To love again

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By S. INDRAMALAR star2@thes­tar.com.my

ABBY* went online for love be­cause as a 33year-old sin­gle mother, she hadn’t the time nor the in­cli­na­tion to go to bars or clubs to meet a likely part­ner.

“My child was just two years old and I didn’t have the time to go out at nights like I used to. The night club/bar scene – which was where my friends went to meet el­i­gi­ble men – was not an op­tion for me. So, I went online,” says Abby, ex­plain­ing that the fa­ther of her child – an ex-boyfriend – lived abroad.

That was 10 years ago. “I met many in­ter­est­ing men but when I met Tom, some­thing just clicked. He was Amer­i­can but based in Sin­ga­pore and we chat­ted online ev­ery night and got mar­ried a year later. He loved me and my daugh­ter. We were bliss­fully mar­ried for 10 years be­fore I lost him two years ago,” says Abby, whose daugh­ter is now 15.

Los­ing her hus­band at 45 was dev­as­tat­ing and Abby thought that she’d never again be able to find some­one she could con­nect to.

“I was sad and lonely for a long while. Then, just a few months back a friend sug­gested I go online again, see­ing how de­pressed I was. Af­ter a few months of him per­suad­ing me, I went online again. I was not look­ing for a hus­band or to find some­one to date. I just want an emo­tional con­nec­tion. I have al­ways found it easy to con­nect with peo­ple online ... to open up to strangers who some­how seem to un­der­stand me. I have met a few nice men and I must ad­mit it is nice to be able to feel happy again. Who knows what will hap­pen?” she says.

De­spite the anonymity of online con­nec­tions, Abby says she feels com­fort­able meet­ing and suss­ing out men via the In­ter­net.

“I find it a safe place. Sure, there are scam­mers out there too. I’ve met a cou­ple of men who ac­tu­ally tried to ‘bor­row’ money from me for so-called emer­gen­cies. I’m no spring chicken so I did re­alise that I was be­ing taken for a ride and gave them a piece of my mind. But there are some gen­uinely nice men, too,” says Abby.

Get­ting back into the dat­ing game for those who find them­selves sin­gle again later in life isn’t easy. Among other is­sues, the dat­ing pool is sig­nif­i­cantly smaller – where does one meet sin­gle, el­i­gi­ble men in their 40s or 50s?

“On top of that,” points out Abby, “how many men want to marry into a fam­ily? I come with a daugh­ter. Any­one who wants to date me has to love my daugh­ter too.”

While Abby is com­fort­able to seek com­pan­ion­ship online, Sarah, 41, is a lit­tle more ten­ta­tive and prefers to dip her toe in the dat­ing pool slowly and in the more tra­di­tional way. She has only ever dated one man her en­tire life – the one she met in univer­sity and ended up mar­ry­ing. So, when her best friends sug­gested she started dat­ing again af­ter her di­vorce two years ago, Sarah was very hes­i­tant.

“My rec­ol­lec­tion of dat­ing was hazy ... movies, late night sup­pers, house par­ties that went on for days. What do peo­ple do on dates th­ese days? I have two chil­dren and a dog and a job that con­sumes me now ... do I even have the time and en­ergy to go dat­ing? Do I want to go through it all again?” Sarah had asked her­self.

Her friends were more than will­ing to pair her up with sin­gle men they know and think she’d hit it off with. But Sarah wasn’t so con­vinced.

“There are mo­ments when I think it might be nice to go out, meet some­one and have a nice night out. Some­times, I even think how nice it would be to have some­one to share my life with ... not to get mar­ried, but to go out for din­ners and talk about things with.

“But at other times, it seems like too much trou­ble. Af­ter all, I’d just got­ten out of a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship. I rather like hav­ing time to my­self and for my­self and my childen,” re­lates Sarah, an ac­coun­tant who works in Kuala Lumpur.

But she re­lented and has gone on a few dates her friends had set up, but they didn’t work out.

“Then came can­di­date num­ber three – a sin­gle fa­ther who, like me, was en­ter­ing this dat­ing game with cau­tion. He was re­ally nice and we ac­tu­ally had sev­eral nice din­ner dates. We didn’t have a lot in com­mon but had plenty to talk about. But he was busy with his young daugh­ter – sched­ul­ing as many vis­its with her as he could ne­go­ti­ate with his ex-wife and so, our ‘dates’ have been rather in­fre­quent. To be frank, I like that we have our own lives to lead and meet up only oc­ca­sion­ally. At least, he seems safe and sane and the friend­ship is nat­u­ral,” says Sarah.

* All names have been changed.

For some, online dat­ing of­fers the best chances of meet­ing the right match.

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