Internet Love vs. Internet Letdown

Let me set the scene…….

It was a crisp, cold February evening, the night before Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t feeling particularly happy, as I felt like I already knew my husband would make little or no effort to make this a special or memorable event! We were sitting down on opposite sides of a large corner sofa. It’s strange that he was even watching telly with me, as he used to go out every night. I don’t remember what we were watching but I remember the adverts.

Oh, I forgot to mention this Valentine’s Day would have also been our three year wedding anniversary! So then this commercial comes on:

“Being single can be amazing. So if you’re going to give it up, it has to be for someone who makes being a couple the best thing in the world. At eHarmony we really get to know you, that way we can introduce you to someone really worth getting to know.”

It was like I could feel the pressure building in the room and smell the gut-wrenching catastrophe which was about to become real. I could feel my breathing tighten. Many people don’t know I suffer from anxiety and sometimes struggle with my breathing when I have attacks. I could feel the panic set in.

“We need to talk,” he said. Then, he was gone. Of course I had the obligatory week of despair where I went into denial and begged him to come back everyday. But anyway, I think I have grounds to sue eharmony.

Instead I joined. That’s right you read that correctly, I joined the site! ‘If you can’t beat them join them’ so they say! I have always been a fan of irony and in my opinion it doesn’t get much better than this. I’m also a believer in fate and could this be mine? eHarmony spured on the end of my unhappy marriage in order to find me someone who would treat me how I simply deserve?

Anyway, back to reality. I joined one week ago and have been intrigued to say the least.  Just getting to the registration part was a big step, never mind putting aside all the worries and emotional doubts about Internet dating. THE QUESTIONS WERE A NIGHTMARE! How many times can they rephrase ‘what do you like to do in your spare time?’ Then it goes on to what feels like hundreds of ‘agree /disagree’ style questions that may or may not also be used by the Government to discover terrorists and people prone to psychotic episodes. I tried to be honest and asked friends or family to help me answer a couple of questions. So I’ve sent and received a few ice breakers and smiles, and started talking to few men on within a 40-mile radius.

Here’s my advice so far:

Pictures: It’s not nice to be critical of someone’s appearance but it helps if you find them attractive. Location of a photo is important. If they are always in a pub, bar or club then enough said. If they are always sat at a computer then I’d be concerned at the extent of their social life. If they use a passport style photo as a pic, definitely no. No one looks nice in those What were you thinking….look at the backgrounds is there any tell tail signs of their personality in the pictures, if they are at home what’s the decor like. For instance if they have outdated furniture or curtains, etc. they probably still live with their mum.

What they write: As with all Internet societies, there will be people who are not who they say they are, people who are there just for a laugh and  those whose main goal is to have sex. For example, I read on one man’s hobbies list today “Making love to you harder than you’ve ever had it before.”‘ Wow! There’s so much romance in here I feel sick! See if they have hobbies in common and then use this to strike up conversation. If their whole blurb is depressing then you may not want to get involved. If you’re looking for a single dad then see how much he mentions his kids.  It’s a great way to see if he is caring. Check to see if they have pets and what kind. It’s another great way to see whether they are capable of caring for something other than themselves. Cheesy lines don’t do it for me unless they are used in a humoured way. If their profile makes me laugh this always scores them top points!

Making conversation: I always go for a quirky first message mentioning something I’ve read in their profile to show I’ve paid interest beyond their appearance. If someone calls me sexy within the first couple of messages this doesn’t bode well and let’s me know they are only interested in one thing, and that’s just not what I’m looking for. Occasional compliments are appreciated as it’s nice to know that someone likes you, but too strong too quick usually freaks me out! Wanting to exchange numbers within the first convo normally has the same reaction. I would prefer to chat for at least a few days. For people that message first- they may loose me instantly if they say things like ” I never knew angels existed ’till I saw your profile” I’m not joking, and I didn’t reply. Also, there are the copy and pasters that literally send out an email that I assume many women have read before. Boring! And those that write an essay? Seriously I’ve had to reply with ‘That’s simply too much for me to continue to read.’ How do you have the fun of getting to know someone if they do that!? I guess this part is very personal to what you like to hear from people. Also, the same old questions like “How are you?” and “What are you up to?” continuously…. try and say things of interest and hope for the same in response!

