Elisabeth: How To Succeed At Online Dating

A few springs ago, some friends sat me down on their couch, ordered peanut noodles from our favorite Chinese restaurant, and co-opted the online dating profile that I had unceremoniously activated earlier that week. While I slurped dumplings, they methodically scrolled through all of the potential matches in the Tri-State Area, and wrote a list of usernames on the back of an envelope. We came up with ten people that looked intriguing or cute or exciting, people that I’d be interested in learning a little more about, and I agreed to email one a week. That’s it. No expectations, no Olympics of online dating, just an envelope that I shoved on my fridge later that night in between embarrassing clippings from my college newspaper and photo strips.

A friend once said woefully, “Dating feels like paying to interview for a job you aren’t even sure you want.” Okay, that can be true. But if you want to be in a relationship, you’re going to have to suck it up and get down to the business of finding someone you like enough to date. And online dating is an excellent way to do that, because chances are a hunky feminist is not actually going to show up at your door (unless you are seriously lucky, I suppose). Over half the people in my extended community, from cousins to best friends, have met serious partners online (with the exception of one notable couple who met over a plate of Munchkins at a lesbian speed dating event at the LGBT Center—come on that’s amazing).

Now, I realize that as a wedding and marriage website, APWers probably aren’t firing up their online dating profiles (unless you’ve negotiated some great open relationship rules, and I officially nominate YOU to write that post). But when I finished putting together this list of suggestions for acing online dating, I realized that I live by most of these mantras anyway in order to stay simultaneously grounded and open to taking the risks that seem like they’ll pay off. So here are my suggestions, ready to email to your sister or best friend, on how to dip a toe into the world of internet dating:

1. Change your attitude. 

You’re online dating. Period, hard return. That’s it, that’s all! You’re neither desperate nor undatable. While you may feel like you are turning to online dating because you’ve dated everyone in Brooklyn, reframe your thinking. What you are, actually, is creative, curious, and a little tired of trying to meet people in bars because you go to bed early/are sober/can never hear in bars/all your friends are paired off and don’t go out anymore. By throwing a profile up online, all you’re doing is expanding your social circles. Not everyone who online dates is super extroverted and could talk to a wall; in fact, lots of them are as quiet as you and find the idea of sitting down with a total stranger as nerve-wracking as you do. But everyone was a stranger once, right?

2.Calm down, and don’t get carried away. 

If you give good email, oh wow, can you woo me into taking off my pants without even thinking much about it. That’s why, after re-learning for the 39584th time that an entire future can be built via written prose before ever seeing words come out of each other’s mouths, I shut it down until I’ve met potential suitors in person. It’s not that I’m not hopeful and excited about you. I just prefer my online dating emails to stay on the succinct, mostly business side of things, so we can get to the good stuff and see if we have any chemistry, rather than sending each other tomes that hint at meaning behind every vulnerable yet confident sentence. Here, from the annals of my now-dormant online dating profile, are two real life succinct business-y examples:

You appear to like bourbon as much as I do. Have you tried Hudson Baby Bourbon, which is like a cool sip of spring water? Let me know if you want to meet up for one sometime.

Anyone who describes themselves as pretty much awesome and interested in seeing the hidden corners of Brooklyn is probably someone I should know. Sounds like you’re new in town, let me know if you’ve been to the Brooklyn Farmacy and if you want to try their pretzel straws.

(Um, re-reading those makes me want to date myself a tiny bit.)

Also! Please don’t g-chat me before we’ve met just because we’ve popped up in each other’s chat listing. That makes me uncomfortable and I have to immediately lie about a meeting and then block you. How inauspicious for our future!

3. Stay busy.*
I am, actually, one of those super-extroverts who can talk to a wall, but even I run out of things to say when it’s just you, me, and a three-course artisanal dinner. That’s when you and I are going to start having uncomfortable pauses and then circling around to talking about our cats, or worse, one of us is going to hit the zone of no return and over-share about our ex. So instead of staring at each other across a table, try activity dates instead of meals. And they don’t have to be a twofer for the Manhattan Trapeze School, either. A tour of Brooklyn Flea, a walk on the High Line, the Barge Museum, taking the East River Ferry to Brooklyn Bridge Park for an ice cream cone; all of these activities are mostly free, and it’s easier to talk about a shared experience, and bonus, I will enjoy them even if there’s no spark between us.

*I broke this rule almost immediately when I met K, because we met up for a drink and then there was a huge rainstorm so we were technically stuck at the restaurant until the rain passed, also because I wanted to kiss her on the mouth. So, there you go.

4. Your profile matters, but not that much.

This one is tricky, I think. Isn’t there some statistic that college admissions counselors spend something like two minutes on college applications? That means that everyone is spending .42 seconds on each other’s online profiles. So don’t get overly serious and pour yourself into your online profile to strike the perfect balance of quirky versus confident. Since it is the first thing potential daters see about you, just aim for authentic. Make an effort to show your real self. There’s a section on OK Cupid that asks what you think people notice about you right off the bat. After seeing dozens of profiles that detailed, “my eyes, which are like limpid pools,” I finally put down that I have a lot of plans. Yup, now and forever, that’s probably the first thing people notice about me. And it will either exhaust or excite you, so better that you know upfront that I have a lot of plans, ranging from dinner parties to decoupage to visiting the fjords of Newfoundland.

No matter what you decide to write, though, the business of writing about yourself in a public forum is an important, useful skill. What is your public personality? What do you notice that you’re putting out there, and what are you holding back? I think the stuff that people feel nervous about sharing makes for the best profiles.

5.Just because they’re the first doesn’t mean they’re the one.

Just because someone writes to you, or writes you back, or also wants to have children, or also likes cats and feminism and Pedro Almodovar, which after conducting a scientific study I believe at least eighty percent of online daters do, does not mean you should get seriously involved. I know this sounds obvious, but you may feel overwhelmed from all the possibilities you’re seeing. Or you may feel like you’ve hit upon someone who could be a good but not great lid for your pot. Or you may have found someone who is super into you. So why not stop here? No. Don’t do it. Don’t settle! Don’t stop until you find someone you’re really jazzed about. It’s okay to be picky, and you should not feel badly or obligated to continue corresponding with someone who’s not a match for you. If you realize someone’s not a match for you, be honest and kind so you can feel good if you bump into this person on the street: you’ve enjoyed your time together, you like them, and you do not see a romantic future.

For me, the key to all of this, to tackling any of the scary stuff, actually, is taking seemingly infinitesimal steps while not getting down about any perceived lack of progress, and staying grounded in realistic optimism. So that list of potential dates that my friends and I put together stayed on my fridge for a long time while I slowly followed through on my commitment to email them. Some never wrote back, I had fun first dates and not-so-good second dates with some of them, and then who do you think popped up as number seven? K, a recent transplant from New Orleans to Brooklyn who was not yet thirty (breaking my rule of not dating down), liked dogs (I am scared of dogs), and baked-in-shell eggs and had just finished conducting a personal historical study of Genghis Khan. Uh, weird. As it turned out, that was a pretty damn good risk to take.


Featured Sponsored Content

  • Olivia

    This is a great post, with great advice. I met my husband on Match.com (and the only reason we met is because Match counted miles OVER water! He was in CT and I on LI…so even though I put I only wanted to meet people in a 20 mile range, they literally included the distance over water)…and he broke a lot of the “rules” I had set for myself. For one, he wasn’t within (my comfortable) driving distance to me (he did all the driving, thank god!)…and what’s funny about the way we met too, was that we met TWICE online! We met once on Match in 2008, and then after a few emails where we hit it off (in email…), he wanted to meet me, and I chickened out…he friended me on Facebook in 2009 (a year to the date, weirdly), and we reconnected…married a year later.

