Despite the deeply personal nature of this blog I feel compelled to share my experience because I believe the message is important.
I was married for 37 years and, just over 8 years ago, I took the painful step of leaving my marriage. I did it because I finally admitted to myself that I deserved better.
Over the last 8 years I processed most of my baggage and I recently felt that I was ready to move forward.
As it turns out, at the ripe old age of 68, I’m blessed with the happiest decade of my life so far – working as a life coach which I love, wonderful friends and much, much more. Recently, I decided that I would like to add love and companionship to the mix and so I signed up to one of the online dating websites for seniors. It was not an easy decision for me to make. I’d been trying on and off for years and every time I swore I would never go on-line again. This time was different. Perhaps I was ready for a new relationship and, although I admit to feeling sceptical, I’d heard too many stories about people finding true love online, including some of my own friends. So I thought, “what the hell, let’s give this a try!”
I had lots of approaches, every single one more disappointing than the one before for all kinds of reasons. And then I received a message from a man that touched me. I checked out his profile and I decided I really liked the sound of him and so, I replied.
He lived in London but, as he had to go overseas for a couple of weeks, we started ‘chatting’ on Skype. The relationship progressed rapidly and soon became quite intense. I had never met a man like him before and I was swept away! I had begun to feel feelings I hadn’t felt in a very long time and I felt alive for the first time in ages!
I also have to admit, reluctantly, that on occasion he’d say something that felt was a little odd but I dismissed it. Other inconsistencies began to surface but I was enjoying myself too much and so I decided to ignore those too. In any case, they didn’t seem too serious so I let them pass. I didn’t want to spoil the experience.
On the day of my birthday I received an amazing love message. To say I was bowled over is to put it mildly! I felt really unsettled. I couldn’t wait for him to return to England when we would finally meet.
A couple of days after my birthday I had lunch with a good friend of mine. I told her the story and she asked me questions, some of which I couldn’t answer. She then told me that some of the things he’d been telling me contained some serious inconsistencies and warned me to stay alert.
The following day was an important date for this man when he would be advised the date of his return to England.
The next time we connected I was excited, looking forward to a date when we would finally meet. Except that the exchange didn’t go the way I had hoped. He started with the news that he would finally return to England the following Tuesday and we would at last meet and spend Easter together. How exciting is that? It’s what we were both waiting for. But my antennae was twitching.
And then, sadly, it came: “But I need your help”. As he wrote the words, my heart sank and I was silently urging him “don’t do it, please don’t do it!” – but he did. He spun some story and asked me to do something that required me to pay for it. He needed the help because, he said, he didn’t have access to money until he was back in England.
Thanks to my friend I was prepared and, while I was able to deal with the situation accordingly, I felt sad and bitterly disappointed, not just because of this sense of betrayal but also because of the loss of the possibility that this might turn out to be the love I had been waiting for for so long. It was lucky I hadn’t actually fallen in love.
As my sadness started to fade I begun to ask myself what I’d learned from the experience. I have to admit that, at first, I told myself, “There’s NOTHING!” What could there possibly be there to learn?
But then I began to realise that, actually, I had learned a lot which I wanted to share with you:
o I admitted to myself that I’d had a great time. I felt feelings I hadn’t felt in a very long time and for that I’m grateful.
o I got to practise my flirting skills – that was particularly good fun.
o As the relationship became gradually more intense I asked myself if I wanted to be sensible and hold back or go for it. I decided to go for it. That was my choice.
o More importantly, I learned to never again become involved with a man who is not physically available to meet face to face fairly soon.
o And I also reminded myself that I’m a strong woman who knows her worth.
The main reason I decided to write this blog is because of the momentary temptation to beat myself up for being so “gullible”. But a good conman knows what buttons to push. There’s nothing wrong me or with you, if you had a similar experience to mine!
There may be a temptation to give him the money he asks for (to help him out of a tricky situation and that will be refunded the minute he returns to England and you can “finally be together” – all designed to pull your heartstrings) – which is why I’m addressing this blog to older women – because of the fear that this is your last chance to find love. Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t but, if it’s love you’re after, then this ain’t it. The worst thing you can do is to retreat, to decide that you don’t want to risk being hurt again.
But love and loss sometimes go hand in hand and, if there’s one thing I learned over the years, it is to try again despite having been disappointed in a particular friendship and resisting the temptation to tarnish everybody with the same brush. As I said once in my blog ‘Love and Betrayal’ I’d rather trust and be betrayed than live my life not trusting.
This is, I learned over the years, a sure fire way to keep love away.
As for that initial belief that I hadn’t been loved after all, I realised I’d got it wrong: I was definitely loved – I had shown love to myself by remembering that I’m worthy of the real thing.
Have you gone through a similar experience, feel emotionally vulnerable and reluctant to try again? If you have, I can help. Please click here to contact me and arrange a free chemistry session.
The Life Enhancing Coach