I always scoffed at online dating, insisting that it was the least spiritual thing I could do, on a computer, with algorithms and sales pitches and gross hookup predators! Please! But loneliness softened my scorn. More and more I could see that putting myself out there required courage and an open mind. I slowly became willing.
Preparing to participate in the daunting world of online dating, for me, was then an entirely thoughtful and systematic experience. I was not going to lose. I was gonna kick its ass! I first spent a few months talking to friends and family to gain their support and feedback. I had not dated anyone at all in a year (a solid year break from romance was an added superpower btw), and we all agreed it was a reasonable time to begin.
Online dating has turned out to be one of the most spiritually expansive journeys I would take. By the time I finish this 6-part blog series, I think you will see why!
Before this venture, I had already witnessed this seemingly “desperate” option as a disappointing one, except for the rare few that actually found love, enduring love, possibly lifelong and worthy of the costs involved. The success stories with which I was familiar was a sum total of exactly 2 couples. They had met online years ago and are still choosing to be with each other. Thus, my observation was that dating online is a rare jackpot or a predictable catastrophe, a microcosm of the real world! People who had no luck had often concluded that online dating was a waste of their time and money. They often gave up trying to date altogether after only a couple months. Dating left them somewhat bitter or hopeless. But I am a very willful witch. I was determined to not let a few bad dates spoil my hopes of finding love.
Yet, I had no strong notion that I would find success, which I think in the end was helpful. I did not assume I would find someone, and I did not assume I would NOT find someone. This is where the spiritual experience began. Because what I did believe is that dating would go exactly the way it was supposed to go. If I was not going to find love in the 6 months I was dating, I was going to at least learn a lot about myself, a little more about love, and likely grow from it. I knew that I would not bother to date just for fun. I was not going on any second dates just because I was lonely. I was also not interested in casual sex. This was not a moralistic choice. I just wasn’t looking for that.
I never really had dated before the six month contract I signed. Oh, believe me, I had definitely been married and had numerous love affairs prior. Some would say I was unlucky in love, since these relationships did not last forever. Alternately, I claim that I had never really even tried.
The bottom line is that I had just never actually dated in the traditional sense of the word. I had never thoughtfully selected potential mates with whom I would share purposeful time exploring the chemistry and common ground that just might prove to generate true love. I had never been so intentional. I had also never allowed myself to be discerning in my pursuit. I had always oversimplified my notion of romance, buying into the Romeo and Juliet version. If you were a handsome bad boy, we were on! There were many red flags that I ignored, and there were lots of ideals I just presumed my partner shared with me. Turns out, I had little notion of how to find the sort of guy I would want long term, and I wasn’t sure he existed.
This time, I was fully prepared to go at this with the wisdom and clarity of a 54 year old woman. I am sorry if my readers think then that we are so different. It is my belief that we are all just children seeking someone to delight in and maybe stick around.
In hindsight, after six months of dating online, I can now claim I did actually seriously consider over a dozen men, several of whom I eventually did meet in person, and here are some basic statistics to give you a picture of the starting point:
From mid-November 2019 to mid-May 2020, I spoke on the phone or emailed with about 25 men in total, vetting about half of them from the simple list of absolute requirements, sometimes even declining a date due to shallow reasons, like a voice that grated on me, or an offensive comment, or the fact that they were drunk, or worse, boring. It is not important that you and I have the same standards, just that we know what our own standard is. I had a long history of ignoring what I needed, so it was important that I stick to the list as I had created it. As you view my list, consider your own!
- He had to be taller than me. I tried to love shorter men before and I find short men to be very sexy, but I always felt large and awkward next to them, so no. A lot of men lie about their height and I had to be very assertive in assuring they were honest. 3 men were rejected due to misrepresenting themselves (and were 2 inches shorter than me). One man, who was the exact same height as me, was IN due to his adorable straightforwardness and awesome sense of humor.
- Must have either a college degree (I have two), or a strong literary mind (an avid reader) and clear capacity for learning and language.
- Must know and use his own artistic or creative side.
- Must have a moderate to liberal sense of politics and values.
- Must be a spiritual seeker, someone who takes daily action to sustain a connection to something divine, be it nature, an amenable religion or strong knowledge of theology. Christians and Witches don’t tend to be a strong match, unless one of them is insincere.
- Must be gainfully employed, preferably a professional or in love with his work, and capable of paying his own bills. Enormous debt or a dependent mate is a no.
- Must be a strong match in appearance, as in youthful and health-conscious like me, but not obsessed or “perfectionistic”(Ick).
- Age ranged from 48 to 58. This was new for me. I had always been involved with men significantly to moderately younger, but I was now ready to try men my age.
- Must live within an hour of my address
Negotiables: children, race, prior marriages, sobriety, traveler, competitive sports
After these qualities were checked off, it came down to actual chemistry and personality…and hoo boy! That is where things got interesting! Let’s be frank here; sexual attraction is important. My good friend says, “Yeah, yeah, that’s all great, but do you wanna put your tongue in his mouth?” This always makes me laugh because it is so true!
Next, I had to confess my own qualities as a viable mate. And trust me, that was not comfortable, but the results were fascinating! More on that tomorrow!