    Point being: online dating can be as fun, boring, wild, exciting, casual as YOU want it to be. It IS a great way to meet people outside of the “bar scene” and as someone who tried online dating a lot, and two different sites, I can tell you–there’s many “interesting” people out there…an ex-boyfriend of mine (not from online) once said, “Online dating is like walking through the broken toy aisle”–believe me, you will meet a lot of doozies, but you will also make friends (I made some great guy friends!), meet nice people, and also…you learn a surprising amount about…YOURSELF! I always think everyone should give online dating a try–what’s the harm?!

    • So true. I learned tons about myself meeting online, and I also had the issue of the “20-mile radius” including people across rivers and state lines! :) You make a great point about online dating being what you make it, and I’m so glad your story has a happy ending!

  • Lauren

    I was so happy to read your first rule!! I met my (now) fiance through Match.com about 6 years ago. People are always amazed by this fact. Their responses make it seem as though online dating should never work or we weren’t the “type” who “needed” online dating. This reaction always boggled my mind. Online dating is just the modern day equivalent of going to the bar to meet someone (hello 80’s & 90’s) or going to a dance to meet someone (hello 50’s and 60’s). Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, its even better because you have the ability to ferret out people who are looking to just socially date vs. those who are looking for something a bit more committed.

    I could not be happier about my online dating experience (especially because we marry in 45 days – CRAZY!!) so… yey to online dating!

    • MDBethann

      Lauren, I want to “exactly” your post dozens of times. I met my husband on Chemistry.com and got a lot of similar comments, to the point that we both disliked telling folks how we met. I really liked the fact that I could weed out creepy guys who said horrible, cheezy pick-up lines like “U R hot. Want to hook up?” (one of the *lovely* offers I got on Match.com) or ones who had view points would not mesh well with mine. Granted, I still went out on A LOT of 1st dates and had several relationships with guys I met on Chemistry.com before I met my DH, but the important thing is that we met each other, which probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise since our professional and social lives don’t intersect (even though we are both govies).

    • Beth

      I feel like this is definitely changing. I met my husband on OKCupid about 4 years ago and I felt really embarrassed at first to tell people that’s how we met, because it seemed so…unusual still. But now it doesn’t and I know a whole heck of a lot of people who have had success online, so maybe that first rule is raising less eyebrows now?

      • Rebecca

        I also met my husband a similar number of years ago on OK Cupid. There is approximately a 0% chance that we ever would have met without online dating. I consider it an entirely practical way to meet people. Of course, I’m biased :)

      • Caitlyn

        I met my wife-to-be on OK Cupid around then as well!

      • Bette Noire

        Another OK Cupid couple! Married three years ago tomorrow. Power to the algorithm!

        Seriously. I still have a few close guy friends from those days, got to know my new hometown a heck of a lot better, and honed my copywriting. My profile was killer!

        I learned not to be so judgmental and that (for me) the key was not to *seem* interestING, but to *be* interestED. Most people have a passion. And boy, are they beautiful when they talk about it.

  • Sarah

    I dated online (and off) for NINE YEARS before I met my husband. I think I’ve reached some reward level and need a prize or something. I was the second person my husband met. He said, “Well, that was easy”. Ha! In all my years of online dating I’ve come up with some wisdom of my own to share.

    1) MEET IN PERSON: If your intention is to find a real live person to date (for some it’s not) save yourself the trouble of endless online communication only to be disappointed in person. Written chemistry does not equal in-person chemistry. It just doesn’t. And I don’t mean he looked hotter in his picture and now you’re not so into him, I mean that people have different ways of communicating online and they don’t always translate when they are sitting across from you. We get a slice of a person online and we tend to fill in the blanks however we want to. If we chat too much before meeting we can fill in an awful lot of blanks with our own vision of who this person is, then get resentful of them when they aren’t who we built them up to be. That, and people lie.

    2) WE AREN’T ALL THERE FOR THE SAME REASON: You cannot get hung up on when someone has been online, if they contacted you back, why they are not contacting you, what it was that you said/did/wrote in your profile. The hard truth is that we are not all in the same boat. Some people are fresh out of looooong relationships and just seeing what is out there with zero intention of actually meeting or dating anyone. Some people are already in relationships and just seeing what else is out there and think that flirting online is not really cheating. Some people really truly are just busy and since you are not a real live person to them yet you are on the backburner. You cannot take it personally when someone doesn’t show as much interest in you as you do in them. Take their word for it and move on. Also, learn what a bot is and how it’s used on dating sites. That will help you shape your perspective.

    3) IT’S NOT ABOUT WHO YOU DON’T MEET: I adopted this perspective that helped me. It’s not about the ones that get away, it’s about the ones that stay. You can’t devote a lot of energy to all the potential mates that don’t contact you or that slip out of your grasp. It’s about the potential mates that are still left out there. I also said in my (ahem) nine years that at least I always had good date clothes and kept my manners in check.

    In the end it was all worth it. My husband and I would have never met without online dating and I’m so grateful!

    • MK

      I’m with you about meeting in person. After a series of “well that’s not who I thought you were” after too much emailing, I initiated a 3 emails then set up a date rule. Three is enough to get pretty acquainted without going overboard on the letters. It also moves things along, so I found out quickly if Bachelor #1 wasn’t right for me, I could move on to Bachelor #2.

      • rys

        For sure. Email is way more obfuscatory than revealing. Heck, I started dating a guy this summer in large part because he suggested meeting up in the first message, rather than lingering over messages for months (as others I encountered on the okc interwebz seemed to). I mean I met him and liked him and whatnot, but, true story, I actually was more interested in his dog than him when I first read his profile.

        • Sarah

          It’s not even that people are deliberately trying to hide aspects of themselves either (although some are). I remember seeing a guy I had previously dated on a dating website and when I read his profile I thought, “Yeah, I can see how you would think you were like that.” Another time I met a guy in person and thought, “Oh, I see why you thought those pictures were representative of you but I totally didn’t think you looked like that.”

          • rys

            Oh yeah, it’s not about being intentionally disingenuous (though those people exist). It’s just that perception varies and quality of real-time interaction ultimately matters more than witty banter (which I love! But only gets a relationship so far).

        • Sarah

          obfuscatory – that’s my word of the day

    • Ann

      When you figure out how to claim that reward level prize…let me know, I think we’re in the same boat!

      I agree 110% with your number one. Words are wonderful and you can read so many things into them if you want to. They say all the right things that you want them to say (because you only asked the questions you want to hear the answers to), even though, you don’t realize that the guy saying them has the same voice as your ex and a relationship simply won’t work solely because of that reason. You spend weeks re-reading those amazing messages before you met up…not a valuable use of time!

      On the flip side…I proof read for a living. It took me a long time of online dating to realize that a great guy might just be a terrible speller. Writing him off at the first message because he used the wrong “there” wasn’t helping my cause.

      My #1 suggestion to online daters is the same – meet in person! Use the online venue as simply the method for getting their contact info, not a foundation to build the relationship upon.

      • I’m a writer who edits for a living — and it definitely took me a while to get over my snobbery regarding grammar, punctuation, etc. Spelling is not my fiance’s strong suit — but he is, of course, an all-around wonderful person! I definitely started online dating wanting to veto anyone without “perfect” skills . . . then quickly realized what a waste of time that was!

