Online Dating

“You can be anything or anybody you want to be 25 miles from home.”

“You can be anything or anybody you want to be 25 miles from home.”

Exposing a con: Let the “buyer beware.” Online dating is not for the faint of heart. The individual creating their online persona can portray virtually anything (or anybody) they want to be. For the sake of personal safety, it is up to the user of the online dating service to decide whether that information is factual or conjured in an attempt to mislead or scam. 

The very definition of the word “persona” is “a social role or a character played by an actor.” How do you know if that stranger you meet online is a quality person versus a scam artist presenting you with a series of elaborate lies? Let us first admit that self-disclosure leaves us feeling very vulnerable. Many of us who are divorced already have issues with broken trust. The decision I made to try online dating sites was met with much trepidation. I had been warned against online dating altogether by some older married friends. This was quickly disregarded because of the number of couples I know that have met and married from online matches (and who are very happy).

“Andrew” was a nice man new to online dating. He had recently been encouraged by his adult daughter Maria to try one of the top online Christian dating sites. Andrew was a lonely widow whose wife had died 2 years ago of lung cancer and we were the same age. Andrew’s late wife had been the love of his life and he had never been with another woman other than her.

His mother (a U.S. citizen) had gone on a mission trip to Germany and it was there that she met and married Andrew’s father. Andrew and his older sister had grown up in Germany where Andrew met his late wife. Together they had one daughter named Maria. It was in Germany that Andrew went to school and eventually became an electrical engineer. Andrew was nearing retirement when we met on the site and was looking forward to having some one to share his life with and travel with during retirement.

He had owned a home in Franklin, KY when he initially joined the dating site, but had just recently moved to Ypsilanti, MI where he was able to find more work. Andrew was an electrical contractor and was bidding on a huge contract for the building of a new motel. He had an upcoming interview in which he was competing with many other well-qualified electrical contractors for the same job. He asked me to pray for him that he would be awarded this contract. (Of course I promised I would.)

The Big Contract Award

The Big Contract Award

That evening, following the interview, I got a phone call from the very excited Andrew that he had been awarded the contract.   He had been awarded an international contract with one of the top international building contractors in the world. He would be in charge of a team of 20 electricians who would do all the electrical work for a huge new motel in Istanbul, Turkey. He would ship all his equipment to the location in advance and then board a plane taking him more than 5,000 miles away until the 30-day electrical wiring contract was completed.

He shared his flight itinerary so I would know where he was and be able to remember him in prayer on his journey.  At great expense, he had obtained a special cell phone plan that would enable him to text and call me while he was still in Turkey. He wanted me to know I could call him any time and he would be available to answer. If he was too busy at work when I called, he would simply text me and let me know he would return my call later. I had never met Andrew, but on the return flight at the completion of the contract, he would be making a stop over on his way back to Michigan and we would finally get to meet face to face.

Over the course of a month, I learned that Andrew attended Faithway Baptist Church in Ypsilanti. His favorites were country music, long walks, swimming, picnics, sitting in a swing in the evening and watching the moon rise. He loved to sing, dance, and play in the snow (especially big heavy snowflakes) followed by a mug of hot chocolate. He loved most of all being outdoors in nature. He enjoyed traveling but this would be his first trip ever to Turkey. Andrew’s daughter was a stay-at-home mom and her husband Tom worked for the CDC in Atlanta in special minority programs. He couldn’t wait for me to meet his family and to meet mine as well.

Andrew’s emails and texts were full of Biblical verses as well as all the sweet, endearing things any woman would love to hear from a man courting her from a distance. He wants to know how my day has gone, as well as other small details.  After all, to love and be loved is the greatest joy on Earth.

After the first week on the job, I got an email from Andrew telling me he that some of his equipment had broken and couldn’t be repaired. He managed (through his personal assistant) to locate replacements, but mistakenly misplaced his wallet and lost his card and necessary documents. The cost of the equipment would be $13,500, but he only had $10,000 available cash on hand.   He was not able to get cash released from his personal bank account because of a different IP address used when setting up the account. Even when he called the bank, they would not release the funds unless he was present in person because that was the agreement he had signed with them. Failure to continue on schedule with the building contract would wreck his professional career and he could actually lose the contract.

The con: Andrew needed me to borrow $3,500 for him so he could purchase the equipment and complete the contract. He was embarrassed to have to ask me to do this for him, but he intended to pay me back with 50% interest.  His request was followed by a string of run-on quotes concluding that “No matter how hard things seem, true love will aide us through it.”

Seriously? What kind of sucker did he think I was? Apparently a pretty big one!  No, “Andrew” (or whomever he really is) didn’t get a single cent from me. I immediately let him know I was not going to be scammed and then blocked future correspondence from him. However, I wonder how many more women he and other scum bags like him have conned.  This guy was not deterred even when he knew I work in law enforcement, take self defense classes and qualify every year on a variety of firearms.  He must have had gonads of steel or otherwise little concern I would ever be in close contact with him.

I later learned that “Andrew” had joined the online dating site where we met using someone else’s credit card. This resulted in the site administrator removing him and taking down his profile. I only found this out AFTER the attempted scam. A background check (which I paid for before the attempted scam) showed the name associated with his phone number and email address was “unavailable.” There was no Andrew Moore in either Franklin, KY or Ypsilanti, MI with a household contact or relative named Maria. There was no licensed electrical contractor in either city by that name.   There was no one with his son-in-law’s first name working for the CDC who had a wife named Maria.  It just didn’t add up.  That might explain why I was not all that surprised as I read his email request for money.  I wonder if he was surprised when I flatly refused that request and told him I wasn’t falling victim to his scam.  Poor fellow!  His “professional reputation” just got spoiled along with his scam.

