Open Thread: What’s Your Favorite Way to Meet Prospective Dates?

Two of Hearts, originally uploaded to Flickr by Scott5114.We’ve talked about dating a bit on this site — how to squeeze dating into your busy schedule, how to date someone who’s extremely busy, and how to date someone who is far less busy than you.  But it’s been a long time (4 years!) since we talked about the actual mechanics of dating, and I thought now might be a great time to do it.  So for today’s open thread:

- which are your favorite online dating sites? (OK Cupid? How About WeeHarmonyChemistry? Match?) Has anyone had any luck with specialized dating sites, such as Right Stuff Dating or Good Genes (for grads of top schools)?

- how many sites do you use at any given time?

- what are your tips on writing a great profile?

- what other venues do you use to find dates – e.g., memberships at museums, running clubs, church functions, other matchmaking groups, etc… ?

(Pictured: Two of Hearts, originally uploaded to Flickr by Scott5114.)  It’s been a while since I was out there… but I’ve written before about how I took dating quite seriously for about 16 months (meeting my husband around month 19).  At one point I was using six different dating sites (mostly trying to figure out which one fit me best), and a girlfriend and I would check in with each other every week to “report” in on how our “project” was going.  As luck would have it I met my husband at a friend’s party at a bar (IRL! who knew?) but I don’t regret my time on any of those dating sites, since I really felt like dating that much helped me recognize something great when I finally had it.  I’ve also written before about my favorite dating books, but if anyone has any other favorites, please shout ‘em out in today’s comments!

Comments

  1. Off topic from dating, but has anyone used a headhunter? When is this the way to go, i.e., certain level, certain jobs? Successes? Recommend any headhunters?

    • Anonymous :

      Had no luck at all with headhunters.

    • I discussed this with a friend last night, as she is interested in changing jobs. When you want more income, headhunters are great because your interests will be aligned. (She gets a percentage of your salary.) When you have other motivations, it really depends on your ability to say no to her.

    • Yes, they are common in the legal industry and in finance (I’ve worked in both).

      The biggie is to only use a reputable one (or two), and also to gauge how “hot”/successful you’d be on your own. For instance, a lot of law firms would prefer non-headhunter candidates as the market’s pretty saturated with candidates out here in Silicon Valley, so the firms don’t need HH’s to source candidates for them. In that case, it’d be better to go on your own or through your network of friends/former colleagues. Non-reputable firms might “broadcast” your resume by submitting you to jobs you don’t want. Your headhunter should discuss each and every job with you and whether it’s a good fit. If they don’t have time for that or want to “do it on their own,” don’t trust them. It’s your career and you’re they’re gravy train, so make them work for you!

      If you’re looking in finance, I would recommend Glocap if you’re buyside or junior/midlevel in investment banking. They are the best.

      If you need a good Silicon Valley/SF HH, Simone Browne at Special Counsel in SF is great. She sources absolutely top-notch jobs and won’t place at firms with bad work repuations, even if they have stellar “prestige” reputations.

    • How about just signing up to a free dating site like SocialAurora.com, i mean it free whats to loose right??

    • I love chat on http://www.heatfee.com dating site

  2. anon for this one except to those who already know... :

    FYI, there’s a fb group where we discuss this and ask each other for advice, feel free to join us: http://www.facebook.com/groups/358635250819989/

    As for dating, I’ve tried okcupid (lots of messaging but no one I ever clicked with), plentyoffish (lots of good looking guys but less likely to want to take it away from the computer), eharmony (lets you see matches before paying, none were anything near right for me at all), match (a week in it seemed ok, but they double charged my credit card and froze/canceled my entire profile when I disputed one of the double charges). Wow… I feel super lame right now posting this list!

    • Don’t feel lame! I used okcupid and did the profile/match questions with a couple other sites but didn’t see anyone worth paying for the service to contact. Okcupid was the best one for me, but the three or so dates I got out of it all turned out to be duds.

      One was really nice but I’m pretty sure he’s in denial about being gay. Also, shorter than me (and I’m 5’4″!) and was kind of bristl-y about it, if that makes sense. Like “oh, I hate it when women wear heels” looking pointedly at my (only!) 2-inch heels. Another was a teetotaler who didn’t tell me, then agreed when I suggested meeting in a bar, then got all passive aggressive about me beating him in darts (which he suggested!) and then all judge-y about me having a beer. Um, it’s a Saturday afternoon/evening and we’re on a date in a BAR playing darts, what?? I can’t even remember the third now, we just got coffee on a Sunday afternoon. He was nice and we chatted for a bit after the date but neither of us were willing to make time for the other.

      Anyway, my sister also tried a couple if sites and has ended up dating a really great guy for about 9 months now. So they’re just starting but the family really likes him and she seems to as well, fingers crossed for her! She got into it years ago (and got me into it) then took a break while she was in a relationship, but in the meantime something like 5 of her friends began relationships that started through these sites.

      The lesson I learned is that no matter how much it sucks, it’s better to keep winnowing through the chaff because there’s always the possibility you’ll meet someone awesome, but also as you go on each “ride” (email-chat-meet-decide whether to see him again) you really get a good idea of what you want in a relationship. If I hadn’t gone on those three interminable dates, I don’t know that I would’ve been smart/aware enough to grab my SO when he ambush kissed me one afternoon! (Quickly moving himself from friend zone to other.)

    • Heartily seconded. It is NOT lame to sign up to a bunch of sites!!

      And I say this as a bit of a dinosaur, who met my husband IRL through friends-of-friends when we were all in our 20s, mostly in starter corporate jobs in NYC.

      You have a goal, want to maximize your chances, and are doing the rational thing to maximize said chances. I wonder if people confuse “awkward” with “lame,”– all dating, IRL and online, has the potential to be awkward. But that does not make it lame!

  3. Clueless Summer :

    I’ve used OkCupid and Match during a break-up with now boyfriend (oh and posted a profile on POF and then quickly abandoned it in horror). OkCupid had a much better pool of guys that I personally was interested in (smart/geeky/similar interests to me) and I exchanged a lot of messages, set up a lot of dates and even went on a few (I tend to be a serial canceller, which is horrible I know because I HATE it when guys bail on me). Nothing worked out. No real creepers, although lots of people in open relationships requesting girls on the side – seems to be a somewhat liberal/hippie crowd in my city. Generally enjoyed the freeness of it and the way the site was organized and the look/feel of it. I enjoyed spending time on there, which is half the battle.

    Match was fine – I actually found the only person I “dated” on there and he was a sweetheart, but I found it super hard to actually look through profiles and find people I was interested in. The whole “select what you’re looking for” right down to eye colour and hair colour was weird. So weird. It just didn’t jive with how I pick my love interests. At all.

    For profile…I did try to be honest. I also tried to emphasize the aspects that set me apart from my peer group.

    W/R/T books. I loved Why Men Love Bitches. As someone who had traditionally resided on the floor in front of the door in relationships, it was a great book for me to read, to reinforce all thsoe things I already knew. It did good for me in dating and in resuming my previous relationship.

  4. Ooh I’m interested to see this thread! I had a lot of luck with Match a few years ago but less this last go-around. I think it may be because the cool kids are on okcupid now? I like okcupid in that there are lots of cute, interesting guys, but I feel like a lot of them aren’t really active on it since it’s free. With match you at least know the guy is committed to paying the sign up fee.

    What is your collective hive take on dating guys you meet online? My original position was very “I’ll go out with any guy I find a bit attractive at least once” but it’s so draining to keep doing it with no real success. Thoughts?

    • I should add that I’m in NYC–I am guessing this varies depending on where you live.

    • I had a similar experience with Match — tried it in 2007 and 2009, and the type of guys in 09 were noticeably different. I attributed it to the economy — the traders and hedge fund guys I had dated in 2007 were nowhere to be found in 2009. This of course can be good or bad, depending on your type.

  5. I’ve done eHarmony, Match, and okCupid. Right now I’m doing HowAboutWe because there was a groupon (or other such discount) for it.

    None of them have worked for me. On okCupid, I kept getting requests for threesomes or from married guys.

    And the guys who have messaged me don’t meet my minimum requirements: college and living in this state or at least a nearby state.

    • OK Cupid definitely has a poor signal to noise ratio – lots of weird messages. But on Match, for some reason, all I got was messages from divorced fathers and guys working on the Trans-Alaska pipeline.