        • I had the same problem going in. I’m an English teacher and had a really hard time looking past spelling and grammar errors. Neither of which are my husbands’ strong points. (He likes to point out that one of his med school professors told them there’s no correlation between intelligence and spelling ability.) I did draw the line at text speak and failure to bother capitalizing. There’s less than perfect skills and then there’s just pure laziness.

      • MDBethann

        I’m an analyst who writes for a living and had some teachers who were huge sticklers for proper grammar and spelling, so those were a bit of a hang up for me too. Fortunately, I think my DH must have proofread his profile because I didn’t notice his spelling issues until after we were dating :-)

        And that’s actually a good tip – PROOFREAD your online profile or have someone do it for you. Then you can be more certain that the “you” that you are putting out there is accurate and won’t get lost in some minutiae.

    • Elisabeth

      ooo, I love these additions, especially 2 and 3. It makes me think of how my best friend’s mom always said, “to everyone else you are but a passing fancy.” It’s a good reminder not to take any of it too personally. Also, yes to online dating keeping your wardrobe and manners in check! I was just cheerleading a friend the other day who is in the dumps about online dating, and pointed out that being able to talk about yourself to near-strangers is an important life skill!
      PS — I too was K’s second date. These prizes on a second date?? Come on!

    • Gina

      Yes, yes, YES on number 1. I met my now-fiance on Match.com and you know what? He had the least interesting emails and profile, but he was hot and when I talked to him on the phone he struck me as the perfect balance of sweet, funny, shy and dorky.

      We met after exchanging like 3 emails Turns out, he hates writing and his friend set up his profile for him. There were so many other guys that wrote funny, interesting, intelligent emails but with whom I had no spark at ALL. With him, it was the real-life connection that was instant. I would say, as soon as you’re confident that you’re somewhat interested and they’re not a creeper, go on a real date!

  • I really, really like this. Well-written and smart and good advice for waaaay beyond online dating. Started to quote certain lines but this comment got ridiculous real quick, so just “Exactly!”

  • Kess

    I also met my fiance through online dating (PoF woo) and am now the official online dating prosthelytizer for my social group. I agree with all these rules! However I would provide a flip side to rule 5 – don’t get too picky either. I online dated for a long time without much success and I think part of the reason is that I had all these deal breakers, which looking back were totally silly. How could I date someone who didn’t like crossword puzzles, who used bad grammar in their profile, who didn’t like Buffy?? Then I got really sick of being single and decided to loosen it all up and just go on dates with lots of people. I quickly met my now fiance, who, of course, hates doing crosswords, used terrible grammar in his profile, and had never watched Buffy in his life. The reason for all those things turned out to be that he is French and adorable, but I never would have found out how awesome he was if I hadn’t looked past the superficial profile issues and agreed to meet him! So it can be worth while to keep an open mind.

    • Marie

      Just had to share: My fiance & I have been together for 8 1/2 years, and he spent most of those years not interested in watching Buffy at all. This summer he FINALLY agreed to watch it with me and LOVES it. We are about to finish season 5 and he is just as emotionally invested in the characters as I was when I watched it the first time. So, don’t give up hope that he can someday become a Buffy lover. (I think it did help that we watched Firefly together first and he fell in love with Joss Whedon.)

      • Kess

        Actually, I didn’t say it here, but we had almost the exact same progression :D. He loved Firefly, so I finally wore him down to watch Buffy and we ended up devouring the whole series in way too little time. He’s even read the comics now!

        • Beth

          This happened to us as well. Bonus for those of us who love it: Excuse to watch the entire series again without judgement!

  • Amy March

    In this vein, I highly recommend Finding Your Other Half Orange. It’s like your positive upbeat friend how knows you’re fabulous, in a convenient paperback.

    • rys

      Ooh, I want to check this out. Off to see if the library has it…

  • I first messaged my now husband, because his okcupid profile said:

    “I work in advertising, so every day is basically like being on an episode of “Mad Men.” Actually, it’s not. It’s more like “The Hurt Locker,” with a constant stream of Lady Gaga.”

    Working in advertising myself, I thought that was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard. We chatted over okcupid, hit it off, and set up a time to call to speak in person. I was giddy. The date for our call came, and I left work and went straight home, so I wouldn’t be underground when he called. And then I waited. ALL NIGHT LONG. He never called me! And I hadn’t thought to get HIS number so I could call him.

    I sent him a message that said:
    “We had a call scheduled tonight, which you neglected. It’s not like I spent the evening waiting around for you, but that’s very rude.” (I TOTALLY spent the evening waiting around.)

    It turns out that, while I’d joined the site weeks before, he’d been on for MONTHS. And he’d had many dates that were pretty terrible. There were women who would let him pay for broadway tickets, dinner, and drinks, and then unceremoniously say, “Yeah. This thing isn’t going to work.” after the check was paid. There were women who insulted him openly. There were women he dated a while, who changed their minds for whatever reason and stopped calling him back. There were all the perils of putting yourself in a vulnerable position for a long period of time, and he was scared. He didn’t call me back, because he was sure I would hurt him somehow, and he panicked at the last minute.

    We both think that if I hadn’t sent my snitty message, we wouldn’t have met in person, at least not for a very long time. But my message made him feel bad, and he ruminated on it. Over a week later, he sent me a text message, and I debated ignoring him to teach him a lesson. I didn’t respond right away, but I did wait 4 or 5 hours to get back to him, because I was offended that he didn’t call. We did eventually meet in person, and we didn’t find some glaring flaw to make either of us run for cover.

    Before we ever made it to our first date, we had enough preconceptions, fears, and hurt feelings to derail the entire relationship, but I’m glad that didn’t happen.

    • Sarah

      You bring up an important issue for many heterosexual online daters. There is often an expectation that men pay for the first dates. That means that I could go on a year’s worth of dud first dates and pay nothing whilst the poor guys doing the same are out a significant amount of money. That’s why I found that coffee shops are the best place to meet up. I always got there early and got my own drink. Also, unlike in bars and restaurants, no one comes by your table and interrupts, asking you if you want another drink so you can look at each other awkwardly and read into whether either of you wants another drink or not. Save dinner and drinks and shows until you know you’re interested.

      • YES!

        Although I made it REALLY clear every time I went on a date that I wanted to pay my own half, so many men were really uncomfortable by that, just because they weren’t expecting it.

        Coffee shops are SO MUCH better than bars, shows, or movies!

      • Paige

        I agree with this. I actually met my bf (of 1.5 years) on match.com and our first in person meet-up was at a yogurt shop, after work, on Monday night. I bought my own yogurt. Haha. We ended up talking for hours at the shop and ended up at a restaurant in the same shopping plaza, where I did let him pay for dinner. He still says I completely disarmed him because I paid for my own treat first. He liked that I didn’t make it about money, yet it also struck a chord with him to where it made him more determined to pay for dinner. :-)

        • Elisabeth

          Oh wow, I never even thought about that! of course! It’s been a totally different negotiation for me when it’s two lesbians or queer people on a date. Generally I’ve gone by the rule that if I’ve done the messaging/asking, I’ll make the first move to pay, but I think we almost always ended up splitting it.

