Is Online Dating Just a Port In a Storm?

Which online dating site do you recommend? – L., female, Facebook

I think it depends on what you’re looking for.

Just because it’s a free site, OK Cupid will naturally draw more people who are not terribly invested in the outcome of the experience. If I had to put  a label on it, I’d say that OK Cupid is what Craigslist Casual Encounters and Nerve used to be. There are a lot of creative types on OKC. If you’re looking for the financially stable i-banker or lawyer, you’re in the wrong place. OK Cupid reminds me of a youth hostel.  Good for resting your head when you’re feeling a bit weary, a great place to hang on your way to some place better.The people there, like a youth hostel, are only their temporarily until something better comes along. There’s also a bit of a sublet vibe to it. You can sense the temporary nature of the connections made by these men. Their lives are in transition, so they can’t commit to more than temporary. Lots of guys with broken hearts, unfulfilled libidos and fragile spirits. They can’t handle any obligation.  The most they can offer is one night. Maybe two. I can remember going in to my inbox a few months ago and seeing a string of little boxes where the guy’s profile pic used to be next to the messages that they sent. They were messages from men to which I had never replied. They gave it all of a couple weeks or a few days and disabled their account. Either they were never that invested or were disillusioned. See? Temporary.

For the most part OKC was a great way to get dates. That’s it. Dates. Not relationships. Well, casual relationships can result of this site. But true love isn’t on the menu.

My OKC experience was mixed. I made a couple of friends that I now hang out with and talk to regularly.  I got an email from a guy this weekend that I met a few months ago. He had decided to move back home because he wasn’t able to find a job. He’s 39.  My heart kind of broke for him. The city had beaten him. Another guy had been dumped by his much younger girlfriend almost 9 months ago. He’s still not ready to move on. He calls me with questions or looking for advice. His self-confidence is shot, but it’s starting to come back. Other than those two and one brief casual relationship, my dates we mostly with men in the “in between” stage. Newly divorced or separated. New to the dating scene. Freshly dumped. Lots of rebounding. I had some really great dates with some good guys, though. Fun dates. Dates where you throw back some beers or great glasses of wine and put money in a juke box and play bad music and walk hand in hand. I will say that for OKC. You do meet some engaging, fun men. But between the kid in the candy store mentality and being emotionally ambivalent, it’s hard to build anything consistent.

Clive Owen has a great line in the film Closer. He’s sitting in a private booth with a stripper, played by Natalie Portman. He’s completely shattered because his wife, Julia Roberts, had cheated on him with Portman’s boyfriend Jude Law. He goes to the club where Portman works looking for answers. He can’t understand how she’s not as unhinged as he is over their respective partner’s infidelity. “What ever happened to intimacy?!” he bellows at Portman, who’s looking at him with a mix of contempt, empathy and pity.

OK Cupid is that private booth. It’s where people go to make sense of it all, to vent, to hate fuck, to get off, to connect. But they do not go there to love or be loved.  It’s the proverbial port in a storm. People are just clinging to whatever they can find to keep them from being swept up in the crashing waves and winds. Then, when the winds die down and the waves settle, we get back in our little boat and row towards that lighthouse called True Love. We paddle slowly at first, slightly battered from all the rocking back and forth. But with every row we know we’re getting closer to whatever destination we decide upon in that moment. We pick up speed. We change our course. But we get there.  Maybe not when we thought we would. But we get there.

I abandoned Match.com a long time ago. I was basically meeting the same type of men, though there were more white collar types. I just couldn’t sift through any more profiles with photos of guys with their sunglasses on, or 6 pictures of landscapes and trees or snow. You get that on OKC. But at least on OKC you’re not paying for it.

I don’t use Jdate or EHarmony. If anyone has any feedback on those two sites feel free to leave feedback. I think you should sign up for at least 2 sites. Maybe 3 depending on the fees. One should be free, like OKC. The other should be a pay site like Match or JDate. And one should be targeted to a specific interest, like IvyDate.com or something revolved around an activity or hobby of interest. I’ve never tried HowAboutWe.com but it sounds like an interesting concept.

Keep in mind that I think that a big part of my experience with these sites is my age. For some reason I think if you’re in your twenties or early thirties you have a vastly different experience. You won’t be dating as many divorced people. I think that makes a huge difference.

What online dating sites do you use?

 

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86 Responses to “Is Online Dating Just a Port In a Storm?”

  1. Vox Says:

    OKC has actually been pretty good for me. The very new relationship I am in is with someone I met on OKC. The person I dated before him, for 2-3 months, was also from OKC. I recently returned to OKC after a 2 year hiatus; prior to the hiatus I’d say my experience was much like yours, Moxie. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps my profile is better so I’m attracting better types, or maybe it’s because I rode the “newbie” wave for all it was worth this time around. (When I first signed up to OKC I received a lot of messages. I took it for granted that it would always be that way, and so I was very quick to reject people for reasons I now believe are ridiculous. Let’s just say I learned my lesson and gave every message careful consideration.)

    I left for Match for the exact same reason as you. I would exchange messages with people while thinking, “Did we talk a year ago? Are we setting up a repeat date? Same man, different screen name, over and over.

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    • Andrew Says:

      Vox, I like you statement: “I was very quick to reject people for reasons I now believe are ridiculous”
      I wish every woman on this board reads that; it’s very powerful. Online dating is the best and worst thing that happened to women. It’s fantastic because it provides avenues to meeting lots of men instead of waiting forever for guys to approach them. The typical attractive women at a dating site can sometimes receive more than 15 messages a day. Online dating is however providing a false illusion. Men are just playing the numbers game.

      Most women observe these numerous messages as the signal to go into super picky mode and the false illusion that they will find Mr. Ready-Made man; after all they are getting 20 messages a day. I keep telling women that when their mom married their dad, he may not have been financially and professionally together. With Grandma, this was almost a certainty with Grandpa now trying to find his way in the world. The incessant fascination with “Mr Big” leads women to making very wrong choices. I suppose it started way back with the Cinderella story when women were little girls. The reality is that most women do not get Prince charming in terms of money, prestige and looks. What attractive women do find is that if and when they meet Mr Big, he is over-subscribed and he is emotionally detached. We are all then forced to hear the deluge of whining. I suppose the TV series “Sex and the City” got it mostly right with the character Mr. Big.

      “If you’re looking for the financially stable i-banker or lawyer, you’re in the wrong place.”
      That statement from the original piece is also just as powerful. I guess these are the only guys of value in this world. It’s the typical false paradigm that exists out there. The answers why women can’t find men are so obvious but women continually refuse to deal with reality. I’ll tell you what women can’t find.

      Women can’t find “Mr Big”, “Prince Charming”, “Ready Made man”, “Superhero” or whatever you want to call him, who is emotionally ready and willing to devote his entire attentions to them.

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      • Paula Says:

        The trouble is that if you’re getting 20 messages a day, you have to make the cut somewhere — that’s over a hundred guys a week. No matter where you make the cut, you’re going to go out with some guys who aren’t emotionally ready, and you’ll probably miss out on some guys who might have been good for you.

        And different services handle it differently, but OKC indicates how often you respond to people who contact you, so if you only reply “selectively,” then guys start weeding themselves out (especially the less ego-driven ones you want) thinking “she won’t respond to me anyway.” And if you respond to everyone, then the crazies won’t let go, thinking they have a shot and demanding to know why you don’t think they’re match before you’ve gone out with them.

