My dear friend Liz is back with another instalment in her life (post divorce) and this time she is hitting us with her recent dalliance with ‘online dating’ after divorce! I will be upfront with you- I was dating before the days of the ‘online’ world really taking over and I found it hard enough then! The thought of now having that sense of excitement (and dread) available all the time thanks to real time dating sites and apps terrifies me! So when Liz rang me a few weeks ago to ask me if I was interested in an article on the ‘joys’ of online dating after divorce I said- ‘Hit me with it’!
“Divorce really looks good on you. You’re hotter, smarter and more amazing than you ever have been. Soooo, who ya datin’?”
That’s my friend Tiff…she’s married and says she likes to live vicariously through me. She’s also the one who told me “Divorcees are hot” when I thought no one would ever want to date me because I was “divorced”. How right she was. It’s been 18 months since I Ieft my husband, my marriage, my dog, my home and my life as I knew it.
It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever gone through, but I’m happy to report – given time and a bucketload of personal development – I am now living my absolute best life, trying new things, making new friends and going on hot dates.
I’ve gone in blind, I’ve been set up, I’ve found my own and I’ve been online. Online. Let’s talk about that for a moment. It’s a big wide world in itself; full of apps and websites, profiles and pictures, swipe rights and lefts.
But I have a confession to make … I don’t like hate online dating. Loathe it, actually. I’ve tried it on two separate occasions and I have met some wonderful men – just not men who I would date had I met them in “real life”. You see, I can’t wrap my head around the whole “let’s talk and text before we actually make eye contact and see if there’s a connection”. I don’t get that. In real time, you would see someone across the room, give a little smile, say hello, flirt and see if there’s a spark.
With online, you see some cute pics, swipe right, get a message through – mostly it will be something along the lines of “Hey, how are you?” sometimes you might only get a “hey”. You’ll to and fro a while (two days in online dating land is like a life time in real time by the way. A week and you’re practically married!). You deliver your life in a neat little package (you’ll get it down pat or cut and paste from another message) and suck whatever info you can out of your new “swipe” to learn about their hobbies, interests, work, family, pets and so on. You’ll think “this guy sounds great!” and then one of you will say, “Do you want to get a drink or grab a coffee sometime”. If it’s you, you’ll wait anxiously for the verdict (or to see if you’ll ever hear from them again), but it’s usually a yes. If it’s them, you’ll (make that, some people) will make them wait for an answer, but it’s usually yes too (I never was good a playing that game – just reply for God’s sake!). Then the big date night arrives and you’re nervous, but you dress up and whack on your fave red lippie and hot black play suit, jump in an Uber and head into the City.
(It’s at this point I’m still super optimistic because there’s been regular conversation via messaging and you have a lot in common. But whatever happens, I’m always excited to meet someone new).
You arrive, walk in, shoulders back and you see him. This can go only one of two ways:
- He’s hot (he’s everything you imagined. Yes, optimism wins!).
- He’s not.
So, let’s go with he’s not at all what you expected (shorter, taller, older, younger, doesn’t look anything like those photos that must have been taken circa 2005). You’ve locked eyes annnnnnd…nothing. But you give a big smile and say “hi” and spend some time getting to know another human being. Yes, there’s no connection but it’s not a waste of time as many may say. You never know where a meeting can take you; what doors may open – and what hot friends he may have 😉
But that’s what I class it as, a meeting. Some people would turn on their heel and leave ASAP, some would have a friend call with an “emergency” (yes, that old chestnut still happens: “What, you’ve been in a car accident? I’ll be right there. Sorry, I have to go, there’s been an emergency”), while others would stay for five minutes before saying “look I’m just not feeling it”. I stayed for all of my dates because they were nice enough men. If they were weirdos, needed anger management classes, were obnoxious or if I felt unsafe or uncomfortable, I would have politely excused myself and then legged it out of there (I can run a marathon in heels!).
But usually, I spent an hour on the date but I always said I only had that amount of time because I had plans to meet the girls for dinner or a drink afterwards. That’s my way out – and I did always have plans afterwards. If it’s going great, we can always catch up another time for round two.
So when it ends you say your goodbyes, he may give a kiss on the cheek (that always weirded me out … I’ve only just met you!”) and go on your merry way. You will almost always receive a message to say “thanks, I had a great time tonight” either that night or the next day. Then you decide if you want a second date.
Generally, the men I met online were lovely – SIDE NOTE: Some were not. Some were outrageous in the info they wanted to know of me, some were rude and obnoxious, but that’s another story for another time. But these guys weren’t men I’ve ever consider dating in real life so there were no second dates for me.
I know there are online dating love stories out there – after going on 32 dates in six months, one of my friends has met “the love of her life”. One out of 32 – who has time for that?! I do have two sets of friends who met online; one couple is married and the other getting married this year.
But for me, I’m just happy to give online dating the wide berth and meet someone face to face first and then find out how good their messaging skills are and if they use emojis <insert happy face!> :-).
Elizabeth Campbell is The Word Stylist, an Amazon best-selling author and award-winning journalist and editor…and she’s also a “hot divorcee”. You can find out more about her here.
If you have a story to share about divorce, love or life that has a happy ending then please get in touch!
If you are navigating the world of divorce and are not sure where to start, you can order a copy of Clarissa’s book, ‘Splitsville- How to separate, stay out of Court and stay friends’ here.
Clarissa regularly holds Family Law Information Sessions in Brisbane. You can learn more and register for the next sessions to be held on Monday 21 March 2016 here- Information Session