  • Anonymous

    I met my husband on match.com. Admittedly I only did it for like 2 months. However I don’t usually recommend online dating – at least not match.com to people I meet. In my area, the guys on match.com were all a hot damn mess. My husband included. He was just less a hot damn mess than others and a mess I wanted to clean up. Maybe it was the age parameters I had (which my wily younger husband somehow got through) but I felt like I learned what type of guys online date, and it wasn’t pretty. My husband always says all the women he met were pretty cool and mostly normal. I believe him. It’s the quality of male applicants I question.

    • rys

      As a veteran online dater across many areas of the country, using a number of sites, I think it’s fairly common that there are a lot of awesome women online while the awesomeness of the men (for straight relationships) varies considerably. A (male) friend in my current town noted that he could find a date at any time — in fact, one woman (whom he dated for 3 years) told him she responded to him simply because he wrote a message with proper capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and spelling. The bar wasn’t high.

      Outside of major metropolitan areas, the numbers are not necessarily in one’s favor (even if you only need one person…). This is one of the major flaws of Amy Webb’s book, Data: A Love Story, in that she completely ignores the pesky matter of geography. (Actually I think the book is flawed for a number of reasons, but the willful resistance to the notion that geography matters is particularly noxious when dispensing advice since not everyone looking for love online lives in or near densely populated areas. Anyways…)

      • Anonymous

        I don’t know if this is insulting to the city I live in and love, but I’m in Cleveland. We’re not a rural area – which my goodness am I glad I didn’t have to do online dating in a far less populated area! I do feel for the folks trying to online date in more remote areas. My contention is women use online dating to quickly weed out the partners who scare them (while admittedly having to overlook spelling and grammar issues) but that the men use inline dating to hide. It was perfectly obvious why all the men I met through match were dating online. Because after 15 minutes in their company I wanted to get away too. The exception was my husband who also within 15 minutes showed how completely a mess he was, but he was super sexy and smart so I let it slide. ;)

        • rys

          It wasn’t meant to be insulting. I live in a town of about a 100K, not that far from a larger city but not *that* close either. And there are just way fewer people online dating here than there are in places with much larger populations because there are just way fewer people here. And there are not a small number of people online who say they live in mytown and then in their profile admit they live in a tiny place 100 miles away but put the town so as not to never be seen. Online dating can lessen distance, but ultimately if someone isn’t in the vicinity, it can be a real challenge to meet them.

          • Anonymous

            Ha ha! I meant I felt like I was insulting my own city by pointing out that Cleveland, what we who live here think of as a large and metropolitan area, didn’t have the online dating choices of real big cities. Poor little Cleveland, my little big city.

          • rys

            Got ya!

      • Anon for Now

        I did all of my online dating in the DC area, where, surprisingly, there is a HUGE disparity in numbers between women & men – there are a lot more of us than there are of them. And when you do meet a decent guy, much of the time they are so caught up in their career (military, political, legal) that they don’t have much time for a relationship and you end up coming in 2nd to their career, or in the case of one guy I dated, 3rd (behind his military career and his cycling hobby).

        A lovely young woman with whom I am close has run into a similar problem in Boston. She kept hoping she’d meet lots of interesting doctors or something but she said the guys who do respond to her profile mostly end up being creepy. Which is discouraging.

        I did meet my DH online though, so I can’t complain. It just takes a lot of weeding sometimes though. I would hate to thing what it is like in a rural area. Yikes!

        • Melia

          I did online dating both in DC and smaller metropolitan area (not that small, but in the Midwest), and the difference was stark. There was a definite sleaze factor in DC–a lot of guys were looking for their very special summer intern–but the Midwest was bad in a really different way. The guys there were definitely more provincial: The question “what are you most passionate about?” would always be answered with a resounding “football” or often the name of the local college team in all caps, nothing else. I can’t imagine what it would be like in a truly rural area.

          My friend and I both put our profiles up at the same time. At the time she was about 25, and she’s an attractive Asian. Her profile basically blew up with winks and emails from really creepy guys.

  • mimi

    Just got married, so I don’t really need this advice, but I just wanted to say that I love your writing, Elisabeth!

  • Great post, Elizabeth! I met my fiance online through OkCupid. Like so many others, my online dating “success story” has made me the official online-dating-guru amongst friends and acquaintances. As soon as a coworker mentions she’s put up a profile, another coworker will inevitably send them to me.

    I absolutely, 110% percent agree that you have nothing of a “real” connection — nada, zero, zilch — until you’ve met in person. I got into a big, epic Austen/Bronte/[insert favorite classic author here] email exchange thing with a guy who was incredibly sweet, witty and awesome . . . on paper. Then we met in person and there were just . . . no sparks. At all. I know we can’t go all “I need butterflies!” here — and trust me, I’m not that person — but we both agreed that, though we would make good friends, there was no romantic connection.

    But I met my future husband a week later! Seriously. I met S. in 2010 after joining the site two months earlier. He was my third date that week (and, as it turns out, my last! YAY), and probably my fifth overall. Learning my lesson from the aforementioned date, I read his first message to me, determined he seemed really cute and sincere, and just took the plunge. I sidestepped all the usual trading-emails-40-times thing and just said, “Hey, what are you doing Sunday? Coffee?”

    And the rest, as they say, is history. :)

    • Eek! *Elisabeth. Sorry for the misspelling. Fingers faster than brain.

    • Elisabeth

      Okcupes should do an APW round up of the happy couples that found success through their algorithm. We’d be a great advertising campaign!

      • rys

        I wish okc was still running their math/dating blog. The data they compiled and the stories they told were so interesting.

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          I signed up for OkC because of that blog. It was the best part of the site. (Says the one who doesn’t really like dating that much.)

          • OMG infographics were the way to my heart!

      • C

        I’m another OKC success story! Getting married next spring. :)

      • Cheryl

        Another OKC success story. I met my guy on my first date. I was his second date. And we didn’t even have a very high “match” number, but we just liked each other’s profiles. It was supposed to be my “practice date,” but 1.5 years later, we’re still practicing.

  • MK

    I want to add one little tidbit: if you are absolutely certain that you want something very specific (matching religion, political affiliation, or, in my case, someone who would definitely understand my Star Wars references in casual conversation) DON’T rely just on the big wide-open dating sites like Match–find a niche site for your interest.

    After dating several nice guys who were pleasant but truly didn’t match my geek quotient and therefore really didn’t understand me, I found a geek dating site. All of those dates were better than the broad ones, and I quickly found the guy who will soon be my husband (not that I was LOOKING for a husband. I just found one).

    • Anonymous

      This sounds like excellent advice as I stated above I don’t recommend match because of the quality of guy who is on there. But I do believe in internet dating and wasn’t thinking of this concept of specialized site. Right on!

      • MDBethann

        I wasn’t impressed with Match.com and the quality there, but what I really didn’t like was that anyone could see me and message me, whether or not they were the kind of person I’d be interested in dating. It was pretty much like meeting someone at an Internet bar.

        Match’s spin-off/answer to e-Harmony, Chemistry.com, however, I liked. A Lot. Primarily because I could note what was and was not important to me and only people who matched my parameters (i.e. a high school diploma was a must, at leas some college was preferred) would even see my profile. It made my process of filtering through prospective dates a lot easier and I didn’t feel like I encountered creepy guys like I did on Match. My biggest reason for liking Chemistry.com? I met my husband through that site :-)

    • Jen

      I’ve been looking for a Disney dating site, but alas!

  • This is pretty good dating advice in general, I’m definitely going to remember these tips when dishing with my single gfs. The more time that passes since college, the more grateful I am that I met my partner in school. I’m still a big proponent of “just get out of your house and do something fun” to meet people, but I’m realizing that can be challenging for intro and extroverts alike more often than not.