        After going out with 15+ guys in about six months, I had to take a break. It got too time-consuming and overwhelming, especially when I didn’t meet anyone where there was a mutual decision to pursue a relationship. And even then, I only went out with about a third of the guys who had pursued me beyond a single contact.

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      • Vox Says:

        I think men are just as unrealiatic when they first approach online dating (such as an average 45 year old man insisting on a hot 25 year old woman) but men readjust their expectations much more quickly. Men seem to face reality after a dry spell, but many women would rather take the ball and go home than accept the fact that their expectations are unrealiatic. We blame our shitty dating life on the men we want, while ignoring the men who actually want us.

        For me, dating after a divorce, I simply did not know what my expectations should be at all. I could get dates with the types of men I wanted to be with, but those guys thought I was “ok” and that’s a really crappy way to date. This leads to “will he call me again” after sex, constant questioning things, general feelings of insecurity, and trying to “market myself” to make the guy like me more. It took me a couple of years to get it, but shifting all of my attention towards men who already think I’m awesome was a wise choice. Truth be told, had he written me a year ago, I would have blown off my new guy. No doubt about it, I would have ignored him over the way he looks. After a date, he started looking pretty good to me, so there you have it.

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        • Andrew Says:

          Vox, glad you figured out how it really works. Pick the best guy out of all the guys that thought you were pretty special to begin with, not continually try to prove to Mr Big that you measure up. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone. When women meet guys, they know the difference between the two sets of guys. Women may hate me saying this, but they are too hard headed and over-competitive for the few “Mr Big”s out there. Maybe women should make a list of what they look for when they look at a profile. If it’s, looks, money, prestige job, exciting activities and smooth profile that dominates your list, then you really have to do some soul searching

          Paula, I never said online dating was easy. Online dating is just like real life. So, all the advice for real life, applies to online dating. I tell people that bars are some of the worst places to meet people. Look to meet people at church, dance class, meet-up group, professional association, volunteer group, alumni association and places where people have similar interests and passions.

          I suppose the same could be said for large dating sites. They can be just like bars. Specialty sites can sometimes be better places for meeting people. One just has to really careful, that one is not wasting money at a site that is poorly trafficked. Some sites that come to mind are, Christian singles, vegetarian singles, Planetearthsingles, Dharmamatch and fitness singles. I am not recommending any one these per se. You will have to research the traffic at these sites. You will definitely get less responses at these sites, but the few that you get, will be somewhat pre-screened by the nature of the interest.

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          • Paula Says:

            I met my husband in a bar. The relationship didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but it wasn’t because I met him in a bar. One of my friends has been in a relationship for a couple of years with someone she met in a bar (turns out he’s an extremely talented musician/Grammy winner who plays gigs in bars, so she was unlikely to have met him elsewhere.)

            It’s not the venue in particular. It’s where your head is when you go there. If you want a regular hookup, a bar might be a very good place. If you want a relationship, a bar might not be the best place, but if you’re only going to pursue a relationship with someone who you know wants a relationship with you, then you’re just as likely to find that person in a bar as at church or online dating.

            Focus on the person and your approach, not the venue. I felt much better about dating online once I realized that it’s just another way to meet people, not that people who sign up for an online dating service necessarily want or are ready to date, name notwithstanding. Then you’ll realize that online dating offers the same share of walking wounded and just wanna get laid players as any other venue, and apply the same filter you would if you met them elsewhere.

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            • chuckrock Says:

              I met my ex not only in a bar but in one of the biggest drunkfest of bars in the hamptons. Us not working certainly had nothing to do with where we met. I don’t think it matters at all where you meet.

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              • dimplz Says:

                Really? I wouldn’t be too sure about saying it doesn’t matter at all. How about if you meet in prison, rehab, or AA? I know many people have relationships that stem from AA, so this isn’t a dig at them, but some people are on a steady road to recovery, while others are new and still raw with emotion from being newly sober. My point is I’d be careful with blanket statements.

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                • chuckrock Says:

                  Well, ifyou are meeting them in prison, rehab or AA it probably means that you are there yourself and thus more likely to connect to said person.

                  I’m going to stick with my original statement. It doesn’t matter where you meet someone (and then add to it) because it matters more whom the person is that you meet.

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                • Paula Says:

                  For me personally, I would do better with someone I met in a bar than someone I met in church. The religion I was raised with (Southern Baptist) frowns on drinking and premarital sex (and it’s no secret to anyone here that I’ve done my share of both, often simultaneously), so someone who is going to negatively judge those life choices is probably not going to consider me relationship material. And someone who hangs out in bars is probably not going to have religious values that negatively judge drinking, so that means we have something in common.

                  It’s like chuckrock said, if you meet them in a particular place, it’s because you’re there yourself and have that in common. The problem is if you go one place, and expect to meet the kind of person who hangs out in another place. I wouldn’t expect someone at an AA meeting to accompany me to my networking happy hours, and so if that was an important thing to me, I would either need to give up on that idea or find someone else. I wouldn’t expect anything relationship-wise from someone in prison, which is why I don’t have pen pals or am trying to angle for conjugal visits.

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                  • Andrew Says:

                    Bars are tough because, the only prescreening is that everyone, in there, likes to drink or likes to meet people in bars. That said we can meet people with commonalities in bars. However, certain places like professional associations, alumni groups, volunteer groups etc. automatically have a much better built-in prescreening process. Also, it’s sometimes hard to get a good conversation going over loud music, with a slightly inebriated person, who is more interested in fun casual topics. And when I say a good conversation, I am talking of a conversation where people genuinely share ideas, without necessarily the thought of a hook-up happening.

                    We meet the best people when we least expect. There is nothing like having a harmless conversation and having that viola moment. That moment where we are suddenly surprisingly impressed with the true content of a person, that moment where we realize we share similar ideas, hopes and passions. And, I am not talking about us both liking the same song on a Black Eye Peas album.

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        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          It took me a couple of years to get it, but shifting all of my attention towards men who already think I’m awesome was a wise choice. Truth be told, had he written me a year ago, I would have blown off my new guy. No doubt about it, I would have ignored him over the way he looks. After a date, he started looking pretty good to me, so there you have it.

          Well, a steak would look good to a starving person, too. I don’t know. It just always sounds like you settle for guys that find you attractive but that you’re meh about just so you can say you’re dating someone.

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          • Vox Says:

            I’m not surprised that you think that way, and you certainly would not find him good enough. I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to believe that one can step outside of the same old routine and actually find someone wonderful and worthwhile, but that’s why you are still single.

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            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              Well, for starters, we’re not talking about me. We’re talking about you. I don’t have anything to prove. You’re the one constantly telling everyone how you have it all figured out and how successful you are with this approach. You’re also the one who manages to work their new boyfriend in to all their comments. Which reeks, to me, of someone using the man in their life to validate or support their opinions. Which negates aforementioned confidence of said approach.

              Anybody who simply wants to say they have a boyfriend can get a boyfriend. Doesn’t really mean anything other than you managed to find a guy who has fewer options. It’s not like you bagged Derek Jeter.

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              • chuckrock Says:

                Bites tongue asto not to rag on Derek Jeter. Let’s Go Mets! :)

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              • Vox Says:

                I discuss who (and how) I am dating because… It’s a dating blog! Nobody wants to hear about this on the political or fitness forums I frequent. I don’t see you complaining about chuckrock (who we now know has been seeing a gal for a couple of months and might be getting serious) or Craig (who is now erring married). I think the fact that my dating comments bug you so much is your own personal issue to deal with, if you wish.

