Recovering Date-aholic

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 9.14.53 AMI am a recovering date-aholic.

I’ve been trying really hard to rest in my singleness; to be single and stay single for a time. I have been trying to even revel in and celebrate my singleness. This is a season of life where I can do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it. I have a rare opportunity here.

I am free to serve in the church and all kinds of charitable organizations. My time is my own. I can work out or eat donuts; I can travel across the world on a whim, and I can stay out until 2 in the morning if I want to. There is no one at home waiting up for me; there is no one at home I am accountable to or responsible for. I am in a unique season of freedom from familial responsibility.

I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.” -1 Cor. 7:32-35

According to these verses, singleness is a time to be single-mindedly devoted to the Lord, not distracted or concerned about the needs of a spouse. I have no husband, and yet, my attention is still divided. I may not be distracted from serving the Lord by a nonexistent husband, but I am certainly distracted by any potential husband who may be in my near vicinity!

In today’s society, the opportunities to date are endless, largely thanks to social media. I’ve been asked out by three different guys in the past week, but I’m trying to say no. I’m trying to rest. I’m trying to wait. I’m trying to give myself time to heal and grow more into the woman God is calling me to be. I want to be the kind of woman who would be worthy of the kind of man I ultimately want to marry. And if I start dating while I am less than who I could be, I may spend the rest of my life married to someone who perpetuates an underdeveloped version of myself.

I’m adamant that the man should initiate a dating relationship. But there are plenty of ways for women to help the process along: Catch a man’s eye, hold eye contact, smile coyly, or dance away with a slight smile. Make sure you get caught looking a few more times. Entice their attention and interest. I leave it up to the man to actually walk over and initiate conversation, but I certainly know how to help the process along. But I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness; be where I am; embrace my season of singleness. And leave the men alone.

Last week, I got another opportunity to exercise self discipline and reaffirm my decision to wait on the Lord. When I first joined eHarmony two years ago, I was really impressed with some of my first few matches. My ex-fiance was one of my first ten matches on my first day on eHarmony. So was Nate – a mechanical engineer in O&G with an aura of confidence and a shock of blonde hair. Nate’s profile was filled with photos of hiking and snowboarding; four wheeling and rock climbing. He’s an American Ninja Warrior.

That first week of online dating two summers ago, before engagement rings and wedding dresses and heartache and depression, Ashley and I sat in her living room, giggling and looking through all of my matches. I was drawn to the man who would become my ex-fiance, but I remember Ashley rooting for Nate. Much later, in the wake of my broken engagement, I got on Christian Mingle trying to find some hope that there are still single godly men out there. And there was Nate’s big grin and radiating confidence smiling back at me, just as I’d seen on eHarmony a year earlier.

Last week our weather dipped gloriously into the 70s after a long string of summer days in the 90s. So I got up early, drove to a nearby park, and went for a 3 mile run. Right at the end of my run, I stopped by the stretch area, and who did I see directly ahead of me? Nate. He was there with a buddy and his dog. Our eyes met, I smiled shyly and glanced away before looking back at him again, unsure if he recognized me from my online dating profile.

I stretched longer than I normally would, hoping he’d come over. He keeps popping up in my life, year after year. But Nate was engrossed in conversation with his buddy. The Aurora of a month ago would have boldly walked over and asked if we’d met before. I would have struck up a conversation and gotten him to eventually ask for my number as I looked up at him through long eyelashes.

But on that sunny morning last week, I walked away. I walked away praying, “God, I keep encountering this man, and he’s caught my eye every time. I could try to make this happen, but I’m going to wait on you. If you want us together, have him recognize me and find a way to reach out to me. Help me let him go. I want to rest in you.”

My aim is to refocus my attention on the One who loves me more than any man ever could; indeed, more than I love myself. “In repentance and rest is [my] salvation, in quietness and trust is [my] strength.

Authentically Aurora

CyberStalk Inc.

Online Dating

When I cancelled my online dating subscription last week, I was trying to get away from the drama and soul-crushing disappointment in humanity that I experienced as a result of subjecting myself to love algorithms.

My friend Farah suggested that I try MeetUp instead. It’s an online networking tool that connects users with local interest groups – no matching; no messaging; no awkward dates. It’s just a gathering of soon-to-be-friends who share hobbies and live in the same city. So Farah and I signed up together and have planned to attend our first joint social gathering next week. I figured, if nothing else, it would make for a great blog post. Little did I know that MeetUp is secretly yet another dating site.

Take Grant, for instance. He is reminiscent of online dating’s very own Spring Butt.

Grant1

Yeah, I guessed that from the blue text beside your photo that says “Grant”. 

Grant2

First of all, why are you continuing this conversation? Secondly, this sounds like my attempt at German in high school. “Hallo! Ich heisse Aurora. Ich have braune haare. Ich mochte volleyball spielen.”

Grant3

Do I know you? And if not, why are you sending me enthusiastic messages without any encouragement from me whatsoever?

