Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fool Me Once...

What a difference a day makes. Let's review shall we:

December 1999: After very little success at dating, I met James. Our first date was 12/31/99. Our second date was 8 hours after the first one ended. As we were pretty much inseparable after that, I tell people our second date ended 8 years, 1 month and 6 days later on the night of 2/6/08 when he suffered a heart attack and died instantly while driving home from work.

September 2008: Even though I know I am not ready to date, e-Harmony is having a free communication weekend for Labor Day. I fill out the profile and get the message that 25% of people cannot be matched and I am one of them.

October 2008: I fill out a profile on Plenty of Fish, where I specify I am just looking for friendship. Over 50 men look at my profile but none initiate contact. A month later, I hide my profile after a discussion on their message board reveals the prevailing thought on that site is that the death of a fiance(e) is the equivalent of a bad break-up and grieving as though you are widowed is just a cry for attention. (The widowed people on the board did NOT feel this way, but were greatly outnumbered, as one would expect).

I give up on online dating for the second time in my life, the first time being shortly before I met James.

July 2009: Loneliness has really set in and my fear it will always be this way is paralyzing. I find out e-Harmony is having another free weekend. I know people who have met this way. Not just know of them, but actually know them. I gave my desk to and just went camping with one of the couples. My opponent this week for Fantasy Football met her new hubby this way (as did her roommate)-I have known her for about 12 years. She was one of the original members of my bunco group. We are "for reals" friends. I know this can work and I am not meeting anyone that wants to date me through my day-to-day life. So, even though I have previously been rejected, I fill out the profile again. At the end I get a message saying that I cannot be matched at this time. Thinking I have been rejected again, a couple of days later I am surprised to find an e-mail from e-Harmony saying I have a match that requests communication. I log in and find I have 8 matches. After thinking about it for a couple of days, I decide to subscribe. After all, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

August 2009: I grow increasingly discouraged by the lack of contact with and the quality of my matches. The experience brings up bad memories from my pre-James days and makes me feel unattractive and worthless and I want to quit. However, on the advice of several people and because of my fear of spending the majority of my adulthood alone like my mother and her mother before her, I decide to give it more time and I also create a profile for I submit it on 8/19 and it is rejected.

September 2009: Frustrated, discouraged and with my self-esteem in the toilet, I cancel my e-Harmony account. When asked why I am canceling my account, I reply that I am discouraged that out of almost 100 (99) matches only 2 made contact, those I tried to contact never responded and that this has been a waste of my time and money.

September 4, 2009: For some reason, I am curious and log into my account to see if I have any new matches. Although it is cancelled, the account is still active until 10/08 as that is what I paid for. I have a new match and he has initiated contact. He meets several of my criteria, so I respond. He is very quick to respond back to all my responses, except he ignores my request for a picture. He responds so quickly it actually creeps me out because I feel like he is just sitting there waiting to hear from me. (Literally, within a couple of hours from hearing from me, I have a response from him). It also raises my Spidey sense how perfect this guy sounds-he is basically the male equivalent of me-but I press on. We quickly get to the last stage before we can openly communicate with each other and suddenly, he is no longer sitting by the computer eagerly waiting to hear from me. Hmmm...

September 9, 2009: Checking my account I discover a new match is the same as a match from 8/25, but with a different profile. It creeps me out and disgusts me.

Which brings us to today. Still creeped out and disgusted by Dual Profile Man, I Google "reporting fraud e-Harmony" to see if there is a way I can report this guy since I couldn't find a way to do it on their site. While I do not find anything about this, I find quite a few very recent complaints on several sites about subscribers all of a sudden getting contacted by matches as soon as they close their accounts. Matches that close the match or stop communicating right before the open communication stage, or as soon as the member changes their mind and agrees to pay for another month. Hmm. Complaints about e-Harmony matching active members up with inactive and/or old profiles. Complaints about e-Harmony matching members up with fake profiles. Complaints about e-Harmony still charging credit cards after the account has been closed. (They better not-I already have a connection at a law office thanks to James not having a will and his estate having to go through probate).

Through my experience of having worked for a property management company, I know that people are more likely to go online and complain than they are to leave kudos. But to be fair, I Googled "e-Harmony success." The only recent success stories are on their own site.

When I got home from work, I closed my match with Mr. Sounds to Good to be True (aka #100) and the other guy with no picture that is all of a sudden interested in communicating with me just in case these are real people. And then I closed my account for good. Although if I change my mind, I can go back and re-open it between now and October 8. I won't change my mind. I believe they were reputable at one time; as I said I have friends who have had success. But I believe that is no longer the case.

