the car door, hinting that I was leaving, but he noticed a scientific magazine on the front seat and leant in to get it commenting on interesting it was. By this time I was feeling uncomfortable and keen to get going, I gave him a quick hug goodbye and I tried to slide past him but it was difficult with where he was standing. He then noticed my dress and began to comment on it, while I tried to smile and look confident, I was feeling more and more uneasy and was wondering whether there was more to this than just polite chatter.

Was he hoping for more, was he waiting for me to suggest something else or was he just having such a great time he didn’t want to leave? Finally, half an hour later, I managed to maneuver myself into the front seat and shut the door quickly and waved goodbye cheerily but I was so spooked at his behavior that I drove home via a circuitous route checking for a following car as I went. That will be the last time I leave a place that late at night.

The follow up: Nothing, I never heard a peep from him again! What does this mean?

I have talked to a few others online, one was really interesting and said he was a pediatrician but when I mentioned I had four kids I never heard a thing from him again!
Another guy sounded great and we communicated at length for sometime but after we swapped photos I never heard anything from him again. I’m in great shape and have been told I’m very attractive so that was truly crushing!

This stuff can get to you. For now I’m taking a break!

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