I’m a believer that loves finds you when you least expect it. You don’t seek love, love seeks you; but times have changed.
If you’re interested in finding a romantic partner, make a cup of coffee/tea, grab your computer/phone, listen to your favorite playlist, and start typing your age, occupation, hobbies, interests, qualities, wants, and needs in order to be matched with your possible soul mates. Complex algorithms will generate matches for you so you can start messaging to see if you feel a connection. Call me old school, but this way of finding a mate seems very foreign to me.
I’d like to talk about why I’m an online dating virgin. It’s actually not intentional, but happened over time. I’m the only person in my friend group that hasn’t used them and often gets questioned as to why I haven’t. My friends’ talk about all the people they are messaging and/or dating, and it sounds exhausting. Even dating more than one person is too much for me. I’ve been dating someone, and casually talking to others, but even that can get confusing. This is not to say there I’ll never go digital, but for now, I choose not to.
My relationship history is that I was married for six years and divorced two years ago. I met my ex-partner on a religious mission trip in the Philippines in junior high; we became friends over several years, starting dating in college, and then got married after graduating. We were young and grew to be very different people to simplify the very complicated relationship. After I divorced, I jumped into the dating pool. Over two years I dated one outstanding man with two kids who I met through work, and the rest I met organically while out and about or through friends. Out of six, two were serious relationships, lasting more than six months. The two were fantastic men, but they weren’t the right men for me. One I’m still close with today.
There’s something charming about going to post office to buy stamps and the postman asks you to write your name and number on your receipt, or an intruder comes to your office and a handsome, single, law enforcement officer happens to be walking by at that moment, intervenes, and is brave enough to ask for your number. I understand the chances are slim of this turning into true love, but it’s romantic.
Reason #1: I’m a classic romantic. Think Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail.
I never realized I was a classic romantic until I started resisting online dating. My hesitance comes from the fact that I want an unexpected romantic story. I want to be working hard in my career, having fun with my girlfriends, drinking a cup of coffee, shopping for groceries, then “it” happens. “It” meaning someone respectable, handsome, intelligent, enters my life. You know what I’m talking about. When you meet this person your life is forever changed. This is not to say that meeting online isn’t romantic. I believe it’s a special way to meet, considering how many matches you sort through. It’s just not part of my story yet.
Reason #2: I’m a conflict resolution specialist. I stress the importance of in-person and non-verbal communication.
Both of these are mostly missing in the digital world of dating. It’s not just about the guilt I’d feel for being a hypocrite but more about believing what I teach to be true. For example, I was coaching a Chinese-American student about her email to a professor, and realized that she would never actually say what she typed if she was face-to-face with the professor. We often exaggerate, saying things we would never say in person because it’s safer. I communicate most authentically when in-person. One-way communication has it’s benefits, but what’s best for me is having the opportunity to read their facial expressions, see their hand gestures, and hear their tone of voice in order to correctly understand what they are saying.
Reason #3: I’ve always been unconventional. Sometimes my stubbornness clouds my logic, driving me to go against the norm.
My stubbornness can be a personality flaw (thank you Dad!). From when I was in junior high and went thrift store shopping instead of going to Abercrombie & Fitch or working instead of getting into trouble, I have always swam upstream when everyone was swimming downstream. This quality drives my friends and family crazy. This is likely part of the reason why I haven’t jumped into the online dating bandwagon. But eventually, I might go digital to find love if love doesn’t find me.
I wish you the best of luck in finding your special someone, whether it be organically or online. We all have our own paths to love and I sincerely hope you find yours.