Girl About Town’s latest post got me thinking. I suppose I’m a girl about town too, although I’ve not made an awful lot of effort to date recently. I’m not sure I could summon up the courage to ask a man out, and it’s been such a long time since I did that, despite being pretty socially confident, that this idea reduces me to a paralysed state. Similarly, I think a little part of me is unsure anyone would like me “like that”.

That said, it would be great to meet someone. I’d love to go on a date, even if it goes no further. Perhaps coffee, even if we end up just being friends. So, following much nagging encouragement, I logged onto a Christian dating website, set up a profile and agonised over what to say about myself.

I found it incredibly stressful for two primary reasons. (Well, those and the photos of myself, but I think that’s normal right?!)

My first problem was what I write about myself. Given how much I write, it’s somewhat ironic that this is what I am worried about. But if I’m put off by a total lack of full stops, or can’t really gauge what a person is like, perhaps that’s how they feel about me. What I ought to remember is that while I can’t convey everything about myself, they can’t do that either. A date is the opportunity to dig a little deeper, into the chats and topics that aren’t present on an online profile.

The second is perhaps linked. I put down my marital status as divorced, and while I could keep that off there, did I want to? It’s a fact about me and could have an impact on my experiences in a future relationship, as any relationship can. My concern was that I would be judged instantly because of it. I felt it would be like a brand on my forehead profile, and put people off. But, I wondered, did I want to be in touch with someone who instantly discounted me because I’d been married before? If that puts them off without knowing any of my circumstances or story, would they really be the person for me? I wasn’t about to explain my life on a profile, and if they don’t want to get to know that part of me, they don’t need to know me at all.

But as Girl About Town was asked: ‘what button has this pushed?’ Would I discount someone whose marital status was other than ‘single’? I’d like to think I’d have said no in the past, but we’ll never know. I know now that it wouldn’t put me off. Anyone can have been in a long relationship that broke apart, and at some point I’d be interested to know the whys and wherefores of their circumstances. This would be after the several coffees and chats as Girl About Town suggests, it certainly wouldn’t be my first question by text to any prospective date.

Being divorced, in this scenario, makes me feel branded and categorised without any nuance, and I find that hard. Usually I don’t bother about it, so perhaps it would be better to leave the status off? But whatever I decide, perhaps I need to tackle the labelling I feel so aware of in this situation first, before I worry about the reactions of others.

Eventually, after about two hours of angst, I deleted the profile and felt at liberty to be myself. Maybe one day I’ll return and maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll put divorced, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll meet someone I like, who likes me, and we’ll go on a date this year. Maybe I’ll even be brave enough to ask him out…

Written by Ruth Clements // Follow Ruth on  Twitter // Ruth's  Website

Ruth is an educator by day, and a writer at most other times. She loves exploring localities, especially the coffee houses and anything with a smattering of history. She enjoys chatting and food, preferably together, and often manages to bring up conversations about politics and theology where she still knows very few of the answers.

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