My ex-husband and I separated early in 2008. In about November of that year, I joined match.com. I don't know why, really. I felt unlovable for a lot of reasons, judged by many for how and why my marriage ended, and I was working my butt off at two jobs just so I could afford to eat. When I had time to myself, I felt lonely. So maybe I went into it looking for my match at first.
I made a connection with someone who seemed good on paper (or at least via email), but I was too nervous to meet him in person (I have social anxiety on top of the feeling judged and unlovable part). 3 months later, we went on a date. Disaster city. It soured me on match and I decided never to do anything like that again.
But I tried it again mid-2009. The life I was living then I am not proud of now. I was going out a lot to bars and clubs. Sure, it was fun, but it's not who I really am. Sure, I met some guys, but boy howdy were they not exactly what I had in mind to settle down with. But what did settling down matter anyway, by then? I felt very damaged, and I sure as heck didn't think I'd ever get married again or have kids. I wasn't looking for that because I didn't think I was worthy of it. But I did think maybe I could find someone somewhat normal to date.
On July 7th, 2009 (the day my divorce was finally final), I got a 'wink' on match.com from a guy calling himself jp09 or something of that nature. I checked out his profile. He was really cute. I couldn't understand why he needed a website to find someone to date. I assumed perhaps he did it for the ego boost, or was one of those types to troll sites like that to find people to sleep with. I 'winked' back anyway and we began messaging. He wanted to go out with me that weekend. I said no, I'd rather get to know each other via email and phone for a little while.
So we did. And I just kept liking him more and more. But I was still scared. Eventually, I knew I'd have to commit to a date and see if I liked him just as well in real life as I did electronically.
On July 25th, 2009 (a year ago TODAY) we met at Bongo Java for our first date. I had trouble finding somewhere to park, so I was a little late, which is not like me. But as I was walking up the sidewalk, I saw him sitting outside at a table and I was pleasantly surprised he was just as handsome in real life. That was a relief.
We talked until they closed. At one point, he asked me when my birthday was. I told him it was the next day. (He was the first person to text me Happy Birthday on my birthday). As they were closing, he helped stack up the chairs. I took that as a sign he was helpful with a good heart (I was right). I was kind of unsure if he really was into me or not. He seemed to be sometimes, but didn't look me in the eye much (turns out he has social anxiety too), so I kept wondering if I had a booger in my nose or if I was just ugly.
I left that first date feeling something I hadn't felt in a while - hope that there were still good guys out there. I didn't know if it would turn into anything, all I knew was that I liked him, but I didn't feel worthy of anyone that good. Nor did I know if he really liked me.
But, long story short, 3 weeks later we had our second date and I could not deny what my heart felt for him, even if it was cautiously.We started dating seriously, though it took me a while after that to be completely on board with the idea of settling down. I was so scared I'd have the rug ripped put from under me. I was scared to truly give my heart to someone, because I've seen the worst of what can happen when you do that. It's hard. By the end of October we were engaged. We will be married in a little over a month from now, and I couldn't be happier.
I will always be a work in progress. I still feel unlovable at times, and unworthy of such a great person and his great love. But I have no doubt that he was sent to me by God himself, a 33rd birthday gift given to me one day early.
I love you, Bip!