      • “Signal to noise ratio” – cbackson, I’ve never heard that before and I am henceforth adopting it. A much more concise way of describing what I’ve referred to as the “information imparted to word” ratio.

  6. Based on articles that I have read, my personal experience and those of my peers, I have found that on line dating sites are not very fruitful for African American women. I have been meeting dating prospects through volunteering, happy hours, jazz events at the larger museum in my city and I’ve been taking salsa and tango lessons. I have zero shame in telling friends, family and a few co-workers that I am open to meeting new men. I also have no problem striking up casual conversations with people when I am just out and about taking care of mundane errands ( I’ve increased my professional network that way as well).

    Right now, I have about four suitors “in rotation”. Please don’t judge, at this point and time in my life, I’m just enjoying dating for the sake of dating.

    • Who would judge? I want to hear about the four boyfriends!!

      • Ha!!! Right now, they are just “the dudes that I am dating”. If and when I choose to bestow the title of “boyfriend”, all the others will have to go. Right now, I am just having a blast.

    • Judge?! No way. We want to clap you on the back and raise a vodka martini* and toast you. Go girl! I say this as a crusty old married gal.

      *I volunteer to spit my green olive at the passive-aggressive teetotaler who went out on that date with CA Atty. I’m pretty accurate… :-)

      • When we have our ‘Ette Conference, you will have to demonstrate that skill. It sounds like a good one.

        • I was quite the little Hun once (I did this with fruit seeds at first, and then actual bits of fruit…) and then my mother clamped down on me with etiquette lessons, but some skills a Hun never forgets…

          In undergrad, one of the tutors was a very proper British gentleman and would comment that I showed the occasional “St. Trinian’s” streak. It made me look up St. Trinian’s and it made me love Ronald Searle’s works.

      • I appreciate it. I especially liked it when he finally told me he was a teetotaler (I had encouraged him to grab a beer) right about as I was ordering my second (after darts we were going to sit on the patio and chat). So we sit down and I said something like, well, that’s interesting, what prompted that? “Well, my whole family are alcoholics and I probably am, anyway alcohol is pretty evil.” “Um, so do you think people who do drink are evil?” “No, just misguided.”

        I grabbed my beer and took a long swig.

    • Thanks for sharing! It gives me hope.

    • I have been considering taking this approach–volunteering and such–to meet both new friends and possible romantic connections, as I do not have very many friends in my city. However, I am apprehensive about showing up to events alone (given that I have few friends here, I can’t take them everywhere!). Do you go to these types of things alone, or with friends? Would it be viewed as weird or sad for me to go to things like this alone? I don’t want to be the girl people thinks is weird, but on the other hand, I do need to get out and about in order to meet people to go to things…I look forward to anon’s and the hive’s thoughts.

      • This may be region and activity specific, so here it goes: in Chicago, lots of folks show up alone to meetup.com type events. If you act as if you’re comfortable people will assume you’re not odd and gravitate to you. Finally, what’s the worst case scenario? A bunch of strangers will think you’re strange. Don’t worry about it. I think you’re overthinking the situation; you wouldn’t be risking much by showing up alone.

      • Seriously, go alone. No one will think that you are weird. Going by yourself forces you to get out of your comfort zone and strike up conversations with new people instead of sticking with the friends that you came with. If going alone gets too daunting, go with one girlfriend and agree before hand that you will split up and mingle independently of each other for say, 45 minutes. You can then circle back to each other for ten minutes or so and then split up, rinse and repeat. And pick a girlfriend that you can trust. I have a couple of friends who have resorted to odd c*ck blocking behavior and that has really killed the mood on quite a few outings.

      • Do go alone! Otherwise you get stuck in this vicious cycle of not knowing anyone and therefore not meeting anyone you could go somewhere with.
        That said I recently realized that I have no problem at all doing movies alone, but restaurants… Got to work on that.
        Anyway, if you’re volunteering then everyone will be very happy to see you no matter what. So you can start that way, and meet people there who’ll accompany you to other events. And you’ll probably enjoy the whole thing, as there’s nothing easier than having something to do to strike up a conversation.

    • I can commiserate with the lack of luck for African American women on some of the online dating sites. I’ve tried eHarm (haha) and Match. With the former I rarely got many matches (maybe 3-4 every two months or so?) and I lived in a major metropolitan city (NYC!!) at the time. I never got beyond the first initiation stage with guys on eHarm either. Overall: 0 dates on eHarm.

      Match provided many more options (more akin to a “free for all” type setting) but I found that many of the black guys on there were specifically not looking for black women. Like their profiles would say interested in…every race but black. Which is fine – everyone has their dating preferences I understand and I was not opposed to dating outside of my race but it seemed like an overwhelming preponderance of the guys were def looking outside of their race. My old roommate had some “luck” with Match. She went on maybe 5 or 6 dates mostly with nice guys but no chemistry. She did go on a first date with one guy who turned out to be a handsy creeper though…
      Overall: 0 dates on Match.

      I actually ended up meeting my current SO IRL so not currently looking.

      Also having 4 “suitors” is awesome!! A girl needs options!

      • Yup. I have noticed the “everything but Black” preference. That really narrows down black women’s options online, and it’s the main reason I stopped online dating.

      • Unfortunately, several studies seem to confirm that black women should look elsewhere than online. Jerks. Mind you, I really like seeing that option on a site, what color would you date, because even though I’m white I don’t really want to waste any time on a creep who will blanch when they meet some of my friends and relatives. May as well eliminate those things right up.

    • I just wanted to recommend a book by Prof. Richard Banks: Is Marriage for White People. It has a chapter on African-American women and online dating sites that I think you should read.

  7. OT
    Bosom friends, my 11 year old daughter and I finished watching Anne of Avonlea this weekend. My daughter was going nuts every time Anne rejected Gil, so she was so happy with the ending! (Which, let’s be honest, anyone could see coming.)

    Are we really not supposed to watch the Continuing Story? I think some commenters mentioned it ruined the whole thing. My daughter wants to keep going because she loves it so much, and probably because there was not enough Anne/Gil action, though she’d never admit that.

    • In House Counsel :

      As a AofGG purist, Anne of Avonlea is tolerable (mashes up books #2-#4) but the continuing story is absurd. If she wants real Anne/Gil action, give her the boxed set and point her to books #3 and #5 for the development of that love story:)

      • Will do! THanks

        • In House Counsel :

          Also if your daughter loved Anne/Gilbert, she may also enjoy the Betsy/Joe Willard storyline in the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. They just reisssued these books and books #4-10 are perfect reading material for a pre-teen (and frankly a little easier to read/digest than the LM Montgomery books tho I love her too)

      • Yes, I agree– book #3 is the best!

      • Exactly. Someone should burn (or recycle ;) all copies of the Continuing Story. Ugh.

        Mamabear, save your pennies to visit PEI. One of the best trips ever. I went in August, and one of our guides was named “Rilla,” which completed the trip for me and my bosom friends. If you and your daughter don’t know who Rilla is, make sure she reads through #8. Then goes back and reads 1-8 again. :) Story aside, the island is beautiful – lavender hills and tide pools, red cliff, rolling meadows…

        As for the original thread topic, online dating has worked for some of my friends, but not me. Selfishly, I made height “very important” for my match (I am 6′ tall), and most of my matches were 5’6″ – 6′. : /

        • Raleigh– 5’11″ gal–you’re preaching to the choir. I put 5′ 10″ (because I am 5 ’10.75″, they all lied by increasing by 2 or more inches in height…and…then I ended up on a slew of dates with 5′ 7″ guys. Argh!!!

    • You really, really, really should not do it. Your original thread last weekend (I think?) inspired me to go look up Anne of Green Gables/Anne of Avonlea on YouTube and I honestly couldn’t watch more than a minute of the Continuing Story. I don’t know why they made it. If you haven’t read the books, it might not seem so horrible, but if you have read them, it’s impossible to watch. Everyone I know who has read the books and seen the movies feels the same way. Part of this is probably due to the fact that in the books, some of Anne and Gilbert’s children serve in WWI, so the time period is totally off. The characters are written really inconsistently, too.