This story is a refresher course in basic personal safety. I shouldn’t have felt the least bit guilty for checking out the information I was given. I sincerely wanted to be able to trust.  I wanted to believe “Andrew” was real. I wanted to believe he really cared for me. However, criminals are criminals and most of them have zero conscience. Conning people IS their job and their livelihood. I work with convicted felons on a daily basis. A quote I often hear which fits this scenario perfectly is this: “You can be anything or anybody you want to be 25 miles from home.”

I leave my readers with a few parting cautions:

1)       Never, ever, ever share such personal information as your mother’s maiden name! This is a huge personal security breach.

2)       When considering online dating, the same caution Jesus gave his 12 Disciples when He sent them out into the world applies to online dating:  Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Don’t hesitate to do a background check. It is really inexpensive and will be the wisest money you ever spent in personal security. If someone gives you information that doesn’t sound quite right, listen to your gut! It is giving you a “red alert” and you need to listen and protect yourself.

3)       Don’t waste your time on someone who “disappears” for a week or so at a time without so much as a text saying “thinking of you.”

4)       Don’t waste your time on someone who doesn’t court you openly or who changes plans with you abruptly and suddenly becomes unavailable.

5)       Don’t waste your time on bitter or angry people.

6)       Don’t waste your time on “legally separated” people. They are married and therefore NOT eligible to date in the first place.

7)       Make sure you genuinely match on major points; an 80% match is worth exploring.

8)       Don’t give up the search for that special person. Continue to pray for God’s guidance and wisdom in the dating experience. Despite this very negative experience, I still believe there are good people left in the world who are legitimate and single.

I’m not the least bit humiliated or embarrassed in the retelling of this true story. I AM, however, disappointed and angry because someone mistook my kindness for stupidity. Anybody can be the target of an attempted con, but the con doesn’t have to succeed. Despite all the phonies in the world, I am still genuinely a nice, caring and compassionate person.  I refuse to allow people like the “Andrews” of the world to cause me to withdraw and isolate myself socially. I have not shed a single tear, nor will I over the loss of a con man. I will, however, be even more shrewd and cautious as I go forward with online dating.

Note: It takes a lot of time to develop an elaborate and believable con. I have exposed one of them by writing this true story and that gives me a great degree of personal satisfaction. It would do no good to share photos of the con man himself, because their faces (& their cons) are constantly changing.  I’d love to hear your comments!

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

FOLLOW UP to an attempted SCAM:

Since I shared this story, I am amazed at the number of women who have come forward telling me they had almost identically the same scam happen to them. It must have been a very lucrative scam.

I thought you’d enjoy some follow up information. AFTER I sent “Andrew” an email telling him I wouldn’t be sending him money OR falling for his scam, I was surprised that I got a follow up email!   In that email he “blames himself for trusting in me” and is disappointed in “what you think about me.” He goes on to say “I don’t believe I deserved this from you” but “you always lack of trust.” He concludes with “May God be with you as always.”

I couldn’t wait to respond! So this is what I replied:

“Andrew”

There are so many discrepancies in your story. For example: you have a phone that is untraceable. There is no Andrew Moore in Franklin, KY OR Ypsilanti, MI. There is no professional license or record of you as a contractor. Christian Mingle took down your profile because of fraudulent activity—you didn’t even use your own credit card. There is no Tom with a family member by the name of Maria in the entire employment of the CDC. Your contract is completely bogus. So was your airline itinerary.

Just how naïve do you think I am anyway? I wanted to see just how far you would carry this con. No doubt it was worked well for you in the past.

Yes I was disappointed that there are men who make it their life’s work to prey on women. No I don’t trust you. Thank God I didn’t. I am EXACTLY who I say I am and I have worked hard for every dime I’ve ever earned. There was not one untruthful comment I made to you. One day, if you even have a conscience, you might wish you had a good woman by your side. Maybe not, but either way, I am exposing your con to the public for everybody who wants to read my story. I may even publish your phone number. In fact I may have computer forensics check your IP address to trace you.

Get a real job, whomever you really are and quit taking advantage of people who actually work and earn their money honestly!

Pam (my real name)

If I can save even one woman from being a victim through sharing this story, I will consider it a mission accomplished!

Disclaimer: There is no intent to harm any honest individuals whose names appear in the context of this story, nor any company mentioned within this story. The name “Andrew Moore” was the name given to me, but it is most likely a fictitious name.

The names and faces of a con artist are always changing. Recognize the scam instead!

The names and faces of a con artist are always changing. Recognize the scam instead!

Con artists are many and there faces are constantly changing. Therefore the photo included MAY be that of an honest person. Only the con himself knows the answer as lies come easily for them and they continue to be polished.

On a parting note, I doubt you are surprised to hear that “Andrew” never responded to my last message!   If you or anybody you know has experienced the scam or one like it, I would love to hear your comments!

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

 


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A Love Story

Some can say "I care for you" but choke on the words "I love you"

Some can say “I care for you” but choke on the words “I love you”

Choosing to love is a decision to be made without expectation of reciprocation. This is a love story from my personal journey.

Most of us have spoken the words “I love you” many times over the course of our lifetime. There are many different types of love . Perhaps we would save ourselves confusion if we simply asked for clarification when we hear those words spoken to us! Love is far more complex than the romance and intimacy version “eros.” Love is ultimately a gift one person chooses to give another, whether or not it is rejected or reciprocated.

