Boredom, coloured by the occasional flash of loneliness, plus a deeper urge to re-join the push and pull of humanity led me to online dating.
A secret part of me craved excitement: ideas, fun, laughter, the thrill of new friendship, and sex. I committed myself to give online dating a go for a year, to throw caution to the winds and explore what I’d been missing since the age of 21 when I married my long-distance love.
Twenty-odd years later that relationship ended. I was now a full-time carer for my two school-aged children, with a hefty mortgage, a professional job to hold down and very little free time. I was emotionally numb for several months, until I discovered a dormant interest in the opposite sex. It was something of a shock to find a throbbing heart in my chest.
I’ve always been idealistic and romantic – diving into the lows and floating blissfully with the highs – and yet after so long in the one relationship, my wings seemed clipped and my spirit sagging. I’d forgotten how to flirt and a part of me wondered if I’d ever get it back.
Online Dating Can Mess With Our Heads
Its very nature encourages intimacy between strangers. It cloys confessions and drags declarations from us before we even know what we’ve revealed. It’s so easy to rashly type something and then hit send with little thought for the consequences. We can feel as if we’ve shared our innermost depths, and yet our minds gloss over the fact that we may not have actually met this person of our dreams.
This is because we are ancient beings adapted to a very different life – one that is lived in air and flesh, not one that’s conducted digitally via swiping keypad and quick-clicked images. And so what is texted, whispered or messaged is real to us. It’s normal once we step through the doors of digital dating.
And ‘normal’ is about to get a whole new look.