      Your comment your daughter going nuts when Anne rejected Gilbert brought me back to the days when my sister and I would watch the first proposal, feel absolutely terrible for Gilbert, fast forward to the end of the movie, watch the second proposal, feel at peace that it all worked out, then rewind back to the original spot and continue. The look on his face was so tragic we couldn’t get through the rest of the movie without the reminder of the happy ending :)

  8. On-topic,
    I’ve posted that I met my husband close to 14 years ago on match.com.

    Friends’ more recent experiences with match reveal lots of ‘players’ on there – all of them see the same guys’ profiles popping up over and over.

    My two sisters have more recently met their husbands on eharmony. My impression from their experiences is that men who bother to fill out the eharmony profile are more committed to dating and finding one person, rather than just playing the field. I can’t speak for how well the matching works – I am biased in favor of my sisters and I think one of my sisters married down a little (not in money or class, just in terms of how little he seems to appreciate her) – but they both walked down the aisle within a year of signing up. We are a 100% online matched family – they should make a commercial about us.

    • I met my husband online as well. I also got a very scary stalker out of the process, but the former lasted longer than the latter. And, fortunately, no scars.

      • Wow – a stalker! That is scary. I didn’t meet any truly creepy guys on match. I met plenty I didn’t want to date, but none I was worried about. Weirdly enough, though, I seem to have developed a stalker on LinkedIn.

        • mamabear – How can you tell who has been checking out your profile on Likedin? I didnt even know that was possible!

          • No, this is someone I am actually connected to and have worked with IRL. He apparently now thinks LinkedIn is a dating site. I get emails from him several times a week suggesting lunch, coffee or dinner.

      • It was super-scary. Be keerful out there, everybody.

        I’ve got some LinkedIn creepers, but no stalkers yet. Call me if you need backup!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      A good friend of mine met her husband on eHarmony. We signed up together, just to see, and traded stories and supported each other. After a couple months, I ended up randomly meeting my now-husband IRL, but she stuck it out on eHarmony for the rest of the month because she’d already paid for it. She met her wonderful husband within a couple weeks. Engaged within a year, married shortly after. They’re great together, and their toddler is gorgeous, like his/her parents. I keep telling her to get the family on an eHarmony ad and put their compensation in the kid’s college fund.

    • Diana Barry :

      Awesome! I met my husband on match in 2001. I actually signed up so I could send him an email. :) I think I cancelled before the month was up, though, so I didn’t have to pay the monthly fee. He was the only person I met from the site, and I was the only person he met. :)

  9. Two cents :

    Never did the online dating thing but have several family members and close friends who have and they all ended up with smart, funny, charming spouses. From their experience, it seemed like the ethnic/religiously affiliated sites were the best for those who were interested in meeting someone of a similar background. So for example, J-date if you were interested in a Jewish guy, Shaadi if you wanted an Indian guy, etc. For a variety of reasons, it seems like the guys on those sites tend to be pretty serious about settling down and getting married (sometimes maybe too serious).

    I also have a friend who met her husband through It’s Just Lunch. She said that she’s the only one she knows who ever met her spouse through that organization, but it might be worth checking out.

    • Midwest atty :

      Also met my SO through an “It’s Just Lunch”-like organization in my city where they set you up on several dates after screening, interviews, background check, etc. This costs not a small amount but was worth it for me. It was the first time I had dated after being divorced and raising a child on my own for several years. I was nervous about online dating and this was in my comfort zone. I met four very nice, professional, attractive men and had only positive experiences. Number four turned out to be the right guy and we’ve been happily together for four years.

      • I had the oppisite experience with IJL. I’ve done it twice (because my mom gave me a huge gift certificate for Christmas one year). The first go round, I liked my matchmakers but didn’t meet anyone special. The second time around was awful! First, I had to argue with them and forward them their own emails to me to prove the time that I still had left. Second, my match maker was no longer in OC so I didn’t get to meet with them in person and it turned out to be a guy who lived in Florida (also a little rude and I have to admit kinda ghetto in the way he talked to me). This second time not only did I not meet anyone interesting but I met many who were not even close to professionals. I got some decent stories out of it (date with a guy missing his front teeth, a guy that didn’t talk the whole time, a guy who lived with his mom and didn’t see himself ever moving out, and a guy who had no interest in ever travling outside of Orange County)….long story short, I like the idea of being able to tell a match maker what I do and do not like about dates to help find a better date but I was very very very unsatisfied and would never give them another dime.

  10. Different Anon :

    Any thoughts about which site might be better “suited” for a mid-to-late 30ish single mom (elementary-school-aged kids)? Or would the correct answer be that such a site doesn’t exist?

    • per my post above, both my sisters were in their 30s with kids when they met their husbands on eharmony.

      I have a friend who has no kids and would like to date a man with kids (if she’s not going to be a mom, she’d like to be a stepmom), but most of the single dads she meets are looking to meet single moms. So there you go.

    • I would suggest e-Harmony. I am in that age bracket, and don’t have children myself, but met a couple of really nice single dads who I am sure would not have balked at all if I had children.

    • I was in my mid-thirties when I met my husband on eharmony 4 years ago. Neither of us had kids at the time (although we are now expecting our first). If I recall, I think that a healthy percentage of the men I was matched with on eHarmony had children, so I think it would be a good place with someone with children to go. As some commenters have mentioned earlier, eHarmony tends to be a little more effort to sign up & go through the questions, etc., so I think the people who do it tend to be a little more serious about looking for a relationship, and all that goes with that.

  11. anon in love :

    A related threadjack on love, please advise ladies: For 6 months, I have been with the guy who I most certainly think is The One. We went to h.s. together and have reunited 10 yrs later, first as friends for about a year, then we admitted we have deep feelings for each other and it’s been bliss ever since. Here’s the rub, though: He is a free spirit travelbug with a stream of income through personal trading and no office job. Before we got together, he was all set to travel Asia for a year. He dropped his plans to be with me, saying he would rather be with me than anywhere else. I have a good income in-house 2 yrs out of law school, late twenties, and as much as I love to travel I am limited to my 3wks/yr vacation. I can tell he is still pining/yearning to travel and constantly reminds me how much he hates NYC life and wants to travel and live in sunnier locales. I have no savings thanks to law school and can’t quite up and move or travel at a moment’s notice w/o serious potential consequences for my career/financial life. I just can’t help but feel like our relationship is burdening him on a daily basis w/ the opportunity cost of him being a rolling stone vagabond traveling through his favorite countries. Granted, he is Peter Pan to the fullest (never had a real job, just makes $ from home), but he is an amazing person w/ a big heart. I’ve tried talking it out with him, but his blues seem to come back every time he gets irritated by the mundane nuisances of daily life (in NY). His seeming moodiness/unhappiness from having to stay in NY is obviously affecting my mood and cheer. I feel like I have some awful corporate drone and am part of the rat race which he aspires to leave behind. Yet I really can’t imagine a better person to share my life with. Any thoughts?

    • Making a relationship work is full of mundane nuisances of daily life (which only increase with time and a family, if that’s what you want). It’s only been six months, which isn’t that long. I understand you guys knew each other back in high school, but this scenario is incredibly different. I’d say just let him go on his trip to Asia and see what happens. Either he gets the travelbug out and decides that staying in NY is worth it, or he doesn’t, and either you realize you’re better off going your own way, or you realize you can’t be without him and decide to compromise on your end. I just don’t think the situation you’re describing is sustainable.

      I always worry about men who are described as “Peter Pan-like”, but having a “big heart” or some variation thereof (well, not the men – the people in relationships with them). They can be amazing people, but that doesn’t mean they necessarily make good, responsible and compromising partners.

      • They can be “amazing people” or whatnot, because anybody can be charming (unless they’re a total clod) for a short period of time. The true test of a person (man or woman) is how they handle the daily sh*t, the muck, the difficult time and the crises, and oh yes, the mundane stuff like sorting through the mail pile.

        If they can do that, with humor and graciousness, then they’re truly amazing people. Other than that, I mentally file them into the “was fun to talk to for 5 min at the cocktail party.”

        • 3:01pm anon :

          Agreed.

          I definitely feel bad when these things start out with “I met this amazing person who I’m sure is The One, but there’s this one issue . . . [insert what, to me, would be a total dealbreaker].”

    • Three Cents :

      Make sure he isn’t a commitment phobe before you change your life around for him. I learned the hard way. My commitment phobe radar may be overly sensitive these days but his free spiritedness, moodiness from having to stay in NYC, never havng a real job, etc triggered a red flag. Try reading Men Who Can’t Love by Steven Carter & Julia Sokol if you want to be sure, especially if you feel he is the one. Does he include you in his future plans? Has displayed any confusing & contradictory behavior? Hopefully this isn’t the case , just wanted to make sure.

