Online Dating and Morality

A few days ago, I convinced a guy who had messaged me to delete his account. And I’m proud– because he’s married!

At first, he seemed like the jackpot– a Catholic Democrat! He seemed confident but yet with humility. He was a father, which I didn’t mind. Except he said “truthfully, I’m still dealing with the divorce from my first marriage.”

Huh.

I asked for some clarification–just how far along was he? At least half?

And I’ll withhold the details about that, but suffice to say that out of respect for his wife and kids he was waiting to “pull the trigger,” until things had gotten more stable. Even though they had all the “legalities” planned and things should go smoothly once it began.

HE HAD NOT EVEN FILED.

And then, I got pissed off.

There he was, listed as “single” on a dating website, looking for “friends.” And ya know, later, “maybe it could lead to more.”

At first, I wasn’t going to reply– why bother? But several days passed– and I saw that he was continually updating his profile.

It was just WRONG– and I couldn’t let it go.

So I wrote back, and let him have it.

I said if he’s really looking for “friends,” then surely he’d be  looking for male “friends” too. Which he was not.

He contended it’s “not just” a dating website.

Yet on his profile, he had described what type of woman he’s looking for– and speculated about his next relationship.

He gave me the “in my mind, the marriage is over,” line.

I explained to him that it’s not fair to the women of that site that he’s legally and emotionally unavailable, despite what he may feel. And I explained what it feels like to be the “friend” of a divorcing man– to be the one waiting. That you can make as many boundaries and rules as you want, but if two people are truly attracted, you will become emotionally intimate and that will kill you both.

I explained that HE could get hurt in this situation, because his heart isn’t open and he will likely shut down if he gets to know a woman he could really like. I told him that I had hurt a man I truly loved who was getting divorced, because I just couldn’t wait any longer– it hurt too much. That it broke both our hearts.

And I was expecting him to call me “crazy” and tell me to f-off.

But instead, he THANKED me. I admit, I’m impressed he replied without hostility.

But I wasn’t completely hostile either. I had empathy for his situation– but thankfully that was overridden by my common sense.

I know that divorces can get delayed myriad times– even without kids or much property.

They stagnate in the quagmire of Spite. One partner won’t let go– because they don’t want the other to be happy.

That can last years.

He said I had given him a lot to think about, and that his male friends didn’t have much respect for women. That he realized that yes, he’s being “a bit selfish.”

Then he tried to lay a sob story on me– but I didn’t reply. I wanted to– but knew if I did, I’d get sucked into some “friendship”– and undermine everything I argued against.

He was lonely and wanted a female presence in his life. That’s sad, but all the more reason to PROCEED with the divorce.

So I refrained.

The next day when I signed on, I saw his account had been deleted.

And I felt like I had done something important, on behalf of my gender and on behalf of single women who deserve more than to be strung along by someone else’s husband because in his mind, “It’s already over.”

But it’s scary– what if I hadn’t asked for details? For a moment, I almost got sucked into his charm.

But thank God, I’d been there before. I’m smarter. I ask the tough questions.

He could have lied. You never know about people on the internet.

But I’m braving it because I trust MYSELF. I’ve been deceived enough times, that now I know how to read between the lines and spot a liar. I know when to stop and clarify. I have my journalism instincts and my women’s intuition– and they will protect me.

Because I’m a writer, I also am a very critical reader. And I know that the men with the prettiest words are often the ones with a gift for fiction. Some of them are pleasantly amoral, as long as they get what they want.

But those men don’t stand a chance against me.

Because my intuition and self-respect are more powerful than any pretty words.

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