I did something crazy this week. I signed up at an online dating site.
Within 12 hours I had received an email that some gentleman was asking for a photo of me. Once I got past my shock that my being a homeschooling mom of four didn't scare him off, I clicked on the link to see what kind of man this was. To my surprise, this information was going to cost me. The smallest amount of money I could pay right now to join and find out more about this gentleman was close to $50.
Uh, no. I am not that desperate nor that curious. And suddenly, I think maybe I don't want to do this online dating thing after all.
This whole experience was quite eye-opening. There are apparently people out there who will spend large amounts of money (anywhere from $50 for one month to close to $300 for a 12-month membership) to find someone to spend time with and possibly marry. I actually know three men who have used the same site that I signed up with. Interestingly enough, not one of them is married as a result.
While I would like to think that online dating is just another phenomenon brought about by our high-tech society, I don't think this is the case. For many years, people have paid matchmakers to find them a match. This is just a new take on that old system.
Is this the best way to find someone to spend one's life with? And will these matches made by a computer be more immune to divorce than other marriages?
I don't think so. I think divorce is a direct outcome of our society's dating practices.
Dating tends to lead to serial monogomy. You date one person for a while, and when that person annoys you or the thrill has worn off, you move on. Unfortunately, the attitude that "there are plenty more fish in the sea, and I have the right to find one that makes me happier" can carry over into marriage. It may be deeply buried, but when this has become a person's way of thinking, it doesn't change the moment the wedding vows are exchanged.
Since I have teenagers, I need to figure out what the alternatives are to dating. Right now, my 16-year-old is doing what we call "Family Dating." She has a boyfriend, but the two of them only spend time together under the watchful eyes of their parents and siblings or at well-chaperoned church youth activities.
We considered courtship, but without an involved father, the traditional models of courtship will not work well.
I have joked with my kids for years that we would be doing arranged marriages, but I don't think they are going to go for that.
So what other alternatives are there, both for my kids and for me? Is dating okay for a divorcee?
What do you think?