      • anon in love :

        I should add that he is a serial monogamist, not a cheating type of free spirit. He was in a relationship for 9 yrs through college and young adulthood. I just wonder how much giving up the travel and stayin in NY will weigh on our relationship, even if he vows that I am what he wants and with me is where he wants to be. He includes me in his future plans, but his ability to cope with life’s mundane aspects and facing adult responsibilities is the real issue here. I want kids, and he is open to having them at some point down the road, but not deadset on the idea if his life turns out that way. Is he up for the challenge? How do I really know? He is late 20′s like me but a couple of years older. Is he up for the challenge? How do I really know?

        • Seattleite :

          You wait and watch. It takes about 2 years in a relationship for the limerance to wear off. What you’ve got after that is the *real* relationship. While limerance is in effect, it is famously difficult to know whether his avowalas are due to the rush of a new love or his true position.

        • anon for this one except to those who already know... :

          ask him. Ask him these honest and realistic questions, ask whether he sees himself staying local in one spot if/when you have kids (if that’s important to you), ask whether he would travel solo or whether your relationship could handle that much time apart.

          You won’t know until you ask!

        • I think his not being a cheating type is still irrelevant here– the red flags people are seeing are more about the refusal to be a grownup.

          Do you want to always be the grownup or the “nagging wife” in the relationship? I would personally find that soul-sucking, but YMMV. Stuff has to get done, so if he won’t tackle the administrivia of daily life, then it will get dumped on you, and maybe you’re an uncomplaining martyr, but most people I know would get rightfully resentful and kick his @ss hard. Good times.

          One thing to consider is: how many years do you want to spend with him? If you want kids and he is sort of wish-washy about them (which is the kindest interpretation I can make of his answer), how long are you willing to wait? If he never figures it out, do you want to be, say, 35 when you guys break up? And then, you’d be starting from square one. I think some of the ladies on this site banked their eggs, I would recommend considering that if you are contemplating anything long-term with a man-child. Separate from the children issue– do you want to be in a relationship where you’re the one who is told (implicitly) that you have the unfun life and unfun job and live in an unfun city? I think I’d seriously grow to hate someone who either said or implied he was doing me a favor staying with me despite my boring stable life.

          Travel is great, but no matter how far you go, you can’t run away from yourself. No matter where he goes, he’ll always still be just himself. For some, it’s fun and zen. For others, it’s a way of hiding emptiness, and emotional immaturity– flee to another country once they realize you don’t have much substance and are useless when the crap hits the fan.

          Maybe I have an archaic view of what a man (or any full grownup partner) should be, but if presented with the following three options:
          (1) Face difficult occasional crises in life with solid partner who’s responsible and thinking of you, not just what he wants and likes, and will back you up
          (2) Face difficult occasional crises in life alone
          (3) Face difficult occasional crises in life with a partner who’s unhappy, whiny, and flighty

          I would consider (3) to be a burden. I think I would hate someone who was this inept and selfish. (2) is just standard operating procedure, and still, IMO, trumps (3).

          • “I think his not being a cheating type is not really the issue here.” Ugh. After all that posting, a crappy typo like that.

          • 100% agree with Susan- eventually you’ll have to figure out whether or not he can handle the bigger issues that life throws at you, or whether he crumbles under them and runs away. To me, free spirited/wanting to travel around and not stay in one place that much means a general feel of committing- not just relationships, but to anything- jobs, a city, etc. Better you find out now, than many more months or even years in.

    • What do you want in the long-term?

      A stable-relationship but no kids? If so, are you OK with his being long-distance (without you) for a few months every year? It can work!

      If you want kids, then I think a Peter-Pan type is one of the worst possible choices for a long-term partner/husband. Children generally force people to put roots down, unless, you are both in the armed forces or diplomatic corps. You can’t be flighty and as spontaneous with kids. The last thing you want is to be with someone who treats your kids, and you, by extension, as an un-fun ball-and-chain tying him down, and disavowing all the huge responsibilities of parenthood.

    • Anne Shirley :

      I think your relationship is burdening you on a daily basis by having to deal with someone so moody! If he wants to travel he should go. And if he chooses to stay he needs to find a way to make peace with that

    • I think you guys should be able to talk this out and find some middle ground! It’s only been 6 months, i think some of this is jumping the gun: Your talk of him ‘giving up travel’ as well as some commenters hinting that it won’t work.

      If you want him to enjoy travel, you might have to be willing to have him gone for a couple months every once in a while, and if he wants to be with you, he might have to be willing to do slightly shorter trips, instead of living in countries for months at a time. And also, you could get really good at planning trips where you go together for the 2-3 weeks of your vacation time, and then you come back, while he stays for another few weeks.

      Don’t be too always/never already! You have to work a steady job for a while, but 5 years isn’t forever, there’s no reason to think you might not be able to make time for a longer trip with him in the future, or even finding a way to live overseas for a couple of years.

      And for the stuff about kids, my family traveled all over the world when my sister and i were little, like 6 months to 10 years old. It wasn’t easy, and took a lot of planning by my parents, but we had an amazing time, my parents did, too, and I learned a lot about the world that I wouldn’t give up for anything. There’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be able to take your kids on amazing adventures in the future, and they would be some darn lucky kids.

    • A close friend of mine dated a Peter Pan, too. (Our circle of friends actually did call him that.) They dated for three years and have now been broken up for about two. He is a great, kind, smart, attractive, witty guy and he loved my friend. But he was always unhappy with the here and now, and endlessly restless. He had big dreams. And the dreams were aplenty. China! Costa Rica! New Zealand! She also had to basically take care of the mundane day-to-day stuff that he couldn’t bring himself to participate in. She lost a lot of love for him when it came to that, because she felt like his mom and not his partner.

      My friend eventually cut him loose (sort of, they remain very close, even now) because she knew that if she asked him to settle down, he would have, because he loved her, but he would have been miserable and would have felt trapped. Now that Peter Pan has decided on his own to settle down, get a “real job”, finish his degree, etc., he realizes that he wants to be with my friend but she isn’t interested in going there again. I know she is glad that they are over and that she regrets spending so much time hoping that Peter would return from NeverLand when she could have been dating someone that wanted to right where she already was.

      Based on the above case-study, I think you should encourage him to travel and do what he thinks he might love so he doesn’t ever blame you or hate himself for not pursuing his interests. And also so you don’t break your own heart.

      • eaopm3, your friend’s experience reminds me of what happens in “Yevgeny Onegin.”

        Onegin comes back, years later, deciding that Tatiana IS the one, and that he does now really want to be with her, but she tells him: “Too late.”

        I think it can sometimes work if a Peter Pan type really does decide to settle down. People do change over time, but sometimes, in between, they leave too much wreckage to have credibility with the person whose ship they wrecked.

        • I just wikipedia’d “Yevgeny Onegin”. How I wish we had access to the opera! I would love to take my friend to see “her” story.

          • anonymous :

            Funny, I saw it last year at the Met, and I could not understand a word. It was in Russian and I am a native Russian, but the singers had such strong accents that I couldn’t comprehend a word.

  12. I met my now-boyfriend on Match a year ago this month, and we’re planning to move in together this summer. I went into online dating knowing virtually nothing about it and ended up being one of the “lucky ones”, as in I met my boyfriend three weeks into my stint on Match.

    I think one of the things that really helped me find someone so quickly was that I committed a fair amount of time and energy to it. I met 6 different guys in three weeks (my boyfriend being the 5th). If a prospective match met my minimum requirements (a reasonable level of physical attraction, college educated, non-smoker, not living with their parents, and in a certain age range) and seemed normal when we spoke on the phone, I would arrange to meet them in person.

    Also, keep your expectations low. I looked at all of my first dates as “practice” in meeting someone new and for dating in general. I’m an introvert by nature so I was really putting myself out there with online dating. Looking at it as an experiment helped take a lot of the pressure off.

    In terms of my actual dates, the majority of them were fine. There may not have been fireworks, but the guys were normal, nice, smart guys who I would have easily set up with any of my friends. There was only one who looked absolutely nothing like his photo and could not carry a conversation to save his life, thus making the date pretty awkard and short. But I think one cringe inducing date out of 6 isn’t too terrible.

