Divorce and (a very brief foray into) online dating

This story was originally published a couple of years ago on Threads in response to this article

Girl About Town’s post got me thinking – her post made me think I’d not made an awful lot of effort to date. I’m not sure I’d ever summon up the courage to ask a man out and despite, being pretty socially confident, this idea would reduce me to a paralysed state. Similarly, I think a little part of me was unsure anyone would like me “like that”.

That said, as I read this article I’d been thinking how it would be great to meet someone. How I’d love to go on a date, even if it went no further. Perhaps coffee, even if we ended up just being friends. So, following much nagging encouragement, I logged onto a Christian dating website, set up a profile and agonised over what to say about myself.

I found it incredibly stressful for two primary reasons. (Well, those and the photos of myself, but I think that’s normal right?!)

My first problem was what I should write about myself. Given how much I write, it’s somewhat ironic that this was what I worried about. But if I was put off by a total lack of full stops, or couldn’t really gauge what a person was like, perhaps that’s how they’d feel about me. Now obviously the thing to remember is that while you can’t convey everything about myself, they can’t do that either. A date is the opportunity to dig a little deeper, into the chats and topics that aren’t present on an online profile.

The second is perhaps linked. I put down my marital status as divorced, and while I could keep that off there, I questioned whether I wanted to? It’s a fact about me and would impact on my experiences in a future relationship, as any relationship can. My concern was that I would be judged instantly because of it. I felt it would be like a brand on my forehead profile, and put people off. But, I wondered, would I want to be in touch with someone who instantly discounted me because I’d been married before? If that put them off without knowing any of my circumstances or story, would they really be the person for me? I wasn’t about to explain my life on a profile, and if they didn’t want to get to know that part of me, they didn’t get to know me at all.

But as Girl About Town was asked: ‘what button has this pushed?’ Would I discount someone whose marital status was other than ‘single’? I’d like to think I’d have said no in the past, but we’ll never know what past me would have thought. I know now that it wouldn’t put me off. Anyone can have been in a long relationship that broke apart, and at some point I’ll be interested to know the whys and wherefores of their circumstances. This would be after the several coffees and chats as Girl About Town suggests, it certainly wouldn’t be my first question by text to any prospective date.

Being divorced, in an online dating scenario, made me feel branded and categorised without any nuance, and I found that hard. Perhaps it would be better to leave the status off? But whatever I decided, maybe I needed to tackle the labelling I felt so aware of first, before worrying about the reactions of others.

Eventually, after about two hours of angst, I deleted the profile and felt at liberty to be myself, and I’ve not looked back.

There’s no right or wrong thing to do. Meet online, in person, blind dates, don’t go on dates. Do what you’re comfortable with, be content in and stay true to yourself. If you want to be with someone, you want someone who loves you, so that’s the person to be, online, in person, or anywhere in between.

Surviving Separation and Divorce

11 thoughts on “Divorce and (a very brief foray into) online dating

      1. I think so. I often check myself before responding to situations with specific reactions because we’ve been trained to think it… rather than because it’s right… and the same goes for stereotypical expectations of people!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You brought back all of the questions and interesting nuances of what the state of “divorce” felt like. On the one hand, I couldn’t have cared less what people about my status as divorced. But, on the other it deeply impacted me, about what I thought of myself and what it meant. The other challenge was dating with a young child. I had no idea how it would feel to introduce my “boyfriend” to others while I held the hand of my son. No one ever said anything, but I felt like I was wearing a social stigma, “single mom.” I didn’t want to feel it but I did. Taking yourself “offline” to start by figuring out what the labels meant was a smart move. In my own case, I just let it go and sort of puzzled about it, wondering if I REALLY cared. Or what that feeling meant about a world that judges without taking the time to understand.

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    1. I completely agree – while I don’t care others sometimes seem to – or don’t know how to respond. I think I have found it valuable to identify people who see past the label and encourage and champion me with the label as part of who I am and as a great changer in my life. I wrote a piece on ‘failure’ too – and the words we use as part of our marital breakdown which you might find interesting – it’s called ‘f is for failure’ as part of my a-z of divorce series. Thanks for your reflections, we all have stories and there’s so much to learn from one another.

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  2. Rhetorically (because it’s none of my business) would you feel like you were being untruthful by describing yourself as single?
    If you think of layering information, that would be the most basic layer, divorced is the next layer, the ‘why’ you are single. All very personal, and either way – I just hope you are happy x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A really interesting question – I don’t think it’s untruthful, I guess there’s just more to it, but then as I said I think people who’ve had long term relationships and partners have a layer removed that they may not have to explain initially… it’s such an interesting thing to ponder – thanks for your question!

      Liked by 1 person

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