I have been using Internet dating sites for several years and have had many experiences both good and bad. I could tell you stories and make you laugh, raise your eyebrows and possibly shake your head. This one makes me squirm a little now when remembering the risk that I took and how vulnerable I was. Maybe my re-telling will prevent others from putting themselves in harms way.
Meeting someone locally has obvious drawbacks and so I decided to drive to Connecticut to meet my date. He told me that he owned a restaurant there and so if I were willing to drive to see him, we could have dinner at 'his' place and if I wanted to stay then there was a really nice, local hotel where I could easily get a room. Feeling pretty confident on the back of some recent encounters and in the mood for an escapade, I decided to embark on this mini-adventure.
It was on my journey up there that he sent a text saying that he needed a break from his restaurant environment and was I okay with dining at another restaurant not far away. Although slightly annoyed as I had been looking forward to special treatment as the 'owner's date', I agreed and arrived on time. He was waiting outside and looked just like his photo. That is a relief as several times this has not been the case although those are stories for another time. My date was good looking and I got out of the car with a wide smile and a rush of adrenaline.
Our banter was easy and we had some conversations of substance as well as a few laughs. He showed me pictures of his kids and we briefly discussed our divorces. His comments about his divorce however were all general, and in hindsight I realized that he gave no details or really showed genuine emotion on the subject. As dinner drew to a close he excused himself to the restroom and when he returned he said that he had paid and offered the hotel room along with champagne. I just said "yes" without thinking. Why not? It was what I wanted to happen and he clearly felt the same way.
The first hotel was booked when he called so I waited outside the second while he went inside to check availability. Success…he returned to the car having secured a room and took me in. We enjoyed the champagne in the tub and spent the rest of the evening getting to know each other even better!
It was when I woke in the middle of the night that I realized I had not seen him sign his name or even seen his credit card for that matter. Did anyone even know where I was? I panicked. I had told one friend about the date but the locations had changed and I was off the radar.
Worse case scenarios played through my head as I lay next to this man. I didn't know for sure who he was, whether he was actually divorced and I became so obsessed with not having seen his credit card that I almost checked through his wallet! A feeling of panic took hold and I inched towards dawn.
In the light of day I re-gained my composure from the night before. My date was once again charming and we breakfasted together with his words of promise for future dates. In fact, I never heard from him again.
You may not be surprised reading this and consider me foolish for ever thinking otherwise. Was I hurt? Did it make me question my judgment? Well, I managed to successfully re-frame this experience as me behaving in a more typically male way. I walked away having taken pleasure from him and not investing any emotional connection. What it did make me think about was how I had put myself at risk by not making sure that he was who he said he was. I should have made sure that I had seen a credit card or some form of identification. Also, how I was a long way from home territory and that, alone with a stranger, I should have made sure several people had known where I was and when the plans changed I should have told them.
Carol is a single mom living in NJ. She has a high-flying job in the city. She used Internet dating sites for several years until she met a great, trusting man that she is happily dating.