    And super-exactly to activity dates. Even going out to a nice dinner with my partner now can be . . .pretty good, but not the best ever. We’re far more a playful couple than a romantic one, so the sitting and staring into each other’s eyes doesn’t really work for us. _Doing_ something is way more fun, and I think you see each other’s personality more that way, too.

  • In my many years as an online (and otherwise) dater I have found the number one helpful thing is to remember that it’s really not online dating, it’s online INTRODUCTIONS. Dating is the thing you do in real life with a real person. All the online stuff is just a internet savvy way of saying “Hey, you’re cute and you laughed at my jokes. Let’s hang out.” Asking much more of it is an exercise in futility and frustration.

    Also, my number one favorite first date is bowling. It’s mildly competitive (and everyone sucks so it doesn’t really matter), action oriented, and can go on as long or a short as you need it to. There’s ample time for conversation or silence. Comfy clothes are a requirement. You can touch (or not depending on how the date goes) without being too handsy. All in all, it’s a win-win situation.

  • Ashley

    I met my husband on OK Cupid two and a half years ago. I’d started and stopped a couple times, never with a lot of success. I totally get keeping things open (e.g. not eliminating all who prefer Su do Ku to crosswords). However, if you know something IS a certainty for you, be honest. I’m talking about things like if you want children. I am not having children, said so online and filtered for that. My husband’s mother suggested he check “likes kids” even though he was sure he didn’t want them. Her reasoning was that it sounded better but was non-committal, so he’d have a wider pool. I get that (and I’m sure part of that was her not wanting to accept that her son wasn’t having kids), but if he’d listened we’d never have met.


    Awesome post, K! Love this topic!!! I also met my partner online (OKCupid), through a happy accident of location preferences.

    I was one of those “not looking for a relationship” types, so my forays into online dating were mostly casual – until the one that wasn’t… of course! I did have a few dates who were, as K states, SUPER into me, and I was positively not super into them. One of them texted me incessantly before we had even met – and he would call me if I didn’t answer them. So, you definitely have some awkward and unpleasant experiences. But overall, I had fun, and I ended up with a totally unexpected lifelong partner, lover, and friend out of the deal!

    My main tip is to be completely honest in your profile, from everything to your pictures and body type, to your preferences for someone who smokes or doesn’t, to your dealbreakers (my main one is cat allergy… sorry, we just won’t work). It’s not worth it watering yourself down to get a date because odds are you won’t like the kind of person who likes a watered-down version of you. In particular, I was honest about pictures and my body type description–I chose overweight, the least flattering option available but the one that fit best rather than “full-figured” or something equally euphemizing–and that meant I got a lot fewer messages and dates. (Which… was a blessing, really. If I were a conventionally attractive woman I wouldn’t have lasted a week on the site because you get dozens. and. dozens. and. dozens. of messages. Mostly from creeps.) But it also meant that the “fat problem” was already out of the way – hopefully, anyone who didn’t want to be with a fat woman wouldn’t interact with me, so the ones I was going on dates with were ones who would appreciate my body. A few times, early on, I wasn’t sure if they knew I was fat so I’d just say, “Hey, I’m a big woman. You okay with that?”

    Now, after years of being scared of rejection I don’t know where I got this kind of confidence, but just DOING IT helped build that confidence. That meant that my experience with OKC actually got better as time went on – I got more confident, more content to decline a date with someone I didn’t think I was a good match. I actually “broke up” with someone who really liked me but I wasn’t that into after a first date – the very first time in my life that I was the rejector rather than rejectee. I didn’t ENJOY doing it, it sucked to hurt someone, but it was transformative in the sense that I finally felt I was in control of whether I was in a relationship or not, that I didn’t have to agree to the first one that asked just because the alternative was being alone.

    Online dating is definitely a risk (of many kinds) but for me the payoff was enormous, both in finding a partner I want to spend my life with, and increasing my confidence in my own agency and choices.

    Plus! Oooooh, all the QUESTIONS and QUIZZES!!!! (For OKC users at least.) It’s a narcissist’s DREAMLAND!!!! Those of us who were teenagers when Myspace got popular remember the surveys and “bulletins” and chain letters where you fill out 10 random facts about yourself for people to read… it’s like that, and just as emotionally rewarding, but you’re lookin’ fer luv while you do it, so you feel productive. So on that note another tip is beware of the timesuck!!!

  • moe

    I met my husband on PoF. Up until then I was a serial online dater because I’m pretty damn funny and attractive in email before I get the courage to be the same in person.

    Such great advice especially during Risk month!! I’m going to forward to a few friends.

    I once had a year-long relationship that ended when he cheated on me. The experience completely turned me off to dating anyone ever again and I took a break for about 18 months. At the same time my not-yet-husband was breaking off an engagement to someone else.

    We both posted our ads because we were ready, and were somewhat skeptical yet hopeful at the same time. I like to think that he was attracted to my artfully crafted ad but no, he said my picture was cute and he liked that I had no kids.

    I liked his message to me because it was in complete sentences, spelled correctly and used proper grammar. Good grammar is sexy, people!!

    Of the dozen women he contacted I was the only one who responded and he closed his account. He asked me to be his girlfriend after a few weeks and I told him no because it was too soon. He had kept count of the number of dates we had and convinced me it was the proper number needed to make a commitment.

    Luckily it worked out for us because I don’t think I could have dated anymore.

  • My husband likes to say that most of the time when you meet someone from online, you either get a good date or a good story. We both had some crazy first dates through Match, but also some good ones. And then one great one, obviously. So based on my experience, there are some good men to be found on Match. Though I did take the best one.

    I started online dating after coming out of a rough period of unemployment and a bad break up. I waited until I felt good about myself again to start, but it was also a nice ego boost to always be hearing from guys and generally having at least one date a week. And writing the profile forced me to look at what good things I had to offer, so that was valuable even if it hadn’t led to a relationship.

    • rys

      My experience is more of a bell curve with a few good dates and a few good stories, and mostly a lot of mediocre first dates. I’ve found that the volume of mediocrity can be overwhelming and requires breaks from online dating to rejuvenate, but that may just be me…

  • Ruth

    Great article!
    I too met my hubby online. The piece of advice I’d give to would-be online daters is: take the risk to date someone you totally don’t think is your “type.”
    When my now-husband first messaged me, I almost didn’t respond, because he was just so different from the men I usually went for – he was nine years older, not especially good looking, didn’t share any of my artistic hobbies – but his profile and message radiated such obvious intelligence, sensitivity and warmth that I figured he was at least worth having coffee with.
    We ended up talking for 8 hours, and the rest is history :)
    What I learned from online dating is that having external things in common actually isn’t that important – but having core values in common is. For example, he’s passionate about advanced math, I’m passionate about literature – that’s not something we have in common – what we have in common is we’re both intensely passionate people – passion is a value we share.
    One last thing that I feel needs to be said in regards to online dating: In my okcupid years, I passed up a lot of people because they weren’t what I considered “cute.” I’m not denying the importance of physical attraction – but that’s a totally different thing than physical appearance. Taking a chance on someone that I didn’t know if I’d find attractive physically, has led to the most mind-blowing sex of my life. A lot of sexual attraction in mental. I recommend keeping that in mind when scrolling through the profile pics ;)

    • MDBethann

      My dating guidelines for myself when it came to physical attraction were:
      (1) Is this a face I can look at across the table for days, months, years, forever?
      (2) Is this someone who takes care of himself?