First date: Well done if you have got this far!! Whoop, whoop you! Whatever you and the other person decide to do, remember to be safe. Tell a couple of people where you are going and go somewhere public and just relax. You can usually tell if this is someone you will click with on that first date. If it doesn’t go to plan just be honest, everyone appreciates honesty!

Good luck if any if you ladies are attempting this approach to get back out there! I’ll be honest with you- I stopped writing this blog half way through after being on two websites for less than a week. I got too freaked out by it all and decided it wasn’t for me. But I stuck at it a bit longer because sometimes it’s nice just to have people to talk to (if you’re a single mum stuck at home when kids in bed, etc). And then just as I was about to chuck it in…….I met someone!  Date number two today, wish me luck ladies.


The Facebook Divorce Facelift

Ten years ago this wouldn’t have been a problem. But you’ve been Facebook official for years. If you’re me, you’ve been Facebook official pretty much as long as you’ve been on Facebook. Your first kiss is there, trips, pets, families, engagement, and yes, oh god, the wedding photos are all there. Dregs from the past, and a cloud raining all over your “moving on” parade. So before you go completely off the grid, throw your computer out the window, and let people think you ran off with a U2 cover band….

There are five key things we’re faced with.  But don’t worry, we’re gonna get through it. Right here. Right now.

#1. The Relationship Status.

#2. Photos

#3. Mutual friends

#4. The Blockage

#5. Questions or Comments?

Let’s dive right in.

#1. The Relationship Status

Do you want it to be publicly known and seen that you are now “separated,” do you want to just jump to “divorced” or forget that, you’re “single?”

Ok, I know your head’s already swimming. More good news? You don’t have to decide right now. Just made that relationship status private:

Click on your name in the upper right corner to come to your main page. There’s a button that says “UPDATE INFO” right below your cover photo on the right hand side. Click it. Scroll down and under the “BASIC INFO” heading hit “EDIT.” Next to your relationship status, hit the little lock meaning PRIVATE.

And you’re set!

Then when you decide to put “separated,” “divorced” or “thank god he’s gone” (don’t you wish that was an option?) there isn’t a notification to all your bazillion friends saying “please comfort and pity me.” If you’re anything like me, you want pity from specific people, not the greater public at large.

Here’s another thing. Maybe you DO want your Facebook to say you’re “separated” or “single” but you don’t want the notification in your feed. Just make the switch while private, then make unprivate. Voila! New information, no notification. See how I did that? With the rhyming?

And if you want the world to know, to shout it from the mountain tops. Then, heck, go for it. You are a stronger woman than me, so I applaud you! I’ll definitely be there to comment and say so.

#2. Photos.

This is rough. I know. So here’s the deal. For me, it was hard to even look at things. And I definitely wanted my Facebook to reflect my new life and my new, empowered self. I didn’t want to feature profile photos from a girl I no longer was! So, the options are, of course, to delete. I didn’t have the strength (yet), but what you CAN do, is make all albums that feature the outings, the house, the pets, etc. private. And deal with it later. But at least every time you log on or check photos, they’re not staring you in the face. I forget they’re even there. I should probably go delete those…

Another thing, photos that were added by OTHERS. If you don’t want those coming up either, simply untag yourself. It can be a bit tedious, but it may be better for your sanity not to see your STBX popping up all over the place. They say pictures are worth a thousand words.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t like what those photos were saying.

I’ll play devil’s advocate. I see the validity in leaving things as they are. In saying “that’s my life, I don’t want to hide it” and I support and admire that. We each have our own journeys and needs. Most importantly, ask yourself what you need. What is healthy and good for you, and do that. If you need to keep things as they are because that’s best, if you need to put things away for a time and decide later, or if you need to delete and never look back—all of these are valid. And I support you.

