I’m going to write, carefully, about a subject that’s been on my mind for a while – Dating Websites! And the part they played in helping me keep my sanity after Luke died, but also to warn of some of the dangers.
Finding myself on my own in early 2011 I found out all about online dating sites and how easy it was to talk to and meet people. I also learnt very quickly about the fascination younger men have for older women. And this is where I need to be careful; for a while I was, how can I say, like a child in a sweet shop!
I met one such very charming man for a drink in London one evening; in spite of what was it has to be said a big age gap; we got on like a house on fire, we walked along the South Bank and talked all evening. We did progress to a very nice hotel room a few weeks later. Again a great evening was had, we had a lot in common and spent a fair amount of time laughing. None more so when early in the mooring I realised that the nose that kept going off all night was an alarm clock that I unplugged, after my companion had been leaping up pressing snooze for hours! The thought still makes me laugh now!
I met some very nice people and if I’m honest was fairly outrageous for a while; but nobody was hurt and fun was had. I did however put myself in at least one very dangerous position when I agreed to have lunch at someone’s flat. I put myself in a vulnerable position with someone I really didn’t want to spend time with. Food for thought, go for a public venue!
I had what was probably a very strange summer when I met a man on one site; he was younger but not stupidly so, as we connected he got a job working in Italy for one of the top rugby clubs. The person he presented was very attractive to me and we had a lot in common. We ‘spoke’ online for literally hours every day, he became my companion that summer, someone I could spend time with, albeit on a computer screen.
What I’m going to say next will sound very odd for those of you who haven’t experienced the same situation; we spent so much time communicating I get as if I knew him and started to have what seemed to be very real feelings. Even when this man told me he wasn’t the person he’d presented to me my feelings remained. For his own reasons he decided that he couldn’t be what I needed and broke all communication; so after a good 4 months of continuous talking he just disappeared.
It took me a while to get used to the gap he left; there is a saying about people being in your life for a reason and that man who I believe, in spite of an initial web of lies, was a good, kind man filled some sort of gap for me in that 1st year I was on my own. He helped to keep me sane.
So, no real harm down, my online situation probably kept me out of a lot of mischief! I had one stupidly young lad contact me on one site, he was 18!! When I told him, thank you, but no thank you – he told me lots of women my age got in touch with him! Then blocked me for being Ageist! Oh my word! I have to say, seriously, 18 is a child!
I had one very sinister experience in early 2013, I think it was, a very attractive American man living in London contacted me on a paid for site. Again we spoke online for hours, exchanging long emails, we also spoke on the phone. This man purported to be retired but a wealthy man. He realistically got a lot of lot of information from me in our exchanges; including how vulnerable I was having lost Luke.
We made a plan to meet but at the last minute he was apparently called away on a business trip to one of the Arab countries; where he was going to try to sort out an old business deal that would net him a lot of money. Now, this man who was miles away was still sending emails, but also sending texts. At what would have been a great cost; I use Whatsapp, which if you have internet access is free. This man I checked also used Whatsapp; and strangely when I looked at his profile photo rather than being a blond, white man, the photo was of a black man.
Now that got my suspicions going naturally! I forgot to mention; the day before we’d been due to meet a huge bouquet of flowers, bottle of champagne and box of handmade chocolates had arrived at work from Mr America. So, back to my story; I got a message from this man saying he needed to talk to me; I had a colleague sitting with me, I turned to her and said, this man is going to ask me for money!
Sure enough that’s exactly what he did; the whole thing had been a con! I later found out that the flowers etc had been paid for with a stolen credit card; it was all a bid to con money out of me. I imagine that for some men and women too that they operate this way as a living. There’s very little chance that they’ll get caught and from what I’ve read some vulnerable people do part with their money. So, a message for you, don’t be fooled by this kind of con, never part with your hard earned money for someone you’ve never met or barely know.
Over the years I’ve had a lot of so called American men contacting me; they usually have a hard luck story, they want to go straight to long winded emails and profess love almost immediately. In spite of my earlier confession about my summer thing; that really isn’t possible. So, look out for American ex-servicemen who have a child, but is a widower, there seems to be a common tale.
Dating sites are a thing of the past for me and have been for quite a while, they are a good way to meet people, two of my very good friends met that way and are very happily married, a lovely couple! But, be careful if you choose that road, don’t do things you otherwise wouldn’t do.
I’m certain if Luke were looking down at his Mum he’d have been laughing at times and shaking his head; have fun, as long as you don’t hurt yourself or others. Here’s a random quote I found yesterday which is nothing to do with this post really, but I just have to share!
5 thoughts on “365 Happy Days – A smile a day – Part 29”
Debs, this is a brilliant post and something I intend I writing about at some point…I totally get the thing about developing feelings and can totally empathise with the deception of some people online – I’ve been caught out myself. I think it can also be so unhealthy as you can get addicted to them and rather than providing sanity and distraction it can have the opposite effect 😦
I actually ended up meeting my partner online so I guess I’m one of those rare examples of where actually it has eventually paid off…but more about that in a blog post 😉
I loved reading part 1 if your blog too! I feel exactly the same when i go North!
On this one, i really think sone people loae themselves and get pulled in by some of the very nasty people out there. Glad the whole dating site thing worked out for you. x
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Great blog post! I intend on writing about the same subject and my experiences at some point 🙂
Really understand your comments about feeling emotionally attached to someone…but more about that in a future blog post 😉
Hi Debbie, I loved your comments about dating websites. I got involved back in 2008, not in a dating website as such but in a ”over 50” chatroom belonging to AOL. I met some lovely kind friendly people via this chatroom and enjoyed the experience apart from one lady. The lady in question will remain nameless but lived up in Edinburgh. I used to look forward to our cyber chats every night and for a while things went really well. I was even contemplating a trip to Scotland, As an Essex ”boy” it all seemed like great fun and, maybe, a good relationship loomed. Things started to change if I was late on line. The questions about where I had been, eventual accusations and I guess I had a very insecure lady on my hands. When we spoke by phone the lovely soft voice I had got used to changed. I was accused of all sorts of things as if we were a settled couple living together and I tried to ease off on the relationship. I started getting Emails that were a couple of pages long calling me all sorts. I can smile now but at the time I was beside myself with stress I have never, ever, wanted to hurt anyone but suddenly a good thing had turned bad. So, I have rambled on enough but I hope you don’t mind. I have regrets about how things turned out but, in hindsight, would love to take the chance again with chatting online, being single in your fifties leaves a gap in your life. Sadly all the dating websites seem to want payment for their use and I have no idea now which ones are good and which one might be rip-offs. Thank you for your time and a happy new year to you. Steve x
Hi Steve, it can be hard to meet someone without these sites, but for me? I’m just living my life doing the things I love, being in charge of my own happiness. If I’m ever meant to share that with someone else it’ll happen, if not I’m happy with my life.
There are some very odd people out there, sorry you had a nasty experience too.