Online dating: some reviews, some tips, some little green ghouls #Relationships#dating#internet#sex February 6 2014 | Caroline carolinediezyn My ex and I started dating when I was 19, and we were together for seven years. That's a lot of Formative Time in a monogamous relationship. Now I'm single. And being single is awesome. Dating is also awesome. …Kind of. Sometimes? Well, it's definitely a thing, and it's new to me. I met my ex in a bar, and at the time, I remember online dating being an embarrassing thing that my peers assumed was for people who had given up on "real" dating. My best friend waited a year into her relationship to "confess" to me that she and her boyfriend had met on Plenty of Fish. Fast forward to 2014, and my view on meeting online is that it's actually more legitimate than meeting at a bar. If you can put up with my tweets and still find me alluring in any way at all, there's a good chance this might actually work. And it's true: I've met some awesome people through Twitter and Tumblr. People who I've come to be very close with online, people who I've then met in real life, and people who I've dated. This always happened organically and it was always fun. The problem when it comes to dating, at least, is that my interactions on this site are almost exclusively with people at least a plane ride away from me. So, since I was newly single, I decided to try out some dating sites. What a trip. I should preface that I live in a town with about 400k people, and that bigger populations probably yield better (or at least more diverse) results when online dating. Here are my experiences with some popular and free dating sites. Then I run down a list of tips I've learned to try to make the experience more successful. Tinder The first one I tried was Tinder. Tinder is interesting because it's overtly a hook-up app. It's only phone-based and it's designed nicely. It was fun and kind of addictive when you'd vote up a photo to find that the other person had also voted you up, too. I listed myself as bisexual and didn't come across any other women, at all. This was a bummer. I spoke to some guys on there, but I didn't hit it off with any. I understood that our conversation would be a lot less in-depth than dating sites, but even then, there wasn't a lot of spark. Though some of them looked great in their pics, I discovered that I need a bit more of a connection to entertain the idea of a hook-up. Related Post Condoms and coercion: a gynecologist searches for good, clean fun ...I was having casual sex, of course I was using condoms, that’s just what one does. Right? I mean, while it was always my intention... Read more Plenty of Fish This site looks like garbage and I couldn't get past the login screen. OkCupid OkCupid works well and looks fine and the user interface isn't too confusing. But my misadventures on OkCupid began immediately after I joined. I know a lot of people have really bad experiences, and I didn't have any negative comments hurled at me — but I did get exposed to the phenomena of getting a message written poorly that jumps immediately to some sort of comment about sex. I found this strange because OkCupid isn't a hook-up site… right? I also found that every person who was messaging me had at least 50% Enemy-level with me. Frustrating at best. My favourite observation is that a large chunk of the men messaging me had answered "yes" to homosexuality as a sin… but I'm listed as bisexual. I met just one person I found enough of a connection with to keep talking to so far. The misadventures make for some good laughs, so that's a bonus. FetLife FetLife is a fetish lifestyle website meant to facilitate meetings between like-minded fetishists. I joined it as well, and have had a blah time. I think maybe if my city was bigger this would really change my experience, but another problem is that the site is just… not nicely constructed. It's difficult to navigate. It doesn't look nice. I don't think it has a great "matching" algorithm (if any??). I'm not sure if it's trying to be a dating site or a mini-blogging site where you can post photos and updates and others can "love" them. In general, it hasn't worked for me at all. If you've had success on it and want to share some secrets, please do! SO in summary: none of these were perfect options for me, but OkCupid was the best. I reactivated my account about a month later, and I'm trying to just take it as casually as possible. Which leads me to sharing what I've learned… Tips for minimizing agony and maximizing sexy good times I know I've only been in this game for a few months, but I think I can offer some tips based on my experience. 1) Include lots of photos where we can actually see you. I felt instantly strange and didn't trust anyone who didn't have any photos, or did have photos but they obscured their face. These people could have been fun and nice but my first impression was "shady." First impressions matter! 