The ads for eHarmony, match and RSVP flash up on the TV screen, you boldly change your Facebook status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’ and you are bombarded with ways to catch a man, some even suggesting a ‘rich’ man, and then you discover all the single mums out there who are actually in a relationship found their next love via the internet. Is this the way they do it now? I’d been off the market for eighteen years – before the internet was even around, at a time when you found your life partner at a pub, through friends or worse, what I did, when I thought my luck was up and decided to buy a raffle ticket for a car and won a husband instead. I hadn’t really had my wedding ring off for a month before I started to see that there might actually be some virtue in ‘talking to strangers.’
I thought about all the attributes that were missing in my ex-husband that I wanted in a man… the ability to actually make a wage, the ability to embrace life and adventure, height, authority, spontaneity, and the ability to love me without hidden agenda.
My thoughts also lead to the idea that I wanted someone a little younger than my ex. My ex was ten years my senior, so I thought that maybe his complacency in life had something to do with the attitude ‘I’m too old for this.’
So here I was, creating a list of wants and desires in a man, a personality profile of my projected self (after all, we do all want the world to know how we ‘can’ be, not exactly what we actually are) and an impatience to see who ‘could’ be out there for me.
I wanted someone 30-40 years old, who definitely didn’t have kids because there is no chance I could fit someone else’s kids into my hectic routine; I wanted a man 5ft 10 or taller, someone who could show me a good time, someone who could spoil me, someone who had a little spunk, someone who wasn’t afraid of my individuality or my successes – the fact that I had my own business and that I am a little unconventional in the way I do things, and someone who actually earns a living. I just wanted someone to have fun with, nothing too serious, just someone who would break up my day with some cheeky emails and a little romance, after all, this was my time after eighteen years, to be me…
Once my profile was up, it didn’t take long for men to jump at me. I was overwhelmed with ‘Hi’s’, ‘Hello’s’ or even an adaptation on that ‘Hello beautiful’… No one with any type of innovation, aspirations or even perspiration to show me that they could sweep me off my feet with an opening line. What is with that? First impressions, especially on the internet, need some WOW factor, they need to pick something out of my profile that resonates with them to show me that they aren’t just seeing the pretty face (cough cough!), but it seemed like no one had the ‘balls’ to come to the party.
It didn’t take me long to realise that 30-40 year old men, who don’t have kids have most likely never been married or in a serious relationship and that there was a reason for that… ‘desperate’ would be one word that came to mind, unsure of themselves would be another catchphrase, and my ‘want list’ of finding someone who was bold, high-spirited and successful was unlikely in this field.
Amongst the chaff, there were an alarming number of ‘unhappily married’ men available online. They saw my vivacity and made a bee-line to say Hello. But they knew how to be different, how to make a statement about themselves… they had the confidence, the energy and wordsmanship to create the intrigue I was looking for. Was I playing with fire? It was after all harmless banter, nothing more. I was obviously not the first to be lured by their tantalising ways, as their confidence was brave and undeniably audacious. They had definitely done this before. It wasn’t me who made them turn to look in a different direction, it was something within their marriage that made them wander away. At least they were open about there ‘marital status.’ It wasn’t like I was going to sleep with them when they lived in another state or country…
I had to stop before it was too late.. or was it already too late? There had to be a better way to find a mate. But when you’re stuck holding the fort with your kids full time, your social life is essentially non-existent, and the chance meetings are rare, you need something to get you through the day that is solely yours to enjoy. And the underlying key to all of this is ‘my happiness.’ A happiness I hadn’t had reciprocated in my entire married life. And I can’t shut someone off in my life if they give me happiness, not now that I know what it feels like for someone to actually ‘give’ to me. Oh, the ordeal… the morality vs the happiness. I can see why life as a single mum can be more complicated than a Rubik cube being worked on by an animal without opposing thumbs.