As a dating/relationship writer and coach, I actually have tried most online dating services just so I could have some sense of how they worked in case I needed to write about them or I had a client who wanted to discuss their experience on a certain site. That being said, I’m also single so I have tried many of them personally…to very mixed results.
WHICH HAVE YOU FOUND TO BE MOST EFFECTIVE?
I do find in general that if you have to pay for a site, there tend to at least be a few more candidates on there who are taking the process seriously and looking for a mate as opposed to a cyber hookup. That isn’t a hard and fast rule in this day and age, however, because with the proliferation of so many free sites, many daters are now like “Why should I pay for a membership when I can find a date for free?” In some ways, I can see the logic there…especially why pay for a dating service and then have to pay for a date once you finally get one (because dating is expensive)?
The one thing paid sites can help protect from a little bit better though is catfishing (because total frauds won’t usually want to pay for a service). I have tried eHarmony (I didn’t like it personally because I think physical chemistry is also important and you couldn’t see your matches until way into the process), Match.com (a good solid paid site and one of the first), OKCupid (lots of options, also lots of fakes), Plenty of Fish (I lasted a day on there) and Fitness Singles (very curious how some of the people on there actually thought they were fit enough to be on a site for super fit people)? Different sites work for different people though and that’s actually one of the positives of online dating…there are more options to meet people than ever before!
WHAT WERE YOUR BEST/WORST ONLINE DATING EXPERIENCES?
My best online dating experience was meeting a guy I had seen at the gym. I recognized him from his profile, went home, found him online and sent a message saying “I was the blonde at the gym today who couldn’t stop staring at your fantastic arms.” He wrote back that he’d noticed my triceps too. Ha! We dated for almost a year.
My worst online dating experience is probably the guy whom I met for a drink who spent the whole time flirting over my shoulder with some other woman, excused himself to go to the bathroom so he could meet her and gave her his card…and then came back to me and couldn’t believe that I didn’t want to go home with him on the first date? And did I mention, he chewed with his mouth open, had a bad cold AND was flirting with another woman the whole time? WTF?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE SOME OF THE STORIES THAT DRIVE US IN OUR PURSUIT OF LOVE?
“The fairytale.” I think that as little girls we are still told the tale that someday we will grow up to be a pretty princess and meet our Mr. Prince Charming and life will be perfect bliss for the rest of our lives.
Unfortunately, in the modern world it’s now less glass slipper magic and more like “Boy meets girl, boy texts girl to hang out, girl texts back ‘sure,’ boy and girl get a drink, girl gets confused about his intentions when she sees on his Facebook page he’s just ‘Friended’ another really hot girl and then she finds him on another online dating site and he’s still active, boy texts girl again, she doesn’t respond right away because she now thinks he might be a Lothario, boy decides she’s a game player and goes back online to see if any other prospects have written him…” and the vicious cycle continues something like that.
I am starting to think with the transparency and online “research” – some call it “stalking” – potential we all have in this day and age, it’s a miracle if two people ever manage to get together and forge a solid bond of trust. There are so many new components to dating with the interference of social media.
That being said, I think the innate desire to couple and to love and be loved is what ultimately drives us all to keep trying even in the face of all these challenges. Or then again, maybe it’s just that people want sex…ha!
WHAT KEY TIPS COULD YOU GIVE TO ONLINE DATERS?
I think accurate representation is vital if you want online dating to work. If you put up photos of yourself that don’t look remotely like you now or if you lie about your height or weight and show up markedly shorter/taller or thinner/fatter, your date is going to wonder what else you’ve lied about. Plus they may feel tricked and in that case, it won’t matter how winning your personality is because they’re already going to feel like you’ve wasted their time and deceived them.
The only place where I think a little fudging can be acceptable online is with age and that’s ONLY so you can show up in search results of people who otherwise might not find you online. That being said, I would recommend coming clean about that before meeting in person too. You just can’t start a true relationship – if that’s your goal – under false pretenses!
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR SITE, DATINGDIVADAILY.COM?
As a prolific dating/relationship writer with two books to my name (The Real Reasons Men Commit: Why He Will – or Won’t – Love, Honor and Marry You and Sex Comes First: 15 Ways to Save Your Relationship – Without Leaving Your Bedroom) and countless magazine advice articles in the likes of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Women’s Health, Health, Fitness and frequently online, I also decided to start DatingDivaDaily.com because I wanted a place where I could not only put my own musings about dating, but also give other women a chance to share their sagas in a supportive forum. The site is girlie and fun but also includes solid dating advice. I’m currently working on a couple new dating-related projects as well…stay tuned! Oh, and I’m still looking for my own Mr. Right…in case anyone out there knows a tall, dark and handsome catch who is into fit blondes