Grant5b

“I’m awful at it.” Way to sell yourself there, buddy.

I finally messaged the poor guy back to let him know that I was going to be out of town (for my oh-so-memorable weekend in Boston), and – as expected – Grant was very prompt in checking in on Monday morning:

Grant7

*Sigh. Please, Grant. Develop some self respect.

Also, this just in from Moe:

Moe2

Moe pic

And John:

John2

Hey, John! Oh, I don’t know… being messaged on MeetUp by a complete stranger with no profile description and an image of a Jeep for his profile picture. That’s not creepy or suspicious at all!

At least Moe had a real photo of himself, frightening though it may be.

Match Madness – Part III

My online dating profile doesn’t always get matched with socially awkward, grammar challenged bums. Although Parts I & II of this comedic trilogy may have led my readers to that conclusion, allow me to debunk that misconception by showcasing some of the genuinely wonderful bachelors I have come across during my adventures in online dating.

First of all, there’s Blake. He’s an attractive, 6’1″, 30-year-old Finance Manager who loves working out and playing guitar. Just look at his awesome profile!

Blake box

But then I came across the section that tells me about his smoking and drinking habits, along with his familial aspirations:

*Issue - maybe kids

This is a non-negotiable for me. I would really love to be a mom someday, whether biologically or through adoption if my husband and I are unable to conceive. It’s true that Blake “might” want kids someday, but if he’s 30 years old and still on the fence, that tells me that he’s probably not the best daddy material, and I want a loving, engaged father for my future kiddos.

Then there’s Josh. He’s a good-looking, 28-year-old, 6″ tall dentist. Josh is self-described as a deep thinking Christian who is looking for a godly, independent woman with a penchant for sarcasm. Hmmm… could this be a more perfect fit?!

Josh box

But then I noticed his location:

*Issue - distance 800 miles

It’s pretty daunting to consider starting a relationship between two people who have never met and live 800 miles apart. So much of chemistry is determined through face-to-face interaction that Josh really seemed like a great catch who just isn’t meant for me.

Lastly, there’s Nate. He’s another 6″ tall 28-year-old, only he’s a Mechanical Engineer and, unlike Josh, he actually lives in the same city as me! I got really excited reading over his profile, and my best friend Ashley picked him out of all my matches as the one she envisions being most compatible with me:

Nate box

I sent Nate a smile and waited for him to initiate the first series of get-to-know-you questions. But his questions never came. A week went by; then two, until finally:

*Issue - over month 2

I realized that an amazing man like Nate wouldn’t have stayed single for long. A lot of dating sites don’t close out their inactive members’ profiles, so I’m sure Nate found his lady love and is off enjoying his “best friend, [his] lover and the mother of [his] future children.”

I just wish she was me.

Authentically Aurora

Match Madness – Part II

As a continuation of Match Madness – Part 1, here are the Top 10 profile essays of men with whom I have personally been matched online.

I wonder if there’s an option for me to retake the personality assessment that this site is using for its compatibility algorithms…

#10:
ShavingMental note made: Don’t touch the man’s head!
#9:
Cooking movies
I’m sure there was supposed to be punctuation in there somewhere. This reminds me of “Let’s eat grandma: punctuation saves lives.” Fortunately, all that’s on the line here are a couple of DVDs.
#8:
Excited
Wow! You are very excited! And enthusiastic! Yay!!!
#7:
Biohacking
For those of you who don’t know what bio-hacking is (I didn’t, either; I looked it up), it’s basically self-mutilation. Gross. Where do they find these people?!
#6:
Grammar
“There is to many.” If you don’t understand why this one made the list, please don’t read You Lost Me at “Your”.
#5:
Talkative
…I see.
#4a:
Expectations 1High expectations.
#4b:
Expectations 2
More outrageous expectations.
#3:
Passionate
Yeah, you sound really passionate about people.
#2:
AwkwardUm… [walks away]
#1:
Heaven

Baby, if you’re expecting your wife to get you into heaven, you’ve got seriously unrealistic expectations about marriage.

Authentically Aurora

Match Madness – Part I

I pay good money for my online dating site to match me with compatible candidates with whom I could feasibly enter into a successful dating relationship. However, over the past month, instead of communicating with my matches, I have kept a continually refreshed Top 20 list of the most ridiculous profile pictures of men I have actually been matched with.

