Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dating Scared

Most people who know me know that I've never really enjoyed dating. I always felt it was a truly less effective way for me to get to know someone and for them to get to know me. It wasn't a huge deal. Some people don't like chocolate, some people don't like hot weather--I didn't like to date. I always thought I'd just have to meet my husband some other way.

But then, about a couple of months ago while I was running with one of my oldest friends, telling her about my latest lunch date, she started asking me all kinds of questions. She finally told me, "What you are experiencing is anxiety."

I was shocked. She gave me a booklet to read and it was like reading a collection of inner thoughts I'd never verbalized. VERY strange, but it was also a relief to know that it wasn't just the way I was wired--my tendency of having a headache and wanting to go home an hour into the date--it had a name. And somehow, I felt like if it had a name, I could do something about it. But the solution! To get over anxiety you have to do the thing you are scared of over and over again until you prove to yourself it isn't the monster you think it is.

That was the last thing I wanted to hear, but after a very long and honest talk with my sister-in-law (in which she shot holes through all my excuses) I decided to bite the bullet. I wasn't about to suffer this for the rest of my life, so I did the very scariest thing I could think of. I went online.

I've always said that I would rather be single for the rest of my life than do that. The thought of advertising myself and shopping for men went against every ounce of romance I had. Yuck! But I also didn't want to be a slave to fear, so I just took a deep breath and did it.

I'll be totally honest--it has become pure entertainment. Some of it is so breathtakingly cheesy, like the drop-down menu of smiles under categories of "casual" "flirty" and "pick-up lines." The things people put (or don't put) on their profiles is astonishing, but I just make myself send out about 10 messages a week as my self-assigned "therapy session."

I don't expect anything from it, so maybe that is why it's become so funny to me. I've looked through profiles of people I knew and didn't recognize them. I've had someone track me down on another site because he didn't pay to email on the first one. I've had people ask if they could write me back if the relationship they were persuing didn't work out. It's an adventure in cyberspace. I've also emailed some nice people and maybe someday I'll work up the courage to meet them in the flesh (baby steps! :)) but I'm definiately not scared of it anymore.

So just another evidence of my long held belief that you should never say never--because God loves that kind of a joke!


Aim said...

Sarah I enjoy reading your blog, you are so good at putting your thoughts into words. Good luck with the dating therapy.

Annette Lyon said...

Way to bite the bullet, lady! I have a couple of friends who are very much into the internet dating thing. Ya never know . . .