2) Fill out your profile, and actually read profiles of individuals who catch your eye. Give potential readers something good to read. It doesn't have to be too personal or wordy. Just a bit about what you like to do, what your favourite movie/book/music/whatever is, and you're well on your way to actually meeting someone with similar interests. In one episode of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," Charlie's friends help him write his profile for an online dating site. If you're having trouble, consider talking to close friends before you set up your profile. They can help you remind you of all your fantastic attributes. Also, they can help you avoid writing an awful profile if you happen to be Charlie Kelly. Take the time to read others' profiles. Do they seem interesting to you? If so, send a message. The goal, I think, should be that when you read your own profile, your reaction is sitting back and going, "Hell, I'd date me." 3) Say hello when you first message someone. Don't jump into a compliment or worse yet — a pick up line. Say hello. Ask how they are. Mention something from their profile. Just because you're online doesn't mean you can be a dick. If you want actual responses to messages, make your message worth responding to. 4) Consider sending a "Not interested, thanks" message If someone messages you, and they're polite and abide by rule #3, but you're just not interested, consider letting them know politely. Full disclosure: if someone sends me a terribly-written pick up line and their profile makes me gag, I ignore them. Sometimes I even block them. Don't be afraid to block if you need to. 5) Be clear about your expectations — especially with yourself My advice is to not go online with the express intent of looking for your for-life partner. I'm definitely not in that state of mind right now, and I make that explicit on my profile. But some of the otherwise interesting people who have messaged me are very obviously looking for something long-term on their profile. Of course, if you're looking for that, there's nothing wrong with it. Just be wary that the way you express that can seem intimidating to some people who you might otherwise hit it off with. OkCupid is particularly good about asking you questions that will let people know that you are hoping for a long-term commitment, eventually. There's no need to go overboard and belabour the point in the written part of your profile. Think of online dating as a fun and convenient way to meet people with similar interests — just like Twitter and Tumblr, but even more focussed. If your expectations are too high, you might miss out on meeting some people that would be great to know as just friends or just as casual dates. Try to be casual about your expectations and let things happen as naturally as possible. 6) Try to chill It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, whether online or in person. It can be intimidating to think that you're summarizing everything someone might want to know about you in a small profile. Get into a good mindset before you write your profile. Think about all the things that make you awesome and all the reasons you're a good catch. Now project that onto your profile. Imagine you're getting amped up for a job interview. Dwelling on your insecurities before you head into the boss' office is a sure-fire way to come across as the wrong candidate for the job. Think about how when you meet someone in real life, you want to put your best foot forward. Your profile is exactly that. Dating is supposed to be fun, so try have fun with it. Have you tried online dating? Have you had any success? What are your tips for making the experience the best it can be? Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Caroline Caroline was the Offbeat Empire copyeditor from 2011-2015. Caroline is a Canadian genderweird witch and literature PhD student living and working in Toronto. They love art and powerlifting, and they spend their free time with their black cat and familiar, Zee. @drechyng @carolinediezyn PREVIOUS Renovating our colourful, lived-in, never-finished, Arts and Crafts bungalow NEXT Help! Work is killing my sex life Show/Hide comments [ 75 ] ha. i got together with the guy i married when we were just 19 and then he passed away at 27, so when i found myself ready to dip my toes back into the dating pool some time after that, i had NO idea what i was doing. enter online dating. i tried plenty of fish first and OMG you are so right. i spent maybe 2 days on there before i'd had enough. i get that online dating is a bit of a meat market, but this place actually fucking felt like craigslist for people. it was awful. i came across a lot of one-liners and other garbage where people obviously hadn't read my profile, and a handful that LIED on theirs (like some guy who claimed on his profile that he worked in the medical field, and then let it slip that he was a mechanic in a message…dude, i don't fucking care if you're a mechanic, but don't lie!). i tried out okcupid after that and there was a lot of the same (except for a much prettier and easy-to-use interface), but i did meet my new dude there and pretty quickly. (although he's hardly new now, we've been together for 3 years.) he'd been on there for a good long time though, poor guy, lol. also, on okcupid, if you're not answering the same quesitons as other people on their profile survey thingy, you're not going to get good matches. there was some article going around about some guy who hacked okcupid to find out what questions people were answering because he had that problem. i feel like the better way to fix that problem is to take the time to actually answer LOTS of questions though, rather than data-mining the site. something else to consider, especially if you're female and straight (since my personal experience is limited in that way, lol)…don't just let them come to you. look around and make contact yourself too. one thing i've found from other people i've talked to who've tried the online dating thing is that guys get ignored a lot and women have a tendency to see who talks to them first, instead of really getting