For your viewing pleasure, ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

#20. Probably not your most flattering angle…

Bad angle#19. Either lost and confused or a mouth-breather. No thanks.
Mouth Breather
#18. One does not simply… date someone twice your age.
Once does not simply
#17. I can’t decide if this is hot or creepy.
Beard
#16. Ah, selfies.
Selfie
#15. Is this supposed to be sexy? Flirtatious? Just plain weird?
Tongue
#14. Why? Just… why? Do you not have any photos of yourself without a highlighter in your mouth?
Mouth
#13. I always wanted to date the leprechaun version of Yosemite Sam.
Mustache
#12. Are you golfing or getting ready for lift off?
Golf
#11. Oh dear. You are entirely too excitable.
Excited
#10. Is that supposed to attract me to you?
Muscles
#9. Yes, your dentist does great work. Now please close your lips.
Teeth
#8. I am really frightened right now.
Frightened
#7. Nice hair, Fabio.
Fabio
#6. Ah yes, I love the smell of limes in the morning.
Limes
#5. Oh, rednecks… there’s one in every bunch.
Redneck
#4. Half of San Francisco would attack my blog with angry comments if I asked the obvious question about this one.
Limp Wrists
#3. Does he realize this is a dating site?
Player
#2. So, when you say “girlfriend”, what you mean is getaway driver.
Robber
#1. I have no words.
Riding
Authentically Aurora

The Macaroon Monologue

I recently got matched online with this amazing 29-year-old biomedical engineer:

David eHarmony

Better yet, this handsome fellow initiated a conversation with me and even asked – after a few rounds of emailing – if he could take me on a date! He seemed as entranced by me as I was with him. Could it be… love at first profile read?!

David was self-described as an athletic, adventurous, well-traveled, laid-back man who values quality time with family and friends. He is a team leader at a medical device development company who teaches bible study at his church and does volunteer work in his free time. Also:

Eharmony first impressionAdorable, right? I couldn’t wait to go out with him. David seemed like exactly the kind of guy I’d want to be with. Unfortunately, it turned out that David also thought he must be the kind of guy I’d want to be with. I discovered this fact about two hours into our date when I had yet to complete a full sentence without David interrupting me to tell me more awesome facts about himself.

Don’t get me wrong; I go on dates to learn more about the other person. Mission accomplished.

The thing is, I figured David might actually have asked me on this date to learn more about me. Wrong. Silly me.

Three hours into our date, I had given up trying to tell David anything about myself. At that point, I was just trying to get a word in edgewise so that I could excuse myself and LEAVE. I had been unwittingly taken hostage by a dashing, intelligent, accomplished and entirely self-absorbed man.

Long after the ice had melted in his iced mocha, David glanced down and took his first sip. I took the opportunity to “glance at the time” and tell him that I needed to head home. David smiled (I’ll admit it; he was right about having a great smile) and excused himself to get something that he’d left at the cash register of the cafe. Five minutes later, David returned with a box of two dozen dark chocolate macaroons, which he handed to me with a flourish.

“Your favorite, right?” His eyes twinkled.

I grinned and laughed inwardly, recalling that the only full sentence I had been able to get out was that I love dark chocolate. If only I’d mentioned that Tiffany watch I’ve been eying! C’est la vie.

Authentically Aurora

Clingy is for Saran Wrap

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 4.22.24 PM

When I was in elementary school, there was a kid nicknamed Spring Butt because he was so overeager that he would jump out of his seat with such nauseating enthusiasm, it appeared he had a spring affixed to his trousers. Although the original Spring Butt is long since married off, it seems that my online dating site recently matched me with a version of his full-fledged, adult form.

Mike initially looked like a good match. Reading over his profile, I found out that he is a smart, successful engineer who has a heart to serve those in need. He looked attractive in his photos and stated that he was a non-smoker who didn’t have any children but would like them someday. However, elsewhere in his profile, Mike described how much he loves spending time with his daughter. This particular site matches people based on preferences like religion and salary, so I figured that Mike had a daughter but selected “I don’t have kids” so that he wouldn’t miss out on potential matches who felt it was a deal breaker for them.

Much to my chagrin, Mike sent me a message expressing interest. Being a woman who values integrity, I decided to spurn his affections by calling him out on the conflicting messages in his profile regarding his daughter. Within an hour, I had a response back from Mike:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.44.18 PM

And then a few hours later, he added:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.44.28 PM

My brother lives on the other side of the country and came into town unexpectedly that weekend, and I don’t normally check my online dating profile every day anyway, so I was a bit peeved when, less than 36 hours later, I had another message from Mike:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.44.36 PM

If I could overlook his indiscretion at trying to conceal his daughter, I still would take issue with his needy, desperate communication style, so I let him know that I didn’t think we would work out in a romantic relationship. Instead of accepting my decision, he tried to change my mind by writing:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.55.46 PM

Exacerbated, I decided I was finished responding to Mike, but he was not finished with me. He wrote again the next afternoon:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.55.53 PM

And within another couple of hours, I had yet another message:

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 3.56.00 PM

Hoping to cease communication once and for all, I replied and told Mike that I took less issue with his daughter than the fact that I was overwhelmed by the amount of communication I had been receiving from him. “I need to be with someone who can be still and patient,” I wrote. I shouldn’t have been surprised when I received two more messages over the next couple of days:

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I’ll say this for Mike: He knows the meaning of persistence. And according to Albert Ellis, that’s worth something in love.

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 4.09.49 PM Authentically Aurora