In December of 1999 I met my wife on Match.com and have been happily married since August of 2001.
Online dating is popular and has been known to be successful. Per a study done by the Pew Research Center, about 30% of adults in American’s have used online dating or dating apps. Of adults that have not been married, over half have used a dating site or app. Accordingly, about 13% of adults have met a person who they had a long term relationship or marriage from dating sites.
There are hundreds of dating sites and apps, some catering to specific groups, others more general. Popular sites and apps include: Match.com, Ok Cupid, EHarmony, Tinder and Elite Singles.
I know several people, including my step daughter, who have met their spouses using dating websites and apps. So it goes without saying that online dating can lead to successes. However, not all dates will be successful.
In my experience, you must go through a lot of chaff to get to the wheat. I met many women using dating websites (apps were not in use when I was dating). The worst experience I had was when a woman and I agreed to meet at Chili’s restaurant. I got there first, she walked in, took one look at me and said, “I can’t do this,” turned around and walked out. I never heard from her again.
Prior to online sites and apps people used personal ads in the newspapers and video. I used the personal ads prior to trying Match.com. After finding an ad or the woman finding my ad, we would talk on the telephone. If we seemed to be compatible, we would meet in a public place such as a restaurant or coffee shop. But that was long before the new generation of apps.
LPC student and tutor Alexandra Faulkner says that Tinder, a popular dating app, has been successful for her. Her most successful date was when she ran across someone who she knew in middle school and high school. Faulkner found it easier to date someone who wasn’t a complete stranger.
As a man, I never felt scared on a date. Faulkner said her dates have never frightened her, but sometimes she would feel uncomfortable.
In my own experience, a particularly bad date was a woman who refused to compromise. She lived in Emeryville, and I was in Redwood City at the time. I suggested we meet halfway, but she insisted on meeting at Skates on the Bay in Berkeley. I offered to be there at 7:30, so I didn’t have to fight the traffic. She insisted on 6 p.m. I told her I wanted to take a run after work. She said no, but we could go for a long walk after dinner. I reluctantly, and as a fool, agreed. We met and ordered dinner. The restaurant served bread and olive oil to dip the bread in. She insisted to the waiter she needed butter. I watched her dip the break in the olive oil, put butter on the bread with the olive oil and then put mayonnaise on top. My arteries hardened just watching this. After dinner we walked out to the pier, which was closed for a few minutes, and then she said she needed to leave. So much for our long walk. Needless to say I didn’t pursue her afterwards.
The successful date was meeting my wife, of course. She first contacted me, and I, as a fool, responded that I doubt we were compatible. I had misread her profile and thought she was a super jock, for example she said she was on a ski racing team, I am an intermediate skier at best. Luckily, she pursued meeting me, and we hit it off. She explained that she was on the racing team to get the lift ticket discounts, she always came in last. Our first real date we went kayaking, the second we went to Tahoe for 5 days skiing.
Online dating can be very successful. Faulkner said,, “Dating online is definitely a different experience than dating someone you meet casually. It is also different than starting a relationship with someone you know well, but not necessarily a worse one”.
If you do use a dating website or app there are some basic rules to follow for safety from Tinder.
- Don’t use a photo that you have used on the Internet and social media as the other person can do a reverse photo search on Google.
- Google yourself to see what a potential date may see.
- Don’t give your full name until the first date.
- Use a Google Voice Number.
- Meet in a public place.
- Drive yourself or take public transportation to the date.
- Don’t drink too much, and don’t leave drinks or personal items unattended.
- Tell a friend about the specifics of your date.
Online dating can be successful. Remember the objective is to have fun!
Alan Lewis is the photo editor of The Express. Follow him @alolewis1.