Online dating

As I wrote previously, I decided to cut myself some slack and be open to dating again. From my perspective, that dating experience happened in the best possible way: we shared some common interests, and first met socially, in a group. Unfortunately, while we hit it off pretty well in many ways, he has some things to work on in his life which make him unavailable to me as a steady boyfriend. We are still friendly, and I’m glad that I have another friend, at least.

Those few weeks of dating have made me recognize how much I’d like to have a steady partner in my life again, and I’ve decided to give online dating a try. After my divorce several years ago, I signed up for Match.com. That’s how B and I met each other, and my sister also met her soon-to-be-husband through that service, as well. Lots of people have met through online dating, and I know it can work as a way to meet a partner, or even just make new friends.

There are several online dating services: Match.com, eHarmony, OKCupid, and Plenty of Fish are the most popular ones. Match and eHarmony both require one to pay to maintain a profile, however. Since I’m just dipping my toe into the waters, so to speak, I’m not really sure I want to pay for anything. Instead, I’ve decided to try the free services for now. At a minimum, I figure it will help me think through more what I want to put on my profile in a paid service, and help me refine my dating strategy, too.

I currently have set up profiles on both OKCupid and Plenty of Fish. The interfaces are very different, and I personally prefer OKCupid’s website, app, the screening question approach, and generally just the quality of the profiles I’m seeing. And I guess I’m not alone with my impression of Plenty of Fish. Many months ago, a fellow member of my hiking group told me that she found her current boyfriend through Plenty of Fish and she recommended that service in particular. So maybe there is a chance to make a good connection through it. A very slim chance, but a chance. :-/

There haven’t been any dates so far, but I have had a few decent conversations through OKCupid. Most of those conversations came about because I initiated them. I’ve only been on the service for about two weeks, and I realize that like most things in life, you have to put in some effort to get the results you want. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t received messages from men first, but most of them are clearly looking for something that I’m not open to.

I was disappointed that I apparently won’t get to meet in person one of the most intriguing people I’ve been chatting with. After sending out a suggestion that we meet for coffee last Sunday our lively chat came to a full stop. I sent him a message yesterday just asking if there was a concern about my suggestion and it turns out he and I have different philosophies of “next steps.” I like to meet people in person as a next step, whereas he prefers to exchange phone numbers and talk.

My approach to meet first is really more of a safety measure on my part. It’s a sad commentary on life that as a woman I risk being harassed if I give someone my phone number. I don’t want to get phone calls or texts that are ugly, so I protect my number and only give it out if I’ve been able to assess what a person’s character is like in person. As a woman I’m also more likely to find myself in unpleasant or downright dangerous situations when I’m trying to meet men. I find it important to be able to assess a man first when I’m surrounded by many other people, in a very public place where I can hopefully get someone to help me if needed. That’s why I always suggest meeting during the daytime as a first date, and I also don’t want that daytime date to involve alcohol.

For now I’m continuing to slog through both OKCupid and Plenty of Fish. At a minimum, the experience should provide some interesting fodder for the blog!

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