My dad was the first person who demonstrated the profound meaning of love through action. He was the 10th of 11 children, so his ability to show love had nothing to do with his ability to lavish me with material possessions. Through his story telling, giving of his time, gentle touch and comforting after a childhood injury, piggyback rides, defending and providing for my safety, he showed me a love story in small intangible ways. I always knew I held a special place in his heart. I also knew I could unconditionally trust my daddy with my whole heart. He was my childhood protector and “knight.” My dad exhibited a love story of the natural affection a parent has for their child.

As I grew older and became a young adult, I experienced a disconnect between those outside of my own family who said they loved me, but whose actions failed to demonstrate that love.  Suddenly the words “I love you” became twisted into deceptive, hollow words that had no value whatsoever. This deceptive counterfeit love became not only conditional but temporary and revocable.

Real love should never result in brokenness or dishonor of the other person. Love is not a consuming fire that leaves the one who is loved in ashes. Love should not cause pain or result in drama or destructive behavior. Rather love should build up the other up and result in joy.

Sadly, some have spent a lifetime in pursuit of love that seemed to evade them at every turn. What then, does it mean to love and why is it important to be able to extend love to others? I think God’s word demonstrates a love story toward each of us far better than I ever could.

1 Corinthians 13 New International Version (NIV)

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I mentioned earlier that love is an action word. “God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8   Do you know someone who would actually die for you regardless of whether your behavior was good or bad? I do. His name is Jesus.

John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in        love.” Isn’t the insecurity of fear really a lack of trust in the other person? Lack of trust comes from a place of brokenness.

If you truly know how to extend love to another person, then you are bearing fruit as described in Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

How is this a love story from my personal journey? “I have been persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Corinthians 4:9

On my journey, I have been loved with empty words and actions. I have been “loved” as a consuming fire and left to gather up the broken pieces and sweep up the ashes of what was left. I have given of myself and been left a broken, wounded person afraid to trust and love again. Over a period of many years I finally forgave myself for my own mistakes and errors in judgment. I was angry with myself for choosing to accept crumbs rather than the feast God had prepared for me. I mourned the wasted years and broken trust. Where, I wondered, was this man by God’s own design who knew how to love and to demonstrate love to me? My Daddy had taught me about this kind of love, so surely it still existed!

Do you recall the movie “Forrest Gump?” Remember the day Forrest decided to start running? He ran without a purpose or destination in mind. He amassed a huge following of other people willing to run aimlessly alongside him. Just as suddenly as Forrest decided to stop running, so did I. One day I decided I had run long enough and had lived as a broken person long enough. I finally decided to allow God to reassemble the broken pieces of my heart and restore me to wholeness. It had only taken me 26 years in the healing process!

What happens when love dies or when you realize you were given counterfeit love versus the real deal? Does the love you once freely offered then turn to hate or scorn for the one who rejected your love? The answer is: only if you allow it.   We can choose to allow God’s unconditional love to transform and restore us from a place of brokenness to a place of wholeness.   First we have to release the crumbs and hurt we are holding onto with clinched fists, give it to God and allow Him to heal us.

I have now made the choice to love—even without reciprocation. When I say “I love you” I truly mean it. My friends hear these words from me and know I mean it through my actions. I have learned to love the person and the heart and soul of the person, rather than the gift wrapping on the exterior. If that person rejects the love I offer (whether it is the love for a friend or something deeper), then that is their choice not to accept the gift I offer them.

I am finally strong enough and confident enough to walk away from any relationship that is not fashioned by God’s design and still remain a whole person. No longer will I leave broken pieces of my heart and my life strewn behind. That is a love story for me, a gift from my Heavenly Daddy whose capacity for love far exceeds anything my Earthly Daddy could ever give. I choose to love, knowing that giving love to another doesn’t diminish me, but enriches my own life in the process.

What about you?  Have you ever known someone who simply could not say the words “I love you” and the best they could say is “I care for you”?    I’d love to hear your comments!

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com


Posted in Dating, Dating Relationships, Fear, Seniors Dating, The Journey, Uncategorized by with no comments yet.

The Journey

Sometimes you don't see where the path leads and you have to overcome adversity along the way.

Sometimes you don’t see where the path leads and you have to overcome adversity along the way.

The way we view relationships and dating experiences changes over the lifespan. Priorities (at least for me) have changed dramatically. I couldn’t count the times I’ve been accused of being picky.   I don’t deny it and furthermore, I make no apologies. If past relationships have brought you more grief than joy, it is time to re-evaluate your choices. The experiences that brought me to “pickiness” are reflected in the journey.

I was the typical teenager in many ways; I was far too concerned with being liked and popular. Still I was the sheltered small town girl and was never part of the “popular” crowd at school. I made friendships as a result of being in band and chorus, school plays, and was even editor of the school paper. My mother admonished me to “be a lady” every time I left the house. Misbehaving was not an option.

Before age 20, I still believed in the fictitious “white knight” that unfortunately never came. I dreamed of being loved, cherished and protected.   I still clung to romantic notions of finding a soul mate. I was married by my senior year of high school (in what I perceive to have been an arranged marriage).  It was a terrible mistake that has set the stage for my entire adult life. The young man had asked my parents but never actually asked me. My parents had said yes and both had signed consent (even though I never asked them). He bought the rings. How does a 16 year old back out of that?   The blessings of that relationship were my two children.