I have questions. I do wonder how many of my matches were legitimate and really did not have any interest in me. I wonder how many filled out the profile and were interested but could not contact me because they were not paid subscribers. I wonder how many of these were old or inactive profiles: is that how I got matched with the same guy twice? I wonder how many of these were fake: I suspect #100 is and that is why he was so quick to respond but ignored my request for a picture.

The other day my friend made a comment that really struck me. He said that life has a way of letting him know the correct path if he just pays attention and listens. In my stubbornness (which I have in abundance), I have not been paying attention or listening to what was so clearly being said to me: this is not the right path. I have said that before in previous posts. I have known that in my gut all along but ignored it because I am not encountering single men in my day-to-day life and didn't know what else to do. (Still working on that whole "try being patient" thing. It is so not me).

I do not want to spend the rest of my life alone. I am capable of doing it; but it is not what I want. Growing old alone ranks at the top of the list (along with bats) of things I am terrified of-it has since I was a little girl. And now that I am turning off the path of online dating (hopefully, I can stay off it for good this time!), I have to find a way to not let the fear take hold of me again. As I told my friends, who all agreed because they are awesome, if I am meant to meet someone, I will. I just have to keep telling myself that. They all think MH#2 is out there (as do I) and he will find me.

In the meantime, while I am waiting I am going to go look up "patience" in the dictionary. And the thesarus.


Shannon said...

Sweet Heather...
Please don't hate me, but I said it before, E-Harmony SUCKS! It's not for you. I probably have told you this a dozen times. A nice girl like you deserves more than some loser pretending to be someone he's not...twice! Like I said before, you need to get out more. If this E-Harmony has worked for your friends, kudos to them, it's not for everybody. Try going to places where you like so you will meet someone that you have something in common with. You seem like such a nice girl and I am sure in this great big world, there is a deserving guy waiting to be contacted by you! Patience IS hard sometmes, and you have been patient long enough, but you are not giving yourself enough credit, letting yourself get out enough. Like I also said, Mr. Right is not going to come beating down your door. You need to get out and mingle. The longer you wait...the harder it is going to be!!! Get dressed, get out, get going! Good Luck!!!

Steph said...

I am sure that you have made the right decision. Dating is so hard! I wish you the best of luck!

Heather said...

Thanks Shannon and Steph!

Shannon, I do read and appreciate your comments and I assure you I am getting out and about. In fact, since James died I have gotten sick twice-the last time for a month-because I refused to slow down!

As I have mentioned in my posts, I volunteer several times a month and have joined several meetup groups-some special interest, some designed just for singles. The last event I did was a hike. There were 25 people there (bad weather affected attendance): 6 men and 19 women. Of the 6 men, 3 were married, 2 were pushing 60 (I'm only 35) and one was single.

Here's the RSVP stats for my upcoming volunteer and meetup groups:

9/16: 8 confirmed attending; only 2are men

9/17: 18 volunteers-all women and college-aged boys

9/19: 20 volunteers-7 women for sure; the others are part of a group that volunteers from time to time with us so I don't have their names yet. I expect 5-6 men based on working with this group over the last 4 years.

9/26: 16 confirmed; 4 men

9/27: 41 confirmed; 9 men

10/10: 74 confirmed; 14 men

10/18: 43 confirmed; 11 men

This is just the events I have RSVP'd for-it doesn't include the ones I still have to look over to see if they work with my schedule.

As you can see, the problem isn't getting out of the house-it is that the number of women who are active overwhelmingly outweighs the number of men who are.

SHannon said...

YIKES! I see the problem! Let me put my brain back to work and I'll try to think of another strategy!! 60 is definately out of range girlfriend!!!

Rick said...

I have had many bad experiences with the online dating. I had joined Plenty of Fish and received NO responses and had over 100 women check out my profile. Then I discovered that because I am "a man" I had to contact them. Even more difficult and discouraging. Finally a few nibbles and I had fun emailing then dating.

Being single SUCKS no matter who you are. It is a tough world with lots of "weird" singles out there. I tried joining a different activity 5 out of the 7 days helpful. I then met people who would set me up. Most I didn't care for, but it was fun.

Some people just don't understand what we have been through. From the loss of our loved ones to trying to re-develop our life with another.

Hang in there!!
Many HUGS!!