This week's tale was sent to me by a dear lady sailing friend, and is a cautionary tale, and worth a read. Bear in mind though that not every man is like this - they are, I believe, the exception. Comments would be welcome, or post your own dating tale!
The Ups and Downs of Online Dating!
by Alicia Hunter
I have met some really genuine and lovely people over the couple of years that I have tried online dating. In fact one or two have actually become soul-mates of a kind, even if not life time lovers. There are many happy stories and the next one I write about will be one of those. However, there are some absolute rogues out there too. So please, everyone who finds themselves in the same position as me - whether male or female – do go very carefully. I wish you lots of luck! This one is about a man who I shall call 'M' in this true story.
A synopsis of M’s online profile runs like this –
“Fantastic Fun in Retirement”
Personality traits - Intelligent; Adventurous; Optimistic; Realistic; Loving; Independent; Happy; Confident; Trustworthy; Faithful
Valued qualities – Contentment; Friendliness; Self-control; Humour; Chemistry: Sexiness
Current Relationship – I am divorced
Honesty – Very
Star sign – Capricorn
This was “IT”! After months of trawling through fans and favourites, of online frustrations and foolish mistakes, I honestly believed that I had at last found the right mix for love and LTR. Here was chemistry at last and, despite the distance between home bases of more than 180 miles, M came to visit me frequently. I was not invited to his home and when he was there he could only speak to me from the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays or when he walked to the top of the hill behind his house for his mobile phone to pick up a signal. However in a very short time we were spending increasing amounts of time together.
We shared common interests, we walked, we sailed and M was the perfect gentleman. I introduced him to my friends and as his story unravelled I learned that his house was on the market for sale and he was hoping to move to Dorset (a county in England), a much closer location to his family and to me.
Coincidentally I had my house on the market at the same time and although I had clear ideas of what I wanted to do with the capital invested there, I was persuaded to join in the hunt for property in Dorset. The house hunting was fun and as I became caught up in what seemed to be the fresh flush of a new romance it was not long before we found something that fitted the bill. It was a lovely mill house with the river flowing below the living room floor. It had been divided into two and was currently being run as a successful Bread and Breakfast house. B and B was not new ground to me and while the home had the potential to be restored to its original single dwelling status, I could also see the business potential to help pay the inevitable mortgage.
Whether it was feminine intuition or just a feeling that this was all being driven too far too soon, I do admit to having the occasional sensation of cold feet. I had had my fingers burnt before and had decided that, as I explored new relationships, I did not want to give up a home base for myself. How come I was now being tempted into such a position with a man I had known for less than three months? To try and quell my doubts I looked at every argument from every angle and I concluded that, if this was true love, then I must not let old baggage hold me back ….. Amazingly both our houses were under offer with sales proceeding to exchange and completion in no time at all ….. What is meant to be will be I told myself as I fluctuated between excitement and fear. Naturally of course!
Then along came the next carrot to lead me deeper into the relationship – a holiday in the Canary Islands. Fantastic I thought, a touch of sun – just up my street. When shall we go? I was amazed when I was told the flights and apartment were already booked and we would be flying out next week. What fun!
This was someone who had included comments in his profile such as fantastic fun in retirement; open minded; give most things a go; keen to do more travelling; looking for someone prepared to try new activities and without commitments. It all seemed perfect. However, whenever we wrote or spoke about it there was always one subject that he managed to avoid “You say you are divorced, have you been on your own for long?”
The weekend before we were due to fly out to Tenerife, our offer had been accepted on the house in Dorset, we had dinner with a couple of my friends when M talked of his excitement at taking me jet-skiing in Tenerife, of taking the cable car up Mount Teide and simply enjoying the relaxation of his 5 star apartment together.
So, just three days to go and while we were having supper at my home one evening, the phone rang. It was his son and to put it mildly something quite significant ‘hit the fan’. There was a tirade of anger down the phone and M looked most alarmed. I tried not to listen but clearly something was very wrong.
I was amazed then to learn that M’s son was tearing him off a strip for having an affair with me while his devastated partner of over seven years was at home alone, packed and ready for her holiday in Tenerife! I was just amazed. I had not seen any of the warning signals and within minutes M was in his car heading home, not because I had thrown him out, but apparently because his conscience drove him and he was afraid of the disapproval of his own son. I later found that the holiday had always been booked in his partner’s name and not mine. He had played a very convincing game of deception and still to this day I wonder whether he would have gone ahead with the house purchase and the holiday if his son had not intervened.
Reading between the lines in the dating profile – adventurous and optimistic he may have been – but intelligent and realistic – in your dreams! As for trustworthy and faithful – I will let you judge for yourself. He was seeking a new partner without commitments and let’s just quickly check how honest he declares himself to have been in creating his online dating profile – it was “Very” honest. An interesting demonstration of honesty!
I am not normally one to take any interest in star signs but, during the email introductions in the early days of our relationship, M had indicated to me that he was a great believer in the characteristics of his star sign Capricorn. He had even scanned and forwarded a copy from a publication where he highlighted certain characteristics which he felt fitted his personality well. I wish I could remember them now. However there is one that has lingered and that is that his star sign is represented by the symbol of a “GOAT”.
In restrospect, I missed the warning signs:
- if it is the real thing then contact should not be by schedule (unless of course he or she is in the Armed Forces), after all, what happened to spontaneity?
- evading questions about marital status and recent relationship. Yes, a delicate balance here if you don't want to be seen as prying. However, you can always qualify that with 'I've been lied to in the past'.
Any person worth their salt should be upfront about these aspects. Good luck, and watch for the signals!
(c) Alicia Hunter 2010