Someone’s Out There

I stumbled upon a blog this past week that intrigued me.

The author, a gentleman whose name I can’t remember and blog I can’t find now, spoke of how fed up he was with online dating. He had much to say about the industry and what an unbelievable scam it was becoming. He had given it a try for a couple of years without meeting the woman of his dreams and decided there must be a better way. I certainly experienced some of the same feelings at times during my stint with internet dating!

This man went on to explain how he went to France and decided to write a book about his love experiences. Right before he left, someone he had once had a couple of dates with contacted him and they reconnected when he returned from his trip. He used the profile idea from his online dating experience to create his own profile and sent it on ahead to the woman. A deeper connection was his goal. Within a short while they hit it off and eventually married.

Seemed like an interesting idea to me.

Reading his blog made me realize how many different love stories there are, and how unique each one is. I never would have imagined meeting my husband online, but God used that vehicle to create a wonderful love story for my husband and me. The man I’ve mentioned (still trying to find his site again) gave up internet dating and found the love of his life in another way. Some people meet at school, or in malls or at a bar. Others know someone who sets them up with someone they know, and still others find their true love at a party or wedding. Regardless of the setting, the bottom line is the miracle and greatness of finding that one person who fits with us perfectly and adds a depth and dimension to our life that wasn’t there before.

I’ve read horror stories of online daters, but I also known of miracle stories (like mine) that came through an internet dating site. I’ve known people who met in junior high school (like my parents and Clayton and Ellen Kershaw – LA Dodgers pitcher, authors), and others who found their spouse later in life (my two best friends). No matter what, when or how, the most important thing is the end result. People weren’t meant to be alone. We long for relationship. Even if we’re happily single, we count on our friends to be there for us and call on us. Meeting our true love can happen anywhere and through a variety of avenues.

Honestly, at first, I felt a little defensive toward someone who insisted online dating was a terrible thing; but in the end, his result was the same as mine–we met our soul mates. Isn’t that what matters most?

Care to share your story? How did you meet your soul mate? Are you still searching? Do you have an experience with online dating?



Meeting Face to Face

Perhaps you’ve met someone interesting online, and you’d like to meet them. Let’s assume that you have invested time emailing with each other, first on the dating site and then through your personal email. If this has taken place all in one night, stop! Go back to the post titled Are You Kidding before proceeding!

Once you have confidently exchanged meaningful emails, and bravely entertained a few phone conversations, you may finally be ready to meet face to face.

So let’s talk about safety guidelines. Remember, crazy people exist out there who can adeptly charm with written words or maneuver conversations to create breathless wonder. Try to recognize and avoid rather than meet them. We want our internet dating experiences to remain sincerely pleasant if at all possible!

First, call upon a trusted friend to help you discern the character of your matches. I cannot highlight this enough! If it weren’t for my dear friends, I could have ended up stalked (nearly happened!) or flying off to another state to meet a naked man—thank goodness my friend confirmed my suspicions that men describing their state of undress while talking with me on the phone would not share my particular values even if they desired to share my bed!  So, if your friends concur that this person you hope to meet seems safe and worthy of your attention, you have passed level one.

Secondly, you MUST heed any waving red flags. You know those prodding little question marks that keep floating up during your conversations? Don’t swat them away. Look at them. Listen to them. What are they saying to you about this other person? Sometimes those alerts in our heart warn us about potential danger emotionally or spiritually, but they can also point to situations needing further examination. For example, a friend of mine met someone she really liked, but he had some chronic, long-term health issues. She wrestled with the impact that may have on her life and implications for the future.  After some careful consideration, prayer and discussion (with me of course), she decided that he would be worth it. They married and are thrilled they did, even with the challenges his health has presented!

Finally, take some common sense precautions: Meet in public for the first time preferably during the day. If possible, have the person meet you at a neutral place rather than your home, especially if you live alone. Believe it or not, I even went with a friend when she met her date! I hung out at a nearby coffee shop. It ended up that he was a great guy, and after their date, we all enjoyed a wonderful time of conversation together! And, I took my twenty-year-old daughter with me when I went to Australia to meet my internet boyfriend(now my husband) for the first time.  I knew she would instantly discern if something wasn’t as it should be!

At the very least, you should walk away from your meeting feeling safe and satisfied with a greater understanding of your online suitor. At best, you will know the moment you see him or her that they actually are the one you have waited for your whole life. At least, that’s how it happened for me.

Deposits for Life

Regardless of whether the first, second, third (or…) person we meet online is Mr. or Miss Right, the experience of putting ourselves out there constitutes a journey of personal growth and awareness. Relationships teach us about ourselves and equip us to love others; to discern what fruit we observe both in their lives and ours; and to uncover what type of person fits with us.

Each person I met online left me with something. I hope the same proved true for people who came in contact with me. What did I deposit into their lives? Hope, beauty, encouragement, my love for Jesus, and a prodding to seek Him more deeply for themselves? I pray so.

I came away with a deeper conviction that I am smart, beautiful, fun, intelligent and great company. I learned about different states, countries and cultures. My mind swims with the information I gleaned about truck driving, snow, fine wine, old barns, photography, and moonlight. And that was even before I met my brilliant husband!

One important hind-sight lesson I can confess to is this: each man that I found interesting appealed to me because of just one or two characteristics. One guy had a great sense of humor, another wrote beautiful emails, one man showed wise business sense, and still another was well-read and intelligent. I liked each one initially because of a particular trait that drew me to him. Yet, within a short time, I felt an overall lack of interest – probably on both sides. But when God revealed Brendan (my husband), I felt as if I were opening a never-ending stack of Christmas presents! He possesses ALL of the great qualities that I had admired, and then some.

Obviously, I can pass that on now, after the miraculous meeting and marriage, but if someone had told me that my Mr. Right would be all that and more, maybe I would have waited more patiently while wading though internet suitors…or maybe not.