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                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  Chuck merely mentions his personal stories to share, not to brag. That’s the difference. Craig has actually been in his relationship for several years, not a smattering of weeks. So when Craig cites his relationship as an example, it actually carries some weight. As opposed to you who was single one week and then suddenly had a boyfriend the next. And given the anonymous nature of the internet, you could say anything you like and no one would be the wiser. So for all we know, he’s not really you’re boyfriend at all and you’ve been on a handful of dates with him. You’re that girl who just like saying she has a boyfriend because you think it somehow means you’ve achieved something or that people will somehow be jealous.

                  Talk to us when he’s been around for 6 months or a year. Then all your theories will have credibility. In the mean time, I’ll save you a seat on the Lonely Single Gal Bench.

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                  • Vox Says:

                    You are right, this is the Internet so maybe I’ve made everything up and arent seeing anyone at all! All the more reason why you shouldnt be getting so wound up over it. Frankly I think it’s strange to disbelieve me, but if I kept having a tough time dating I guess I wouldn’t believe me either. Finding someone really isn’t that difficult if you are willing to be realistic.

                    Honestly, you seem very jealous to me, which is weird, because there’s no reason for it. No skin off my nose though.

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                    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                      And yet, despite me being all jealous and wound up, you keep responding. Why argue with someone you feel has a …heh…fundamentally incorrect perception of you?

                      Like I said, I’m not the one with anything to prove. The only reason you keep engaging me is because the conversation revolves around you. It’s why you pick fights and stir up drama. To get attention. Weird that you need so much attention when you have a super amazing new boyfriend. You’d think someone so happy wouldn’t be sitting on a blog every day trying to stir shit up. You don’t know how to communicate anything effectively. It’s just backwards insults and jabs. The only man who tolerates a woman like that is a pussy. And I’m definitely not jealous of that.

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                    • Vox Says:

                      Moxie, I respond to you because I find it entertaining to do so. The way you are reacting to me today is very much a part of why I find this blog fun and charming. I’ve learned a lot from this blog (as well as a few others I frequent). Some are the lessons you try to teach, and some are my reactions against the posts written by you and others.

                      As for men tolerating me for pussy… when is the last time a man asked you out 5-6 times, without sex being a part of the menu? Hell, when is the last time a man asked you out 5-6 times with sex being part of the menu? And I’m not talking about booty calls nor blow jobs.

                      Once again, if things are working for you: work it! Don’t get mad at me. Work your magic and enjoy your life. That’s what I do, and it’s the right choice for me. Sorry you are jealous, once again I say: you shouldn’t be.

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          • Vox Says:

            Whoops, also meant to ask – if a steak isn’t good enough for you, what exactly do you think you deserve? I’m happy dating a steak, but I do wish you luck in your search for Caspian caviar.

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            • chuckrock Says:

              I thought the same exact thing.

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            • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

              Or you could simply answer the question asked without making an ad hominem attack because you have no defense.

              Enjoy your steak.

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              • chuckrock Says:

                seriously, what is your problem with steak? Where I come from steak is probably the best meal one can have or at least part of it (steak and lobster).

                Moxie, in all seriousness and all due respect, it sounds to me like you are the one attacking vox here and she is just defending herself. I don’t know that the ad hominem attack was as uncalled for as you think.

                To Vox: The question is, in my head, how would your guy feel,if he knew you basically settled for him?

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                • Devon Brown Says:

                  “To Vox: The question is, in my head, how would your guy feel,if he knew you basically settled for him?”

                  Umm, isn’t this basically what Moxie was saying in the first place?

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                • Vox Says:

                  Ah the word “settled” again; I would not have used the term myself. He is, beyond a doubt, the most intelligent man I have ever dated. He’s also attractive too. However, he dresses like crap, terrible taste in clothing (which seems to be standard among those in his profession). I decided I don’t care how he dresses and live with it. Is that settling? I think it’s just a matter of deciding that being with a snazzy dresser isn’t important.

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                  • chuckrock Says:

                    No, I would not call that settling now that you have cleared up part of the reason you would have overlooked him previously.

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                  • Saj Says:

                    I don’t see the problem with Vox’s approach at all. I have the same approach myself.

                    I’m not the type that stands out in a crowd (I think I’m one of those types that starts to look better and better the more time you spend with rather then worse) or I’ll hear second hand someone thinks I’m attractive but for some reason not as often to my face but the guys that are into me are INTO me. We went to the movies this weekend and my husband was like I don’t understand why more guys aren’t checking you out when I can’t stop drooling while looking at you. Men out there have types and if you fit into that type your golden.

                    The guys who have been into me of course come in all levels of attractive and I’ve been able to find guys in this bunch I found hot as well and that’s who I choose. Vox maybe hasn’t been able to find hot in her list of suitors but she’s grabbing the best of what she can get and focusing on the good parts. I would do the exact same thing if my suitors weren’t hot enough rather then keep trying to prove myself to a Mr. Big type over and over only to be left disappointed. (not that I’m into Mr Big types, Aiden was way better).

                    I wonder sometimes if there is a correlation between the girls who are into Mr. Big or Aiden and their overall relationship success rate. Would you rather chase after Mr unavailable and keep proving your worth or appreciate Mr, emotionally available who is there and interested where you don’t have to prove anything.

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                    • Vox Says:

                      The way you describe yourself sounds like how I’d describe me. I’m pretty average, but there are a small percentage of men out there who think I’m the hottest woman in the room. I choose to select from that group rather than pining for the type of guy I created in my head a couple of years ago. I don’t know why this makes Moxie so angry, but so be it. I’m happy to share my experience, and woman can try it or dismiss it!

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                • Andrew Says:

                  Vox didn’t settle for him. This love at first sight thing and the “feel chemistry” thing is getting out of control. People are starting to beleive its the only basis of true lasting love and relationships.

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              • Vox Says:

                What question?

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          • Paula Says:

            As folks around here know, I don’t often agree with Vox, but her “only date those who think you’re awesome” approach has given me a lot to think about. While I don’t think it’s necessarily a ticket to success (what if you don’t meet anyone who thinks you’re awesome? what if you’re settling for someone just because he thinks you’re awesome?) it at least has got me out of working so hard to try to make something work out when he isn’t applying equivalent effort.

            A guy who likes you will put out some effort to make sure you like him back. If he doesn’t, then he’s not that into you, or he knows you’ll do all the work, and that will carry over into any relationship that results, with him remaining emotionally unavailable but still keeping you hanging and calling the shots.

            So even if you don’t end up with a guy like Vox (and I express no opinion whether she’s settling or “meh” about him, or whether it’s too soon to declare this approach superior to others) it is helpful to shorten your to-do list and to get guys out of your life who are not contributing anything to it.

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            • Andrew Says:

              Vox approach works extremely well, if one gets out there and meets a lot of guys. People limit themselves too much on what they will feel in the future. When I met my ex-wife, she certainly didn’t fall head over heels in love with me. We eventually discovered each other as they say. Our eventual break-up had nothing to do with the way we met. In fact the break-up was harder on her emotionally, even though the divorce was extremely amicable.

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              • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                “When I met my ex-wife, she certainly didn’t fall head over heels in love with me. We eventually discovered each other as they say. Our eventual break-up had nothing to do with the way we met.”

