Order Up! Single-Parents Dating Online

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Yup, I signed up for them all. I was a mama on a mission to find love online.

More sites, more options.

I had tried the club scene. Blaring music. Dim lights. Too much booze.

“Nice toes,” one guy had said, looking first at my feet and then straight at my chest.

Tall, dressed in black slacks, button-down blue shirt, full head of blonde hair. He certainly was attractive.

But way too young and way too interested in my breasts.

Tall, dressed in black slacks, button-down blue shirt, full head of blonde hair. He certainly was attractive.

But way too young and way too interested in my breasts.

“Nice toes?” The white tips of my toenails peeked out from my three-inch-high red, strappy shoes. “You came over here to talk to me about my toes?”

I knew his type.

He swigged from his Corona bottle, laughing. “What’s your name?”

“I’m a widow.”

He leaned in closer, placing his hand on the hip of my jeans. “Willow?”

Clearly, he couldn’t hear me.

“No,” I shouted. “I’m a WIDOW.”

“Man, really?”

Did he just call me man?

I scanned the crowded room for my girlfriend and spoke with emphasis. “A widow with two babies.”

He smiled, but took a step back. No response.

That’s what I thought.

Pointing at the bright orange EXIT sign, I said, “You may want to run. Run as fast as you can.”

“I just wanted to talk.”

No doubt his idea of talking was much different than mine.

Before I had kids, it might have been fun to flirt with him, maybe even go out on a few dates.

Honestly, I was flattered. He couldn’t have been more than 22, and at a time when I felt like damaged goods, the attention reassured me at some level. Being a 29-year-old widow made me feel old. Undesirable.

But I needed a man who could handle my situation. And I wasn’t willing to settle for anything less than I had before.

So, I wrote, then rewrote my Match.com profile, which read, in part:

“There is a place where happiness overwhelms you, where you feel you might burst because it feels so good. I have been to that place. I have been there and tasted its richness and I know that I will return there once more. I have to believe that those capable of loving with such intensity, of living each moment completely, must deserve to love again.”

At night, I put my daughters, then 2-months-old and 21-months-old, in their cribs.

I didn’t have to deal with the bar scene. A few clicks on the computer and I could order up exactly what I wanted.

Religious preferences. Politics. Height. Wants kids. Willing to adopt. Willing to embrace a widow still snotting and crying from watching her 29-year-old husband drop dead of a heart attack on the kitchen floor. (Alright, there wasn’t a “still in grief” box to check, but my profile was very specific, so they knew what they were getting into when they contacted me.)

The best thing about online dating is that you have to force yourself to actually define what you want in a partner. That, to me, is the first step in getting everything you want out of a relationship.

If I liked their profile and had a good feeling about their photo, I’d get in touch via email. Then, after a few written exchanges, we’d talk on the phone. If I didn’t like the sound of a man’s voice, I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my life with him.

I did meet someone right away, and although that didn’t work out, we’re still friends.

There were many more lunches, dates for coffee, drinks, and through each of them, I learned more about myself. Never did I once have a bad experience.

In fact, I’d say online-dating for this single-mama worked out pretty well.

Two years after the death of my late husband, I met my new husband on Match.com.

He’s exactly what I ordered up . . . and more.


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