in there. of course, most people i've talked to about it are young wids like myself, so maybe that's more the particular demographic than straight women on the whole. Reply just real quick. I tried okcupid for just the tiniest bit (in Maine so small town not too too many choices) and they all wanted sex. I wondered if a pay dating site might yield better results bc those men (or whatever you're after) pay to actually find a mate. they're more serious. just a thought, not sure if that's real but it's my theory. I deleted my acct pretty quickly bc I didn't want just sex and it got overwhelming. ugh. Reply Fetlife is not a "dating" site, so there is no algorithm for match ups. It's a community for social networking for those of the kinkier persuasion. Kind of like a dark facebook with forums. If you go into it looking for hook ups, you will be sadly disappointed, but, if you involve yourself in your local community attending munches (Google it) you can find compatible and even life long relationships with other like minded kinky fellows. I loveit. I found "home" when iI found fetlife.Though it can get pedantic and has iit's fair share of drama llamas and trolls like any other forum site. K&P (kinky &popular) is always good for a laugh and a perve. Reply I was just going to say the same thing about Fet NOT being a dating site. In fact the creator has specifically avoided allowing searches to be built by age or sex in an effort to keep it more as a social network than anything else. I will also say I get the most out of it when I'm actually out and involved with the local community. My fiance uses it to arrange photoshoots at community events with local riggers and models and it is a way for them to communicate with them if they want images without having to use their personal email address etc. I like it to stay in touch with the learning events going on in our city (with a population of 1 million that equals a very diverse and busy kink scene). If you were looking for a kink dating site I would have reviewed CollarMe.com …I met my fiance there….but you also have to weed through a lot of junk as it is a free site and when you add kink to the mix it can be kinda icky sometimes. Reply I'd never heard of CollarMe.com! Thank you very much for the tip. Reply Just be careful with collarme.com with your photos. Every time I've made a profile there, I've had a man claim he's saved my picture and attempt to blackmail me. (Tip: If anyone threatens blackmailing, do not respond, report the profile to the site and if they have a credible threat, report it to the FCC/authorities). Reply CollarMe gets a LOT of flack and is a well know haven for creepers … BUT, two of my very good friends met on there and have been together for five years now. As mentioned by those above Fetlife is intended to be social networking only (although that doesn't stop random messages from people who epically fail #3) but offers a lot of great opportunities to see whats going on in RL in your community. If kink is a must-have part of your future relationships, going to local fetish events is the best way to meet non-vanillas. Reply "If kink is a must-have part of your future relationships, going to local fetish events is the best way to meet non-vanillas." Okay, NOW I understand FetLife. Thank you! While I feel Fetlife is the best place for me to meet people, it's NOT a dating site Reply Great info. My husband and I met on okcupid and my only additional piece of advice would be to make sure you talk a bit on the phone before you meet in person. I talked to a few creepy people that passed the "not an internet serial killer" test until I spoke to them on the phone… No joke, one guy told me he was going to chop his MOTHER into tiny pieces so no one could ever find her!!! Sometimes my internet chat radar isn't as well tuned as my tone of voice, hearing pauses radar… Also, on okcupid answer as many of the survey type questions as you can to get better results. One summer when I was bored I answered what felt like a billion of them and I really found the matching tool interesting, how it collated all that data and spit it back out as a % match 🙂 Reply I ended up using OkCupid, but I had different goals than the OP did… I was definitely looking for something serious and heading toward the goal of "lifetime partner/marriage". I had originally tried Match.com, but I didn't have any luck with it because most of the people there were in their late 20's (I was in my early 20's at the time) and were very career-minded; I had just dropped out of college and was working in retail. If you're looking for something serious, I would recommend making your profile in-depth. Because my profile was so intense, most people who were interested in hook-ups or short-term/fun relationships thought "ugh tl;dr" and sort of left me alone. I ended up meeting my fiancee this way, and after I met her I was able to make a close friendship using this same method. That being said, I feel like OkCupid is much more geared toward people who want more fun relationships, in which case the OP gives excellent advice! Reply My husband and I met on Match.com. It was a a whim to join, and I didn't expect anything. In fact, I was hoping to just casually date a few people. I was so scared and nervous too, that I ended up just emailing with people for probably 2 months, then finally met one guy in person (mega dud), then another in person (2 dates, but it didn't work out), and then finally my husband in person. I think having low expectations is important! And taking