                I’m always amazed at how people are so wedded to the belief in their own good judgment that they will literally hold up a failed relationhip as some sort of evidence of accomplishment. Your break-up had EVERYTHING to do with the way you met. Maybe not so much in the logistics of it, but in your choices. At a minimum, you chose her. And, she chose you. The outcome was failure. So, those choices turned out to be wrong (unless of course you intended to have a break-up at some point. Did you?). If I were you, I would take a good hard look at my decisionmaking to see if I actually learned anything before I started thumping my chest over my failed marriage.

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                • nathan Says:

                  DMN – I think it’s very common for one person in a couple to be more attracted to the other in the beginning. And sometimes that difference in attraction levels never really equals out, even amongst couples who end up married for 40 or 50 years. And yet, sometimes that doesn’t matter at all. While on the opposite end, plenty of people fall head over heels for each other, seem to do the “right things” in the beginning of a relationship, and then crash and burn after six months or a year.

                  You’re placing entirely too much stock in the way two people meet and feeling for each other in the very beginning. Which isn’t to say there aren’t signs that might be there in the beginning, but that judging the break up of a long term relationship or marriage mostly on those signs isn’t very accurate.

                  Also, I disagree that all break ups constitute “failed relationships.” Sometimes, no matter what a couple does, it isn’t meant to be. And sometimes external events occur that drastically change the connection. A friend of my fathers was in a terrible car accident that impacted his brain in ways that changed how he thought and behaved. His wife stuck with him for several years after that, but eventually – after he had otherwise healed – she just wasn’t able to be with him anymore. It was a sad ending, certainly, but I don’t see that as a failed relationship.

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                • Paula Says:

                  DMN, every relationship results in failure or death, under your definition. And I agree with nathan that there are situations where staying with someone is more an admission of failure than separating from them, in that pulling away requires more courage and self-integrity.

                  I don’t consider my marriage a success or my divorce a failure. Both decisions made sense given where both of us were at at the time — people grow/evolve/change over time, and reach points where being together no longer makes as much sense as breaking up. I learned a tremendous amount, and experienced great joy, as well as significant pain. Pretty much like the rest of life.

                  Avoiding commitment may not give you the same range of experiences: you might not experience the lows, but you’re not guaranteed to experience the same highs either. Going through life without forming relationship-level connections is like being on Prozac or anti-depressants…it flattens out your life. For some people, that’s necessary to maintain any kind of existence: the highs and lows are too extreme to fully and safely experience. But for those of us with standard blood chemistry, we want to have all those feelings and fully experience life.

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                  • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                    “Going through life without forming relationship-level connections is like being on Prozac or anti-depressants…it flattens out your life.”

                    Really.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      Yes, really.

                      Despite the fact that my marriage did not work out, the experience shaped my life in innumerable ways: some bad, some good. It was not the act of marriage itself (I do believe it is just a piece of paper), but the act of mutual commitment and resolving to share my love and life with another person that made it qualitatively different than being with someone who would just be there temporarily.

                      And that’s probably all I should say, given that we’re ranging quite a ways from the original topic of online dating. However, despite all the time spent assessing and meeting guys and dates that go nowhere, that’s why I even bother — I want to feel that way again with someone who feels the same way about me, so we can go about building a life together.

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                    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

                      Paula, just because a decision is life altering doesn’t mean it was a good decision. You proved my point about people being wedded to their bad decisions rather than learning from them.

                      Further, I think social oblivion and moral outrage are like drugs in that they allow you to blind yourself to the consequences of your own choices.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      I didn’t say it was good, any more than it was bad. It was both — many if not most decisions are; “the road not taken” and all. And I’m not sure how I proved your point, given that I know I learned enormously from the experience, and I’m no longer “wedded to my bad decision” (quite literally).

                      But let’s look at the alternative: I could sequester myself and never leave my apartment again, never forming any new attachments to other human beings and letting the ones I currently have wither away. According to you, since I didn’t experience a breakup, I wouldn’t have failed, right? I’d be a shining example of success — maybe I could parlay that into a Hoarders appearance too.

                      I guess you’re using “social oblivion” and “moral outrage” to refer to my inability to tolerate lying at the drop of a hat to spare yourself a little discomfort (under the guise that you’re sparing the other person discomfort.)

                      Again, since we’re getting far afield of the original topic: lying to someone else about your feelings usually creates far more negative consequences from your actions than being truthful about them. Even when the truth hurts, the lies hurt more, and if you don’t realize that, I’m pretty sure I’m not the one blinding myself to the consequences of my choices. Lying doesn’t change the part of the truth, and then you have to deal with the fact that someone you trusted was too cowardly to tell the truth.

                      But if you never want to experience a relationship where you need to trust your partner, it may not matter to you that lies operate to erode and eventually destroy that trust.

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                    • dimplz Says:

                      Guys, this conversation is so OT and none of you seem to be relenting. Paula, you asked for a place to talk about topics OT. Coffee talk was created. Maybe you should utilize it before it goes away. Whether DMN wants to continue this debate with you will be up to him.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      Dimplz…only if there are going to be steak dinners offered with the coffee…

                      You’re right, though, I’m happy to take this elsewhere if DMN still has something to say.

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                • Andrew Says:

                  I was certainly not thumping my chest. Next, you don’t even know how we met. So you are the one jumping the gun with one hell of an assumption that the way we met had everything to do with our breakup.

                  People fall in love at first sight, marry and then get divorced. So tell me, did falling in love at first sight cause their breakup? Human beings are way too complex to imagine that their break-ups are entirely due to the way people meet. I will certainly allow that may be the case in a few situations. Most divorces are pretty much because people change, and they don’t adjust to the new realities of each other. With me, I was married over 20 years. To tell you the truth, the first 15 were amazing.

                  To be quite frank, I also totally resent the veiled ad hominen attack on me to make your point. And don’t you dare presume to lecture me on an issue where you don’t even have the facts.

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            • Vox Says:

              Yes see, that’s the thing. Dating the men who really are into you as you are doesn’t mean you are accepting anything that comes along. But it does mean that you are dating ones who are ready, willing and able to do whatever it takes (within reason) to be with you. It takes the pressure of you to tap dance and appear to be the type of woman Mr. Wonderful will fall in love with. You don’t have to wonder “when is the right time to have sex” or “what can I say here and not fuck things up” etc because these guys are already interestled in being with you at any reasonable cost. The main trick is, they may be the type of guys on your radar. They certainly weren’t on mine. But once I started paying attention to these guys, problem like “men only want to be with younger women” and “he disappeared, i don’t know why” went away. I don’t need the man I imagined in my head anymore. As it turns out, being next to a man who views me as an incredible prize is far more of an aphrodisiac than dating men who *look* like the perfect package to me. I really like it.

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              • Paula Says:

                The main trick is, they may be the type of guys on your radar. They certainly weren’t on mine.

                I think you mean, Vox, they may NOT be the type of guys on your radar.

                Some people’s radar may be more broken than others. All my recent dating, as well as my past relationships, have given me a good sense of who should be on my radar, so I’m not willing to change those standards just to have more people appear on my radar. My filters aren’t based on looks or fitness or income or age, they’re based upon the person’s personality and values.

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  2. Charlie Says:

    One thing I liked about PlentyofFish is that in the messaging page you will see if someone has viewed or deleted a message you sent. It kind of helps you keep messaging new people instead of waiting on someone to reply. It didn’t particularly help my general disillusionment that the reply rates from women are so low that PoF has a little pep talk telling you to keep at it even if you see “Unread Deleted” by most of your messages at the top of that page though. Like the pep talk said, almost all of my messages had that next to them. After a few weeks with the only reply being someone who only wanted to chit chat online I finally had it.