By age 27 I was a single parent with only a high school diploma struggling to raise two children without monetary support. (Times were much different then in terms of child support laws.) The vows we took on our wedding day had been broken, but not by me. I was crushed more by the betrayal of a close friend, who had also made a bitter mistake. But that is someone else’s journey to share.  There is no room for bitterness or malice in my heart.  This event redirected the journey for me and my children into uncharted territory.   Two small children depended on me for their survival, so there was no room for failure.  Survival was a struggle for the 3 of us.  We learned that, by sticking together, we were invincible…..with the blessing of Jesus to accompany us on the journey.  We had many heart-to-heart family meetings as a threesome when things were really tough.  As children, they didn’t realize how many bridges to the future we had to build along the way.  That’s one reason why my favorite poem is “The Bridge Builder.”  It so perfectly symbolizes the journey of overcoming adversity.

We were a close knit threesome and that became my adult identity

We were a close knit threesome and that became my adult identity

In my 30’s, harsh reality left little room for dreams. I was about the business of survival and raising my children and that was priority one for me. Bridge building on the journey had to begin and my tools were education. In the 1980’s I earned an associate degree in mining technology, then went on to earn a diploma from a practical nursing (LPN) school and immediately enrolled in an associate degree (RN) nursing program. Eventually I earned 2 more associate degrees.

A major part of the journey that changed me was my decision to marry a second husband 5 years after divorcing the first (& for the same reason). There was no one but myself to blame for this mistake and my poor judge of character.  It has taken years of personal insight (and healing) to realize what a broken woman I was when that marriage ended. I never felt so used, abused, rejected and abandoned in my entire life. I never believed that I was bitter, but because of that brokenness I lost all desire to date.  Trust was gone. Maybe that “white knight” was just a fairy tale after all.

In my 40’s, I worked full time while attending baccalaureate nursing classes full time. I had a total of 2 weekends off a year. Yes, I know that’s crazy, but that is what I needed to do and somehow I reached down deep into the well of God-given inner strength and did it.   At the age of 41, I completed my BSN degree, becoming a first generation college student in my family. My children would follow me to claim their baccalaureate diplomas in 1996 and 1997 (education and agronomy). My total focus was to be a living example to my children of the value of hard work, determination and overcoming adversity. Mission accomplished!

In my 50’s, I watched as each of my children took their places in society and began building lives for themselves as independent and responsible adults. My friends always said it was a great thing that I had my children when I was aged 19 and 21. When they were grown, I would be able to do anything I wanted to do.

The funny thing is, my focus was never on self-discovery of what I wanted to do when my children were grown. I never saw past my mission of getting them both through college. Consequently, the “empty nest” reality hit me like a ton of bricks. I was still viewing my identity as that of struggling single parent. The image I had of myself had to change. For the longest time, I just wanted my children to be close to me. Unfortunately, that desire resembles smothering instead of mothering. They didn’t need ME anymore, but I was the one who needed THEM.   Beyond raising and educating my children, I had long since forgotten how to dream for myself.

The journey to change that image of myself was monumental. There were years of rapid changes that happened faster that I could adjust. There were personal, professional, financial and health-related challenges to overcome. There were times I felt abandoned.   There were times I felt depressed.   There were times I lost my sense of purpose and felt like most of my useful life was behind me. I was lonely in a city of over 295,803 and had no idea how to change that. In fact, it was a fearful proposition to think about.

My 60’s have been a growing era of redefining the person I have become further down the journey of my life. It has been an era of learning how to dream again. Six years after my oldest child left the nest, I learned how to wave good-bye to my former identity as a single mother. It was the result of many, many baby steps. Sometimes those steps were taken through tears and loneliness.

I had to come out of my safety zone and establish interests and friendships separate from those I had had with my children. I had to learn to invest in myself.  I had to forgive myself for my past mistakes. Now I care far less about being liked and popular and far more about being respected for the journey that has molded me into the woman I am today.  If my “white knight” is still out there (and since I’ve learned to dream again, I believe he is).  I now believe I would recognize him if I saw him.   I know the qualities (not physical attributes) I’m looking for and where I will accept no compromise.   He must be a man who loves the Lord first.  Finally I am ready to meet him!

What about you? Where are you in the journey? What have you learned along the way? What adversities have you overcome?   I’d love to hear your comments!

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com


Posted in Adversity, Dating, The Journey by with no comments yet.

Dating for Nurses

A kiss may be considered casual, but there can be an exchange of body fluids and potential risk of exposure to communicable diseases.

A kiss may be considered casual, but there can be an exchange of body fluids and potential risk of exposure to communicable diseases.

The dating experience isn’t what is used to be. Dating is far different than when I was in high school in the late 1960’s.   Blood tests used to be required before a marriage license could be issued. In fact when I married in 1968 (at too young an age), I recall having to have those same obligatory blood tests. I never knew why, in fact I didn’t even know what those tests were supposed to reveal. I simply knew having the required blood tests were the law. Ironically, those laws were changed shortly before HIV/AIDs, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C were in the spotlight. Dating for Nurses was written because of concerns about transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. When you’re a Registered Nurse or health care professional, there is nothing casual about dating relationships, regardless of the reckless behaviors you see portrayed on such popular TV series as Grey’s Anatomy.

I am not proud to say that I’ve had two failed marriages. Both of those marriages ended because I was the one who filed for divorce. Those irreconcilable differences were because I have a “no share” policy. I simply will not stay in a relationship with someone who is sexually immoral. (Matthew 5:32) For more than 25 years after the last marriage ended, I did not date. I simply had no desire to date.   I had given up on marriage or having a meaningful relationship with the opposite sex. My focus was on the important tasks of educating my children and obtaining my baccalaureate degree in nursing.  I was totally committed to these tasks because there was no room for failure.