the time to talk to them before jumping in. And don't be afraid to make the first move (I "winked" at my husband first, he had about given up on online dating but my wink made him give it one last try). My roommate and I were on OKCupid in college, and I think I met one guy from there, but mostly we were just there for laughs. I think that since it was free, it attracts ALL kinds of people, whereas on Match, you do have to pay, so people who join are actually looking to have a relationship (for the most part). Reply I met my husband on OKCupid. I first met a few other people. Couple of dates with one nice guy, then a few months with someone awful and manipulative, then met The Spouse. He'd also had not-so-good luck on there and messaged me as a "one more and then I delete this damn thing" attempt. My friend didn't like OKCupid because when she got a lot of one liners and booty call requests. They really unnerved her, but I just brushed them off and blocked them. So maybe have a plan on how you will deal with unwanted messaging just to keep your head level. I also got the most polite sexy time request from a guy old enough to me my dad: he asked if I was interested in meeting up (without typos and grossness), I said I wasn't there for sex, he said "Oh okay. Sorry about that. Have a great evening!". Oh, and a diaper fetishist messaged me too. Reply I had pretty much the same experience with OK Cupid. My husband and I met on there about 3 and a half years ago. We got married this past June. He also had had a number of not-so-great first dates and was ready to give it up. He kept at it because his brother had met a really cool girl on there (they got married a little over a year ago) so he messaged me and the rest is history. I definitely had a few creepers, but the few dates I went on before I met my husband were OK. Nothing creepy or gross, just no sparks. I was lucky that I met my husband pretty early into my online dating experience. Reply Ah, online dating sites. I met my husband on Plenty of Fish. That's right, I actually spent sufficient time on that site to find someone I wanted to date. They had a new feature at the time, suggesting people who they think would like you based on profiles they have viewed. My husband came up. We honest wonder if it was an error as he hadn't logged in in 3 months. I wrote him a ridiculously long message, he went through at least 2 beers reading it, and we started chatting. I had some pretty irritating experiences. I messaged people who sounded interesting but got no response. I got responses from people who were pretty far out from who I said I was. I also am in a relatively small city so the options are limited. I also had people approach me who obviously should not have (men who were far outside the age I had listed as something I would consider, people just looking to hook up). My tips include really showing your personality in your profile. Do not tone yourself down or pretend to be anything but who you are. That just ends up wasting a lot of time and reduces the chances that you'll find someone who would actually find you interesting. I agree with Caroline, do share a good picture. Don't share an old one or one you have photoshopped into unrecognizability. I accidentally started talking to an ex boyfriend (who I had met on a different dating site), because his photo looked nothing like him and his information was at least partially a lie. It was creepy. I tried the free level of e-Harmony and the matches I got were all people who seemed like I would have nothing in common with them. Cupid.com is one we have where I am. I had met people on it previously but it rarely went well in the long run. I really found that if you connect with people based on personality and interests it will go much better than if someone is just attractive but doesn't say anything in their profile. If you want to just hook up, that's going to be easiest. Lots of people want that. If that's all you want, just be honest about it. It can be worth giving people a message even if they don't seem like they are the right fit, but be prepared to find out someone is not exactly as advertised. I did poke around on a geek dating website but it never really went anywhere. Reply I also met my Husband on Plenty of Fish! I was on there for about three months, and luckily for him I was so used to all the regulars I found his profile right away and scooped him up within hours of his joining. We've been together for five years next month. I was 18 at the time, and couldn't even tell you the number of times men over 50 offered to pay me. It was mega creepsville, and even though I met my Husband through it I still hesitate to recommend it. Reply A guy on POF tried to force himself on me. I reported his account and deleted mine. I'm about to marry a man I met on OkCupid. Some sites work for different people. Reply I also found a life-partner through okcupid. I tried out eharmony too BUT it was really weird and not a good fit. I found okcupid when a friend recommended their nerdy blog and I LOVED it. Lots of cool information based on the site's data as well as an interesting description of why paying for dating sites can actually be less effective (http://www.columbia.edu/~jhb2147/why-you-should-never-pay-for-online-dating.html). That post has been taken off their actual blog because they were recently purchased by Match, but the rest of the blog, which is also not being updated, is still fascinating. http://blog.okcupid.com/ There's info on why people leave okcupid and who gets the most