By Teresa D. Cochran
Where do I start? I really don’t know where or how I ended up here, still single. I mean I’ve worked hard. I’m fairly successful at what I do. I have ambition and strive for more in life. To grow and evolve. I’ve been told I’m attractive. I’ve also been told more than once in my life that I’m the most beautiful woman that man has ever seen, but was that man right for me? I’m smart. Educated. Kind. Caring. Romantic. I think pretty funny. I’ve tried in person dating services. On-line dating. I’ve tried not on-line dating. For years, not dating… I’ve been the member of multiple meetup groups in my area. I attend many social events. Meeting people, organically, for years (which is my favorite way to meet). Waiting for the right person to come into my life. I’m still waiting. I thought I had to have my happy ending before I could right this article. So instead I’ll start now, with Part 1 of – I don’t know how many.
How do you find your love life? I feel like this is the burning question I have. For years I believed just living my daily life that it would happen. I would be going about my business and I would meet someone, date, and eventually get married and have a family. I did date and have a very serious relationship with someone for four (4) years in my early 20s. I met him at work and actually knew him for about three (3) years as a friend before we ever started dating. I can tell you, that’s probably why we dated for so long because I had already be given the opportunity to see him daily and see his character, and I loved him as a person. Just the nicest guy in the world. Fast forward four (4) years later into our relationship and I couldn’t figure out why he had not proposed to me. I thought, why are we still just dating?
My boyfriend had also dropped out of the junior college we were both attending together at the time, which I thought maybe was just a break he was taking but he never went back. That weighed on me as well. So after trying very hard to remain committed to the relationship, I finally decided it was over. It was not growing and evolving. I had outgrown the relationship. I was shocked to find out he was perfectly ok with breaking up and ending the relationship. I was like, “Wow! So I spent four (4) years with someone who was lukewarm about me?” Well, I don’t want that to happen again. So as the years went on, I never did meet anyone else I really was interested it committing my entire heart and soul to. Then, I was in my early 30s when dating services started to appear. I’m not talking about on-line dating. That didn’t even exist yet. Well, not the really popular ones like Match and eHarmony. I might have chatted in a chat room with a couple of people but that was all weird to me.
I worked with someone who had met her then boyfriend, and to be fiancé, at a local dating service where you had to go in person to have your current pictures taken, a video interview, and “your picture and paragraph,” placed in a three (3) ring binder for men to peruse. I know it seems very archaic now, but I was like, “Well, if she found her boyfriend that way it should work for me too!” Haha, silly girl, it was not to be, but the dating stories I have… Well, they are comical and will eventually will be part of a book I’m writing. After one year of awful dates, I was now about 33 which would have made it about 2003. I decided I was certain I would never use a dating service again and certainly not an on-line service. That just seemed crazy and impersonal to me
A very popular new on-line dating site had launched in 2000. It was a dating service that asked you a series of questions to match you, rather than just a picture and a paragraph. It was sometime after the launch of this on-line dating service, several years, that I went out to dinner with friends. One of my girlfriends was standing there with this very attractive man she had met on this dating site, and they were engaged! I told them of my failure with the prior dating service. Both of them stood there, all cute and couple like, and told me I needed to do this new dating service. I was like, noooooooo (insert face palm emoji).
Then, more time went by. I had progressed in my career, was moving into my new condo, and I was ready to finally meet someone. Finally. Now. For sure. This was around 2009. So nine (9) years after this very popular dating site launched I joined. This was back before you had a dating app on your cell phone. I literally had to sit down at my computer at home to get on-line on the website. I committed to one year. Then, during that year I went a little crazy and I think I joined like five (5) other popular on-line dating sites. It was a little nuts. I went out on a ton of dates. I talked to a lot of men on the phone. A lot of which I never went out with because I was already done on the phone call, and I said no thank you. When all was said and done, I did on-line dating seriously for about two (2) years, but I was super picky as I was still in my late 30s and had delusions of grandeur that I would meet the man of my dreams, marry him, and have his children. But the majority of the men had already been married, had children, and were just divorced so we weren’t even on the same page. So the internet dating ended in about 2011, about the time I turned 40.
Another three (3) years later, I was like, what am I supposed to do? I went to a life coach. Not just for my personal life but for my professional life. The life coach asked me if I had heard of Meetup.com. I hadn’t. When she explained that I could join different activity groups and attend in person, and meet new people in a non-dating pretense type format enjoying things I already enjoy, I was like, “I’m there!,” Sign me up!” So that brings me to 2014. I’ve been a member of multiple meetup groups. I’ve read my articles and writings at open mic night. I’ve met and made some of the most amazing girlfriends. It led me to take a group trip to Napa through wine country. I’ve maybe talked to a couple of men that I might have been interested in but it just seemed to me they were all busy trying to date every woman in the group that they could. It’s just not my style.
I did try another new dating app for a few months in the beginning of 2017, but that was not for me so I deleted it (insert face palm emoji, again). In the fall of 2019, I read something somewhere that said I needed to “make myself visible.” So I found myself joining dating apps yet again. At least this time, I could do it from the comfort of my cell phone, which has made it much easier to use the on-line dating apps, but the results continue to be the same. I did date someone for a little awhile but in the end was not right for me. So I’m back out there and not really happy about it. Not to mention, how do you date in the middle of a pandemic? I was going to cancel my last dating app subscription but they enticed me with 50% off for the next six (6) months. So I begrudgingly renewed. I mean the first six (6) months I was not even visible or active, because I was dating someone (insert third face palm emoji).
It’s funny when I talk about, with a lot of people, all that I have done to try to put myself out there to find that perfect someone for me the response I usually get is, “Don’t try. It will just happen when you are not looking.” If you do the math, I’ve been alive 49 years. I’ve been an adult available to date and marry since I was 18, which was 1989. So that’s 31 years I’ve had to really search. I’ve maybe been involved with dating services/apps for a combined total of four (4) years over my entire life. So that’s 27 years I haven’t actively been “searching.” It just makes me laugh when people tell me that. Because I didn’t search. I’ve wanted to meet men organically only, but here I am yet again. It also makes me laugh when people tell me I need to be on a dating app, and now you know why.
With all of this said, I am a very blessed woman with a wonderful fulfilled life, family, and friends. So I continue on my dating adventures. Well, now at least that I’ve written this Part 1, I can pick it back up with Part 2 with the next installment of exciting adventures in dating. I’m interested to see what happens next. Cross your fingers for me.