I have seen many newly-divorced men and women in our church singles department jump back into new dating relationships too soon, bringing their brokenness with them. They hadn’t taken time out to heal and to learn from their past.   Too often, newly divorced people don’t even know what they want (or don’t want) in a relationship. A friend once told me that if someone was 80% of what I was looking for, then the relationship was worth exploring further. This was wise counsel. If I happen to encounter, my Mr. Right, I’d first like to know WHY he is my Mr. Right instead of another Mr. Dead Wrong.

One day at church, I asked our singles minister if he thought I’d been single long enough now so as not to appear to be rushing into a new relationship if I decided to date again. My question was met with laughter (the reaction I expected). He assured me that I have certainly been single long enough. Taking time out is not a bad thing. I took 26 years.

Dating for seniors (& I don’t mean high school) is challenging. Dating for nurses is even tougher. In a nurse’s world, there is nothing casual about physical contact.   I have been a nurse for 26 years and counting. In that time frame, I have worked in most every practice setting of nursing, from public health to correctional (prison) nursing. I have provided direct care to patients with Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE), methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA), C. difficile, Hepatitis A, B & C, venereal warts, syphilis, gonorrhea, scabies, herpes, shingles, tuberculosis (TB) and more.

My nursing specialty for the past 18 of those 26 years has been wound care. I have vigilantly used personal protective equipment of masks, gloves and gowns. I have had several unfortunate exposures from sharps and needle sticks, but thankfully I have not contracted a communicable disease.

Dating for nurses is a unique and scary experience.  A nurse goes from an environment where they take extreme care to prevent exposures and exchange of bodily fluids that would put them at risk. Sometimes nurses know when someone has a communicable disease. Sometimes we have already been in contact with them before we know. Sometimes we never know.

Recently I broke my 26-year time out and accepted a dinner date with a gentleman who seemed to be very nice. I use the word “seemed” because when you first meet someone, you receive only the information they want to share. In high school, most of us had very little (if any) prior dating history. Throughout several decades of life, a relationship history develops and the exposure risk goes up exponentially.

“Bill” was very thoughtful; he even brought a single red rose to our first date. That was a first for me. Holding hands was awkward. I don’t recall anybody ever walking beside me and holding my hand before. I recall thinking it would be nice to get used to this. I was aware of my own need for personal space. This experience is brand new in this chapter of my life. We had a nice dinner together and after several hours of great conversation (& laughter), it was getting late and time to say good night.   I had told him beforehand that I needed to take things s-l-o-w. Why rush after 26 years of time out?   The kiss on the cheek was stolen and I felt my face blush. I suddenly realized that I really knew nothing about this man. Before you think “oh how sweet,” let me remind you this article is about dating for nurses. There is nothing casual about a kiss. It is no longer the 60’s and we are no longer children.   Not even a background check would reveal the kind of history a nurse would be concerned with knowing. It’s that whole exchange of bodily fluids thing that makes me cringe now. When I was 16, I never gave a thought to exchange of bodily fluids with a single kiss.

A thought-provoking simple little kiss on the cheek

A thought-provoking simple little kiss on the cheek

There was not a second date. That was my decision because of several phone conversations we had later in the week. I discovered there were major “issues” with estrangement from family and major differences in some really important personal values.   Sometimes it is easier to see the reality before the vision gets clouded with romance. Perhaps that’s an advantage to being more mature. Perhaps it’s a disadvantage. I just know that I made a promise to myself that the husband I would choose if I married again would be a man of strong faith and a spiritual leader. He would be a man committed to family and serving the Lord. “Bill” was neither.  That didn’t make him a bad person, that just meant he wasn’t my “Mr. Right.”

For those of you who have dated after you became health care professionals, what went through your mind, even with a kiss? How much did you know about that person you had intimate contact with? Did you use personal protective equipment? We are certainly trained to protect ourselves at work, why not elsewhere?   Just because there is no risk of pregnancy doesn’t mean there isn’t risk of communicable disease. It’s something to think about and prepare for in advance. There’s a lot to be said for old-fashioned dating and abstinence (no sex until marriage). That’s an excellent example of taking it s-l-o-w and getting to know your partner’s history before you commit your life (& perhaps your health) to the relationship.

I’d love to hear your comments!

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew 5:32
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32 oBut I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and pwhoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.


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Dating Across the Lifespan

 

Dating Across the Lifespan

I’ve heard it said that a person has greater odds of getting hit by a cow falling out of the sky than getting married after the age of 60.  Admittedly, those are humorous and somewhat grim “statistics.” Still I’m left with many thought-provoking questions about the complexity of dating throughout the life span.  What is it (or who) that changes so much from the teen years to the senior years? 

We are all accustomed to completing applications for employment, credit, major purchases and even for insurance and medical questionnaires. These applications contain some really personal questions we are required to complete.  Many of us may at some point have been on the witness stand, giving our answers under a sworn oath.   The penalty of lying on an application or under oath can range from being fired to prosecution.

What then should be the required disclosures in a dating relationship?

My mother admonished me with this guidance “You should never date someone you wouldn’t want to marry.” Where did she arrive at that bit of wisdom?  Each person comes to the relationship with his or her own strengths, weaknesses, and baggage.  What makes someone a “good catch?” I’ve put some thought into major topics of importance.  Which issues matter and which should be disregarded?  Where does the “right to know” apply in a dating relationship?

 PRE-DATING QUESTIONNAIRE

(Pre-adolescent dating is not a consideration)

13 – 15 years of age 

  • How old are you?
  • Do you have an unlimited texting plan?
  • Can you get your parents to drop you off at the mall?
  • What time do you have to be home?
  • Which music do you like?
  • Are you going to the dance?
  • Are you going to the game?
  • Do you play sports?
  • Do you get an allowance?
  • Are you on Facebook?

