Finding love online — and in yourself

by singlemomseeking on April 9, 2011

I was at Blog World Expo in 2009 with Mind of Moms when I wandered alone into this enormous dining room for lunch — that’s when I spotted a table where a woman with a lovely smile was sitting. I sat down and she introduced herself as Gwen, Global Digital Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company (pictured below).

Gwen’s positive attitude and intelligence impressed me. We stayed in touch by email (she even hooked me up with a smooth Fusion Hybrid to test drive for a week!). Then, Gwen mentioned that she was writing a dating and relationship manual for young women: If It Walks Like a Duck…and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me.

I dealt with a lot of crap in past relationships,” Gwen says. “I eventually realized that in order to attract healthy and real love, I had to love myself enough.”

The tricky part was the fact that Gwen had never pegged herself as a woman who lacked self-respect. “I always thought I had a healthy amount of self esteem. But then why would I let someone mistreat me over and over… like cheating, emotional abuse and intentional toxicity?”

“I decided that I would love myself enough to reject bad relationships,” Grace says.”I stopped making excuses for these guys and started requiring that I be treated right.”

Gwen adds that sometimes self love takes a lot of hard, deep work. “You need to heal past wounds that have been left open, such as a bad relationship you never got over, abuse as a child, growing up seeing your father mistreat your mother… in these cases, seeking professional help can be vital.”

In the meantime, Gwen noticed a Newsweek cover story about “Plenty of Fish,” the free online dating site. She called a single friend of hers — who’d had trouble finding love — and told him that he might want to try it out. “Eventually, he agreed to join, with one stipulation,” Gwen says. “I had to join, too.”

Gwen logged onto the site out of curiosity, but she says she wasn’t really looking for a relationship. Yet, while browsing, one man’s profile caught her eye. “The description he wrote was grammatically correct — and unlike many of the other men on the site — and he looked professional.”

Gwen wrote to him first. “He responded the next day and we immediately began what I call a ‘two and a half month phone and internet courtship.’ We talked exclusively online and on the phone, no less than seven hours a day, every day. Yes, seven hours every day for two and a half months!

Eventually, Gwen and Endion met in person — and what they felt was real. “We dated for six more months before he popped the question at the Ethiopian restaurant where we had our first real date. It was like a movie: his entire family showed up, seemingly out of nowhere, and surprised me. I tearfully and joyfully shouted ‘Yes!’ The entire restaurant stood up and clapped for us.

“He was the first man I met who reminded me so much of my father,” Gwen says. “My Dad used to tell me: ‘If you’re dating a man, and he cannot treat you as well as or better than I do, then you need to find another man who can.’ ”

Gwen and Endion got married last summer — and they’ve since had an adorable baby boy!

Gwen has offered to give away a copy of her book If It Walks Like a Duck…and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me to one of my readers. Here’s how…

One of Gwen’s top tips to finding love is making a list. “A lot of people shy away from making a list of requirements you want in a mate,”  Gwen explains.

“But I say: Make the list and decide what really matters to you. First, list every single trait you want in a mate. No matter how important or frivolous you think it is, just write it down. Attractiveness is just as good as, say, having compassion in this case. Once you’ve written everything down, go back through the list and ‘star’ the traits that are absolute requirements.

Here’s how to enter to win Gwen’s book:

In the comments, please share one of the *starred* requirements on YOUR list… which trait is an absolute requirement for you?

[The contest will be open until midnight PST, April 18, and the winner be chosen by]

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maeve April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

I like Sassy Single Mom’s comment. I’ve been there too, in a relationship with someone who says they love me but sometimes seems to have little sense of who I actually am, or what makes me me.

My most important non-negotiable is kindness. It’s more than being nice to people. It’s being charitable in interpreting their behaviour, resisting the cynical or mean-spirited view. It’s putting the happiness and well-being of others first, not sometimes, but often.


Stacy April 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

It took kissing A LOT of frogs for me to find my prince, but alas I’ve found the one…and he possesses the three most important *starred* traits I’ve sought in a man, the most important one to me being honesty. I’ve encountered so many liars and “players” along my single-mother-dating-journey that have led to such disappointment and that ever-dreadful feeling of having wasted time away from my son… But now having a man beside me that isn’t afraid to be upfront and honest is not only a breath of fresh air but allows such security in our relationship. I’m a lucky girl.


angie April 17, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Sense of humor. Hands down, the most critical for me for long-term compatibility. Without it, life is boring, depressing, irritating, and a bunch of other frustrating adjectives.


Anna April 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I made my list and found my man. I agree with Sunshine that a sense of humor is a non-negotiable.

I love what Gwen’s dad told her, too: “My Dad used to tell me: ‘If you’re dating a man, and he cannot treat you as well as or better than I do, then you need to find another man who can.’ ” I never had that in my marriage, and sorely missed it. You better believe I have that now!


Sassy Single Mom April 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

I love this idea of making a list!! I have done this myself and now I’m simply waiting on Him to appear. LOL

One of my starred items is “He can SEE me.” What I mean by that, is he can see and appreciate all that makes me unique. Not simply what I can do for him, or how nicely I can fit into HIS world, but that he can value and see me as a woman, a mother, a professional, etc. – and that he loves all of who he sees.


SJA April 14, 2011 at 11:41 am

At 51 I’m looking for a stable and secure man who is more John Wayne than John Mayer. I think my priority trait would be self confidence….know who is he and having a mature perspective of life…especially what life with a single mom will be.



Memoirs of a Single Dad April 11, 2011 at 7:15 pm

I think there’s a conspiracy against my comments today.

I didn’t mind PoF. There were a lot of profiles to wade through but the sheer quantity of them means there are going to be some good ones in among the ‘rough’.

Naturally, one of my checklist requirements is that they love kids!


T April 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I love it! What a great story!

One of my requirements was that he wouldn’t be shy about expressing how much he loved me.

*ding ding ding*

I found that one in my man! 🙂


Brooke Allen April 11, 2011 at 11:43 am

A Requirement for me is that he understands the importance of family.


MommytotheMonsters April 10, 2011 at 11:54 pm

The one trait he must possess is that he must have a sincere and earnest relationship with Jesus Christ.


avigail74 April 10, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Likes me for me. Too often I’ve been in relationships where I’ve not been appreciated for who I am—which only diminishes my very being.


Just the 3 of us April 10, 2011 at 4:08 pm

A requirement for me was that whoever “he” was, he would have to love and accept my daughter. We were a package deal and not all men were willing to accept that. Patience paid off and I found an amazing man who was able to do just that!


Coachdad April 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

The ability to laugh at themself and have fun… hope all is well Rachel!


Caroline April 10, 2011 at 7:55 am

Absolute MUST–has to treat my son well, not treat him like a competitor. My last boyfriend would tease my son, saying that “Mommy loves me more than you.”


Allison April 10, 2011 at 6:44 am

Compassion–if someone is rude & disrespectful, or inconsiderate of others, no way. Deal breaker.


Momma Sunshine April 10, 2011 at 5:13 am

One of my many *starred* traits is that he has to be able to make me laugh. Sense of humour is VERY important to me.


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