It had its upsides and its downsides, and certainly helped me to see things differently. I tried a few sites, including Eharmony, OkCupid and Christian Cafe. Here are some of the snapshots of my experiences with each one:
Eharmony: This was my least favorite site. What I liked about it was its overall presentation. It was clean and visually appealing. It did send me some pretty good matches, in my opinion. But I had no freedom to explore and their intro questions and process felt cheesy. I almost had a coffee date from a match here...but he dropped off the face of the planet when my month subscription expired. My favorite thing that happened on this site was getting matched with someone I knew! He’s an attractive musician I met a few years ago and we are casually acquainted at this point. I messaged him on Facebook, and we had a good laugh about it. Nothing of significance has occurred as a result, but I’m keeping that option open....
OkCupid: I joined this one because it was free. What I liked about it was that I could explore and search for people on my own terms. And it was free. But it tried to match me for the first month or so with guys whose match percentage was ridiculously low...simply because they lived close to me. And I had several guys message me with “hi” or “hi there” or “hola princesse” who also had a low match percentage. First off, the lack of creativity was astounding. Second, I am pretty sure they didn’t bother reading my profile or they might not have bothered...however, having guys contact you simply because they find you attractive is flattering...even if it is undesired.
Christian Cafe: I joined this one because a friend recommended it...she’s still with the guy she met here. I loved the forums, where topics of all sorts but especially dating related were discussed. I loved being able to search on my own terms, and knowing who viewed you. I loved that it was a Christian website, and that it regularly works to remove scammers. That being said...no website is free from scammers. And not all of them are caught right away. I had an ongoing conversation (luckily very superficial) with one. I ended up being contacted a couple of weeks later by the real guy the scammer had mimicked. Talk about a creepy moment. It was sad because I was starting to build a friendship when the guy disappeared (removed for being a scammer)...and I had to go through the realization that he wasn’t real and that I could’ve been taken advantage of. It left me feeling distrustful. Also, for some reason, men who were old enough to be my dad thought I’d be open to communicating with them....more so here than on the other sites. After that last experience, I had not been really approached by anyone with potential. So, I’ve decided to end my membership...at least for now.
Things I’ve learned from this experience:
- I like meeting and talking to people in real life MUCH better than online. It’s so easy to be deceived online, and I don’t like that feeling.
- Apparently there are men out there who do find me attractive!
- I don’t really like that I had to initiate conversation online. It felt really vulnerable, especially when you wouldn’t get a response. But even worse than that, I have strongly felt that I am not meant to be the initiator...and in the online world, you kind of need to be sometimes.
- Even though most of the time my attempts to initiate conversation were ignored, there were surprising responses. One guy wasn’t interested, but kindly responded with “Thought I would write back and tell you how beautiful your eyes are! Don’t think we are a match, but I know you won’t have any problem finding the right person!” Even though he wasn’t interested, I didn’t feel bad about that. He’s going to find himself a good one...no doubt about that. It also taught me to be kind in my responses. I didn’t want guys to feel bad if I wasn’t interested.
- Although I am totally okay with becoming friends with total strangers online (say because we both like NEEDTOBREATHE), I am really hesitant to put myself out there for something more.
- I realize that online dating does work for people. That may or may not include me. And that’s okay.
So, unless Mr. Future comes a knocking via Christian Cafe in the next few days, I am walking away from that for now. It just doesn’t feel right. I was really encouraged by the experience though...because there were a few genuine men who were interested, although for the most part it was not mutual. That argument that had been so loud in my mind has been cast out thanks to these men. Men do find me attractive. I just haven’t been pursued by the one who will win my heart yet. Don’t think I’ve given up hope for that either. This is not a throw-in-the-towel moment. In fact, it’s more like the opposite. I’ve realized that I want a face-to-face encounter, a real date...not just sending words across the Internet. And I believe that God can do anything to make that happen. In His timing. So the adventure continues......
As my senior quote stated,
"Every new beginning comes from some other
beginning's end." -Semisonic
Let's hope so.