I just wanted to meet my future husband and live happily ever after.
Was that too much to ask? Dating was another thing to do in an already busy season of life. Dating meant getting dressed up to make awkward small talk with someone I would never see again. Dating seemed like a giant waste of my time.
So I told her no and stood my ground and lamented my singleness and rolled my eyes every time my dad and his new girlfriend flirted in the kitchen. They were as giggly and starry-eyed as teenagers and months of witnessing their love story unfold sent me over the edge.
There were no pictures of me with my other friends, lest a potential suitor find them more attractive. I kept my search criteria broad to increase the pool of possible soulmates from whom to choose. My interests and hobbies were broad and generic so as not to turn off a future spouse by being too unique. My profile mentioned nothing of religion or politics.
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I worked hard to make myself as likeable as a golden retriever puppy. The whole process made me absolutely crazy. She was boring and shallow, but she did get a lot of attention.
The problem was, all of the interested parties lacked any real potential. A few of them seemed nice enough, but I turned down dates for any of reasons they were too young, too old, etc. We probably would have gotten along just fine, and they were definitely the right guy for someone.
Online dating was like dating site success stories a bookstore, except instead of finding a whole stack of new favorites, I was leaving empty-handed. I ed a picture of my friend Meghan and I on the beach, our he together, the sunset turning our hair brilliant shades of gold, bronze, and copper, our skin glowing in the evening light. I erased my bio and my interests and started from scratch. Looking over my profile, I recognized the girl it described, and this time, I liked her. For more than six weeks, I had lots of quantity, but little quality in the candidates coming my way, and that was starting to change.
Less than a week later, I got a straightforward message from Steeleman89 saying hello and asking me if I wanted to meet up. For no reason at all, I said yes immediately and suggested the upcoming weekend. I rolled my eyes.
But I set aside my judgment long enough for us to exchange s and agreed to meet at a nearby Starbucks the following Monday. When Monday rolled around, I almost cancelled. It was the first full day of spring, and I could have used the time to go outside, to take my dog to our favorite park, or just to take a nap.
My friend Catherine begged me to go, if only to bring her back a good story.
So, instead of canceling, I asked my first real match date if we could meet at the park instead. Jeff and I looped around the park trails for hours while Hank, my Aussie pup, chased squirrels in the woods.
As it turns out, Jeff had been visiting his grandmother with his dad over spring break and had ed up for Match. So much for not really being Catholic, I thought. Three days later, he picked me up for our first real date: Holy Thursday Mass and burgers. When we sat down in my usual spot at church, Jeff asked me if I always sat there.
Tinder (and other dating sites and apps) isn’t just for hooking up.
I think God got a good laugh out of that one. Six months later, Jeff proposed at the park where we met.
A year after that, we were married in that same church. And we lived happily ever after.
God used online dating to help me grow in virtue and in my identity as his beloved daughter, though. Dating online was an opportunity to practice humility, charity, respect, and generosity. I learned to value quality over quantity and to trust the still, small voice of truth over the advice of dating experts. Creating an online dating profile gave me a chance to be creative and take a risk and be honest and unashamed about who God made me.
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