Some of you may know this about me, others may not: I met my husband on the Internet.
Now, in the 21st century, this is not a source of shame. In the 1990’s, when we first met, it was. I still feel a little embarassed admitting it. The Internet was new, it had a seedy air about it for many people, and there was a prevailing feeling that only desperados went looking for love on-line. (We didn’t meet in a chat room, but through an on-line dating service called Webpersonals. I think they’ve gone belly-up now, but at the time they were thriving and thousands of people were signed up.) I joined the day after my divorce was final, not even seeking a long-term relationship (I’d had one of those, after all, and look how it turned out), but just wanting to ease back into the dating scene slowly, get my feet wet, ten years and three kids after my last attempts. Also, I was living in an extremely small one-stoplight town, and all of the eligible men in my age range could be ticked off on one hand. They were also either highly sought after…or…not. Anyway, my preference was to cast a wide net.
For me, it was a very freeing experience–it was suddenly raining men, and as a result, I was able to be myself. By first connecting anonymously, I had no vested interest in succeeding with one over another, and I had no reason to be anything other than exactly who I am. As a result, I found a man who loves me for all the reasons I want to be loved, a man who knew my cranky side before he met me in person, and who knew exactly what sort of woman he was talking to. Rarely in face-to-face introductions do we show our true selves or see into the heart of another. Often it is hormones that guide us in person…and I can’t speak for everyone’s hormones, but I can tell you mine will lead me astray every time.
It also turned out to be a very old-fashioned way to connect, despite the new-fangled medium. When I “met” my future husband on-line, we emailed for two weeks before I finally gave him my phone number and then it was another two weeks before we met in person. (He flew down from NY for the day–I was in the mountains of VA–and took me out to lunch at a local winery. Very nice.)
Why am I telling you this now? Because for some time, I’ve been feeling like the agent search is a lot like that relationship search I embarked on in the ’90’s. There’s the initial connection, the cautious feeling out of the other, then, perversely, the gosh-I-hope-he-likes-me, and the why-doesn’t-he-call? But all of that anxiety was what I was feeling when I was too caught up in the process. And oddly enough–just like the cliche says–love only came after I quit trying so hard, quit waiting and hoping, and was just myself, that’s when everything clicked. So that’s my new strategy with agents. Keep looking, but don’t hold my breath, don’t wait for “the right one” to call, don’t work excessively to impress, and don’t attach great hopes to any one until that one proves himself (or herself). What I want is just as important as what he or she wants and I need to find the right fit. True love will come when it comes, and that will be the right time. I’m going to trust the process and surrender.