    HowAboutWe sounds interesting but I am not that interested in the idea to risk spending a couple hours to make a profile to find out there are almost no people on it in my area. I’m kind of leery of messing with sites that require you to do the full sign up just to see if anyone in your area is even on it. I guess that’s just a online dating ‘hazard’ of being in a smaller city though.

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  3. Joe Says:

    My experience is limited, but eHarmony is definitely a joke. It doesn’t pay attention to anything you enter making absurd matches. (Every site does silly matches that are clearly intentional; don’t match me with smokers is pretty damn easy to implement.)

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    • Joe Says:

      Out of curiosity, why the down votes? Do people really think dating sites are trying their hardest to make perfect matches? Or do they think that despite specifying age and distance limits in eHarmony, that it making matches in violation of those is some sort of unfixable error in their algorithms?

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  4. Really Rosie Says:

    I used three sites, two more seriously (relatively speaking) and one for more of an experiment. On my blog I talk about my latest dates that I got from Match and OKC. Moxie seems to have the right assessment about both of them. OKC is definitely full of the walking wounded whereas Match I did find a bit more stability in the members; if nothing else they weren’t living back with their parents. Also like Moxie I am in my 40s so everyone is divorced paying child-support, something I would rather avoid, so my choices are more limited.

    I am a paid Match member, but yes, the same guys are there from a year ago when I was on last time. Literally there are a couple that say “you favorited ‘screenname’ 670 days ago.” I had a nice long thoughtful profile with accurate and attractive photos and got some nibbles, as I did on OKC. Had a handful of first dates then they disappeared. Ran an experiment: shortened the profile considerably and removed all photos of the visible tattoos on my arms. My click-through rate tripled and I was being contacted by more guys but the one date the resulted (from a 5’3″ guy with piercings) also disappeared.

    Plenty of Fish is a pickup bar basically. Even more like Craig’s List ‘s personals I believe. Though of course I have seen the same guy on all three of them. My best friend had tried eHarmony at least once and the way the correspondence is handled it seems to be very stifling. My friend had a few women initiate correspondence but they would “close” it with no explanation after he would send back a reply or two (it’s very regimented in the beginning; they ask predetermined questions, you answer, that’s it.) Apparently it’s for the close-minded.

    I am taking a break from these sites. Currently my take is: don’t believe a word any of these people you meet tell you, even on a date that goes swimmingly. I was only doing it because I work overnights in a computer center and am not going to run into new people in my day to day life.

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  5. VJ Says:

    Always be careful of the crazies out there!
    http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/c8a54646ae/casey-anthony-match-com

    Cheers, ‘VJ’

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  6. DowntownAgel Says:

    Online dating is a numbers game, I think you’re better off on a site that has more members. “boutique” sites like ivydate may be fun, but they lack scale.. I met two serious b/fs on match and my experience with it overall was good. JDate experience was almost identical to match.

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  7. Mark Says:

    “L”:

    If that is your experience, then that is your experience. Be it one site or another. Not bad, not good. Simply the one you have had. If may be similar or differerent from else anyone out there. Your experience may be different than a friends, a co worker, or someone off the street. Conversely, it may be very similar.

    If each site is different, then it’s probably because each is finding a niche and tailoring their service to meed that market. White collar, hookup, casual, whatever. What works for you?

    It begs the more fundamental question.

    What are you looking for? And why?

    I stress you. Not any one else.

    While there are some people who enjoy those sites, I tend to think that many people would do just as well if not better by simply getting out and about. Especially if you have your act together and your mojo is in full swing. Be it, casual, serious, or something else. But that sort of decision is up to the individual and their particular circumstances. Then again, isn’t that always the case?

    The rest is pretty much Jabberwocky as you enter the looking glass of relationshlps.

    So whatever it is you are looking for, I hope you find it.

    Regards

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    • breebree Says:

      Mark one reason why online dating first attracted so many people is that people who worked a lot simply didn’t have the time to go out and hang out at clubs, bars, or whatever and meet people constantly.
      Also if your a single parent and working your time is limited (and your money may be too) If your brand new to a city or state then you may not know where to go and/or what to do and many folks won’t go out by themselves much.
      From what I’ve read many people who are married met in school, ie highschool or college or at work or through family or mutual friends or on business trips or at church or at the gym or some class they took together (like a cooking class).
      Realistically and statistically I don’t think people meet and get together and get serious meeting out in public places like bars, clubs, lounges, concerts, or the supermarket. It just doesn’t happen very much.
      Think about the odds of meeting your future spouse at a club, lounge, bowling alley, store, the mall or whatever in your 30’s and 40’s……….
      If it did happen that quickly and easily for most people hardly anyone would be doing online dating and it wouldn’t be half as popular as it is.

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      • Mark Says:

        I don’t disagree with any of your points. What I wrote essentially is if one of those sites works for you, then by all means use it as an option. Some people find more success there, others are better at other venues. That’s the crux of the issue.

        As pointed out, each site mentioned, seems to have a unique personality. It’s a matter of tailorig your search within site.

        I tried it once. A very mixed bag of results to say the least. But for me, one of the decding factors was an e-mail I recieved on one of the sites mentioned.

        Specifically, I was contacted by a woman. After looking at her profile I felt there wouldn’t be a good fit. I mailed back thanking her for her interest but I didn’t feel we would pair up all that well. She e-mailed me back thanking me. It turns out I was the only guy who even took the time to respond to her after a couple of months on that site. After reading that, I pretty much knew that such a forum was not really my style.

        But for others, it may be the perfect vehicle. So focus on those things that work for you, not what doesn’t.

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        • bree Says:

          This is true Mark….dating is very much a numbers game…..it may get tiring but sometimes you gotta keep trying different things and different sites until you figure out what works for you. Something is bound to work at some point….

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  8. Paula Says:

    I’ve had mostly good experiences with OKC. It helps to answer a lot of questions, and to only go out with those who have answered a lot of questions and have a high match score. The dates that have gone the worst have been with those who didn’t match highly with me from the beginning, so I’m a believer in OKC’s match algorithm. The thing I like about OKC is that it seems to be the place where people with similar political views to mine go — I’ve actually had several friends/professional acquaintances show up there as good matches for me — so I’m not having to sort through those whose values I just don’t share. And I’ve adjusted my profile so that I don’t get so many polyamorous guys coming my way — it was a little over-the-top for a while.

    Last fall, I paid to join Chemistry.com, which operates on a similar model to eHarmony (without the conservative Christian founder who got sued because they wouldn’t let gay people use the service, and who kicks people off for not being serious enough about relationships). However, they just kept sending me guys with whom I had no chemistry — none. I’ve never had a more boring series of dates. Also, you can’t browse to find guys — you have to go with what they send you — and I’ve heard (which seemed true in my experience) that they have so many dead profiles, where a bunch of people sign up for a free weekend, but stay on the system indefinitely even though they can’t and won’t be able to respond to you. I like that with OKC, you can tell how recently someone was online, and how selectively they respond to people, which gives you some sense of who is actively using the service.

    I think that most online dating sites have the walking wounded and/or the “just want to get laid.” Those characteristics comprise a pretty high percentage of the dating pool anyway, so why should online be any different?