    My roommate also met her boyfriend of 5 months on Match and it took her a lot longer (6+ months or so). However, she was a lot pickier than I was about who she would meet and I think that contributed greatly to the length of time she was on the site. Another good friend of mine also had good luck with Yahoo! Personals, of all sites. She met her husband on there and he’s awesome.

    In the end, I’m really glad I tried it. My boyfriend and I would never have met otherwise and I’ve never been in a happier, more secure or fulfilling relationship.

    • PittsburghAnon :

      I have the same ‘minimum requirements’ and I’m finding maybe 1 person every month or two who meets them. (I would say I find about 1 out of every 100-200 “reasonably attractive” based on the pics they post.) Is this just my location? where are you – in a major city?

      • How are your pictures? It’s terrible to say, but pictures make a *huge* difference in online dating. There are a ton of girls on these sites and you have to catch the right guys eye.

  13. I met both of my long-term relationships online. One was a 4-year relationship and now I’ve just over a year with my current SO. A couple of thoughts:

    1) Be active online. I looked through profiles for about 30 minutes each day, and honestly, it was fun! My best friend called it “Man Shopping.” I always read through my “daily 5 matches” and indicated my interest level as well as ran my search each evening and looked through new profiles. I would “wink” at guys I thought had potential and piqued my interest. But…

    2) Let the guys come to you. I did not initiate an email conversation. I would only respond to emails from guys who took the time to read my profile and wrote me a personalized email. If it was a one line email with the guy’s phone number and an invitation to call, then it was deleted. However, anyone that did email got a boilerplate “thanks for your interest, but I don’t think we’re a good match” response.

    3) Don’t let the online conversations go on for too long. After 3-5 email exchanges, the guy should be asking to meet in person. Occasionally, I had to nudge the exchanges in that direction, but let him ask you for the specific date.

    4) Have standards, but don’t be too picky. My ex was perfect on paper. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the stars for us. My current SO is a fantastic match for me, but had he not contacted me, I never would have seen his profile. He smokes occasionally (no thanks!), and is too young to meet my search criteria. However, after his email, I read through his profile and liked what I saw. So, just because someone is outside the search parameters, give their full profile a read through, and maybe a response.

    5) Keep the first date short. Meet for coffee and a walk around an art festival on a Saturday afternoon. Or grab *A* drink after work. But keep it to an hour. If you really hit it off, GREAT! He’ll be ready to ask you out again ASAP! (always keep ‘em wanting). If not, you’ve lost an hour, and had a drink.

    6) Tell a girlfriend to call you an hour in to check on you. For the first couple of dates, people should be expecting you to be somewhere or call at a certain time. Safety first!

    7) Don’t fall in love “online”. You are paying the subscription to meet a bunch of men, hopefully leading to a man. Until you’ve had a couple of dates and both of you are ready for a relationship, don’t stop your online dating site activity. If you pin your hopes on an online profile, you are limiting your returns potential.

    8) Above all, Have Fun! As much as this can seem like work, use this opportunity to visit new places, and make new friends. Even if it takes a while to meet a someone special, thre are a lot of benefits to putting yourself out there.

    • I met my now-fiance 4 years ago on eHarmony, and recommend it to anyone who asks!

      I agree with all of HM’s tips, especially to be active online, to let the guys come to you (because if they don’t, it means they aren’t attracted to you, and you don’t need to bother with them), to keep the first date short (coffee is great, especially since you can do it in the daytime and avoid a potentially scary evening date with a stranger), and to have fun with it. I went into things just looking to get some dating experience about 6 months after having broken up with a guy who I thought was “the One,” and I think not taking it too seriously was a good attitude to have. My fiance ended up being the third guy I dated.

      I would recommend a site like eHarmony that pre-screens people for you. I put in minimum (and maximum) age and educational requirments up-front, and that saved me a lot of filtering work.

      • Oh, one other thing! Be aware that, though you may be only actually “seeing” (in person) one guy at a time (though you are talking to others), many people are actually “seeing” (in person) multiple people at a time…. This came as a surprise to me when I learned (a year into things) that my now-fiance saw other women through the first month of our “relationship”!

        • I disagree with letting guys come to you – I think a lot of guys are just as frustrated with these sites. I joined Match about 9 months ago and did not contact anyone, and the only people who contacted me were men who were much older, sent creepy messages, or, I suspect, were seeking a Green Card. I was told by several girlfriends that I needed to put some effort in to see a return, so I joined again three months later and put some work into it.
          Remember – anyone can create a profile and keep it up for free (when you pay to subscribe, you can read messages and contact others. That’s how Match hooks people – they send emails to non-payers telling them they have messages and then hope they are intrigued enough to pay to read it). Also pay attention to the “Active within” – 24 hrs, one week, etc. Though notoriously inaccurate for the small intervals, if someone has been inactive for a really long time, watch their profile before sending a message. Likely they are a non-payer.

          I went in with basic criteria as others have mentioned – college degree, taller than me (I am 5’4, not difficult), non-smoker, no kids. From there, I emailed guys with fully written profiles who seemed like they had a sense of humor. Most of the time it was one or two lines in response to something funny he said. There was one guy who had a super sincere smile and though he was less conventionally attractive (to some people) than some of the others I emailed, there was just something about him…he looked genuine and his profile was charming. Something told me to email him…he was my first ever online date, and hopefully my last! We have been together for a few months and in the crazy honeymoon stage still, but I am optimistic!

  14. Clueless Summer :

    Reposting since mine went into moderation due to a non-asterisked word.

    I’ve used OkCupid and Match during a break-up with now boyfriend (oh and posted a profile on POF and then quickly abandoned it in horror). OkCupid had a much better pool of guys that I personally was interested in (smart/geeky/similar interests to me) and I exchanged a lot of messages, set up a lot of dates and even went on a few (I tend to be a serial canceller, which is horrible I know because I HATE it when guys bail on me). Nothing worked out. No real creepers, although lots of people in open relationships requesting girls on the side – seems to be a somewhat liberal/hippie crowd in my city. Generally enjoyed the freeness of it and the way the site was organized and the look/feel of it. I enjoyed spending time on there, which is half the battle.

    Match was fine – I actually found the only person I “dated” on there and he was a sweetheart, but I found it super hard to actually look through profiles and find people I was interested in. The whole “select what you’re looking for” right down to eye colour and hair colour was weird. So weird. It just didn’t jive with how I pick my love interests. At all.

    For profile…I did try to be honest. I also tried to emphasize the aspects that set me apart from my peer group.

    In the end, I reconciled with my ex who I met when I was younger through friends. All of my best relationships have ended up being through friend set-ups. I swear by it…and now try my best to do the same, but have thus far failed miserably. Interestingly enough, I had mutual IRL friends in common with the only guy I dated seriously from online. That fact did actually help me feel closer in a way I find difficult with online guys.

    W/R/T books. I loved Why Men Love B**ches. As someone who had traditionally resided on the floor in front of the door in relationships, it was a great book for me to read, to reinforce all thsoe things I already knew. It did good for me in dating and in resuming my previous relationship. It WAS kind of silly, but hey.

    • If all men really loved B**ches, I guarantee you I wouldn’t have any single friends. ;)

      • Always a NYer :

        This made me laugh out loud because it’s so true =p

      • Clueless Summer :

        Hahaha. Ok, so true. A better title for the book would probably be “Why guys don’t like doormat-like women who aren’t very independent” but incorporating b**ches is a much catchier way of putting it. The b**chy things in the book are like – “have your own life” and “don’t cancel your previous plans when he calls at 7 pm on a Friday”.

  15. So, for the Muslim/desi scene, shaadi is pretty good (as mentioned above) and singlemuslim. Far more serious people on singlemuslim but they’re mostly in the UK. I’ve also tried nikah, muslimmatrimonial and muslima. They’re terrible. Halfourdeen is ok, it’s like okcupid for Muslims. Aaaaannnd I recently tried okcupid because someone told me that there are Muslims on there and lo and behold, there are.

    I’m tired of it, though. A lot of Muslim guys seem to have this perception that Muslim women online are just looking to hook up (if you met me or saw my photo, you would see how laughable an idea that is). My parents are still exhausting the biodata scene. So, I’m taking a break from the online shenanigans, doing it seriously for about a year has drained my mental strength. I have much more fun things to do.