16 – 18 years of age

  • Do you have your driver’s license?
  • Do you have your own car?
  • Do you have a part time job?
  • Do you get an allowance?
  • Which classes are you taking?
  • Are you going to college?
  • Do you want to get high?
  • Are you on birth control?
  • What time do you have to be home?
  • Do you have a credit card?
  • Would you ever date somebody of a different race or ethnic background?
  • Would you date somebody your parents or friends disapproved of?
  • Are you on Facebook?

19 – 25 years of age

  • Are you married?  (If yes, end of consideration)
  • Are you separated?  (If yes, end of consideration)
  • Have you ever been married?
  • (If divorced):  Do you have custody of the children?
  • Can you get a babysitter?
  • Would you ever date somebody of a different race or ethnic background?
  • Would you date somebody your parents or friends disapproved of?
  • Have you ever physically struck/hit a person of the opposite sex?
  • Do you have a full time job?  If so where?
  • What are your hours of work/days off?
  • What are your career goals/ambitions?
  • Are you in college?
  • Did you finish college?  If yes, Degree earned.   If not, why?
  • Do you have outstanding student loans?
  • Are you a registered voter?
  • Did you vote in the last election?
  • What is your political party affiliation?
  • Would you consider yourself liberal?  Conservative?
  • Do you have your own apartment?
  • Do you have a home mortgage?
  • Do you have a roommate?  If so, are they same or opposite sex?
  • What was the last purchase you made on credit?
  • What was the last MAJOR purchase you made on credit?
  • How many credit cards do you have?
  • How many of your credit cards are maxed out?
  • Do you owe more than $5,000 in credit card debt?
  • Do you have a joint credit card with another person?
  • Do you want to get high?
  • Do you want to go out for drinks?
  • Are you on Facebook?

26 – 40 years of age

  • Are you married? Are you separated?  (If yes, end of consideration)
  • How many times have you been married?
  • (If divorced):  Why did you divorce or get divorced?
  • Why haven’t you been married?
  • Do you have children?  If so, how many?  If not, why?
  • Have you ever physically struck/hit a person of the opposite sex?
  • Have you had sterilization surgery?
  • How many children do you have?    How old are they?
  • Do any of your children live at home?
  • Do you pay child support?      Do you receive child support?
  • Can I trust you with my children?
  • Does anybody else live with you?    Gender?      Relationship?
  • Where do you work?     How long have you been there?
  • What are your hours of work/days off?
  • What are your dreams/aspirations/goals?
  • What was the last purchase you made on credit?
  • What was the last MAJOR purchase you made on credit?
  • How many credit cards do you have?
  • How many of your credit cards are maxed out?
  • Do you owe more than $5,000 in credit card debt?
  • Do you have a joint credit card with another person?
  • Are you a registered voter?
  • Did you vote in the last election?
  • What is your political party affiliation?
  • Would you consider yourself liberal?  Conservative?
  • Do you own you own home?    How many unrelated people live with you?       Gender?
  • Where is your home located?
  • Are you in college?
  • Did you finish college?  If yes, Degree earned.   If not, why?
  • Do you have outstanding student loans?
  • What kind of car do you have?
  • Do you have pets?  How many?  What kind?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Do you drink?
  • Do you use drugs?
  • Do you have a tattoo?  Where?
  • Where do you like to go on vacation?
  • Do you go to church?  If so, where?   If not, why?
  • What is your religious affiliation?
  • Do you have hobbies?    What are they?
  • Which are your favorite sports teams?
  • Do you work out?      If so, where?
  • Is your weight proportionate to your height?
  • Can you still see your feet when standing upright?
  • Are you on Facebook?

41 – 59 years of age

  • Are you married? Are you separated?  (If yes, end of consideration)
  • How many times have you been married?
  • (If divorced):  Why did you divorce or get divorced?
  • If never married, why?
  • Do you have children?  If so, how many?    How old are they?
  • Do you pay child support?        Do you receive child support?
  • If you don’t have children, why not?
  • Can I trust you with my children?
  • Are you Widowed?       How long?
  • Would you ever date somebody of a different race or ethnic background?
  • Would you date somebody your close friends disapproved of?
  • Have you ever physically struck/hit a person of the opposite sex?
  • Are you in college?
  • Did you finish college?  If yes, Degree earned.   If not, why?
  • Do you have outstanding student loans?
  • What was the last purchase you made on credit?
  • What was the last MAJOR purchase you made on credit?
  • How many credit cards do you have?
  • How many of your credit cards are maxed out?
  • Do you owe more than $5,000 in credit card debt?
  • Do you have a joint credit card with another person?
  • Do you have a home mortgage?      If so, who lives with you?   Relationship? Gender?
  • Where do you work?
  • What are your hours of work/days off?
  • How long have you worked at your current job?
  • Are you a registered voter?
  • Did you vote in the last election?
  • What is your political party affiliation?
  • Would you consider yourself liberal?  Conservative?
  • Do you have health insurance?
  • Do you have any major health issues?
  • Do you have a 401K plan?
  • Do you own your own home?    How many unrelated people live with you?   Gender?
  • Where is your home located?
  • Do you live with your parents?        Why?              
  • Where else have you lived?
  • Where have you traveled?
  • What do you want to do when you retire?
  • Have you served in the military?   If so, where and when?   Were you honorably discharged?
  • Do you have credit card debt?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Do you have children still living at home?
  • How many children over the age of 18 are still living at home?
  • How many children do you currently support?
  • Do you use birth control?  Have you had sterilization surgery?
  • Where do you go to church?
  • Do you smoke?        Drink?          Use drugs?
  • Do you have any current health problems?
  • Have you ever been incarcerated?   If so, why?     Where?     Charges?    Currently on parole?   Did you do it?   Are you lying?
  • Have you ever been in rehab?     What for?  If yes, have you ever relapsed?
  • Is your weight proportionate to your height?
  • Can you still see your feet when standing upright?
  • Are you on Facebook?

