By Patience Domowski, LCSW
I’m a Christian middle class masters-degreed professional woman. And I’m single. I have all the other stuff going on in my life for me—I have a great job (I’m a child behavioral therapist), I even own my own company along with working full time for another practice. I have friends. I have pets. I have a great faith and am involved in my church. I have a car. I have a house. But I don’t have a husband. Or even a boyfriend. So I did what everyone suggests you do when you aren’t meeting anyone significant in ‘real life’, you try online dating.
I didn’t date in high school because I was homeschooled and we didn’t live in West Virginia. I didn’t date in college either. I went to a private, mostly female, Christian college. I had some minor crushes here and there but nothing ever panned out. After college I went to grad school and when I was finishing up I decided to give online dating a shot since I didn’t seem to be having any luck otherwise. I tried a free Christian dating site and I was really lucky—hashtag blessed. Immediagely I met my first boyfriend. I thought ‘wow online dating really worked!’! But it didn’t last long, we broke up just a few months later because we were just at very different places in our lives. I was starting my career and he was just finishing undergrad.
I let online dating go for a while. I checked on the same site once in a while but only got proposals from men in Africa. A little later I ended up dating a guy from church who I’d known for a while as a friend. I told him I liked him at an event and apparently he knew already which was a little embarrassing. He agreed to date but unfortunately he was gay. He wanted to date a woman though so we gave it a shot. Obviously it didn’t work. We were really just friends and I wanted more.
At the recommendation of several friends who said online dating was working well for them, I tried it once again. But this time I decided go big or go home. I went for the big guns—eharmony. Per the ads you will definitely meet the love of your life because of their super special proprietary algorithm. What really happened is I was just matched with all the Christian guys in a 20 mile radius. Still, I gave it a try, about 6 months. I talked to a couple guys but they both cancelled our plans last minute. What was most frustrating was all the work and effort I put into emailing and responding and all the hope I had! It was kind of a huge waste of time and left me honestly heartbroken. I felt like I’d never find anyone and no one wanted me. It impacted my self-esteem and it also didn’t help all my younger siblings were getting married and dating and I wasn’t.
By the way, I didn’t find being a Christian caused too much trouble with online dating. Although I’m not sure everyone who responded to my online profiles was the same kind of Christian (born again/evangelical protestant) as I am. But that’s OK. I also didn’t find my wanting to wait for sex until marriage to be a big problem. I still was open and interested in kissing, etc but I just didn’t let it go too far. That never seemed to be a problem with the guys I dated. They respected my decision even if some had already had sex in the past.
A year or so later, out of the blue, this guy I had known for ages from church asked me out. We dated for the next year and half. It was the best relationship I’d ever had and my self-esteem soared. I was confident this was IT, that I could finally relax, settle down, and have babies—my dream! But then came to a crashing halt and we suddenly broke up. I was fuzzy on the reason why. He just said we had ‘differences’ that ‘wouldn’t work’. I was willing to be flexible and work things out but he wasn’t. After I got over my initial anger and disappointment I was able to see that he was right. It was just not going to work out—we just didn’t see eye-to-eye on some things that would be problematic later on. We were still attracted to each other and still friends so we did discuss getting back together a few times but it never really happened. It was probably for the best, though it was hard at the time.
At this point I was in my late 20’s and though I hadn’t dated much at all I was kind of reluctant to even try again. But at the encouragement of a girlfriend we both signed up for ChristianMingle and gave that a shot for a few months. My friend met someone and, while initially reluctant, he slowly grew on her and they got married a few years later. I was surprised that I met someone pretty quickly too. We dated for about three months but the relationship wasn’t the best. He didn’t have time for me and we struggled to agree on a lot of things, mostly because he was pretty inflexible. He wanted me to fit into his life and I wanted him to at least be willing to give up something for me, if I had to give up everything for him. I needed more fairness. By the end he was trying to convince me that he wasn’t the right guy for me and we mutually decided to let it go.
Now I felt like I was really done with dating, especially online dating. I tried meeting people IRL--flirting with guys I met, talking to plenty of people, attending a variety of get-togethers, mingles, and events mostly through church and friends parties, etc. After a year or so of not meeting anyone, I attempted to go solo and adopt. I always wanted children and I really care about orphans but really long story short it didn’t work out. Instead I got a dog, who is a handful with some behavior issues but he’s very protective and more faithful than any boyfriend I’ve ever had!
