This week, I joined OkCupid. Yes, I’m starting to put myself out there—at least in the online dating world. I like the fact that there are more quirky men on the site and I find the tests and general layout more to my liking. Aside from the one person I’ve been emailing, POF has been a bust and I plan on removing my profile after one more week. I will probably remove my profile from Match as well.
I realize that my very short-lived online dating foray was the result of me panicking after turning 29 in May. I started to pressure myself to try to find love this year so that could, in fact, get married by 30 (that dreaded age, right?).
But now, I’ve calmed down. Thanks to the less than stellar options that I’ve seen on the dating sites (many older men, many uneducated/non-career focused men). I don’t think that I have unrealistic standards. But I don’t think it is picky to want to someone who is similar to me in the basics (values, ambition, financial security, career/life goals, etc). I don’t want to settle or waste my time. And I don't think I have to.
But what also changed my mind was chatting with my new mentor on the Hill. I told her about my concerns regarding whether I could be a successful, senior Hill staffer, with all the time demands that would entail—while also having a fulfilling personal life with a husband and kids. I mean, I barely have time for a personal life as a junior staffer. While she recognized that it depended on the office I worked for, if I had hired help, and whether my issues were “up” in a given year, she noted that many women are waiting to have kids these days and that it seems to work out for them. So instead of prior generations being all about their home life before, possibly, finding out that they want to pursue a career. Or the more recent generation of women seeking to have it all at the same time—and not quite achieving it without conflict and something failing (their marriage falling apart or their kids having to raise themselves). She noted that these days many women are seeking to first reach the pinnacle of their career before taking a break or slowing down to raise kids and then ramping back up when their kids are school age.
It may be silly but that reminder relieved so much pressure off my shoulders. I’ve been deeply concerned about my life plans ever since I turned 25 (the age when I was “supposed” to be married). And I often worried that my career drive and priorities was coming at the expense of ever having a family. But now I feel more secure about waiting until I am where I want to be professionally before I bring life into the world or adopt. My career is very important to me and I derive much of my personal value from work—as it is a way that I feel I am “making a difference.”
So, magically, I no longer feel under pressure to find someone this year or even the next. A male in my life would be nice but it isn’t a requirement for me to be happy and to feel complete. That’s something I need to achieve on my own.
So I’ll be on POF for another week and maybe OkCupid for a little while after that. Then, I’ll put away my online dating dreams—at least until I freak out again next year after turning 30.
Do get me wrong, I am still looking. But the pressure is off to find the true love this year or the next.