I started online dating several months ago. It took me quite some time to even get to a place where I felt comfortable saying that I was thinking about online dating. Intellectually I get that tons of people find their partners online (I can think of 5 couples off the top of my head who have met online and have what appears to be a great relationship). I completely get that we live in a world where meeting people online is par for the course. Yet when I throw myself into the equation? I immediately go to this dark place where I just know that people are thinking I’m doing online dating only because I can’t snag me a man the real way (whatever that way is).
My ideal self can say with a straight face “I am fat and don’t have a problem with it, so if you do, please don’t apply to be my boyfriend. I am active, play racquetball, go on the occasional bike ride, and cook and eat healthfully. I’m also fat. And sometimes I sit on the couch and watch tv while eating dinner. Like a normal person, not because I’m fat.” This is true – about ¼ of the time. For some reason I think I need to be this “with it” every day of my life. Because otherwise…what…a guy will need to be able to look past all of the laziness and the fat and the wavering self-esteem and the eating on the couch? He’ll see that and flee the fuck away as fast as he can? What I really want is to be able to come off (and actually BE) as confident as I see other women in the fatosphere (wonderful, gorgeous, inspiring examples here). That’s my goal. Or at least to recognize that the whole thing is a process and some days I may feel like I am completely unworthy of love and that that’s ok – focusing on how I feel (and honoring each of those feelings) in this equation is what matters most right now.
I had a great experience with online dating before I left Seattle for the bay area. I had been emailing/texting/IMing (jesus, I sound like a tween) with this guy who seemed very delightful. Our communication was super flirty, witty, and snappy. I was loving it. We met up and…meh. We talked non-stop, but he was very much in love with his own stories and advice so I barely got a word in. My old self would have assumed that once he saw me and my hideous fatness, he decided I wasn’t worth trying to charm anymore. And while some of that language snuck in to my head, I walked away from the evening with a much more powerful thought – I didn’t really like him. Wait a minute! Dating and meeting people isn’t just about charming HIM and doing everything in my power to make sure that I can create enough of a distraction from my fat with my wit and charm. I get to choose. And he was kind of an asshole. Tada! Thank you therapy.
So now I live in a new city and want to meet people, yet I’m feeling the same thoughts come creeping back…no one will want to date me once they see what I look like, I need to lose weight before I throw myself into this oh so lovely world of dating, etc. I’m choosing to take it easy on myself and know that these thoughts, while not helpful, are natural and should not be beaten down with a stick. I’m choosing instead to take this time to get settled in, find some routines, find a damn APARTMENT, and all of those other things that help one feel at home. Dating will come, and it’ll be good and bad and awful and wonderful and exciting and boring.