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  9. Kim Hess Divorce Guru Says:

    I started dating at 33 after being in a relationship for 11 years (married for 7 years). I had no idea what I was doing and had no idea about the different sites so I tried quite a few.

    Probably because I was younger then (I’m 37 now), online dating netted me tons of dates but no concrete, fulfilling relationships. I do have to say this was mainly because my ish wasn’t together…it takes a long time to recover emotionally, mentally and financially from a divorce.

    My very first date ended up in a 3 month relationship from a boutique site (Itsjustcoffee.com) but since I had no business dating so soon after leaving my ex (6 months), it blew up in my face (to say the least I was a bit needy!)

    A “Plenty of Fish” date also resulted in a kinda sorta long term relationship of over 2 years, but most men who messaged me from POF were seeking sex or were down right strange and not what I was looking for (I got a message from someone who’s screen name was “blackmeatbythepound.” Eww.)

    OKCupid? Meh. Lots of twenty-somethings emailing me. Lots. What does a 25 year old want with a mother and divorcee? It’s not hard to figure that one out! I was waaaayyy too honest with the questions they have you answer. My advice: don’t answer the sex questions.

    I’d recommend E-Harmony if you’re looking to get married yesterday. For some reason I kept getting super right wing religious Christians (even though I’m not) which were not a match. I’ve tried E-Harmony 3 times in the last 3 years and it always fails for me. I’m a bit of a free spirited hippy which I’m guessing men on E-Harmony aren’t looking for! More traditional, in my opinion.

    I had absolutely no luck with Match.com, but that’s what I recommend to people who are serious about wanting a relationship. My guess is my bad luck had to do with the fact that I’m black, divorced, with 2 kids in a city that is majority white and Asian (San Fran). Most men I meet and date are the same age but never married, no kids. Think the Match guys may have been looking for someone to take home to moms, whereas POF and OKCupid were looking strictly for “good times.”

    I’m a big advocate of online dating, but do believe you have to have thick skin for it and not let it affect your self-esteem.

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  10. breebree Says:

    btw for anyone who isn’t familiar with the term fwb is friends with benefits..

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  11. chuckrock Says:

    I have tried almost all of them. I have found decent women on almost all of them. I really think you can not generalize the way moxie does about the men (or women) on each site because each guy is an individual and will choose which site they are on based on individual reasons. I thin if you try hard enough you can meet someone on any site that has enough people in you area and age range. Moxie may be correct about the aging out of a site though.

    Match- i did this in for a few months and went on a lot of dates from it. All of the women i met through match were quality women. I basically judge the quality of a woman via a site on ‘whether i would go out with them a second time’ , meaning if i only met them offline on that first date/meet would I still have asked them out for a date. With match almost all of them I did or should have.

    Plentyoffish: The more you use the site the better it is, I feel. I often only will email those that have been online recently so that I know they are active. I met a handful of women from pof and i found many of them to look nothing like their pictures but I chalk that up to poor choices by myself. The percentage of women that actually respond is much lower than the other sites and after talking about this phenomenon with some female friends that also use it, I believe the reason is because they get so many sex proposal emails that they tend to not respond to anyone. Some bad apple guys ruining the experience of it for the rest of us.

    Datehookup: There wasn’t many people in my area so i only used it sparingly, but I did meet one woman on it and we have become pretty good friends now.

    Eharmony: This was the worst site of them all. i signed up for three months, got one response in the first month (and the date was bad), and wound up getting a refund for the third month. Never again. I hate that I couldn’t just email someone that I was interested in instead of going through their retarted question series. also you can’t see the pics right away.

    OKcupid: this is the site i have had the most/best luck on and the one i would recommend. Not only is the woman I am currently seeing from there, so was the only other one that I became really interested in. I also met my best friend on there a few years ago. I don’t see the negatives that are mentioned in other people’s posts at all, but maybe it is because i am looking for women and not me. Who knows.

    I think on any of the sites you will find a lot of men who are freshly out of a relationship because online is probably the first place these guys go to meet women once they are single again; I know it was where I went.

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    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      Eharmony: Never again. I hate that I couldn’t just email someone that I was interested in instead of going through their retarted question series. also you can’t see the pics right away.

      I’m no fan of E-harmony but I think they set it up that way intentionally in part to screen out guys like you. I don’t mean that as an insult. I think they are cultist wingnuts. But, the point of E-harmony is that people who sign up for it don’t want to be bombarded by everyone who happens to find them attractive- they want the process because they think it leads to better results. You don’t have to agree with that. I don’t. But, it’s odd that you think it’s ineffective because it doesn’t let you do what you want to do.

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      • chuckrock Says:

        Absolutely correct, and it is the reason why i hated the site. Their system, to me or for me, just doesn’t work. It is ineffective – for me- because it wasted my time.

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  12. nathan Says:

    I have never met anyone I had a long term relationship with through online dating. However, that hasn’t stopped me from seeing online dating as an option. In many ways, online dating has helped me become much more clear about what I want in a partner – going on a lot of dates with different kinds of people, many of whom you probably wouldn’t have met otherwise, offers many learning opportunities, if nothing else. I have also had some nice short term relationships that came from women I met online, but for various reasons, none of them lasted more than a few months. And certainly, I’ve also had my share of irritation and frustration with the whole thing.

    As far as sites go, I do think OkCupid is fairly decent. I like that if someone fills out a good amount of their profile, you have a decent amount of information to go off of. (That is, of course, if they are telling the truth.)

    Plenty of Fish isn’t a good in my opinion because people seem to invest less time in their profiles.

    Like others on here, I think Match has gotten repetitive. The same people seem to be on it over and over again, and I have had much lower response rates from women on there, than on the free sites.

    I had stints on a couple of niche sites – Green Singles and another one I can’t remember the name of that I was on several years ago. Met a few people on both – and dated one woman for a short while – but the numbers are too low, so even though you have more in common with most of the people there, after a month or so, you’ve probably written to or cross off the list nearly everyone.

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  13. Craig Says:

    Online dating worked for me. I’m getting married in November to a woman I met on Match.com after 3.5 years together. I had the most success on Match and Craigslist of all places. There’s something about the risk of not even seeing the person before you respond on Craigslist that makes that site exciting to me. The key to these sites is persistance, patience, and growing a thick skin. I was online dating for years and contacted about 2,000 women before finding “the one”. There was a lot of rejection. It’ll probably take a similar effort for most people.

    A few things to keep in mind: One, Jerry Seinfeld had it right when he said 95% of the population is undateable. This is true no matter what forum you chose, so don’t blame the lack of meeting good people on using online dating. Sadly, the plethora of losers is reflective of the population at large. I had a lot less luck meeting women in bars, that’s for sure. Two, be reasonable about your expectations. If you’re a woman who wants a hot investment banker, then you’d better look like the type of women those dudes go for. This goes for guys as well. While it’s okay to occassionally swing for the fences, be realistic in what you can get. Third, stay positive. If you are negative all the time, then negative results are what you will always get. Lastly, go outside your comfort zone and broaden your horizons. Whatever your type is, try someone different. Most married people will tell you their partner is not who they pictured themselves with or not what they were typically attracted to.

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    • Andrew Says:

      Who is the one person that did not like this piece? Just goes to show you. Loved everything you said, just wanna add one little piece. We have all made ourselves so picky that 95% of the population wouldn’t want to date us too. lol.

