So I’ve decided to brave the wide world of online dating once again and signed up for an app on my phone.  Talk about feeling on top of the world!  I probably had 10 messages and “so and so wants to meet you” notifications in the first 24 hours.  That’s an amazing self-esteem boost right there…  just sayin’.   So the first person to send me a message impressed me with his complete sentences in the initial “chat”.

All the other guys were just like “hi”, “hi”, “hello”, “hey babe, you’re hot”…  Really guys?  Come on, you can do better than that… And seriously men, why are you not smiling in your main profile picture?  I’m fun, you need to look like it’s at least possible for you to have fun too!  Ahem… but back to my story…

It took us about three days to finally get online at the same time but when we did we messaged each other for 12 hours.  Yes, that’s right. Allllll day!  He was funny and then he was serious and then back to funny again.  He asked good questions and gave me real answers in return.  When we finally called it a night I wasn’t all swept up in euphoria or even twitterpated, I felt almost like I had been to one of those all-day informational seminars and was overwhelmed with everything I learned… I actually needed some time to decompress before going to bed.  I had shared something really important – and personal – regarding what I need to feel safe in a relationship and he came back with an excellent answer.  He didn’t make me feel stupid for feeling the way I did and he agreed that what I described should never happen and if he had lived in circumstances like what I shared he would feel like a slave.

That made me sit up straight… When it comes right down to it I did feel like a slave many times…

Later he shared something equally personal about himself and it blew me away.  First that he would share something so big on our first day of getting to know each other and second that it was so important to him that I know about it right away and he said he would understand if I wanted to “run away now”.

Let’s just say that we are both very broken people and many of our breakings are in similar places emotionally.  With the few things he shared that he’s been through it is a near certainty that he is even more broken than I am in those areas…

While he was sharing about his broken places my heart recognized him as if I was looking at my own face in the mirror and my soul sang out exultantly “I found you”.  Which is totally weird and freaked me out a little bit because that’s never happened before.  I kind of looked sideways at my soul and said “Really?  Seriously?”  I’m definitely not “in love” with this person that I have only talked to for two days and I’m still so broken myself is really it a good idea to be in a relationship with another, really broken person?  The answer to that is no.  I know this, everybody knows this…

But everybody is broken some way, somehow.

My ex-husband was just as broken as I was when I married him although our breakings were mostly in very different places.  I knew some of his broken spots before I married him and I foolishly thought to myself that if I loved him through those broken places that he would become whole and would be forever grateful and therefore would never stop loving me.  So I allowed him to push me into having sex before we were married and then I married him out of a combination of being positive that nobody else in the entire world of “good Christian men” would ever want to marry me because I was no longer a virgin, and, I still wanted to help him.

I want to help everybody, what can I say?  That is one thing that even though it was smothered and squashed for years it never went away.  I love helping people and have an incessant desire to “fix” everybody’s problems.  This is probably why all of my younger daughter’s good friends call me “Mom”…

After we were married, whenever I tried to talk about our marriage and specifically our relationship my concerns were turned around and became my fault and all of a sudden he was the victim and I was the mean one – he never did anything wrong.  After 7 or so years of this I quit trying to fix our marriage and focused on surviving it instead, because that was the “right” thing to do.

I can’t be a part of another relationship like that again, I can’t!  I won’t!  I don’t have to be!  Whew… calm down girl, this is the New You.  You are confident and brave in measures that you never had before.  You can walk away any time you want.  This is, well, it’s not even dating, it’s before dating so stop holding your breath and relax.  Just. Breathe.

But I’ve never felt my soul claim anyone like that before.  So this is very strange to me and I’m not sure what to do.  I decided to write a letter, here, that maybe someday I will show to him but most likely I won’t.  I just need to say this for myself.

Dear Broken Man,

I like you very much.  Even though I know I barely know you I like you.  You’re funny, you’re easy to chat with and my gut tells me that you’re honest in what you’ve told me.  All of the things we like that are similar tickle me.  The fact that you so frequently mention helping other people and seem to enjoy helping others like I do astonishes me.  We have intelligent conversations, you use good grammar and punctuation – and I have no idea why that impresses me so much – you’re not afraid to ask me the deep questions or give me deep answers when I turn deep questions (yours or my own) back around to you.  And our answers to those deep questions are very similar even though sometimes you answer first and sometimes I answer first.  All these things make me like you very much.

The multitude of “coincidental” things astounds me and the sheer number of them makes me think that meeting you was much more a “God thing” than any whim of fate.  Just to name a few:  even though we both live in Montana we both have an out-of-state phone number – from the same state.  We both wear a CPAP – which honestly is a huge answer to prayer because I’m so self-conscious and insecure about having to wear mine, how could I ever possibly look sexy to a future partner while sleeping in a CPAP?  But you have to wear one too!  Our emotional issues are extremely similar despite having different causes and I have been through where you are at now.  I understand where you are now, I “get it” and I know how hard it was for me to get from there to where I am now – but I know that you can do it!

I am realizing that your personality, and how do I say this, is “softer” than mine?  And I wasn’t sure that was possible to do…  It is entirely likely that at this point in your life you are even more gentle than I am in relationships – and while I feel like that is in part due to some of your broken places it also has to be a big part of who you are or it wouldn’t be there to come out so strongly now.

Because of this gentleness combined with the brokenness I think I may have overwhelmed you in my excitement to have found you.  Perhaps for the first time in my life I get to play the part of the blossom and you will be the butterfly.  If you want a friendship with me I’d like that.  If you’d like to take me on a date I’d like that too.  If you’re not sure what type of relationship you want to have with me that is also OK.  We live 100 miles apart and while that’s not actually a lot it’s enough to be a good excuse not to meet if only one of us is super excited about it.  I think that whatever happens, right now I am enjoying being your friend and I know that we were supposed to meet.  You proved to me, right off the bat, that you are nothing like my ex-husband and therefore good, single men DO exist!  And once again God has confirmed that He will bring me the right one when it is time.  Maybe it’s you, maybe it is not you.  Maybe I’ll end up adopting you as another one of my big brothers – because everybody needs a little sister, don’tcha know?  <wink>  All I know is that talking with you is very nearly like talking with myself and I really like whatever this is we have right now.

I wish you peace, joy and healing for the road ahead and have hope that it might include me, even if it is just in a friendship.