    • Muslim anon :

      The whole rishta process is a pain. Good luck!

    • The “biodata scene”! The term cracks me up.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Yes, the word biodata is hilarious to me. I’ve never heard it anywhere outside this desi context. Where does it come from?

    • Two cents :

      Don’t give up, Ru. Did the whole biodata scene, went on 10 blind dates, and met my now wonderful husband on date #10. Of course, it’s sort of funny that both of our families knew everything that was going on and were clued in from the get go, but that’s what you expect when aunties are setting you up. :) It can happen, seriously.

      • Fl Lawyer :

        LOL…I am currently in exactly the same place. Have been in the “biodata” scene for about a year and thinking I need a break. I think breaks are fine as long as you don’t wait too long to venture back in. You have to sort through the riff raff which take a bit of time but I am hoping the reward is out there somewhere!

        • One of my guy friends has had his parents trying to get him to do this constantly, but he can’t seem to find anyone he likes who also likes him. It just seems so stressful!! I mean, not that my current dating life is anything to talk about, but at least my parents aren’t involved, and my “stats” aren’t out there for everyone and (literally!) their mother to judge.

    • oh.so.tired :

      Have you tried Naseeb? Two of my friends, who are now happily married, met through Naseeb.

      and LOL @ “biodata scene”

  16. springtime :

    Related question-

    I have been on about 5-6 dates with a guy I met back in early February on OkCupid.

    I was kind of uncomfortable with him coming over to my place (legit reasons..plus it was a mess and I needed to clean!) so I tried to divert it for the day he suggested it and we ended up meeting up closer to him. He seemed totally cool with it until we met up and we got for a walk with some tea. He tells me that my avoidance kinda freaked him out and he just heard of people meeting online who have secret bfs, etc., and he asked to see my ID!

    I was really weirded out. I show it to him- I have nothing to hide- but I was really uncomfortable for awhile after. He apologized profusely for making me feel awkward afterward and said he didn’t know how else to ease his concerns. We have great chemistry and I’ve always been 100% honest. I really liked him and found him to be very chill up until that moment.

    Ladies- is this a red flag? He told me his friend once met up with a girl who was married, so it stuck in his head. I don’t know if I should just let it go or not.

    • karenpadi :

      I’d let it go. I don’t ask to see IDs but I do try to glance at his if he’s paying for something. Or if I do see it, and there are drastic changes in appearance, I’ll ask “when did you shave your beard/cut your hair?” Then I get to study his license. :)

      He was just more straightforward. I’d have asked for his ID too and teased him about his picture.

    • I’d let it go. At least you know he’s honest about how he’s feeling.

      • springtime :

        Good to hear- this is what I was leaning towards. He is a very upfront person (one reason why I like him) so I think I understand his thinking process on that one.

        Anyway, I am busy all this week, but for our next date I am definitely inviting him over now! The only guy I have at my place is my big fat cat :).

    • I don’t think it’s a red flag. He’s just honest about something that was bugging him, and the issue he’s concerned about is sometimes a possibility with online dating.

      Also, that he was very apologetic about shows awareness– he’s not just trying to run roughshod over others.

      I think the real reason why he’s so fixated on this is because he really likes you and doesn’t want to let himself be further drawn into your net o’ charm if you’re actually married. A player would, if he wanted to know anything, just focus on whether you’re married/dating a guy with *any weaponry or mixed-martial arts fighting skill*. :-)

      • Anonymous for this :

        I once asked my now-husband why we never hung out at his place (thinking there was some deep and meaningful reason or fear on his part), and he said “Because you have a TV. And cable.” And then I learned not to read too much into things, and that he was ok with me asking questions like this! Our ability to say the difficult things to each other, and to ask the hard questions is one thing that has added a lot of depth to our relationship.

    • And your ID is supposed to tell him if you have 4 boyfriends already??
      I think it’s weird. Just downright weird. I sure wouldn’t let it go..

  17. karenpadi :

    Oh dear. Online dating. The black hole of my leisure time right now. I’ve done eHarmony, Match, Chemistry, and OK Cupid (Silicon Valley). I would say OK Cupid is the best and has the best “selection” followed by Match.

    eHarmony seems to have a weird algorithm for matching–basically if I visit every day, I get horrible matches outside my age range and out of my geographical range. If I skip a few days or complain, I suddenly get 3 or 4 “solid” matches. Chemistry is just bad, I don’t think they have a lot of guy members.

    I was doing the “set up as many dates as possible route” but that was getting me nowhere. It took too much time and I could never keep names and conversations straight. So, after talking to a guy friend, I decided to adopt his approach of “serial monogamous dating”, i.e., only dating one guy at a time. The guy I’m seeing now is the first guy I’ve tried this with so we’ll see if it goes anywhere.

    On profiles, I try to watch for two things:

    1) Guys that seem bitter or have unreasonable expectations about the women they are seeking. Statements like “I don’t want a gold digger.” “I’ve tried everything else, and my sister made me start online dating.” “I want a girl to cuddle with all night long and go sky diving with me every weekend.” “I want a girl who is stylish but doesn’t obsess over her appearance and can go from a day in the mountains to a black tie affair instantaneously.” “I’m just a nice guy who can never seem to get a girlfriend.”

    2) The type I seem to attract and need to avoid. I attract Engineering nerds. I know I’m not attracted to them. But when I do a lot of “first dates”, I tend to end up with a lot of first dates with these guys. They seem to really like me and really pursue me but I am never attracted to this type. I feel like I am being matched to a set of specifications and found acceptable because I’m a logical, rational human being. If I keep seeing them, I tend to turn them into emotional t*mpons. That’s not good.

    • karenpadi :

      Regarding a good profile, I try to update mine every two or three weeks. Usually, I get good ideas from profiles I like. Generally, I like to say one or two outlandish things that the poor guys can use as a conversation starter.

      Right now, my profile says “I’m a good attorney not an evil one.” and includes a picture of me scuba diving. I talk about dishes I’ve made recently, including a lentil soup phase.

      I googled information in my profile to make sure guys couldn’t find me. If you google my first name, city and “attorney”, you won’t find me. If you google my first name, city, and ” attorney,” I’m the first result.

      • karenpadi :

        that should be If you google my first name, city, and “*niche* attorney,” I’m the first result.

        I don’t know html well enough to know what I did wrong there.

      • I like the idea of updating every two or three weeks – should try that.

        And I see “I want a girl who is stylish but doesn’t obsess over her appearance and can go from a day in the mountains to a black tie affair instantaneously.” ALOT. It makes me want to reply, “Well, I want a guy who looks as good in a tux as he does in boxers, but Daniel Craig’s not turning up on my doorstep anytime soon. “

    • I’m on an EH hiatus right now. It’s the only site I’ve tried. I was skeptical in the first place, if only because I there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. My conclusion is that, to be successful on EH, you have to do a high-volume business: wade through lots of first dates expecting that your ratio of duds to studs will be 10:1 or higher. And to even get to the first dates, you’re going to have to invest at least some time in the guided communication process (I’m very quick to move it to an in-person meeting, and it still takes a lot of time). I’m on hiatus mostly because I don’t want the time-investment when I could be out having a way better time with my friends, family, doing other stuff I enjoy, etc.

      I think the serial monogamy approach karenpadi suggests re EH is probably much more manageable in terms of time commitment, not being overwhelmed by the underwhelming, etc.

    • Your first “watch for” is one of mine too. Those guys sound like boring cliches who have never interacted with an actual woman.

    • Karen–I think that at least half the people on EH in SV are engineering nerds…at first I thought it was something about my profile or personality or something, but then a friend (whose profile was crazy different from mine, six years younger, etc. signed up). She attracted all the same engineering nerds. And don’t get me started about EH’s supposed 35 mile radius in the bay area–I got tons of matches from the North Bay, Stockton(!), etc. Um, no…I can’t date someone that lives three hours away in traffic. I’m willing to go out on a limb for a first date, but not that far!!!

  18. Sadly, over the years I’ve tried all of the dating sites (match, jdate, okcupid, eharmony, plenty of fish, zoosk) with zero success. It’s partially due to my personality — it’s just too easy to judge someone online. In real life, sometimes you meet someone you instantly hit it off with, even though there’s nothing on paper that you would find attractive about them. Online dating is the opposite — by the time I sifted through misspelled profiles or blurry photos or not-so-witty emails and found someone I was willing to spend an hour of my life with, there just wasn’t any chemistry. Ever. With anyone.