      If the picture and/or profile led to “yes” answers to both questions, then I was willing to date them. I know I’m not a beauty queen and I’m sure guys didn’t ask me out because I was too tall (5’10”) or some such nonsense, so I tried not to be too judgmental about looks either (though I don’t think I always succeeded). I ended up lucking out though – my husband is quite the cutie.

    • Cheryl

      I cannot hit “exactly” enough on your advice, Ruth. My guy totally was not my “type” at all. But I was determined to keep an open mind. On our first date, I wasn’t sure if there was an attraction, but on our second, after 10 hours or so, there was no doubt. But my attraction to him was not based on what he looks like, it was what I saw when I looked at him.

  • Kate

    My guy and I met on a blind date, and when I think about it we might’ve clicked right past each other on a dating website. Different hobbies, different taste in music and books, he has perpetual zombieface in sixty percent of photographs, different ages, etc. etc.

    • Joy

      I was thinking the same thing about my partner! Had we met online, we might not have been interested in each other based on just superficial questions. Actually, online dating seems a lot like regular blind dating – the introductions are just different. I had some dud dates, some good first dates and terrible seconds, some creepers, people that would make great friends, not romantic partners, and people that are great on paper, but not the same in person…. I’m not sure why there’s a stigma attached to the word “online” when it’s before dating.

  • jashshea

    Love this article – you’re always so touching and funny at once.

    Did get me thinking over the weddings I’ve been to and how the people have met in the last (COUGH) decade+ since college:

    Work: 8
    Friend of Friend: 5
    School: 4
    Bar: 2
    Online: 2

    Aside: Apparently my friends and I are good at, um, pooping where we eat?

    Seems like we run a bit low on both bar-meetings and online-meetings, honestly, for this day and age – I would assume younger folks trend a different way. Anyone have any back of the envelope statistics like mine to back that up?

  • I’m starting to date again (2 months after leaving my ex husband), so this is very helpful!!! I’m on OK Cupid, but most of the guys seem to either be actors or unemployed.

    I met this one guy I like, and we’ve been dating for like, 3 weeks, but I got an email from Eharmony with a discount – $30 for 3 months! That is really cheap. And it expires tonight… but IDK if it’s a waste of money…

    Side note: I really hate being frugal…

    • Ann

      I’m frugal right there with you, but you’re right that’s cheap for eHarmony! Here’s my two cents:

      If you’re seriously considering eHarmony, do it when it’s super cheap. Because their ‘guided communication’ process takes time (if you follow it). I used OkCupid in most of my online dating endeavors, but did try eHarmony for a little bit (because there was a deal and I really wanted to see the picture of the lawyer from my town – population 6,000 – who was ‘interested’ in me).

      But…if you’re happy with your current guy, ignore the e-mail, I’m sure they’ll be sending you another one again in a month or so :)

  • My online dating story is similar, only I wasn’t there when my friend went through and picked out profiles for me, and then emailed them herself (all with my blessing of course). But it worked, one of those profiles is now my husband.

    Your first impression online is a little different than in person, but still oh so important. The guy who couldn’t figure out how to use a shift key or what punctuation was all about was immediately out (and totally confused when I told him so, but then his profile photo was of his stomach, so there wasn’t much of a chance for him anyway).

    We credit our communication skills in our relationship now with the fact that for so long all we had was communication in our relationship.

  • Shy and Single

    I love the idea of online dating, and I have several friends that it worked really well for. And it makes me so happy for them, I really wanted to try it.

    I am not one of those people.

    I think its partly because of what a lot of the comments above me mentioned – the chemistry online does not translate well to the chemistry in person. I’ve had great emails, with very boring in-person conversationalists. I think the emails give you a crutch – you can take time to think about your response. In person, you have to be able to hold a conversation. Somethig that some boys had problems with.

    On the other hand, I am really really insecure when it comes to guys, so I’m never going to be the one that jumps into meeting someone. I know I’m a great person, but putting myself out there to get rejected terrifies me more than anything else. I haven’t dated much, so I thought going out with people I met online would be good for me to ‘get out there’. I barely got responses to my profile and it just hurt my self esteem more than I thought it would.

    I did join Match, OKCupid and EHarmony. But I quit them when (A) I kept going on boring, no chemistry dates and then (B) When I got matched with a good friend’s brother on EHarmony, who I have met on several occasions and have never been attracted to
    (ironically, that same friend joined Match in solidarity after I drunkenly rejoined it one night. She emailed one guy – her now-fiance. SERIOUSLY?!)

    I love hearing about these online dating stories though! I find them so cute and oddly romantic. You could have both picked different sites to go on, or gotten scared off by bad dates (like me), or never have signed up.

    • I’m so sorry you haven’t had a good experience online dating so far. I chuckled re: your friend messaging exactly one guy and now being engaged to him . . . totally been there! Well, not exactly there, but I feel you.

      Also, want to say “thanks!” for your final paragraph. When S. and I got serious, we’d occasionally lament that we wouldn’t have a “good story” to tell friends, family, future kiddos. Though I was never embarrassed that we met online (it’s nothing to be embarrassed about, especially in 2013!), so many friends have the inevitable meet-cutes of seeing each other across a crowded room, a classroom, an office.

      I worried our story was strange or, worse, just plain boring.

      But with time, I came to realize our meeting was itself still an act of serendipity: I joined the site just weeks after seeing my first love for the first time in four years. Despite the distance between us, I’d continued carrying a torch for him . . . until we saw each other in person, discussed “trying again,” traded some majorly emotional/silly emails back and forth only for me to realize that — finally — we were really done. And I was totally, totally okay with it. (Think Kate Winslet’s character in “The Holiday,” screaming in triumph in L.A. after kicking her jackass user of an ex out of the mansion. [Also, Jack Black — so cute in that movie. Who knew?])

      Had I not seen M. again (which was a random meeting in itself), I don’t think I would have gotten the courage or enough closure to move forward . . . and join OkCupid. My fiance found my profile only because he first saw a good friend’s profile and noticed I’d given her a “friend badge” or some-such. Despite searching for and meeting folks on OkC for months, he said my profile had never once shown up.

      But, for whatever reason, he clicked. He found me.

      So we still have a story. I’ve made it an exceptionally long (though hopefully not exceptionally boring?) one, and that makes me happy. More than anything, I’ve realized we create our own stories!

      • Elisabeth

        Oh, I love your story!

    • Melia

      I think most people’s experiences are far more similar to yours. You have to consider the venue here–this is a wedding website, so most of the people here *have* had luck in the dating game. I’m guessing that if you took a survey of the general population most would have had little luck with online dating. It’s like anything–sometimes it works, far more often it doesn’t. Most of the time, it’s very expensive.

      To be honest, most of the people I know who met their partners online … well, I don’t envy them. As you said, they seem to lack a certain chemistry. You get the sense that these are people who never would have gotten together without the help of the internet, but not in a romantic way. Not in a, “Oh, that’s so cute, they lived down the street from each other and never would have met otherwise!” way. More in a “they seem awkward together” way. My good friend is a case in point. She joined Match after turning 25 and was very much in a frame of mind to accept whatever came her way. Well, someone did, and they got married, and their marriage has not been a good one.

      I’m not against online dating–indeed, I think it’s a good tool to use along with a bunch of other tools. But I don’t think it is typically all that successful, and going into it with all these stories in mind might give one a very false sense of hope.

