Day 10: What I learned from 8 years online
Dating can feel like an unpredictable roller coaster sometimes; particularly online dating. But what I knew helped me stay positive and make the most of my situation was knowing what my comfort zone was and operating just outside of it.
But would I travel across the country for a Match.com first date? Yes, and I’m going to tell you what happened and how it changed my world for the better.
But first a little backstory.
In late 2005 I was coming upon my first full year of being on Match.com. I was living in my home town of Park City, Utah and it felt to me that I’d either viewed or been on dates with every man that I considered my “type” who came up on my matches. I didn’t think my criteria was particularly picky, but I was seeking a man within 10 years of my age, who was a non-smoker, athletic, healthy, taller than me, smart, witty, successful, interesting, adventurous, forgiving, thoughtful, kind, without kids who was “spiritual but not religious” kind of guy. I was 27 at the time, a successful business owner and a massage therapist. I had no animals, I was healthy, emotionally available, young at heart and what I thought of as interesting & fun. I had most of my belongings in storage at the time and was bouncing around from living situation to living situation after leaving my fiancé the year before and learning how to live out of a suitcase, sleep on a couch, sleep on a floor or sleep in a dreamy bed in a pimp house that came with a time limit because I was house sitting. At one point I was renting a small room in a large house full of seasonal workers for Park City mountain resort and I’d get sticky notes on the kitchen counter telling me the names of the current roommates, who had left or arrived and what I owed that week for rent (it would fluctuate according to how many they’d stuff into a room). I remember a Match.com date dropping me off late at night after a wonderful dinner, and coming home to a driveway full of cars, a lot of snow boots outside and a karaoke party happening with 10 resort employees from various central & South American countries drinking, dancing and singing together. Part of me wanted to join them, but then part of me wanted to live alone. It would have been nice to walk into a quiet house where I could take off all my clothes in the living room and sit on the couch and watch the news (Netflix wasn’t really a thing in 2005). But instead I walked into my living dormitory and unlocked my bedroom door and locked it behind me, knowing there are 3-4 bodies per other 3 bedrooms in this house, and I don’t know who was who, so I went on as many dates as possible in order to not be at home.
After numerous searches for men within my 25 mile radius, I began to widen my search criteria to 40 miles, 75 miles and then to cities that felt far away, and would take me at least 40 min or more to get to. But I was beginning to get curious and playful around the idea of how far I’d go for a first date. I stretched my Match.com search to Denver, then to Boulder, then to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. All areas I had positive memories from and would take a road trip. The large selection of men was astounding. All new faces and energy from Colorado men, or maybe I was seeing them through a new lens; that I wanted them to be awesome. I wanted to go to Colorado and visit friends from college, so wouldn’t it be fun if I set up some dates while there. I wanted to feel inspired enough to travel to meet someone.
For dates within 50 miles (a bold stretch from my comfort zone) I began to make breakfast and brunch dates and I particularly liked pairing my dates with activities I liked to do, such as skiing, hiking, taking a yoga class, going for a soy chai at the coffee garden, or going for a walk around Liberty park in Salt Lake City. It was so fun to explore connection and conversation by dropping myself into the lives of complete strangers who I’d only seen profiles for. I got to learn what their life was like, and see if my life connected with theirs in new and interesting ways that inspires us to stay connected somehow. I still have so many male friends who came from my time on Match.com.
But some dates were awkward, some I couldn’t wait for them to be over, and some I ran out on and immediately pressed block on my phone. Then other times a lunch would meander into a dinner and then meander into a morning coffee after we’d fallen asleep talking all night and woke up laughing at our mutual morning breath.
I loved being on Match.com; it was the best opportunity I’ve ever had to really sink into a goal of looking for love, and learn about myself through what and who came into my life. I got to learn what was important and not important when it came to imagining the man I wanted to spend my life & time with.
I could and probably will write a whole book about my Match.com stories someday, but for now, I’m going to tell you about my first big Match.com leap of faith, and his name was Jeremy.
But I’m way past my 1 hour limit and probably way past 1000 words, so I’ll share tomorrow.
I hope this story is of benefit to you, and inspires you to stretch somewhere ❤️