Monday, June 17, 2024
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My Online Dating Experience Doesn’t Define Who I Am

Photo courtesy of bixentro via Flickr
Photo courtesy of bixentro via Flickr

I haven’t been in a serious relationship for going on eight years now.

I’ve gone on a few dates—left a few of those dates early. Yes, they were THAT bad. I’ve made a few bad choices. Got my heart attached to guys who had no intention of getting attached.

I’ve tried meeting guys.

All the places you’re “supposed” to meet someone haven’t exactly worked out for my benefit. There’s not ONE single guy at my church, but that doesn’t stop the church ladies from offering me their tips on how I can find a man. I work at previously stated church, so there’s no fresh pool of prospects there. I’m actively involved in a young adult group, which brings in all sorts of single guys, many of whom have become friends.

It’s not that I’m not outgoing or social, either. I haven’t left an event or gathering without making a new friend. I blame my mom for this quality. Every time she to goes to get a few groceries at the store, she walks out with the phone number of a lady she met in the whole-foods aisle, or some new connection on where to buy poppy seeds in bulk. I kid you not.

I have tried online dating sites in the past, but only found a few weird apples. Recently, some friends encouraged me to give it a try again.

Give it a shot, they said.

It’ll be fun, they said.

What’s the worst that could happen? they said.

So I did. Last week, I made a profile on a popular dating site. Uploaded my best photos. Each one cropped, filtered and angled in the most pleasing way possible. Wrote finely tuned essays. Showed my witty side, my brilliant side and my creative side.

It was a beautifully crafted profile, I assure you.

I got all the usual messages, most of them coming by way of another country and/or redneck country. Not that either of those are necessarily bad, but I’m not interested in providing green cards or kissing a man who chews tobacco and starts messages with “yo hot mama.” Not a capital letter or punctuation mark to be found.

That was, until yesterday.

He was a brilliantly witty fellow. Lavish with kindness and encouragement … even when it came to the fact that I’m a “full-figured” woman. It seemed to be going well. We discussed different standards and desires regarding relationships, and it seemed like he respected the boundaries I had set forth concerning purity.

Until 9:30pm rolled around, at which time he started crossing lines. I immediately expressed discomfort and asked him to stop, thinking he’d respect my request and kindly move on, but no such luck. It was clear he wasn’t stopping, so I did my best to be polite and end the conversation and connection.

This was apparently too much for his ego to endure.

Before I could block him from further contact, he lit into me. There was name calling, belittling and vulgarity that I didn’t deserve. His poison had been released, and my little heart was feeling its effects.

His words magnified the lies that already reside in my mind:

You’re disgusting.

No one will want you.

The guy was a jerk. I knew that, but somehow I allowed his words to latch on. I immediately reached out to a few friends I knew would speak truth to my heart. I needed to hear what God thought about me—to know that what God thought was vastly different.

I let the words of my friends—or rather the repeated words of my Heavenly Father—wash over me. I let them clean out the fresh wounds and bring healing to those places.

I am called beloved by the great and mighty Creator of the universe. His love has pursued me and pulled me from the darkest corners, even when I didn’t deserve it. He formed me, chose me and finds pleasure in me.

He did a good job on me, too, I might add.

For a moment, I had allowed someone’s words to trump God’s words. I had wrapped my worth up in what a man had thought of me. There’s a popular quote that has been passed around Facebook that I’ve repeatedly tried to remind myself of, and now I’m reminding you, too: “Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.” I’m still a treasure. Just not that joker’s. And thank goodness for that.

I don’t know you, but I know you’ve got a worth far beyond comprehension. Not because I say so, but because God says so. As you wait for the mate God has for you, please keep that in mind. And if there comes a point where you start to question it, or someone says something different, then phone a friend. Let them give an audible voice to God’s truth.

About Holly Hrywnak

Holly is a 30ish-year-old writer who strives to share honestly and transparently in hopes that it will encourage others to be open about their own struggles and lessons learned. She's been accused of being sassy, which she finds to be an admirable attribute. Her favorite things include: making people laugh, chocolate, sweatshirt weather and authentic conversations over coffee. One day she hopes to find herself a bearded lumberjack to call her own.
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