I hadn’t dated in over 25 years. I was not computer savvy and had to learn the technology of ‘modern’ dating online. I had teenage kids to observe and comment on the whole process. What fun!
I got lucky. Very lucky. I had been separated for five months, in early 1999, when I tackled computer dating for the first time. I actually did find it fun. I emailed with several men, one extensively. He was a psychologist who felt that we had to know each other’s life stories before we even talked on the phone.
Then there was Tom. I sent him my profile because I liked something I saw in his. He said that he was a ‘normal’ guy, looking for a ‘normal’ woman. After my first marriage, I felt kinship with anyone who understood the importance of normalcy in relationships. He wrote back that he was interested in meeting me and gave me his phone number. I called. After ten minutes on the phone, he asked me out for dinner. He was my first in person date this time around.
We now realize that it was love at first sight (except for the ugly green jacket he was wearing that almost scotched the deal). We hit it off immediately. We were comfortable with each other. It felt right. We discovered that we had both come out of 22 and 25 year marriages, respectively, to people who were mentally ill. We could finish each other’s stories about horrific scenes at family events caused by our exes.
It turned out that both our exes had left both of us twice. We took them back each time. It was only on the third time walking out on us that we both said enough is enough and refused to take them back. What a coincidence!
We commiserated about the fact that no one in our lives could understand why we had stayed so long in dysfunctional marriages. But we each understood why the other had stayed – a first in both of our lives. It was a true bonding experience. We ‘got ‘ each other instantly.
After a short conversation at the diner, Tom said, “Let’s get this over with. You’re a keeper. Are you free next Friday night?” I said yes and Tom said, “Great! Now we can relax and enjoy the rest of the evening.” The evening went on till 3:00 in the morning! We just kept talking. We didn’t want to go home.
When I finally arrived home at about 3:30 AM, my 19-year-old son, David, was waiting up for me at the door. He was furious. He greeted me with “Do you have any idea what time it is? I was about to call the police!” He went on to lecture me. “You should have called home if you were going to be so late. I was so worried. I didn’t know who you were with. He could have been an axe murderer. I was getting frantic. How could you be so inconsiderate?”
At first I thought that David was joking – doing a parody on a parent greeting their teenager coming home after curfew. Then I realized that he was serious. He really was a nervous wreck. I felt bad, but not bad enough to agree to call my son when I was out on a date.
Tom and I had another date the next week. We ended up spending the whole weekend together and we’ve been a couple ever since. We’ve been together now for 18 ½ years and married for almost 15 years.
After we had been dating for about six months, I asked my fourteen year old daughter and David if they would be okay with Tom spending weekends at our house. My younger daughter was fine with it. My nineteen year old son had to think about it for a minute. He finally said, “Mom, I’m just getting used to the idea that you slept with Dad. Can you give me a little more time on this one?”
I did and a short while later we took the first step towards becoming a family. My kids were basically good with Tom. They knew that he was a good guy and that he was good to me. They sometimes gave him a hard time, but the integration process went pretty smoothly. (We were not so lucky integrating my dogs with Tom’s cats after the wedding in 2002). Now we’re just their ‘parents’.
I had the easiest and best experience with online dating of anyone I know. I got really lucky, really quickly. Maybe it was Karma for both of us. We had both been through a lot and were due for something positive in our lives. I never really believed in Karma before. But I truly believe that Tom and I are each other’s Karmic rewards.