messages, and what people are lying about. (Straight) Men tend to leave because they're not getting any messages/responses and (straight) women leave because they're overwhelmed with messages that aren't personal. So I'd echo the advice for women to show interest too and not leave all the messaging to men! That's how I found my bf! I do live in a major metropolitan area, so there was a good mix of serious and just-looking-for fun stuff out there. I also spent a TON of time refining my profile and didn't get as many attempts and random hookups (but still lots) as some people I know. I found after a couple years of online dating that the chemistry was so important that it wasn't worth investing a lot of energy into the getting-to-know-someone-online thing before meeting in person (in a public place). I was actually really cautious about giving out my phone number until I really felt comfortable with someone, and this was a good unintentional litmus test. If someone asked for my phone number and I explained I didn't want to give it out until I met someone and felt safe about it, and they freaked out, they were not worth it. The nice ones were always really understanding. Reply Yes to reading the blog, and a huge YES to your last paragraph. I wasn't that cautious with my phone number if I actually planned to meet someone, but I didn't ever give my name until the in-person meeting. One guy who messaged me (which I didn't respond to, since it was a useless message) was oddly insistent about finding out my name, and even messaged me again to ask why I hadn't responded to him and ask what my name was again. After that I decided it was better to have a one strike, you're blocked policy. The nice ones tend to send good messages from the start, and are fine with you enforcing your boundaries however you feel comfortable. Reply A few years ago I was on OKcupid for a bit when I lived in the middle of nowhere (an hour to the nearest grocery store)…I definitely had some weird shady interactions with a lot of people. There were a couple people I found interesting and enjoyed going out with a few times, but they were all people that I contacted first. Most people who contacted me were way creepy. A lot of MUCH older men (like 30 years older than me), a couple of them commenting on how much they liked my armpit hair (Is that supposed to be a sexy pick-up line? Haha). This one guy sent me a 'wink' but no message or anything. I never responded to those because I figured if they were really interested then they would have said hello or commented on my profile or something. After a while he sent me a badly spelled message along the lines of "hey why didn't you respond?" I politely told him that I generally don't respond to winks and that I looked at his profile and it did not seem like we had much in common. (Like you, I had a lot of people contact me that were extremely incompatible). He proceeded to get really angry and call me a bitch and tell me I was probably a lesbian (I identified on the profile as queer, so I don't know why he would even think that was an insult. Unless he really did not even read it, which is totally possible). When I didn't respond he sent me another really hostile message, so I blocked him. I think the reason it was such a weird experience for me was because I had never really DATED…I had always just gotten into relationships with folks I had been friends with, usually for quite a long time prior. (Even now, I am with someone I met through my brother that actually went to my high school). So, I think the fact that I was going out with people with the expectation of a date before I actually KNEW if I wanted to date them was a strange one for me, and was difficult when I realized I didn't really want to go on anymore dates. The people I dated through okcupid were very nice and it sucked telling them I just wasn't that into it, but I suppose that happens with anyone you go on dates like that with, regardless of where you meet them. :/ ANYWAY, it was an interesting experience and I really like your tips and advice. There are a lot of decent people online, you just have to wade through a lot of creepers to find them, heh. Good luck on all your future dates! 🙂 Reply Oh! I am also curious if anyone has any good "offbeat" dating sites. When I was looking, I searched a bit for nerdy or more politically liberal/radical dating sites and didn't come up with much. Reply Trivia: many people over the years have requested an Offbeat Dating site (a request came in just last week!) and the truth is that while it would probably be a money-maker, I'm just not equipped to deal with the emotional liability issues. What if someone got assaulted by someone they met through my site? Even if I was legally protected against culpability, I don't know that I could handle the sense of emotional responsibility. Reply I actually worked for one of these dating websites and let me tell you, you aren't wrong about the emotional difficulties. There were days where we'd all be crying because of some of the things we handled/dealt with behind the scenes. Think pedophiles, underage girls pretending to be old enough to join the site, and all the interactions between them; think scammers from Nigeria visibly swindling older site users out of their money in front of your eyes; think users reporting one another for things like rape or assault, and having no legal ramifications, because all you can do is report it and ban the user, but you aren't even sure if they DID get raped because a lot of the users would admit