#3. Mutual Friends.

Oh, it’s sticky, isn’t it? And I’m using this in the “Facebook” connotation. Meaning: his family, his friends, and the poor soul he’s now shtooping.

My approach was this: Of course, I loved his family. And many of his friends. But I knew if I started to see photos of him and his family, or him and his friends, it would only hurt me. And since you have to learn to be #1 to yourself again, I knew they had to go.

It felt okay because I had already spoken to his some of his family (sisters-in-law, or father-in-law never said a word to me again) and I believed they would understand.

As for the friends… Obviously the ones I knew were an even split, I kept, the others who were his, I let go. It’s a hard thing. But it really does come down to what’s best for you. I didn’t want to fight over people. I also didn’t want to put them through anything scarring. So, I left quietly for some, and stayed with others. Only you will know the right decision to make for you. And if you don’t know today, maybe you will tomorrow, or in a few weeks. And if you delete and regret, there’s nothing a little private message and friend request can’t fix.

However, I had no qualms about unfriending the bimbo, or blocking her. Which leads me to….

#4. The Blockage

No, I’m not talking about constipation. And I’m obviously not above poop jokes.

Should you block your ex, his friends, his family, and the bimbo?

You know what I’m going to say. Yep, it’s your call. Don’t you love the power?!

Maybe you’re wondering if I experienced blockage? You bet.

After hearing more than I wanted to hear in the week from hell, I couldn’t bear seeing what I didn’t want to see. I felt anxiety over dreading that someone my STBX knows might post a photo of them and he might look happy and I might feel terrible. Or he might comment on something on a mutual friend’s page and I would be in dialogue with him. Or, he might be checking up on me, and I had to make sure not to write anything sad, or he might think I was sad and he couldn’t think I was sad.

After I pulled myself out of the whirlpool of paranoia, I finally realized I didn’t have to put myself through that. At all. Ever again.

So, if you have more self control than me and don’t want to utilize blockage, I’ll mail you a cookie. But if you’re like me, save your sanity.

#5. Comments or Questions?

You can ask them below. What I mean is, after the first four steps, you’ve incurred some major changes to your Facebook page. This is the fifth and final element in your Facebook divorcee face-lift. You’ve made it! I knew you would.

So, here’s the thing. You might start getting some…”where’s your husband?”…”are you guys okay?”….And I hope they’re in private messages, I really do. If not, feel free to delete and private message the person directly and say, “hey, yes, I’m fine. We’re getting divorced. It’s okay. Don’t really need to discuss it.” Cause mostly these are the curious people. Because the people who matter already know.

So, for those comments and questions, be ready, come up with a dignified and neutral response. Here, you can even borrow mine:

“Hey, I really thank you for your concern. Yeah, (D-bag) and I are no longer together, but I’m doing really well. I’ve got a great support system and am really looking forward to all of the great things to come. Thanks again for asking, and see you around.”

That’s all. You don’t have to say:

“OMG! Yes! I’m AWFUL! He cheated on me with his best friend’s fiancé and now she’s moved across the country to be with him while he lives with his mother and works the same job he had and hated before we were married!”

You really don’t. Don’t say it. Say that to your friends over the phone where it’s never in print or seen by anyone.

It’s not lying. It’s just ’cause…you’re gonna be fine. You are fine. And you don’t need those people to remember you as that “girl who fell apart.” Because that’s not who you are. You are strong and you’ve already grown so much. I know it. If you need to get out the uglies, you can tell that to the people who matter, cause they’ll be there to see and help you build yourself up again. Like I know you will.

I wish you the best with your Facebook Divorce Facelift. Now, go put some new pictures up of you and your soul sistas looking fabulous and having fun. Then comment below and let me know how it all went.

-Lindsay B.