In my mid-twenties, I logged on to an online dating website. If you asked me today, I swear, I couldn’t even tell you which one it was. It proved to be a decent piece of my life at that moment as I matched with a handsome young man who was incredibly intelligent, independent, secure in his job, funny, and respectful. We lasted all of three months. In all honesty, we were unclear as to what we wanted from each other in the beginning.
After that third month, I noticed we were good together, compatible. We enjoyed each other’s time, we did jigsaw puzzles together, went to the bookstore, walked in the local parks, etc. We had in-depth, intense, and impressive conversations. However, he did not want anything serious.
Thus, our end made its way in front of us all too soon. I think about him from time to time. Although we only dated for three months, those were a pretty damn good three months and I smile when I think of them. Every so often, I wonder how he’s doing. If he still lives in the Greensboro area. If he ever got his own business up and running.
He was the first guy I dated who kept an immaculate apartment (much like myself) and at that time, I thought it odd as the only young men I’d ever dated, almost never really cleaned house or cooked, let alone had a place that was worth leaving my place for one night or two. He had all these things yet we did not work out.
The more I thought about him, the more I realized — I was dating a male version of myself and today that seems pretty creepy but that’s what it was. It was going to fail and fail hard and fast had it not done so when it did.
But, something pressed upon me a few weeks ago. I have been thinking of saddling up the old horse and getting back on it to give it another go. I did so on Thursday night. I e-trotted over to eHarmony, answered their compatibility questions and guaranteed matching assessment quiz, built a profile, tossed up a few photos, then promptly deleted it after everything began rolling into view.
I lost my nerve.
The fear that landed itself in my lap was palpitating and real. One moment, I was excited about the possibilities and could not wait to see what my new age and this new year has in store in the land of dating and the next, I was the Cowardly Lion.
I no longer bite my nails, but if this was still a habit of mine, they’d be nubs. Within seconds, an indescribable sense of nervousness overcame me and all I could do and think of was to back out and back off. Before anything could even begin, I shot it down. I did not let it live a life of two to three days.
I told my best friend about this and she said, “It is beginning to concern me of the rate in which you’re letting fear prevent you from doing certain things . . . What’s the worst that could happen?” And I instantly thought, “Well, the worst that could happen.” I did not tell her this, though. She can overcome fear within seconds — she just does whatever it is she wants to do. If it needs questioning later, it’s questioned. A big part of me admires this — is jealous of this fact.
I overanalyze things and create a small place in which I dare not go and this is what keeps me from doing many of the things I set out to do. Last year, I overcame several of my fears and I am learning to be gentle with myself about the things that need work — about the things for which I still have mounds of hesitation piling up within me. I won’t rush this, but I am planning on not remaining in the bowels of the unknown for too long either.
I know what I want. I know who I’d like to have these things with, but I am still unsure if I want long-term or dating only. I believe the last thought makes itself known within the first few weeks of dating someone. From what I recall, I can usually tell after two to three dates if I really want to keep spending time with the person I am dating.
According to a few statistics compiled by eHarmony,
“Female users aren’t just looking or hook-ups . . . Only 33% of women who use online dating websites say they have sex on the first online dating encounter, and 60% of female Tinder users say they are looking for a match, not just a hookup.”
This is good information to know as I am surely not just looking for a hook-up. This next statistic is intriguing and gives me a little hope about the way the dating world does things mostly now:
“Online dating statistics show that 20% of those in current, committed relationships began online and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met on a dating website.”
I know at least four couples who met their mates online and they are still together, three of those four couples are married. For two of those couples, they’ve been together over ten years now — the other two, over five years. That says a lot, don’t you think? But, the older I get, the more I know/feel I do not want to be married. This is my now. Who’s to say how I may feel or what I may know deep in my bones one to three years from now?
Typically, I gravitate mostly toward meeting someone in person, you know, happenstance interactions. But I am pretty sure my main hangouts and my location could be a major factor in this not occurring. Or, there could be the brushed up truth lingering in the air too — it’s just not time.
So, I almost gave online dating a try again. I was so close. If I were to give myself another pep talk, build myself up to a place of belief that perhaps, a committed relationship could flourish for me too, there is no telling where my mind would lead me. But, will I stick it out, though? I guess there’s only one thing to do in order to ease my tireless conscience . . .
I still fear it just a bit. Just a tiny bit.
©2020 Tremaine L. Loadholt
*Originally published here.