to saying things about the other person that were untrue simply because they were mad the person didn't pay for their date, or was bigger or shorter or uglier in person than what they thought they'd be…it was a hell of a fun job, to be sure, but the stress took its toll and there were no policies or help in place for the employees to turn to when we came across that stuff. I wouldn't want to do it again! Reply Yeah, I definitely understand your reasons for not wanting to take on something like that. However, it could drum up additional business for OBB… hehe. Reply I met my husband on eharmony. I have a friend who tried it and it didn't work well for her, to each their own. My only advice is be thoughtful in how you answer the profile questions. I had a couple lame dates, but nothing awefull. I liked how you could slowly ramp up the conversation if you are more tentative, or bypass that option if you just want to jump in. Choosing pics to include was the hardest part for me! Reply I met boyfriend on Match.com (and have had fairly significant relationships with two people I'd met on there in the past) and I like it. My personal view is that because it's a paid site there are much fewer of the trolling for sex types (they are there, but there are fewer of them, I found). I'd tried PoF a few times and definitely preferred Match for that reason. Plus PoF just largely felt…weird? I can't explain it….maybe it's just because I attracted rather unique types on there! I like how Match doesn't make you answer 5 million questions to sign up and I also like that there isn't a helluva lot of leading in Match's profile (ie, they give you big text boxes to write what you want). Here's a pro tip for Match as well, they do sales a lot. So, if you create your free profile and then wait a bit you'll get an email offer to sign up with a discount. Saves you spending quite as much right from the get go. But, then again, I had no problem spending £70 for a six month membership when I considered that that's about the cost of two dates….if I had someone to date at the time. Reply I totally agree with this comment! I am currently in a relationship with someone I met on Match, and I found that my experience there was far better than any of the free sites. Ultimately, it's worth the investment if you can afford it, because the people on there are serious enough to be willing to pay for the service. I also like that their profile is pretty open-ended, and they don't waste your time with extensive surveys or personality tests. You just make your profile, do your thing, and meet people if they seem interesting! I went on several dates that didn't pan out, but I am pretty selective, so I fortunately never encountered any total weirdos. Basically, go into it with an open mind, don't have too high of expectations, and have fun with it! Reply I tried to join I THINK IT WAS eharmony and apparently, I and 25% of the population aren't able to join that site because we're too amazing or something. (Actually, I suspect it was a small perceived inconsistency somewhere on the dating profile quiz.) And yeah. FetLife's website. I'm sure that site is incredibly intricate, but my god does it need a facelift and a purge of old, unused accounts. In my area, all of the folks from FetLife meet up at one venue that's just sketch as hell. For that reason alone, I steer my friends away. In larger markets, I'm sure there are better options. I originally joined OKCupid because of the quizzes and because it was an offshoot of TheSpark. With the matching system, it really should be one of the more interesting and relevant dating sites. But the fact that the users choose to totally ignore profiles and matching makes it worthless. I wish they would create a side experiment where you can find matches based on profiles and stats, THEN you get to see the photos. Boom, best dating site going. My profile currently has me listed in a relationship and looking for strictly friendship and I still get hit up constantly. I wish my crushing nostalgia would let me delete my profile. I met my boyfriend through a random video chat site–not like Chat Roulette, but a group webcam chat room. It takes some time because you get to know people by hanging out. It's often troll-ridden, full of unbidden penis and you don't get a choice as to where your co-chatters are from, but it worked for me! Reply "Unbidden penis" is now entering my vocabulary. Reply I can't believe there's a sentence beginning "'Unbidden penis' is now entering…" that provoked a guilt-free laugh. Reply I had the same problem with eharmony! Definitely too awesome. Reply I met my ex on okcupid and it was a really good match and the relationship lasted 3 years before hitting a roadblock no one could have seen coming and I am now back on okcupid for round 2. Before that I tried match.com but found most of the guys were older 30s and 40s while I was in my early 20s. This probably varies geographically. I think a great online dating tip is go in with an idea of how much time you want to spend on it. I try to check it once or twice in the evening after work and that seems to be perfect for me. If I spend too much time on it it starts to feel like an energy drain Reply I started out on Yahoo's personals, and I'm not even sure they exist anymore. I actually had good luck on Plenty of Fish, but mainly because I knew what I was looking for. I developed a few rules over the several years I toyed around with online dating: 1) Meet for at least coffee with someone who is interesting enough to warrant it as soon as possible after the first contact, even if you've spoken on the phone. There's nothing as effective as getting a read on someone in person. Saved myself tons of time and emotional investment in not-suitable partners with that one. It's ok to say "sorry, I'm not feeling a spark" afterward. It's honest and clear and hard for us women sometimes. Most empowering thing I learned to do, though. 