I once took out a personal ad, trying to find a woman who worked at a Halifax bookstore in the mid-1990s. You see, when I had finally worked up the nerve to ask her out — after special ordering a half-dozen Patrick O’Brian books so I could see her on multiple occasions — she had left the store to return to school. I still remember the woman at The Chronicle-Herald getting all misty after reading my ad, and calling out her coworkers to read it. I could have landed a date with any one of them.
But the ad didn’t work. I never heard from this lovely woman, although I did get a handful of letters from others who were touched by the words. Believe it or not, I saw this woman again at the Public Gardens three years later, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, when she was posing for wedding photos. She was such a lovely bride. She looked up and saw me, and she smiled. I know she recognized me.
So, being a modern guy, I tried my hand at Internet dating, writing an ad for a couple of dating sites. It seemed my only option, as my caregiving duties had become a 24/7/365 routine, and I simply couldn’t find any time to meet anyone socially.
True, I had a few women friends in karate, and dated a couple of students, but the relationships didn’t go very far. And to be honest, with daily migraines becoming my alpha and omega, I wasn’t the easiest person to get to know, or spend time with.
So I pretty much lived as a hermit. It sounds impossible to imagine now, but the simple truth is that I seldom had more than an hour each day for socializing, and I found caregiving to be overwhelmingly isolating. It becomes a dull ache in your life and sucks the warmth from your relationships. I didn’t see it at first. But I felt worthless. I felt like I had so little to give that my socializing mostly consisted of retiring to the Public Gardens or a coffeehouse to read a book alone, but in the company of strangers.
So when I felt time slipping away, I turned to the online world and posted the following on a couple of dating sites.
It didn’t really work. I met a wonderful woman named Ulrieke. She eventually decided she didn’t want to meet and then, in a life filled with coincidences, we met in RL about a week later. Small town, Halifax. We became friends, and it seemed like we could be more, but it didn’t happen. I corresponded with a few women in places like Oregon and Massachusetts, but the long-distance stuff eventually peters out.
Have you ever tried it? How did it work?
I don’t believe that things happen for a reason. I can’t believe in a Higher Power who moves the pieces on the chessboard of my life, creating problems and opportunities.
But due to circumstances I couldn’t always control, I was single and lonely when a much younger woman came into my life.
And that, my friends, was a very good thing.