60 – 85 years of age

PERSONAL

  • Date of birth:  (Would you lie about a fact that is this concrete?)
  • Birthplace:
  • Have you been married before?  If so, list # of times.
  • How old were you when you were 1st married?
  • If you are divorced, who initiated divorce proceedings and why?
  • Do you still have a relationship with your ex?          How would you describe it?
  • How long did your marriage(s) last?
  • How long have you been divorced?
  • Do you pay alimony?              Do you receive alimony?
  • Have you ever had an extra-marital affair?
  • Are you Widowed?           How long?
  • Can I trust you with my children and/or grandchildren?
  • Have you ever lied to your spouse?
  • In a dating relationship, do you find yourself attracted to:
  1. A partner around my same age
  2. A partner 6 – 15 years older than myself
  3. A partner 6 – 15 years younger than myself
  4. A partner the age of my children
  5. A partner 15 – 20 years older than myself
  6. A partner 15 – 20 years younger than myself

HEALTH

Have you ever been diagnosed with or treated for a sexually transmitted disease?    If so, what disease?  Treated more than once?

Have you ever been tested for:

  • HIV/AIDES
  •  Hepatitis B
  •  Hepatitis C

Have you ever tested positive for any of the above?

  • Do you have any MAJOR health problems or chronic diseases  (e.g. heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes)?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized?     WHY?
  • Have you ever had surgery?   If so, list surgeries and dates:
  • Have you been told you need surgery but refused to have it?
  • Do you use prescription drugs?               How many?          Which ones?              Why?
  • Do you require an assistive device to walk (e.g. walker or cane)?
  • Do you use a wheelchair?
  • Do you require a prostheses of any type (artificial leg/arm/hand, eye, penile prostheses, hearing aide)?
  • Do you have erectile dysfunction?    Is treatment successful?
  • Are you incontinent?    Bowel?   Bladder?    Both?     Flatulence?
  • Do you snore?
  • Have you been told you have sleep apnea?  If so, do you use a C-pap machine?
  • Were you ever a Boy Scout?  Girl Scout?   If so, number of merit badges earned:
  • Have you ever served in the military?   If yes, which branch & where?  # of years:
  • Honorably Discharged?
  • Do you have tattoos?  If yes, list number:
  • Do you have more tattoos that Boy/Girl Scout badges?
  • Is your TTT ratio high?     Is your TTT ratio low?    (# of teeth:# of tattoos)
  • # tattoos obtained while in military service:
  • # tattoos obtained before military service:         # After:
  • # tattoos obtained while incarcerated:
  • Do you smoke cigarettes?  # packs/day
  • Do you chew tobacco?
  • Do you dip snuff?
  • Do you use illegal drugs?
  • Do you drink alcoholic beverages?      Type?  Frequency?
  • Is your weight proportionate to your height?
  • Can you still see your feet when standing upright?
  • How many hours per week do you watch television?  (Are you a couch potato who lies in a chair with a remote in his/her hand all evening?)
  • How many hours per week do you exercise?

FINANCIAL

  • What was the last purchase you made on credit?
  • What was the last MAJOR purchase you made on credit?
  • How many credit cards do you have?
  • How many of your credit cards are maxed out?
  • Do you owe more than $5,000 in credit card debt?
  • Do you have a joint credit card with another person?
  • Do you still have a home mortgage?
  • How many children over the age of 18 live in your household?
  • Do you live with one of your children?         Why?
  • Do you live with a friend?             If yes, gender?           Are you related?
  • Do you currently pay child support?   If so, amount and # of children:
  • Do you currently pay alimony?   If so, amount:
  • How many loans have you currently co-signed for friends/family?
  • Have you ever taken a Dave Ramsey course?
  • What is your current credit score?     (All 3 credit reporting agencies)
  • Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?
  • Have you ever defaulted on a debt?
  • How much money do you have in your 401K plans?
  • When you do plan to retire?
  • What will be your Social Security income when you retire?
  • If retired, do you have a part time job?
  • If still working, do you plan to have a part time job after you retire?
  • If still working, do you plan to travel after you retire?
  • If still working, do you plan to do nothing after you retire?
  • What model car do you drive?        Is it paid for?

GENEROSITY/VOLUNTEERISM

  • What was the last random act of kindness you did?   Who for?    What did it require:   Money?      Time?         Both?              Other?
  • List occasions you volunteered your time/energy/talents to serve someone you don’t know personally?           What did you do?      Where?     When?
  • Duration?

SPIRITUAL

  • Are you a daily follower of Jesus Christ?  How long (# months/years):
  • Do you know you could do better if you were more committed to studying your Bible daily?
  • What was the date you were baptized?           Where?
  • Religious Denomination?
  • Do you serve on any committees in your church?
  • Do you serve in areas of ministry in your church?  (e.g. choir, nursery, teacher, outreach)
  • What do you believe the Bible teaches about the role of women in the church?
  • Do you currently tithe 10% of your gross income to your local church?