Since then I went back on my word and tried a few dating apps (Coffee Meets Bagel, Selective Singles, the list goes on). But I wasn’t getting any responses so I deleted them. My sister told me she was on Tinder and encouraged me to give it a shot. I thought it was just for hookups and was NOT interested that. She said she actually kept meeting guys who want to get married and finally talked me into giving it a try. I put in my profile I was looking for something serious, wanted a Christian man, etc. I got more responses than I expected. A few clearly wouldn’t work, many didn’t respond to me, and some just never followed through with dates or plans. I did meet two or three guys in person. One I talked to on the phone because I was sick so he cancelled our in-person date and kept cursing and making me really uncomfortable. Bye-bye! Another date I went on was with someone clearly below my intellectual level and was not in a place for marriage and a family. He insisted he was, despite having a minimal income and living with his parents at 30 something. The most promising guy I met was ‘too busy’ to schedule a date and finally I stopped texting him after a week of unresponsiveness. He wasn’t taking it seriously.
Around this time I randomly saw an ad in a magazine for a one-day workshop with tips for online dating. I thought, ‘why not give it a shot?’ Maybe I had done something wrong in the past or something was wrong with my approach or my profile? I went to the workshop but it was cancelled so the matchmaker running it met me in person. I got a $200 consult for free! She gave me great tips on making an online profile, what to say to ‘hook’ or interest a guy online, what to say on the phone to get a date, what to say during the first date, how to get a second date and more. She also gave me tips on what to say to ask a guy out in person if I met someone in real life, without it being really awkward. All her advice sounded amazing! She assured me that there was nothing wrong with me and that it was the process that needed adjusting. She also convinced me to give Match.com a go since it has more people than the other sites and she had seen more success with it.
‘What’s the harm?’ I decided and made a Match.com profile. I paid for 6 months and I tried all her tips. I messaged a lot of guys. A LOT. Like a 100 or something in the first month. I tried messaging her way (clever question to ask the guy to get his interest). I tried my way (asking them about something I noticed/liked in their profile). I got professional photos taken by my photographer friend. I even paid extra for Match to make my profile better! And I got nothing. Crickets. Just a few messages here and there that went nowhere. I had one date the entire six months! I mean the date went OK but wasn’t super attracted to the guy, although when I found out he was formerly Amish I was instantly more interested. I’ve always been interested in Amish culture in terms of learning more about it, not joining. We talked a few times but he never scheduled another date. He said he was interested but then just claimed again to be ‘too busy’. I was willing to wait a bit but when he didn’t set anything up after a week I just let it go.
I recently deleted my account.
This all leaves me with a lot of questions. Why are guys on dating sites if they are too busy for a relationship? Why do they say they want a serious relationship and then mention sex on the first conversation? Why do they say they are ready for marriage but don’t have their career or even housing even figured out? Why are they online dating if they aren’t going to respond (even with just a polite ‘no thank you’) to people’s messages? Why are so many guys so inflexible? It seems to me that they just want a girl to fit into their existing lives but are in no way willing to fit into her life, much less mold two lives together.
So here I am. Still single. Still a virgin. Still an awesome woman! I don’t think there is anything wrong with me. I don’t think I’m doing ‘the process’ wrong—I just think I haven’t found the right person. I’ve decided not to let online dating affect my self-esteem anymore so I’m done with online dating. (I know! I’ve said that before!)
Currently there aren’t really options right now within my friend group or church, but who knows what the future will bring? For now I’m still hopeful and I’m sure I’ll find the ‘right guy’. I know God has the right person for me out there somewhere. Maybe ‘the one’ is not ready yet—perhaps he needs more time to mature before I meet him or maybe it’s just not the right time. Maybe God’s teaching me Patience, pun intended.
While I’m waiting for God to get my future husband ready I think I might go ahead and have a kid soon by myself. Why not? I know I’ll be a wonderful mother! Also it would take away any pressure from future dating not having to worry about my “bio clock” and rushing a relationship because I want to have a family soon. I have always wanted children and while two parents are ideal, I’m sure Daddy will come along at some point. I really still think there’s someone out there for me but I’m working on being content with being single. I’m trying to just enjoy it and just relax. This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on a relationship. I’ve just stopped looking. God will just have to bring him to me when he’s ready and I’ll be ready for when that day comes.