been caught dead going online. It
smacked of desperation and might
even be immoral. If God wanted me
to meet a man, wouldn’t He have
planted one in my path? Like Jacob
at Rachel’s well or Ruth in Boaz’s
Alas, no grey-haired shepherds
were lining up for cups of water
from me. But the dating sites beckoned with their promises of lifelong
happiness just a click away, and
friends cheered me on. So I waded
right in and signed up for two sites.
It seemed so easy.
It turned out to be an emotional
minefield, with me ecstatic, depressed, desirable and insecure in
Never one to be self-conscious
about my age, reading thread after
thread on why men want women
several years younger had me
reaching for the magnifying mirror,
examining my network of lines.
Given our culture’s obsession with
appearance, it wasn’t surprising
that people on dating sites cherish
youth and beauty. My own super-ficiality, though, surprised me.
While nixing the guy dressed in his
mall Santa suit was just being sensible, dismissing the others with
unfortunate photos wasn’t. No
photo reveals the whole of a person’s smile, intellect or character.
Things were more real on the
discussion forums where people
drop by to talk about relationships,
God, kids, pets and their favourite
music. Some threads were even
helpful (how to deal with scam-mers, how to work the online dating process, how to navigate the age
thing). Others were not – whether
a woman should make the first
move, how appropriate it is to kiss
before the altar, and whether people
in their 60s are still interested in
sex. Alas, the friends I made there
– male and female – lived too far
away for serious contact.
Then there’s the chat room. Not
for the faint of heart, it ramps up
by 8 p.m., when anywhere from 15
to 25 people cram in, all jostling to
contribute to nonsensical conver-
sations moving at the speed of
light. What’s really taking place are
hookups conducted in whispers
behind the scenes.
The real work is trolling through
profiles, sending out smiles and
waiting for responses. Most of the
time these are from people you haven’t contacted, and usually for good
reason. Like the man who said on his
profile that women were intimidated by his brains (then told me he
couldn’t wait to see me in heels).
Some were inappropriate because of
geography. I don’t have enough time
to go around the corner much less
meet up with someone in Germany.
Besides, there’s a trust factor missing
when someone can’t be referenced
by anyone you know.
I attracted an extreme age range
– either really young men in their
30s (probably looking for financial
support) who said things like,
“You’re still attractive,” (but were
most likely looking for financial
stability) or much older men who
wanted to make sure I knew that
they were still attractive.
About six weeks in I met Someone
With Potential – Christian, my age,
only 60 km away! We chatted for 90
minutes online one evening and
exchanged cheery texts early the
next morning. The following day he
texted again, this time to let me
know he’d selected one of the three
other women he’d been pursuing.
With the endless supply of fish in
this cyber ocean, juggling potential
mates is a common practice.
Alex Newman of Toronto is a senior writer
at Faith Today.
I soldiered on, and a few weeks
later arranged a coffee date with
someone who seemed nice, intelligent and had no obvious skeletons
in the closet. It took two weeks to
organize since we lived 100 km
apart. And ten minutes to realize
there was no chemistry.
Meanwhile, back in the real
world, I’d started sailing with friends
who introduced me to someone. We
laugh a lot and for the first time in a
long time I am enjoying the social
side of life. But he isn’t Christian.
I’m dogged by statistics about higher divorce rates in second marriages
– and the Christian directive to not
be unequally yoked.
What I have learned is that I am
vulnerable, and I still carry scars
that affect the way I relate to others.
But for five years I’d been so deliberate and careful to choose what
was right for my children, myself
and my faith that I hid behind those
“right things” and all else was swept
away. We know what Jesus had to
say about houses swept clean. It’s
like ignoring the blind spot when
Having made such a colossal
failure at my marriage, I was determined not to make another. I had
cut myself off from all and every
possibility. That’s not such a bad
attitude if it means acknowledging
the broken heart and taking the
time to let grieving and grace heal
it. Bad, though, if you wall yourself
off from life.
While I don’t recommend signing
up for a dating site as soon as the ink
has dried on your divorce papers,
the time will come to get back on
the proverbial horse. Somewhere
along the way, we have to ’fess up to
failing – or sinning – in some or
many ways, but we can also believe
that by the grace of God we might
just have another chance to do it
right. Or at least better. /FT
SO MUCH HAD CHANGED IN THE
30 YEARS SINCE I LAST DATED. I HAD
CHANGED. THERE WAS MY SECURELY
ATTACHED EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE…
AGREE THAT ONLINE
DATING IS BET TER
AT FINDING A MATCH
THAN THE HELP OF
(“S TATE OF DATING
IN AMERICA,” BY