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  14. Trouble Says:

    I met the boyfriend (3.5 years now) on match.com. I suspect we’ll be following Craig and his beloved down the aisle in December/January. I also had good luck with Yahoo personals back in the day. I tried OK Cupid, but it was really limited in terms of numbers of people in my area, and there were a lot of married people seeking hookups on it in those days.

    I did a quick browse of match.com as a result of this column, and I will say that there are a lot of the same people on that site that were there when I first started dating after my divorce in 2005….so, six years later, they are still on match.com. I’ve long suspected that match.com shows profiles as being active when they haven’t been active in years. For instance, my boyfriend’s profile is still in the mix. I think he needs to go back on the site and turn it off, but it’s partially my fault, I asked him to turn it back on so I could take a screenshot of it to keep (because it was too cute for words), and he hasn’t gone back online to remove it. I strongly suspect that at least half of the profiles on match.com, at least in my community, haven’t been touched in months/years. Guys create them and then abandon them, and don’t bother to go back and shut them down. So, the pool of prospective dates is actually a lot smaller than it really is.

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  15. Christy Says:

    I just posted my perceptions of several online sites on my website. It’s only been a month and a half and I am really discouraged. I do see patterns in certain websites (I cannot get a response from any guy on OKCupid!); however, one thing seems to be the norm: common courtesy. The anonymity of the internet appears to make people (I won’t limit it to men) forget just being nice; i.e. – carrying on a conversation for a day or two, then disappearing without any reason. Not responding to messages at all. (I try to respond to all of them – it takes nerve to send out a message to a stranger!)

    I’m feeling so discouraged that I’m debating deleting the profiles in the next two weeks. Am I giving up too soon?

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    • Vox Says:

      Sad blog. I really think you’d do well to take a dating break. Delete your profiles and blog, and find something else to do. When you are ready to come back you will know it. Now isn’t working for you, and it isn’t the men, it’s you.

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      • Christy Says:

        Wow. That’s your advice? I wanted encouragement, not someone beating me down more than I already do to myself.

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        • Vox Says:

          I’m not beating you down; you don’t leave room for other people to participate in your personal beat down. You keep that honor all to yourself.

          I honestly think a dating break will do you a world of good. No joking, no snark. You need a break.

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    • Paula Says:

      Christy — if you feel the same way in six months, then I would be more inclined to agree that you’ve given it a reasonable shot. But six weeks is really too soon. I’ve had about 15 dates from OKC, and I’m older than you. But the thing you have to give up on is the old-fashioned “the guy has to contact me” thing. The guy I’ve gone out with the most? I contacted him first. That’s true of several others that I had dates with, even though they didn’t necessarily go anywhere.

      I have a male friend who is model-gorgeous, super smart, and a genuinely nice guy. He’s had his heart broken, and so he definitely treats women well. He uses online dating because he has a really demanding job, and doesn’t have time to hang out in bars or pursue hobbies. He could have his choice of pretty much anyone, but he only responds to women who contact him first. He doesn’t want to spend time searching through profiles and sending out emails without a response, so he lets them decide whether they’re interested enough to contact him.

      So take charge of things, start contacting a few guys who look interesting, and take it from there.

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  16. nathan Says:

    Christy, as a veteran of online dating, and also someone who really tries to respond to all messages and be respectful, even if I’m not interested, I get your frustration. But a month and a half isn’t long enough. It might not get much better, or you might meet someone wonderful. Either way, you gotta give it more time. And maybe take it all with a lighter attitude. I want a long term relationship and am serious about that, but learned awhile back that if i hang on every ignored message, fizzled out conversation, or woman that flaked out after a date or two, I’d go crazy.

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  17. Christy Says:

    Nathan, thank YOU for the kind words & encouragement. I guess I have the attitude that the guys should initiate, and it doesn’t seem to be happening. And it is discouraging to not get a response from about 80% of what I initiate. I will hold off before “giving up” and thanks again :)

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    • Ellie #1 Says:

      Keep in mind it’s not just you who isn’t getting a response on these sites — it’s nearly everyone who sends out a message. I have an incredibly good looking, intelligent, tall, successful male friend, and he told me only about 10% of his messages get responses. How girls would not respond to him, I don’t know, but they don’t. It’s the nature of the beast, I guess.

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    • Andrew Says:

      20% responses. Most guys deal with 2% responses or less. My advice to you is to develop the right mindset: “I am gonna enjoy chatting with guys, with as little expectations as possible.” “I am going to be charming , fun, witty and not care so much about the outcomes.” When the right guy comes along, you will be more skilled and ready to put your best foot forward. And give things time. You have been unsuccessful for years with real life meeting people, so a few weeks or months on the internet is no cause to throw your hands up.

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  18. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Christy, meet Nathan. Nathan, meet Christy. OMG, you guys are on exactly the same wavelength on dating. And, you’re both single. By golly, you two should go out. Oh, wait, that’s right, Christy is not THIS enough. And Nathan has too much THAT.

    Sorry, but the blogs are filled with people who can’t seem to find their way with online dating, or dating in general. When you can’t meet anyone online, they tell you take a break. “Go offline – do fun things, meet people that way!” So, you do that. And, after a few months that doesn’t work and they say “Go online! My friend met her husband online.” Use this site. Use that site. Etc. It’s a numbers game! There’s always some better place where you’ll meet the right person.

    No. Vox is right about one thing – the problem is Y.O.U. Your expectations of other people are wildly unrealistic. And your perception of yourself is wildly inflated. Success in dating is about making other people want you – don’t making demands on what other people “should do.” Learn to conform your expectations with reality and you will do fine no matter where you search. Trust me on this one. I practice what I preach. And, I do fine. Either that, or I’m Brad Pitt.

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    • nathan Says:

      If you spend enough time doing online dating, and you actually pay attention to what’s happening, it’s a great way to let go of excessive expectations and superficial desires, and focus in on what it is you really want in a partner.

      While I think some of you are correct in your assessment that Christy’s expectations are unrealistic, the truth is that most people who start out in online dating have unrealistic expectations. I know I did when I first did it. So did friends of mine, as well as the few family members that I know have tried it. So, I’m inclined to give Christy the benefit of the doubt because she’s gotten a taste of the impersonal, sometimes unfriendly climate that is present in online dating, and now she has to decide what to do with that.

      It’s the people who maintain impossible standards and sit and bitch for months and years on end that garner zero sympathy from me. I don’t have time for those who won’t take a look at themselves, and how they come off in the world.

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  19. Angeline Says:

    A friend and coworker who was on Plenty of Fish made a profile for me about 5 years ago, when I was newly divorced. I was 48 at the time. I was completely freaked out by the idea of meeting someone from the internet, but was also curious, so I added a few pictures and edited the profile. I later made profiles on OKC and Match, but just got weird, weird results – the matches they suggested were ridiculous – like Joe said, why would you match me (a smoker) with someone who clearly does not want that? I’m not even going to insult the guy by writing him. I’d always reply back to a non-smoker who wrote me, apologizing for their crappy matching system.

    The first 6 months at least was just lurking, and I wasn’t ready to date anyway after 27 years of marriage. I read hundreds of profiles, I’d send the really awful ones to my friend and sister and we’d giggle over them (for example, one profile consisted of (aside from some sad, blurry photos) this and only this: “i want to go to the mts”.

    Even at my advanced age (by now 49) I got hundreds of emails – some nice, some … uh, not. Requests for nude pics, sexual come-ons, cock shots, solicitations from boys younger than my kids (ick ick, just ICK). I replied to any that were decent. Finally figured out how to hide my profile while I figured things out. I was never contacted on IM/chat by anyone other than guys who wanted to sex-chat, and quickly disabled that ‘feature’.

