May 17, 2010

The New Science of Dating

Every widow, widower, divorcee and jilted lover eventually has to face these questions: Do I move on? And if so, when?

As a fairly recent widower, I've decided that the world is still turning, and I will go ahead and turn with it. There are some judgmental people who like to ask questions like: Are you ready for this? To them I would reply: I didn't get to choose the time or place of my birth, but having been born, I choose to live; And having been born here, I choose to live here.

Besides, life is short. And living alone is, well, lonesome. (Actually my 21 year old daughter is still living with me, which is nice. But she has a life of her own.)

When I was young I never gave much thought to the art/science of dating. I knew girls I liked and I dated them. Simple as pie.

When I was blessed with two daughters, I began to think a little more about this perplexing question. How can you encourage and help your daughters to find a good mate without meddling too much? The answer dawned on me in time, I think: love them lots, and let them know you love them lots, and model a good male figure for them. They'd be the first to tell you I wasn't and amn't perfect, but I'd like to think they'd at least grudgingly concede I did o.k. They're doing o.k., anyway, and I think I will take some of the credit for that.

In my life as a lawyer I had a number of clients of Arabic descent and whose religion is Muslim. Some of these I have come to know well, and I have come to know more about their culture. Their culture is one in which marriages are arranged. Wise persons in the culture pre-screen potential matches and their family systems, and then introduce them. Male suitors who wish to meet or marry a girl have to get permission from her father. Think "Matchmaker, Matchmaker" from the musical Fiddler On The Roof.

In the Western world (and in parts of the Eastern world), the computer has become the matchmaker. I have a friend in Merced who found a new wife through eHarmony. It's very scientific, sort of. Would-be suitors answer questions about their personality (ies for some), income, profession, family, hobbies, likes, dislikes, etc. and the computer matches them with other would-be suitors in their area.

Yes, I joined eHarmony. I debated whether to reveal this to the world -- my daughters in particular. However, my office assistant, Yesenia, found out, and I have no doubt she will rat me out to Valerie, who in turn will inform her sister, Jessica. And then, soon enough, the world will know.

So if you are looking for a match, who you gonna call? Surely some of the matchmaker ladies at my church are already working on this problem. Some of my Muslim friends have offered to arrange a marriage for me. There are some who say God will provide the right solution in due course. Yeah, God will provide food for you too, but he expects you to do your part.

And so I am doing my part, calling on the computer, the new matchmaker of the 21st century.


  1. I too have debated this issue with myself! I give you props for being I'm still hoping for someone to arrange a marriage for me :-)

  2. Our office administrator found her husband on eHarmony. He turned out to be a farm guy from outside Orange Cove who played racquetball with one of the guys in our office. They never would have met. She's due in September.

  3. You did a fantastic job if I do say so myself. :) I think eHarmony does a good job...If you get married next week...I might be a bit perterbed.

  4. Wow! I do hope all works out well for you!

    Jenn L.

  5. George, we're both too old to care about what people think about us anymore :) But speaking as one who divorced, I found two things to be true. First a cliche: You aren't the same person now as you will be a year from now. A corollary is there's a good chance that the kind of people you attract or are attracted to now might not be the same ilk as then. In engineering terms, this is a transient state, not steady state :) The second thing is amusing and sometimes scary -- the type of people who come out of the woodwork initially -- people who want to fix it and make it all better, or want to commiserate, or want to step in like nothing happened, or ... I thought it was interesting to try to figure out why I was attracting each type. My advice: buy a hybrid convertible :)

  6. From a female point of view having experienced a devastating loss at one point in my life, I'd have to agree with Brett about the level of change that occurs during this first year "after loss" over the subsequent years. However, perhaps dating is what begins to change the swing of the pendulum to stabilize you. Only you will know. And yes, I do feel that God plays a big role in the process of connecting two souls. I do wish you success in finding a heart partner.

  7. SLOW DOWN, George!!

    (Pardon me for shouting, but I wanted to make sure you heard me.)

    First of all... Congratulations on gaining a son-in-law! I haven't heard anything yet, but I assume everything went well and that it was a beautiful wedding.

    Secondly... Darn, I know there was a second thing, but now I can't remember it. Maybe later....

    It seems all the other comments have kind of tiptoed gently around the issue, apparently trying not to stir anything up. That's considerate and fine. If I stir things up badly, I apologize in advance, but I want to be honest with you.

    Here's how things look from my perspective. I followed your other blog all those months, and what I saw was a man deeply in love with his wife, doing everything he possibly could to help her, and deeply grieved at his loss of her... many shared thoughts and feelings... and I was very touched by it all. I respected all you gave, to Sue and to your readers. Thank you for that. Men who can do that are rare, in my book.

    Then I read this post... and honestly, it blew me away! (Thinking back, I guess I should've been forewarned by the post you wrote about getting rid of things.) Sue wasn't even gone 2 months, and here you were shopping for someone new. WHOA!! So many things went through my mind. But I decided I wasn't gonna comment, wasn't gonna touch it!

    But woe is you... I came back. ;) Because I care.

    I believe counselors say that a person shouldn't make any major decisions for the first year after the death of a loved one, and Brent touched on some good points as to why not to jump into a new relationship. But I want to add something to that: You need time to heal, my friend.

    When a couple marries, they become one. When one of them dies (or they divorce), it's as if a part of the other's self is gone... torn away. After 20+ years of being together, that's got to hurt tremendously. And it takes a very long time to heal. Granted, you had some grieving time even before Sue was gone, but you still need more time to heal and just be 'George'. Getting rid of all reminders of Sue and jumping into another relationship isn't going to do the healing. It's only avoiding the issue, and you may have to deal with it in other ways later on down the line.

    If I were on eHarmony looking for someone to date, I would stay miles away from someone who 'just' lost his wife. Unless I was desperate. Or I wanted someone to 'take care of and fix'. Instead, I'd want to be paired up with someone who was emotionally healthy, and confident, and not "needy".

    There you have it. My thoughts. Whether you want them or not. Feel free to ignore them. :) But I care about you and want the best for you. I don't want to have to read and comment on another blog down the line, where you're sharing your feelings on having made a mess of things. (Although I would, because I'd still care.)

    Just give yourself some time and don't jump into things, okay? For your own sake, mostly, but also for those beautiful daughters of yours. Buy the convertible!

    I'm sorry this is so long. (See what you started???) ;) I considered just emailing it to you instead of leaving it as a comment. But then I thought maybe somebody else could benefit by it, too. Or not.

    Take care, George, 'n God bless you. And if you do ever make it to MN (Mark says you will), you're gonna get a big ol' hug from Grandma G. Consider yourself forewarned.

    P.S. Back to that second thing. After rereading your post, I realized what it was. I like your word "amn't"! I'd never seen it before, but Merriam-Webster Online tells me it's a real word. Woohoo... that's my "learned something new" for today! Thanks.

  8. YIKES! That was longer than your post!!