I heard it on the news this week. A new study says one out of four relationships is now started online. My honey and I met online five years ago this month. These days online dating isn't so strange. Five years back it was still a bit awkward admitting it to folks who would ask how we met.
Well, my story is that after you reach a certain age and you have never been married... After you've dated everyone who is "dating material" that your friends know, or your family knows.. (I still convulse & regret agreeing to let my MOTHER set me up with one of her co-workers). After you've outgrown the bar scene, learned the hard way not to date in the work place or out of the pool of your sports league/hobby/gym (Yikes.. now you have to find a new league, gym or hobby!!!) there are few places to meet singles wanting to meet singles! Church (in my age range they were there for redemption or to find a baby momma for their kids) , work related organizations (I only dated one accountant in my life and he was cheap and boring!), a chance meeting (that relies on the cosmos aligning properly!),
My best friend helped me get over that initial shame I felt by telling me I should use all the "tools" available to me. Hmm.. tools! Well, I figured that if in the old days people used a match-maker why not try the new high-tech version of it?
I must confess that I did not meet my husband right away. I dated a good number of men, even had a couple of short-lived relationships. What I can honestly say is that I dated men better suited for me online. I got to "pick their brains" for a while before agreeing to meet. The men who were looking for a relationship answered my questions with detail and true conviction. The ones that were looking to hook up had little patience for me. After a couple of questions that perhaps were too hard for them to answer they moved on!
Online I was not distracted by looks and was able to "lay on the table" my deal breakers. Without the temptation to overlook things because someone so attractive couldn't possibly be chauvinist, racist, homophobic, a mama's boy, self centered, pretty on the outside-hollow on the inside man I was also able to discard potentials easier.
My husband had a dark sense of humor that to me felt like HOME!! His writing showed wit, intellect and charm when answering random questions. So when we set up a date and met for coffee I was pretty confident we could at least enjoy 30 minutes without pain.
That was my M.O. Coffee dates at practically every Starbucks in town. If there was no potential either party lost only a few minutes and maybe the cost of coffee! By the way, coffee is never a waste of money and dating introduced me to a couple of exceptional non-chain coffee houses. If the date went well, coffee extended to lunch or dinner or another date later in the week.
I was as safe as I possibly could. I always drove myself and MET my dates. I always ran a few errands after so I would not drive directly back home. I informed my two best friends of the details: who I was meeting, what contact information I had for them, and where we were meeting. I checked in with them immediately after my dates!
I always informed my dates before hand I was (am) a martial artist and my family is in law enforcement just in case they had any ideas. Of course that would not stop a true predator, but it would discourage a few weirdos!
Now I have been married for a couple of years and my two best friends are back in the dating pool. I worry about them, especially the one who was married for almost her entire adult life! Dating in your late thirties and forties is definitely different than dating at 18 & 19.
I would encourage anyone who is single to try online dating. Be brutally honest with yourself and what you are looking for! Put it out there! Brace yourselves for people who lie on their profiles. I have some priceless stories about dating in general that will take me to my grave laughing!
Do your research before you sign up to any one site. Ask around, take advantage of free trial periods because you'll get a good idea if it's just an online meat market or an honest attempt to bring compatible people together. Dish out the extra money and buy a few months to save on the discounts for multiple months. In the long run, even if you meet the perfect match the week you sign up they will probably be worth the cost of a few months subscription! ;-)