I left in summer for Scotland and returned in fall–with the trees in the beginning of their autumnal hues and displays of pumpkins and mums in stores and on porches. How quickly life moves forward from day to day and season to season. It catches me by surprise–no matter how much I orient myself with frequent glances at the calendar on my refrigerator.
There are personal seasons as well–periods of our lives marked by changes happening to us and to those we hold dear. In August, when I was preparing for my trip, my subscription to Match.com–the only dating site I’d maintained, was coming to an end. I decided not to renew since I would be away on my trip and needed to focus on preparations. My plan was to join a different site once I returned–if that felt like the right thing to do.
I subscribed to my first online dating site just over 2 years ago and eventually tried three others. My son had advised, “It’s a numbers game; the more profiles you see, the more guys you meet, the chances go up you’ll find “the right one.” Starting at this late in the game, I wanted to speed up the process! I knew couples who’d met online and they had solid relationships. Online dating had been the way to go about things during the pandemic when I joined the game.
Looking back, I remember the image that came to me of checking out the online guys. I was standing by a conveyor of toads passing and I had to inspect each one–to see if the toad could become the Prince. I first wrote about this in my post Testing Toads: Online Dating. Over the past two years, I’ve tested a lot of toads.
Most of them have been one-and-done meet-up dates: coffee at Panera, hikes at public parks, lunches and dinners. Two guys were not from online sites but were through my church and my dances. Of all the relationships, one lasted for three months and the longest-lasting was seven-months–with several break-ups.
I won’t begin to try and calculate the numbers of hours spent on the sites, on the phone, texting or debating about what course to take. It has been an education, a learning experience since I feel like each man in my path has taught me something. Maybe I could even say, he’s been there for a “reason and a season” no matter how brief or how long.
The day after I returned from Ireland, I tested positive for Covid. I was tired from travel but some of that fatigue was the virus. It forced me into the ten-day isolation that was actually best as I re-entered from seventeen days away. One morning, when I was looking at my email, there was one from a realtor. I’d been looking for a townhouse last winter but had given up with the difficulty of the market. Most of the realty emails I didn’t open—but that day, with nothing better to do while stuck at home, I opened it.
To my surprise, there was a townhouse in my price range, with the things I was looking for. Within twenty-four hours I obtained a Buyer’s Agent, saw the house, made an offer, and it was accepted. I could not believe that I was actually going forward with buying a house. In the days since then, I’ve been busy with all that goes into purchasing a new home: ending my apartment lease, inspection of the new house, getting estimates on repairs. I’ve been thankful that I’m retired so that I have time to meet all these deadlines. I realize that I would have no time or concentration now for online dating. I need to check out the cost of fencing– not meet a guy at Panera for coffee.
Last Tuesday, I had a session with my therapist. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I knew I needed his help to go through divorce and to find my way to a new life. I believe in getting professional help; it’s a sign of strength–not weakness, to seek out a trained person to help you sort through things in this complicated life. And that’s what my therapist, Don has done with me.
In our session, I told him that I was going to stop online dating for a while. I’d get through buying the house, moving, the holidays and then see if I wanted to join a new site in January. Now, I would meet guys like I did before online dating– through dances, in my new faith community, and playing my new sport–pickle ball.
“You’ll be meeting people in more organic, natural ways,” he said. “It won’t occur as quickly as online dating.”
Later, I considered the difference in pace of online vs dating the “old” way. At least when you dated like we did in the past, you saw their behavior and made a judgement about whether you were compatible through real-time experience. Meeting guys at the dances, I know they really like to dance; they weren’t writing that on their profile and then when we talked, saying, “Well, I danced back in college.”
College was a long time ago if you’re anywhere close to a compatible age for me!
I remember back to my trip, the last leg that was my solo journey to Doolin, Ireland. By that point, I was worn down from being in that 6-day tour group in Scotland with the four couples that kept reminding me that I wasn’t part of a couple. On a rainy afternoon at the Cliffs of Moher, I’d met that stranger in my path, Patrick. He’d encouraged me saying, “I think you’ll meet someone when you least expect it.” (see Ireland: People in My Path)
The day I was scrolling through my email and opened the one from the realtor, I was not expecting to find anything; I’d been searching without success for months. But that one day, things were different. The townhouse came to me “when I least expected it.”
While things haven’t changed as far as finding the right partner, seeing that happen with the house has been an example that it does happen. Now, I remember that verse from Ecclesiastes 3:1 on the Celtic card that I bought in Doolin, the one that is now displayed in my apartment:
“A Season and A Time for every Purpose”
It’s true for my house; it’ll be true for finding a life partner. It’ll be true for other things through all the days of my life.
And for yours.
Best to you in living life fully while waiting on the right time, the right season.