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What is it about the age thirty which makes women go crazy with worry? Okay, maybe not all women, but I certainly was not happy with where my life was when the clock rolled over to midnight, and I had to say good-bye to my twenties forever. I expected to be in a relationship and living a fun life by the big 3-0. I had a house, two adorable cats, and a good job, but it felt like there was something missing. It was time to get a boyfriend.

I started by chatting on dating sites and ended up building a profile on Speed Date. In the free version, the site will pair you with a random stranger, and you get to impress each other within a five-minute time frame. If you felt brave enough you could turn on your webcam and have a semi-face-to-face encounter. My preference was to find out the intentions of each five-minute suitor before I accepted incoming video. If you paid the monthly fee, you had the five-minute window, but you could extend the date if the other person was not a member. If you matched well with a member, there was no time limit on your conversation.

This is where I met, for privacy purposes, I’ll call him Chad. I checked to see if our astrological signs matched. He was a Virgo who wore John Lennon glasses. I was intrigued and read hisearthCredit: deposit photo profile while we chatted, game designer, avid reader, and a kind smile. Generally, I’m physically attracted to men with a dark complexion, but I decided to give Chad a try.

We spent a few weeks chatting online and texting. I was in a rush to meet in person, but I wanted Chad to bring up the subject. One evening after a particularly pleasant conversation Chad asked if he could meet me. He had let me know that he didn’t have a car, so we agreed to meet at a park near the bus line. I could hardly sleep, I was so excited.

The next morning I dressed with excessive care and drove to the park early, so I could be there first. I brought along a journal to record my feelings up until the time I made eye contact with him. A tall male figure emerged from the tree line, and he sat beside me and inquired if I was Christine. I affirmed that I was, and we sat there awkwardly for a moment or two. I asked if he wanted to walk around the city, and he agreed.

Red flag number one

We made our way through the park and walked towards the downtown Vancouver area. We made small talk about my work and his schooling. He shared the more technical parts of game designs and then rambled about comic con. I laughed out loud when he said it was uncomfortable for him because it was like a sea of cleavage. As we walked further we passed by the police station. We joked back and forth about being criminals until the station was out of sight.

Needless to say I was smitten, and I didn’t want the date to end. I asked Chad if he wanted tokissCredit: deposit photo go to lunch, and he agreed. We made our way back into east Vancouver, and we had lunch at one of my favorite restaurant's Jerusalem Café. The owner of the café is boisterous and loves to tease his patrons. I should have taken that it into consideration before eating there on a first date. The café owner teased Chad and I mercilessly. I could tell Chad was not impressed by the food or the atmosphere. We soon left and while in the car I asked if he was ready to go home. He said no, so I asked him if he wanted to see some of my favorite parks in Vancouver. He readily agreed, and we dashed from green space to green space. We ended up at Lacamas Lake, and we sat on bench looking at the sun dancing across the water ripples. We stared walking back to the car when he asked me to stand on a stump. I complied even though I was confused. We were eye to eye, and he kissed me. I floated all the way to the car and then drove him back to the park, so he could ride the bus home.

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Red flag number two

Chad texted me the next day that he wanted to see me again and invited me to come over the river to Portland. I wasn’t really interested in traveling in Portland, but I really wanted to see Chad again. He gave me directions to a street next to his house. He explained that he was living with his mother, and she did not like visitors. Shortly after I parked Chad appeared, and we went to a nice park where the trees were just starting to bloom. We walked around holding hands and shooting the breeze. I noticed a police car idling, not in the parking lot, but on the grass next to the trail where we were walking. This date was shorter because I had to work, but we made time to sit in the sun and talk about nothing and avoid talking about why he didn't want me in his home.

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Red flag number three

When I arrived home, I thought about how strange it was that Chad didn’t invite me into his home. Chad's story about his mom not liking visitors seemed like a poor attempt to hide another relationship. I ignored his texts and online chat invitations until I could clear my head. Finally, I told him we needed to talk and agreed to meet him at the street near his house. Chad got into my car, and I had a flash of what my life would be like with a man who I did notLightCredit: Deposit photo think I could trust. I parked on the shoulder of the road by the river, and we started to talk. Moments later there was flashing blue and red lights. Apparently, I was parked illegally, but it was the third time police were involved when I was with Chad. The officer chided us and then sent us on our way. I dropped Chad off on the street and told him I didn’t think it was a good idea to see each other anymore. He made a mild protest and then agreed.

I look back on the experience and cringe when I see how desperate I was to have a man in my life. Fast forward five years and I’m still single, with adorable cats, and a house. I don’t feel like there’s anything missing anymore because I know that it’s not the responsibility of anyone else to make me feel worthy or loved. It’s nice when others want to make you feel that way, but I don’t want my happiness based on a person who might be deceiving me.