    The biggest problem I used to have was the time commitment. Apart from looking at profiles, reading emails, responding to emails and keeping my profile current, then you actually have to go on dates with people. At the time I was working long hours at a law firm, and I found that the last thing I wanted to do at night after a long day was go on a boring date. Or three boring dates in a week (soul crushing, ps). But now that I’m in-house and have oodles of free time, I’m thinking I might find online dating less heinous.

    So here’s my rundown of each of the sites:

    1) Ok Cupid — I had the best success with OKC in that it was the only site I ever stayed on for longer than a month, and I also really liked the format of the site and the ability to secretly judge people (I could spend hours anonymously ranking people, which probably says a lot for my personality). In fact, at one point, I think I was on it for 6 months straight (though not particularly active). The boys on it were more on the nerdy/hipster/edgy side, which I liked. However, I did find that the longer I was on it, the more direct and harsher my profile became because I wanted to have a better weed-out process, which probably didn’t help my odds.
    2) JDate — It’s been a few years for me, but I didn’t like the format very much. I also felt like JDate lied to me about statistics to get me to sign up again and that that there were a lot of guys on there who weren’t actually Jewish, which just seemed odd to me.
    3) Match — It’s probably been about 5 years since I did Match because I once had a billing dispute with them and they banned me from rejoining. I’ve recently moved to a new city and am contemplating creating a new email address and signing up again, though out of principle I feel like I should boycott them. However, having perused the site and the men in my area, I got depressed about my prospects.
    4) Eharmony — My favorite story is when I first took their personality profile when the website started. After spending a ton of time answering the profile questions, Eharmony responded that I was too picky and less than 1% of the population met my criteria! Obviously they’ve since moved away from this option. Last time I did Eharmony, about 2008ish, I answered all of the questions honestly (i.e., on a scale of 1-10, how hot are you?), but found that the men it suggested I date were not at all what I would consider attractive. My friend told me that the only way you can have success with Eharmony is if you answer all of the questions as if you were the hottest and most fabulous person ever — only then does it suggest “attractive” men for you! I figured if everyone knew the secret and everyone was lying about how they perceived themselves, what’s the point?

    • I had to revise my OK Cupid profile to clarify that when I was looking for single guys, I really did mean SINGLE guys (not guys who were separated, in open marriages, or cheating).

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Having read the first two paragraphs of your post, I had to check the top that I hadn’t in fact written it…

  19. NavelGazer :

    Dating-related threadjack. Talk me off a ledge, ladies, and keep me from doing something stupid. Or e-slap some sense into me.

    Drinks at the beginning of February with Hottie-Patottie (“HP”). There have ensued multiple attempts at seeing each other again, but it hasn’t worked out. Week before last, he said he was going out of town through last Weds but would circle up with me when he got back in town, and maybe we could do something Friday or Saturday (this past weekend—sorry if this is confusing). Figured I would hear from him on Thurs of last week. Didn’t hear from him at all. Not a peep. I’m pretty disappointed, especially after thinking there was a weekend date (!!) in the immediate future. I wanted to reach out to him—even if just a flirty one-line e-mail—but then I thought… HJNTI[Me], right?

    I’m still tempted to text or e-mail, but every time I start, I keep coming back to HJNTIY.

    Am I right that I should put. the. cell. phone. down., sit on my hands, and back away from the keyboard? He knows where to find me?

    Or should I stop agonizing and just send the, “Hey, you survive last week in one piece?” e-mail and stop overthinking it?

    Pls advise, hive.

    • I’m not a fan of the HJNTIY stuff. I think that guys get insecure, too, etc. I think a one-line email along the lines of “hey, hope your trip went well last week!” is totally fine. But then I’d sit back a bit and see how things go in terms of who’s initiating, etc.

      • I’m with Batgirl on this one. Not saying anything seems too much like “The Rules” to me, and that type of gamesmanship always squicked me out.

        1-line email is friendly; it’s what I’d do with a friendly acquaintance (male or female) that I’d hung out with but made any sort of vague plans to get together again. And then, you sit back and occupy yourself with other things/other people. :-)

        • Try imagining how you’d feel in the worst-case scenario (i.e., you e-mail and he doesn’t respond at all): if you send a friendly one-line e-mail and hear nothing back, then no harm done and you can move on, right? But if you see that really troubling you, then that would be an argument for leaving it alone.

          • Yes, I tend to think “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” You don’t want to chase after someone but it sounds like you’ve had trouble scheduling things and he could just as easily be taking that as “she’s clearly not that interested in seeing me.”

    • karenpadi :

      If I want to see a guy again, I’ll send one email thanking him for a lovely date and one email about a week later to follow-up if I haven’t heard from him. Some guys are shy and need that…(?)

      If you haven’t followed up with him, I’d send him a quick message like “I had a great time with you and I hope your travels went well. Let me know if you want to do it again.” And then forget about it.

    • job hunting :

      Sorry but HJNTIY. He’s had plenty of chances to contact you, it takes 2 seconds to send a text or whatever. Move on.

      • Yes, I agree. I’m not saying you must abide by all the “rules” but if a man wants to see a woman he will make it happen. Most women analyze it to death instead. Plus, I would want a man who pursues me rather than one who is so-so.

    • NavelGazer :

      Update, y’all! I sent him a very short e-mail yesterday afternoon.

      On the plus side, we ended up having drinks last night.

      On the down side, it was a group hang with two of his friends.

      Still, wouldn’t have happened without the e-mail. Will keep you guys apprised of further developments.

      Thanks for the input, everybody!!

      • Oh dear. If a man wants to be involved with you and wants to see you, he will get in touch and won’t make your “date” part of a group scene. Do you want to sign up for more of this? He’s demonstrating the level and quality of attention you can expect from him. Either HJNTIY or he’s not into seriously dating you and is keeping you on the back burner just in case. So sorry, though!!

      • Agreed. Don’t string yourself along. If he brought two of his friends, he’s not interested. I have been in your situation, as well as the opposite (with an extremely shy guy). The shy one initially asked me out to hang out with one or two of his friends. Then, an hour before we were supposed to meet, his friends mysteriously canceled and it ended up being just us.

        Trust me, if he’s interested, it doesn’t matter how shy he is – he will find a way to hang out with you, and you alone. It’s not “the rules” so much as “it’s just the way it is.”

  20. Can someone that is actually meeting men online comment on whether they were approached or whether they made the first move (either through winking, email, whatever). I used match briefly, but I felt like everyone I was getting emails from I was just not interested in. But I was hesitant to make the first move with guys that I was interested in, feeling like since they didn’t do anything there wasn’t any point (especially when I could see that they viewed my profile after I viewed theirs).

    • karenpadi :

      I make small first moves like winking or a one-liner (“That’s a great picture of the Grand Canyon!”). I’ve gotten a good amount of dates this way–even if they had already viewed my profile.

      Really, he doesn’t know you from Eve, so why not indicate your interest? If he doesn’t return your interest, who cares?

      • Hmm, that is a good point. What’s the worst that could happen? I suppose I wouldn’t really be interested in a guy that was turned off by a woman making the first move anyway.

      • This! Guys do struggle with feeling unwanted, too. Keep it brief, see if he’s willing to do some work in answering and enjoy! (I met my husband of 3 years on Match, BTW.)

    • I never got a response from making the first move, but got plenty of interest otherwise.

    • If I had left it to my now-BF to make first contact, we wouldn’t be in a relationship now, because we live in different cities and he has told me he wouldn’t have contacted me on that basis alone. So, to borrow a catch phrase, just do it!

  21. Somehow I feel really depressed by this thread. I haven’t tried online dating (yet), but I don’t seem to be great at meeting or dating guys IRL, either. Any suggestions for coming to terms with (probably) being a lifelong single?

    • Celebrate and revel in your single life. It’s an opportunity for you to figure out who you really are, what you like, what you value, and what you want to pursue. It’s a great time to develop hobbies in things that you really enjoy and get good at them (if you want.)