FAMILY/FRIENDS/RELATIONSHIPS

  • Is your mother living?    If not, # years deceased?     Cause of death?
  • Is your father living?      If not, # years decreased?    Cause of death?
  • # of friends you see on a weekly basis for one-on-one interaction:
  • # of friends you talk to on a weekly basis:
  • # of children:
  • How often do your children come to see you?

When your children visit, what is the purpose for their visits?

A)   To borrow money

B)   To drop off grandchildren

C)   To visit and spend time with you

D)   To move in

How often do you go see your children?

  • Do you have family members who are estranged from the rest of the family?  Is so, why?       Duration of time they’ve been estranged:
  • Do you spend holidays with your family?
  • How would you describe your family?   Dysfunctional?   Well-balanced?
  • Would you ever date somebody of a different race or ethnic background?
  • Would you date somebody your children or close friends disapproved of?
  • Are you on Facebook?     How often?

EDUCATION/LITERACY

  • How many years of school did you complete?
  • How many college degrees have you earned?  What majors?
  • Did your parents pay for your college education?
  • Did you work while you were going to college?
  • Are you still paying off student loans?
  • Did you pay for or are you paying for your children’s college education?
  • When was the last personal development course you took?
  • What was the subject of the last professional development course you took?
  • What subject do you wish you knew more about?    Do you have actual plans to accomplish this?
  • Do you speak a second language?   Third?
  • What was the last book you read?
  • Are you computer literate?

SPECIAL SKILLS

  • Do you have special skills?
  • Computers?  Programming?  Technological?
  • Do you have a Smart Phone?
  • Mechanical?
  • Electrical?
  • Plumbing?
  • Financial?
  • Political?
  • Handyman?
  • Carpentry?
  • Painter?
  • Builder?
  • Martial Arts?
  • Massage?
  • Self-Defense?
  • Firearms?
  • Other?

HOBBIES/INTERESTS

  • Do you have hobbies?    If so, what?
  • How many hours per week do you spend at home doing your hobby?
  • How many hours per week do you spend away from home doing your hobby?
  • How spontaneous are you on a scale of 0 – 10?  (0 being the least spontaneous; 10 being the most spontaneous)
  • Golf?
  • Horticulture?
  • Gardening?
  • Woodworking?
  • Leather crafts?
  • Hiking?
  • Hunting?
  • Other?

TRAVEL

  • List States you have visited:              Purpose:
  • List Countries you have visited:               Purpose:
  • States where you have lived:             Duration:                   Is there a reason you wouldn’t go back there?
  • Countries where you have lived:         Duration:                Military-related?
  • Where are the favorite places you have traveled:
  • Where would you like to travel that you haven’t already been?           What is stopping you from going?

CULINARY

  • Can you cook?
  • How often do you cook?
  • What are your favorite dishes to cook?
  • What are your favorite dishes to eat?
  • Dislikes:
  • Preferences:
  • Favorite restaurants?
  • Dietary requirements/restrictions/limitations?

TEMPERAMENT/SOCIAL

  • When is the last time you raised your voice at somebody?     Why?
  • Do you have a bad temper?
  • Have you ever physically struck/hit a person of the opposite sex?
  • Are you jealous?
  • Do you like to go out for drinks?
  • Do you dance?
  • Do you like crowds?

Given a choice, how would you prefer to spend an evening:

  1. Dinner
  2. Dinner and a movie
  3. Sports event
  4. Home in a chair with a remote in one hand.
  5. Home in a chair with a can of beer in one hand and a remote in the other
  6. Playing board games or cards
  7. Having friends over
  8. Fixing dinner with my partner
  9. Home:  cozied up to my partner, watching a movie we’ve picked together and sharing a bowl of popcorn
  10. Babysitting my grandchildren
  11. Curled up with a good book, in my own world.
  12. Surfing the internet
  13. Checking out Facebook

DISABILITY/DEATH

  • Do you have disability insurance?
  • Who would take care of you if you became disabled?
  • Do you have a Health Care Power of Attorney?
  • Do you have a Living Will?
  • Do you have a Will?
  • Who is the Executor of your Will?
  • Who will your Estate go to?
  • Who is your attorney?
  • Do you have your burial plot purchased?    Where?
  • If widowed, do you plan to be buried beside a former spouse?
  • If so, do you already have a double tombstone?   Where is it located?

SUMMATION

Admittedly, the questions above are HARD questions.  I daresay most of them are ones you would never dare ask and would probably walk away before a half dozen of them were asked of you.  You won’t discover these answers over a cup of coffee or in casual dinner conversation.  You do, however, need to be a great listener.  There are things a person tells you without putting those details into words. Have you ever considered paying a Private Investigator to check out a person you considered dating? I know people who have done this and were later glad they did.Have you ever dated someone who isolated you from your closest friends and/or family?Have you ever dated/married someone your closest friends disapproved of?    If yes, what have you learned from this experience?

In conclusion, people change as they grow older based on life experiences.  Couples who marry in their 20’s and stay together, grow together and have shared experiences.  Those who find themselves dating in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and later have experiences (and often baggage) they bring to a new relationship.  The ideal mate has more to do with how positively each individual has adapted to life experiences and very little to do with physical appearance or attributes.  Of major importance are flexibility, determination, preparation, character, dependability, integrity and respect.   And oh yes, listen to what your gut instincts tell you about that person! If something seems a little “off” about that person, beware!  A wise friend once told me if the person I considered dating was 80% of what I was looking for in a partner, then I should explore the relationship further to see if we had enough common ground on which to build our lives together.   What has been your experience?

Pam Baker, RN

PamBakerRN.com

 

Dating Across the Lifespan


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