I wanted to write about how to be successful online when you’re a divorced single working mom.
This would of course be based on my assumption that I would actually carry out this endeavor successfully.
At the beginning of my written thoughts and experiences, my brain jumped back and forth and sideways as I pondered the agony of finding a comfortable place to live while forcing a reality that I just didn’t want to face before.
The reality that I’m alone I have decided to raise my family to find a new partner to share my life with.
There are too many reasons why I haven’t really invested myself in this cause in the past, but here I stand in front of you now, telling the world that I am actually ready now.
The days when friends were able to introduce me to someone, which has always been the case in my life, have given way to my newfound devotion to the potential online platform.
Looking at endless pictures and profiles in the same way, I am looking for a pair of shoes in my DSW app. I plunged into this online dating social forum which is mostly powered by artificial intelligence and algorithms.
Shortly afterwards, I realized how unfair it felt to be in this place at all. That my life was somehow reduced to algorithms that should find the love of my life.
It actually opened my mind and made me think about the person I needed to develop and transform into as I found new identities on my journey after divorce. I am and have been a single mother for two decades. A title I never wanted but in which I learned to hug myself.
And in the last twenty years it has actually become what I identify with the most. I am not sad that I am a single mom. But I’m mad that I feel pressure as I get older. The pressure I need to find a potential “we” for my current “me”.
“Being someone’s first love can be great. But being someone’s last is more than perfect. “
While I open the app and shop, I search through countless pictures of men. Never in my life have I seen so many selfie pictures of men behind the wheels of their cars! What makes a man think that this is the closest resemblance to himself?
Maybe you think it’s showing your inner James Dean? Then there are the bathroom mirror shots which look like they hate every minute of the picture they’re taking. The pain spread across her face, trying to find the right angle and hold the phone low enough so it wouldn’t show up. Your contortions are inevitable.
Knee-deep in profiles
I’ve read through profiles that are deep and articulate, confessing their most sacred thoughts like a Robert Browning poem to those as deep as Shallow Hal. And with that criterion, the algorithms go on … to find the true love that fits your style, preferences, intelligence and expectations.
As I keep browsing the photos and profiles, I see a highlighted heart and envelope icon at the bottom of my app. The equivalent of “You Got Mail”!
When I open my hearts I see that there is a list of men who liked a certain image or feeling in my statements or just my mood in general. A nice thing to see and it feels vindicated that maybe I filled out the forms in the app correctly.
I smile and go to the highlighted letter icon. In it I get short messages that say things about how I really liked your profile and would like to chat at some point, or hey, I think we’re neighbors and maybe we can meet.
Or then there were one or the other who asked: Would I rather live without internet or air conditioning and heating? Huh? I wipe that away. I see names like Kuschelbär, Just a simple man on a mission or HeMan for SheWoman and then there’s just … Bob.
On one such endeavor, after sending messages back and forth on the app and getting a feel for each other’s personality, we decide to share cell phone numbers and actually speak. A call will be arranged. I think this guy is pretty cool and smart on his messages so maybe we just might have a connection.
When I answer the phone, I hear the sound of a man’s voice that almost knocked me off the chair I was sitting in. Before I had even said a few words, he asked me why I couldn’t speak to him the night before when I told him I had a late conference call and couldn’t chat when he saw me on the app was.
Apparently he saw that I was actually online in the app because of a label that shows a person is alive. What he saw was that I switched my cell phone a little while talking on the phone. I can actually chew gum and walk at the same time. But the accusatory tone in which he questioned me, not to mention the creepy stalker style he displayed before he even said hello, knocked me out instantly.
I tried to break his flurry of words being thrown at me to pause and insert my apology for why I had to turn the phone off. Disappointed? Yes. Defeated? No, I will hold out.
“Online dating is like sliding your tablet around a cafeteria. Nothing looks good, but you know you have to choose something when you get to the cashier. “
I have to admit that I feel very brave when I hit “Like” and “Share” on the dating app. You could rule the world with such an app! But when someone actually reacts to me, my courage weakens and I get into doubt.
I quickly review my pictures looking for a shot that is authentic and not overly enchanted for fear that he will see me unglamorized in a possible Zoom call, and I imagine he is trying to express his disappointment with what he sees on the screen to hide.
Do I look fat or slim?
Did I sound smart and cool?
Did I sound insecure and weak?
Do I sound too brave or too meek?
What did he like about what he saw in my photos and on my profile, and the bigger question … why?
As I calm down, I find that these are the byproducts of infidelity that hit me back. The self-doubt that seems to be still alive and well in me and that has lived there since my ex-husband left me for another older woman. At least that’s on my side. The only break I get is that she is older than me and always will be!
I take a deep breath and say to myself, “Hey you! You’re adorable, smart, successful, and a catch! What do you think? And stop all that unsafe chatter! “So I listen to myself and move on …
“In search of integrity, passion, family values, a sense of humor and a kind soul … as long as he is over six feet tall, athletic and takes home over $ 200,000 after tax.”
Slow down my role!
I’ve decided to slow down. I pour myself a cup of tea and take the time to read every profile of those who pique my interest.
In the few lines he describes about himself, I want to get a comprehensive feel for the person. What is he looking for? Is he looking for love or friendship? A buddy or the love of his life?
Much can be revealed in those line or two. I’ve read things like “looking for someone with inner and outer beauty who likes to look good”. Translation: Hot woman! Enough said … wipe immediately! Then there is a man who says only one thing about himself. “I’m retired and an Uber driver.” Hmmm mot much to do with this. Lack of information or articulation = wiping.
I know … I know you all think that I just don’t like this and I don’t have the right attitude. Indeed, you may be right. I didn’t find the online thing to be that fun. I really thought it would be as fun as finding the perfect pair of shoes in my DSW app. (I actually call these dating apps the DSWM app. The app for divorced single mothers.)
Unfortunately this is not the case. But I’m not a quitter. I have been committed to this endeavor for at least 30 days. After this time, I will review my thoughts along with my successes and failures. As one of my friends told me, I just have to approach it with a light heartedness.
So I’m going to take their advice and do just that. It doesn’t mean I won’t still be wiping out those that I just can’t see as an option, but I can be slower to do so. Who knows! I can only tell you that I found Mr. Perfecto!
“A woman has to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be grateful for a good man.” Elizabeth Taylor
I agree! And so I continue to forge ……