      • Elisabeth

        I wish that okcupid blog was still going because there was an interesting statistic on there once about the number of queer couples that met online — higher than the number of heterosexual couples, but I can’t remember their reasons why. Probably a combination of fewer queer people in the world and fewer spaces to meet in the real world. I just asked K if she could have found someone to date at her workspace and she reminded me that she’s the sole out lesbian there, so — online it was!

        • Caitlyn

          I think you’re right- more of my queer friends have been willing to jump into online dating because we’re less likely to fall in love with someone in line at the movie theater or whatnot (though it does happen!) For me, it saved me the discomfort of trying to flirt with someone who may or may not be queer. I think that can apply to everyone- it can help you hone in on other people looking for a long term relationship, of your religion, etc.

          For the record, I also met my wife-to-be on OKCupid!

      • MDBethann

        As one of my guy friends once stated, dating is like shopping for a car – you have to test drive a lot of lemons before you find the right one. I admit, I dated my fair share of “lemons” (that I met online) before I met my DH.

        But as I commented earlier, meeting online isn’t really all that different than meeting randomly at a dance or bar – you both happen to be at the same place at the same time and find each other interesting in some way. Someone could be just as likely to “settle” for a person they meet at a bar because “that’s what’s out there” as they could for someone they met online.

        I grew up thinking everyone met their SO in school – my parents met that way and so, it seemed, did a bunch of other adults I knew. Or they met through friends. I was rather depressed that I didn’t meet a guy in college and I nearly settled for a guy from another school (we met at a scholarship interview) who turned out to be really wrong for me; fortunately he realized it sooner than I did and broke up with me. But how is that any different than meeting someone online? It’s random, you decide whether you like one another (or not), and you either date and enter into a relationship or you don’t. The same thing you do if you met in school, through friends, at a bar, at work, etc. If you’re going to settle for someone because you think they are better than being alone, you’re going to settle no matter how you met one another.

        I think the important take-away from online dating “success stories” like mine and some of the other ones posted here is that it can be a viable way to meet people and it isn’t something of which to be ashamed. It is no better or worse than more “traditional” means of meeting dating partners; it’s just different. Yes, people in older generations might look at you a bit oddly, but in the end, meeting my DH online instead of going to bars to meet guys kept me from feeling like a piece of meat & allowed me to be analytical about my dating choices (what can I say, I’m an analyst by profession and pretty logical).

        • Melia

          I agree with the gist of this, but personally I really wish people would lay off “shopping” metaphors for finding a partner, especially since our culture commoditizes people so much already (especially women). Dating is really NOT like picking out a house or a car. It’s much more complicated than that, and it should be.

  • Courtney

    I met my now-boyfriend on eHarmony…which I went on because I was, at the time, not thrilled with my life. I needed a change. I figured that returning to online dating would produce the same result I had always gotten, namely going on a bunch of dates with guys who were good people, but not good for me. I actually liked it because it was intriguing, fun, AND actually raised my self-esteem because I realized how lucky I was to have awesome friends to hang out with instead and how many other more interesting things I had to do than go on dates with guys with whom I just did not click. (For the record, all my happily-partnered friends thought I had become too misanthropic and bemoaned this attitude…internet dating to remind yourself you don’t need a partner is maybe a little weird, admittedly.) But I think it worked because I had a positive attitude towards the dating experience itself. And I was sufficiently open-minded to the idea of meeting someone that when this great guy who was ALSO great for me showed up, I was happy to reverse course and become really optimistic! So even if internet dating doesn’t initially hook you up with a long-term prospect, I think it can really be useful.

    • rys

      I think the good people v. good people for me is a really important distinction that frequently gets lost in general conversations/advice columns about online dating (and prodding from my parents and their friends, who seem to think online dating is a vast pool of men, all of whom would be perfect for me if I just went out with them or something….it’s not that most of them are bad, they’re just not right for me.)

  • Kristina

    I re-met my husband online. We had known each other for years through friends, but are both shy, introverts who only saw each other once ever few years. By chance we both ended relationships and signed up for a dating site within a couple months of each other. We got matched up by the fancy algorithm and ended up on a coffee date a week later. By the end of our coffee, turned dinner date I was beyond smitten.* I am so grateful to that algorithm for giving us that push we needed. Maybe we would have figured it out on our own eventually, but who knows how long that would have taken us!

    My previous online dating experiences were pretty typical; a few flops, a few odd-balls and the occasional spark. I initially broke “rule” 5, and ended up dating someone not right for me in the end because we had somethings in common. I learned a lot from that relationship, and don’t consider it a waste of time, since it was a lesson I needed. Also, I agree with previous commentators who suggest meeting in person fairly quickly. Once mutual interest is established, get together and talk! Written communication can be wonderful, but it can also allow a person to filter and edit themselves (we are all guilty of that).

    * I had always thought he was super dreamy but now in addition to his physical attributes, which I had always admired, I was now getting to admire his amazing personality.

  • Emily

    Oh, man. So very much #2. I remember an OKCupid guy that wanted to have an hour-long phone chat with me before he ever even asked me out. It was too much too soon. And yet if that had been an hour-long date over coffee or dinner, it totally would have been fine, weirdly.

  • Del678

    I met my fiance online. He was tired of online dating to was using up his credits – throwing out random connection things. One hit me. yay!

    also general dating rule – go on a second date! It really bothers me how the women I know let one thing the guy said or did write him off. My fiance showed me the boot of his new car (um I met you online are you now going to kidnap me?) and spent a lot of the time speaking about his successful job or his ex. After giving him another chance or three, it was apparent that it was a new car he was excited about, his actually wants to be a stay-at-home dad, and he and his ex are good friends and she’s great. Just sayin’, don’t just a book by the prologue.

  • Katie

    Amen and amen. Except the first one CAN be the one- I met my husband on OK Cupid and he was the first person I met. We got engaged 6 months later and married 8 months after that. I had never online dated before because I was judgmental about it, and only made a profile because I was procrastinating from grad school work. I didn’t take it too seriously and never in a million years expected to meet my husband.

    • del678

      Reminds me of the stories of sometimes yes the first wedding dress CAN be the one you buy. You don’t need to keep shopping around once you’ve found the one.

  • Beth

    I met my husband on OKCupid and I wanted to just put an addendum to #5, which is “Just because they’re first, that doesn’t mean they’re NOT the one.” I went into online dating expecting to spend a year going on awful dates before I met anyone I liked, leaving me with a wealth of horror stories to share with my friends.

    What actually happened was that I emailed halfheartedly with a few people before my husband sent me a message and he was the first person I actually went on a date with. I liked him enough to go on a second date, but had doubts that it could move beyond friendship. I just really expected that I would need to date a lot of people and that, like #5 mentioned, I didn’t want to just settle for the first person who came along. So I almost made the mistake of letting him pass by in order to play the field a bit more. But after I’d been on a few more dates with him and had also gone out on a date with a lazy-eyed midget who didn’t ask me a single question the entire night, I reevaluated how things were going with him and decided to be exclusive and see how it went. Clearly it went well! When I met him, I never imagined I would marry him, but I’m glad I didn’t let the allure of alllllll those other potential guys on the site keep me from giving him the time and chance to grow into the great partner he is now.

    Also, the rad thing about us meeting online is that I will always have a record of our very first interactions with each other. I love being able to see how we acted before we knew each other. Our friend who officiated our wedding even used some tidbits from our first emails to each other in our ceremony, which was awesome.

