Recently, I received a text message from a good friend. It read: “What site you meant your boo on? I’m determined to have a boo myself in six months.” This was not the first time I had been asked this question in the year since I met and fell in love with a sweet Yankee who adores me. Another friend asked me for not only the online site where I met my boyfriend, but extensive advice on how to approach online dating because “you’re the only woman I know who has been successful at it.”
It doesn’t take advanced analytical skills to figure out what my two friends were really asking. How you got this man?
Trouble is: the answer to this question is not simply: “okcupid.com.” Because I don’t want to detract from their pro-active approach to finding love, I am reticent to tell them the full truth: Using okcupid (and any other dating site) had little to do with the resultant love I found.
I have utilized online dating sites for upwards of 7 years – well before the stigma of admitting you had to do more than simply show up wearing a form-flattering dress to any place where men congregated was removed from the reality of dating over the age of 21. My “success” rate had not been any better or worse than when I met men at social events, through friends or brave “Hey, how you doing” flirtations at the grocery store. Sometimes, I went on mediocre dates that fizzled into nothingness. Occasionally, I embarked on shaky relationships that “could be something” only to have them dissolve for the standard reasons shaky relationships don’t really make it past those first few months.
So, what do I tell my friends? Do I admit to them that when I faced the truth of who I was and made concerted efforts to overcome that truth did I find myself (quite unintentionally) in a very strong relationship?
Who I was/am: A deceptively detached and distant woman. I use the word deceptive because most people would not think of using these adjectives to describe me. I am quite a personable, social person. I love being around people and engage with them fairly easily. But what most people did not see (and what I did not see for a long time as well) was that my “friendliness” saved me the trouble of actually CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE. In many ways, my ease in joking and chatting people up were ruses. If you make enough clever jokes and spar well in witty banter, people are often so busy enjoying your cleverness and wit that you can exonerate yourself from having to show them anything else. You don’t have to open your life to these fellow human beings nor come up with an appropriate excuse (couched in witty humor, of course) as to why you don’t possess the energy or courage to enter their lives, either.
Do I place more difficult truths at my friends’ feet and tell them that this distance, this detachment was not exclusive to my relationships with men? And that in order to fight against it, I had to work just as hard not to succumb to my patterns with my best girlfriends as I did with the men I dated. I had to push pass my cursory dismissal of people’s desire to really know me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I had to be honest about what was underneath my distance from people. What was the cause of my quiet belief that genuine relationships with people took too much energy, required too much effort, asked me to risk too much. So, my fight to transform myself occurred at the sub-surface level and below the surface as well.
Yes, I did put some time and thought into my okcupid profile. Yes, I did log on several times a week just to “show my face and keep myself out there.” Yes, I emailed all the men who approached me even if there was not immediate evidence that we were a “match.” But, I’d done all that for the last 7 years.
My approach to dating had not changed prior to meeting the Yankee. The transformation was much more pivotal: Me. (Yes, it is really that simple.)
I am still actively creating causes to continue that transformation. And if the Yankee and I end up parting ways in the immediate or distant future, this transformation will not stall as a result. Just like the truth of who I was/am was not exclusive to my relationships with men, the work I plan on doing towards my human revolution is not exclusive to my boyfriend. It supercedes him.
So, it is about time for me to come clean and admit the title of this post is intentionally misleading. No, ladies, I can not tell you how to meet a man. What I can tell you, though, is the reason you are having trouble meeting men is likely linked to the reason why although you love her to death, you have great difficulty making that weekly “check in” call to your mother. Your disenchantment with the game of dating likely resembles your disenchantment with your boss, your co workers, and the field in which you have chosen to work. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you know that weary look you get when breaking bread with a guy who is “okay, but…?” Well, you get that same look with some of your friends. The ones who make you slightly uncomfortable, but you don’t know why.
Yes, you can do the arduous (and sometimes painful) work of unraveling the truth of who you are and what you believe. But no, it will not guarantee you success in the search for a mate. It won’t even make the journey to love any easier or even fair. But, here’s the thing: if you are fortunate enough, you will have to make hundreds more weekly calls to your mother. If the universe deems you worthy, you will also have to negotiate relationships with that demanding boss and those “lazy” co workers for many years to come. And your frenemy just might leave your circle of friends to find another, but the likelihood of her replacement causing the same discomfort in you is pretty darn high.
It benefits you to DEAL WITH THE TRUTH. To work to create a belief system that honors you and all the humans with whom you will come into contact in this lifetime. Whether it results in love is really irrelevant. The only relevant outcome is your own transformation as a human being.