    Then, I discovered the forums. Holy moly. Many of the same issues we discuss here inspired wild free-for-all posts with thousands of comments. Some folks were hilarious. Many, many, many were bitter and hostile, and I began to think the entire divorced/single world was filled with angry people.

    Then I was contacted by several of the regular posters, and began some fun and interesting correspondences. You can get a decent sense of someone by the things they’ve posted over a period of a year or so, certainly a lot more than in a few emails. I talked with several people via email, chat and phone, from various parts of the US, and started to feel a little better about the dating world I was sneaking up on. I also learned not to be a snob about spelling and grammar, because one of the guys who was a terrible speller was very bright, curious and lots of fun. If we’d lived closer we’d have met up.

    All the guys I emailed, talked to on the phone or met and dated I actually got to know on the forums, not via direct emails.

    I will say this for POF, one of the most fun things about it was that no matter what gender you’re looking for, if you want to leave your email settings open, you’ll get emails from all kinds of people, including your own gender, and met two women who became good friends who originally wrote to ask me about something I’d written, or vice versa.

    I dated three different people from POF, one became a FWB who is still a friend, another became a long distance relationship that went on for a couple of years, and another was someone I knew in real life who turned out to be married. During this time I also was set up on several abysmal dates by my best friend (not the one who put me on POF, this one thought online dating was silly if not dangerous).

    My overall take on POF was that it was a huge part of me being ready to date, and then meeting and dating a couple of guys who were decent, fun men who made it possible for me to meet the guy I’m with now. I never would have been able to handle dating him if I hadn’t already worked out some crap on the other two guys. Neither one of them was serious, so no harm done on their end by my being basically unready to date.

    The current guy, going on two years now and we’re moving in together this month (I should be packing instead of playing on here!) – I met in a bar. :D But we also had a fairly large circle of mutual friends, and the thing we keep getting from them now is, “How *IS* it that you guys never met before?” I’ll tell you, because we were both in f’ed up states of mind, or “relationships” that, while going nowhere, kept us from looking around and seeing the great person who’d been there all along.

    I’d like to second the person who said online dating is great for helping you figure out who you are and what you want. Not as in, “6’2″, trim and fit, writes poetry on scraps of paper during meetings at his company where he’s a CEO” kind of stuff, throw all that crap out. Really. As in: What you want out of your life if you do NOT meet someone – is there actually a life there? Do you/he have similar ideas about money, integrity, sense of fun, sexual compatibility, etc.? The time to figure that out is not when you’re intoxicated with someone.

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  20. Trouble Says:

    So, Christy, I read your blog. I wouldn’t say that you need to give up on online dating completely, but you do need to…adjust your expectations. Most people that you meet online aren’t going to be interested in you (simple statement of fact). You will probably correspond with as few as 10 guys, but potentially, as many as a hundred or more guys to find someone who is a keeper. In my case, I probably talked to 50 men online to go on dates with 25-30 men over 3 years before I met my keeper. Of those 30 men, 20 were nice guys. 10 were complete assholes and/or crazy to boot. Of the 20 nice guys, 10 weren’t ready to date because they were still dealing with baggage from their previous relationships. Of the 10 who were ready to date, 6 weren’t a good fit for one reason or another (but I’m still friends with several). Four were a decent fit, 1 of the 4 was perfect (for me).

    Dating was a numbers game. I’ve had guys pull the fadeout on me. I’ve had guys send me penis pictures (3, to be accurate). I’ve had multiple guys ask me for nekkid pictures. I’ve had married guys contact me asking for FWB (8 of them, in fact). I had 3-4 guys who were in their 20s contact me, I went out with 1 of them for 4-5 months and it was a great decision because I remembered that dating was supposed to be fun.

    Approach dating like you’d approach work. Don’t take it personally. Know what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Don’t leave your life in the hands of other people (if a guy online interests you, message him instead of waiting for him to make contact…men get a lot fewer messages than we do, and are more inclined to pay attention to them. The best dates I had were with guys that interested me that I initiated contact with.

    Most importantly, don’t blog about your failures and wallow in your misery. Dating isn’t easy, but if you want to find someone, you don’t have a lot of choices short of arranged marriage or moving to Southern Utah and becoming someone’s 3rd wife. So, suck it up, stop whining about it, and ,keep a sense of humor.

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    • Trouble Says:

      FWIW, I messaged my boyfriend on match.com…and every other guy that I had an actual relationship with after my divorce. If’ I’d sat around and waited for them to message me, who knows if I’d ever have found my guy.

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      • nathan Says:

        This is a very important point. Men do generally get fewer messages, and I know that I respond to nearly everyone who writes me (exceptions being women looking for sex or money – both of which do happen occasionally). Women need to be more proactive if the guys writing to them aren’t what they want.

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  21. chuckrock Says:

    I think there is an important point to be made about online dating that I don’t think has been brought up. It is about the way it is used, and it holds true about every site.

    Use it as an avenue to meet people you would not have otherwise met. That is its primary function. Anything else you may gather is just a function of society, not the site itself or online dating itself. People who are online are just a cross section sampling of the people who are out there in the world. Online just gives you access to them in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

    When you meet someone offline you go through filters in your own head (whether conscious or not) about whether you would go on a date with them. This can not accurately/easily be done online. So you may have a larger number of first meets with people whom don’t really meet your ‘criteria’ of who you would date, but this meet is only equivilent to running into somoene for the first time offline. Also, remember, when you meet someone offline – you have no idea what they are looking for from a dating ‘partner’ (casual, serious, sex…etc.) and online you at least can get a feel from the profile and answers.

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  22. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    As for men tolerating me for pussy…

    That’s not what I wrote. I said the men who tolerate your personality are pussies. You say it yourself all the time….you already have multiple strikes against you. A personality like a viper? You don’t bring enough to the table to compensate for that. So either you date doormats, in which case why would anybody be jealous of you? Or this whole Vox persona is an act and you aren’t nearly as vocal and strong as you purport yourself to be on here. Neither is something that merits jealousy.

    when is the last time a man asked you out 5-6 times, without sex being a part of the menu? Hell, when is the last time a man asked you out 5-6 times with sex being part of the menu? And I’m not talking about booty calls nor blow jobs.

    Again, we’re not talking about me. This is just your internal dialogue, Vox. You need to believe that everybody else is alone and broken and confused and you have something we don’t and we somehow covet it.

    What’s truly funny is that you’ll try and take a shot at me, but you can’t keep a guy for longer than 2 months. Where’s the accomplishment in that? If I were dating any many that found me attractive, I could do that to. I just don’t need to.

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    • Vox Says:

      Moxie, you can cut me down all you want but the fact remains, I am happy with my dating life, and you aren’t happy with yours. That’s why you are so angry at me. That’s why you are cheering for my failure, as is evident by your “lonely single girls on the bench” remark. Yes, I know. We aren’t talking about you…. ahem.

      Other than that statement, I’ll be nice and not point out how ridiculous this post is, and just how bizarre it is that you in particular would attempt to fashion a sword from my romantic history (which includes a five year marriage).

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  23. Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

    Cut you down? Fashion a sword from your romantic history? Take that whole comment you just wrote, reverse the roles, and you’d be talking to yourself. Which you are in every comment you write here. You just don’t realize it.

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