      Remember Oscar Wilde’s quote: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”

      Look at yourself through your own eyes, not through the lens of random men, or your parents, or your friends. It’s good to have time to see if you are who you want to be, and focus away from appearing in some way designed to appeal to others. It’s not to say that we shouldn’t want to be appealing, but there needs to be some balance. Learning to be alone and enjoying it can be very liberating– it reminds you that you don’t ever need to be with someone who isn’t quite right for you.

      • Susan, thank you for this last paragraph. In a new relationship where I am caught up in this lens that you speak of. It’s so important to just be you.

    • I feel the same way, January. Don’t have any useful suggestions, but just know you’re not alone. ;o\

    • I often feel the same way, but if you haven’t even tried online dating, then you can’t be too much of an-all-hope’s-lost singleton! Give it a shot–it’s scary at first, but will make you feel like you have tons more options than do you now!

    • MaggieLizer :

      I often feel the same way too, so you’re definitely not alone. I try to keep in mind that Netflix + B&J + bottle of wine will not bring me happiness or a man, they will only bring me a large(r) @ss, so I need to get out there and do something constructive. (Not saying this is what you do, btw, but I know I’ve had more than one Friday or Saturday night like that.) I refuse to sit around waiting for a man to come along and start my life for me. All that time I would be investing into a husband or children I’m investing into myself instead. Do what you love, find other ways to get fulfillment and joy in life, and meet new friends to expand the social network.

    • :) Thanks, hivemind. Also, MaggieLizer, I initially misread your comment the same way everyone else did. Haha.

  22. Anonymous Girl :

    Timely topic for me. I just canceled my match.com account. I am Jewish, said I wanted to meet a Jewish professional between 35-49, and out of all of the messages I got, not a SINGLE ONE was from a guy who met those characteristics. I did meet one guy for a few dates – very nice guy, but I wasn’t really attracted to him and I really want to date someone Jewish. I have also tried jdate. I date a guy for 5 months from jdate. Nice guy, but we met at the wrong time (too many issues on his end). I corresponded with a few guys, almost set up a date with one but bailed because he only had an Associates degree and I wanted someone with more education (I know, I’m picky). I’m probably going to reactivate my jdate subscription. I’m a non-paying member at the moment… I’ve heard that a lot of the free sites attract creeps – at least the subscription fee sort-of weeds out the guys who are only looking for one thing…

  23. I have tried a variety of sites, but it hasn’t done much for me. First, although I’m not judgmental in person, I am online (really? Lee Child is your favorite author? Your favorite overseas destination is Cabo?). Second, I have some personality traits that seem to break the algorithm on most sites (I’m a very devout, but very progressive, Christian), and so I end up with results that really don’t work for me. Basically, most sites match me with guys who are either very conservative Christians from evangelical backgrounds or guys who are militant atheists. Either extreme is going to be a poor fit with my personality.

    Also, after a while, everyone starts to sound the same. I swear, every guy on a dating site in Seattle is a software engineer who enjoys skiing and is “spiritual, but not religious.”

    • job hunting :

      Hahaha your depiction of Seattle guys is so accurate! I am engaged to a transplant from the midwest :)

    • Anonymous :

      This is the story of my life trying to date in Seattle. Between that and the “Seattle Freeze,” it’s brutal!

      • It is really hard. And the weather doesn’t help – I feel like people hole up in their houses and don’t go out.

        • PirateLawyer :

          Anonymous @ 5:12 here. The weather is a huge part of the problem, I suspect. I try to be active and out and about…but when I’m honest with myself, I really do spend the vast majority of my time (a) at work, (b) at the gym, or (c) in my apartment.

    • Seattle Transplant #1758 :

      I’m new to Sea-town (lived here for a few months now) and this is also my impression of the Seattle dating scene, especially the “spiritual” part. I meet more hikers than skiers though. And instead of software engineers, I attract a ton of Boeing peeps (could be worse, I suppose). I’ve also noticed that the guys here take pride in having terribly unruly facial hair! :P LOL! But I’m still hopeful that I will meet my PacNorWest Prince someday!! If anyone has suggestions about clubs and meetup groups for 30-something singles in the Seattle area, please let me know. I’m very discouraged with the online dating scene here, as many guys won’t ever take the convo offline (you can tell the men here are very comfortable with virtual relationships as opposed to the real thing!) and those who do never call but text you constantly, hounding you to send pictures of yourself to them! As if the pictures I’ve posting on the dating site itself weren’t good enough (I have full body shots on there already!) and as if I’d send pictures to a stranger!! So creepy… *skin crawls!!* Please tell me not all Seattle guys are like this! :(

    • This!

      “I’m a very devout, but very progressive, Christian.”

      I’ve tried dating online with the same results, dating via church, dating via work… And always there is something about this combo that throws things off. Always joke with friends that there is literally one guy out there who is a match for me – the trick is actually finding him.

      • Politico,

        I don’t know what denomination you are but have heard the same complaint from my other Christian friends.

      • I have joked that I just need to marry an Episcopal priest. But it’s not really a joke: most of my female friends who are a similar combo and who are paired off are with clergy or church musicians.

    • This coming from a lifelong atheist, but…. have you tried hanging out at progressive churches? Quaker? Unitarian? Even Episcopalian? Those are the churches where my good friends who are believers yet progressive hang out. One of my friends says his (extremely progressive) Episcopalian church isn’t really Christian enough for him, but it’s a compromise, and he can handle that better than hanging out with a bunch of “judgmental bible-thumpers,” in his words.

      Also, your description of a Seattle guy sounds better than the typical Berkeley guy, who is super into nature and yoga, but not so much into showering or having any responsibility for your orgasm. ;)

      • mamabear, your description of the ‘typical Berkeley guy’ is just as one of my hs-pals described them. She went to law school in Berkeley and felt so much like a duck out of water in that city! LOL!

      • I am in fact a church musician at a progressive Episcopal church :). Alas, it is full of smoking hot single guys…all of whom are gay. Honestly, it is a GREAT dating scene for gay Christian guys; we have a ton of marriages/lifelong partnerships that have resulted. But it’s not so great for single straight ladies.

        People always suggest trying another church for this reason, but finding a congregation that works for you is kind of like falling in love, and I’m super, super close to the community here, so that’s out. I am considering going to church-related events that would involve people from other congregations/communities, though (like an upcoming film series, conference on social justice, etc.).

        • MovingToCopenhagenOrGermany :

          Whoa….are you my alter ego?=) I ran into the same issues as far as being a progressive, committed Christian, and, I’m even been a church musician at a Episcopal church. I’m also divorced, which adds another wrinkle to things. (As are you? Or have I confused you with someone else?). I call the divorce my compassion filter, since the judgmental guys run away fast leaving only compassionate guys who understand that life is complicated and nuanced. I met my wonderful boyfriend at a conference overseas; he’s also a progressive, committed Christian, and from a country where that is not considered an anomaly (though being religious is considered a bit kooky), and being a conservative evangelical is called “American style Christianity”. So, try foreign guys?=)

          • Haha. If only I were moving to Copenhagen or Germany! Maybe I am Sliding Doors you, or something.

            Your take on the divorce is exactly right – sometimes people ask questions that immediately reveal that they assume a divorce has to be the fault of one of the parties to the marriage, and mentally, I’m all “okay, done here!”

  24. Anonymous Girl :

    Though reading some of the other comments, I should check out OkCupid also… I have never tried that one.

  25. Anonymous for this :

    I met my husband on eharmony. We have the same Myers-Briggs type, so we’re convinced that’s how it matches people up. He was the third or fourth person I communicated with and the second one with whom I went on a date. It lasted for three hours because we just couldn’t stop talking.

    I initially signed up just to get back out there after a break-up, so initially I just really liked seeing that page of matches — it was very reassuring, somehow, just to know that there were some potential boyfriends out there and that I might actually have a relationship again. And then I got the profile from my now-husband, and immediately thought, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” And the rest is history!

    We both really believe that eharmony attracts more serious relationship-seekers than the less expensive sites (of course, our general philosophy is that we’d rather pay more one time for something good than pay over and over again for something cheap, so this may just be a reflection of our compatibility!). I did get one creeper-sort of guy who got really upset when I told him I had met someone and we needed to stop communicating, but other than that the few dates and conversations with men other than my husband were all fine, at least in terms of courtesy and respect.

    • One of my sisters, who met her husband on eharm, thinks the same thing about Myers-Briggs. As a result, she and her husband are exactly the same kind of stubborn person who will fight an argument into the ground. Fireworks at her house!

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