  • A Girl

    It’s funny. I met my current guy online, and there’s no way we would have met otherwise. We live hours’ drive apart. We (well, I) did almost everything wrong. I was on OK Cupid only about 6 weeks after a terribly traumatic break-up of a 5 year relationship. I’d actually made the profile in the first iteration of that breakup a year earlier, but just never looked at it much, and once I got back together with awfulEx, I just continued to ignore it. After the final breakup, I was lying on the couch the day after Christmas. I was on my own, because I live abroad and hadn’t gotten tickets home in time. (Thought I’d be spending it with awfulEx)

    So I was bored and lonely and just surfing around on OK Cupid, trying to imagine if I could ever be happy with someone again. My inbox was full of messages from the year of neglect, and I was sifting through them. I had a few charming messages from people on the other side of the world. (literally. Why?) A lot of “meh” generic messages from people closer. (“Your profile looks interesting. What’s a girl like you doing in a place like this? Heh heh. Tell me your favourite movie!”) A tonne of “HAY BABE UR Hot!??! lol wanna meet 2nite?!?” messages from idiot chancers.

    And then, one recent, funny, clever, sweet message from someone across the (small) country where I live. I couldn’t help it, I replied. We did the whole “way too many long emails” things, and got very deep, very fast, with thousands of words flashing back and forth each day. (It was the holidays. We had nothing else to do.) On New Year’s Eve we were both home sick, and he gave me a call at midnight. He was very shy on the phone, and I was worse, but it gave me a glow. I had never met anyone like him, and the connection was incredible, worldviews perfectly matched. Then I freaked out. I told him that I was just out of a crazy situation, and not really ready. I told him I might be leaving the country in a matter of months because my visa had been tied to my last relationship. I told him probably I shouldn’t have let the emails go that far.

    He responded with patience, compassion, and a cheeky invite for a date anyway. We met in a city halfway between us.

    If I’d let the first date decide things, it would have been a disaster. I felt no physical attraction when we met. The easy conversation that flowed so deep in emails was completely missing in person that day and we struggled for more that a few syllables a sentence. We were both awkward. I was stiff and weird. He was unsure and shy. We went to see a movie and we couldn’t find a comfortable way for his arm to be around me. The movie was way longer than we expected and by the time we went for dinner almost everything was closed except for an awful Italian place with terrible wine. I got on the bus feeling bad, thinking this was all wrong.

    I freaked out again. Again, he responded with understanding, compassion, and a cheeky invite for a second date. It’s not that he dismissed my worries, it’s more that he heard them and said “Well, that makes sense. But it doesn’t scare me, so if you’re okay, let’s keep going.” I was going to say no, but then I went back and -re-read our correspondence, and I just couldn’t let it go yet.

    The cycle continued a bit like that, but things slowly got better with each date, and I realized that a lot of my lack of attraction and awkwardness was just the fact that I was still completely messed up from the last relationship. I had my walls WAY WAY WAY UP. With every day that went by where he continued to treat me with respect, kindness, and love, my heart melted a little more. It wasn’t an easy road for either of us, starting a new relationship while the ashes of the last one were still warm. It’s not what I intended to do at all (the plan was to be single for a few years!!).

    It’s 8 months later. Today, I feel so blessed. He rode the worst of it out with me patiently and with a tremendous sense of humour. He’s taught me so much about giving and accepting love. He’s an amazing person and we have so much joy and trust between us. I’ve never felt anything like it. He’s not “my type” at all, and under different circumstances I might have walked right past. I feel so so so lucky that I didn’t. He’s a treasure. And now I find him incredibly attractive, which is, you know, a pretty nice bonus.


  • Pingback: Friday (Er, Saturday) Finds | With Faith & Grace()

  • Hi,

    It is indeed a great post. These are the advice anyone who wants to try online dating would need. It is not actually that scary or dangerous like some will say, once you are careful and go through every step carefully. Online dating websites are like real life, but they give so many more opportunities to people who have difficulties to find love.

  • Hey! Someone in my Facebook group shared ths website with
    us so I came to give it a look. I’m definitely enjoying the information.
    I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this too my followers!
    Excellent blog and brilliant design.

  • As a dating site administrator, I see many people making the same mistakes. To be honest, the guys are the one’s who make the biggest mistakes the way they approach online dating. People make the mistake of neglecting the way they set up their profile and fail to impress people who read it. My advice to anyone dating online is to take more care in writing a unique, interesting even funny profile – otherwise you’ll just sound the same as all the rest.

  • tinger woods

    just be true to yourself. THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO SUCCEED :D


  • Lidia Mckinney

    We broke up 5 months ago,after 2 years , because he said he wasn’t in love with me anymore. I hadn’t understood how he was feeling; i thought he was happy and he still liked me, until he broke up with me. We study in different cities and i think that the distance made him feel like that. Now we both have new mates (i feel great with my new boyfriend) but i miss him so much and i am thinking of him very often, hoping that some day we will be together again… I know that now i must focus on my new relationship, but i can’t stop thinking of the great time i had with my ex. He is now back with the help of Dr ikhine the powerful spell who help me cast a spell that brought him back within 48hours contact him on agbadado@gmail.com or call him on +2347060552255 for your help

  • Dana Lee

    I’ve had great success on ESL! http://www.exitsinglelife.com I totally recommend it to everyone… I think it was more successful because it has a webcam chat feature :D

  • 1stworldview


    What happens when six everyday average Joe’s travel to Ukraine to find
    wives? That’s right, the same Ukraine that is now under partial
    occupation by Russian forces.

    From Jonathan Narducci’s Los Angeles-based Powershot Productions comes
    the latest expose into the fascinating world of international romance
    tours. “Love Me – The Documentary,” collaboration between
    Powershot and the oft-scrutinized Phoenix, Arizona-based A Foreign
    Affair, (whose website, loveme.com, inspired the name of the film) will
    debut this month at the Toronto Film Festival. A true labor of love
    constructed after three years of exhaustive filming, interviewing,
    editing, and research, “Love Me” parallel’s the experiences of six
    mostly middle-aged foreign bride finders as they travel to Ukraine in
    search of a wife.

    The controversial subject of mail order brides has been hardly
    inconspicuous. Over the past ten years as thousands of men have paid top
    dollar to meet fantasy wives around the world. ABC’s Nightline, The Oprah
    Winfrey Network, and National Geographic have all embedded on AFA’s
    Ukrainian love tours to put a spin on why so many men are willing to go
    half way around the world to get a date. What makes Powershot’s
    hour and a half film uniquely engaging? There’s no spin. Six lonely
    men go to Ukraine to find wives. Five fall in love. Two
    ultimately get married and one is already a dad. We’re introduced
    to two cuddly blondes, Inna and Vitalina, and their Ukrainian families as
    the girls go from first date to fiancee visa to standing at the alter in

    Yet all is not as easy for the rest of the group. Bobby from
    Virginia is surprised his marriage proposal on the spot is turned
    down. Travis is not sure what to make of the village girl who says
    she loves him but asks him for too much money. Michael, a
    gregarious Aussie not touring with the group is clearly more in love than
    his fiancée appears to be. Narducci explores why some couples
    succeed. There’s timing, chemistry, and lots of support from
    families. And, as Inna says, “Big Love!” More poignantly, the film
    asks why some mail order bride relationships fail, leaving the men
    disappointed and confused.

    In the end, Love Me – The Documentary will ask more questions than
    it answers. (Narducci catches nearly everyone off guard with the simplest
    question of all: “What is love?”) But a good number of
    guys, frustrated with their local dating prospects, will definitely take