2) With soooo many people looking for partners online now, it's kind of overwhelming. Here's what finally worked for me: I figured out *what I had to offer* and how I *actually lived my life*, not only what I was interested in trying or would've liked to do "someday". Once I was honest about how much time I could realistically give to a relationship, between kids and my business, how I actually live, what my priorities were and how emotionally available I could be, the shape of the right partner started to become visible. Once I could see that, it was so much easier to see whether or not a potential match would fit. I was interviewing them for the position just as much as they were interviewing me, which helped me feel more confident and at ease. In the end, after lots of different coffee dates, I found a great guy whose life meshes with mine perfectly. Our 4th First-Date-iversary is on Sunday. 🙂 Reply There is no IRL. There is only AFK.* Each of these sites is just an online, intensified experience of meeting real people – real a–holes, real sex-obsessed people, real disrespectful people, real people you can't stand, real friends, and real amazing, incredible, life-changing partners. I met some great people through OK Cupid, including my fantastic husband. It's just old-school dating presented digitally, and I wish everyone would stop pretending it's any different. *In Real Life, Away From Keyboard Reply Ahhh online dating….I first delved into that in college, when a girl on my dorm floor said she met her boyfriend on AOL (remember that??). My mind was totally blown. I went for it and never looked back. I met my first husband literally randomly on ICQ (don't know if that's still around). He randomly started chatting with me, because the site gave you that option. We were married for almost 9 years, and divorced in 2010. From 2010-mid 2011 I was online dating like there was no tomorrow. Here's my take: Match.com – hated this. It's free to join, but in order to do anything like respond to messages, you have to pay. Most profiles are useless because of this reason – people are cheap and refuse to pay for the site. I went on like 1 date with a guy I met from there. Plenty of Fish – Not too bad in my case. I met a couple of fuck buddies on there, and some random hookups. They need a facelift for sure on that site. OkCupid- I LOVED the data analytics and the blog and the survey questions. Wonderful for blowing off endless hours online. I met 2 boyfriends on that site. I was with each for only a couple months though, but still! I really liked the percentages and maybe was one of the few who took them seriously. I also met some friends with benefits there and some fuck buddies as well. EHarmony – It actually let me join! This was kind of meh. I met 1 person IRL off here that I remember. He was a decent guy and we went out a few times. I think he had potential but someone else grabbed me first for the relationship. I hooked up with him again after that relationship fizzled but I think he lost interest in in me. 🙁 And – no judging here please: Craigslist. Yes, I used it, and YES you can find ANYTHING on here. Even a spouse. Yes. I met my current husband on here and he is AMAZING. Best husband ever. This yielded the most results, and maybe it's just my area (Alaska) but they were all pretty normal people. Yes, they wanted sex and hookups, but frankly, they're men. No matter what site you're on, they're gonna be after that if they can get it. No exceptions. None. I never met one that didn't. My husband held off a tiny bit longer than most because he immediately saw that I had long term potential, but even so – he wanted sex. I had no idea of the reputation of CL before I got on it, maybe if I had I wouldn't have, but really, I say – don't go to casual encounters (duh) and really, it's awesome. I do have a friend in a long term relationship who he initially met as a casual encounter from the list of craig, though, so maybe even that advice take with a grain of salt. No matter which route you go, cast the net far and wide if you're serious about it. You will get more results if you use multiple sites. You will also run into the same people on different sites too, though. Don't be afraid to reach out first, but also remember that women rule the roost when it comes to online dating. We get more responses and can pick and choose the best of the bunch. 🙂 I would absolutely do it again if I had to. Reply Ooooh, I have so many opinions about this. I did online dating for probably six years and went on maybe a couple hundred dates. Here's where I ended up: In a smaller city (<300,000-400,000 people), it is exactly the same pool of available men on every site. I recognized the same guys from CL, Match, OKCupid. If they are looking, they are looking everywhere. I finally went with CL because it was free and I like text. I always led with my strongest differentiator (no TV). I was looking to screen as many people out. My problem was too many responses, either generic or horribly lonely. I wanted fewer better responses. My sense of who people were from a brief text-only response was very good. If I caught a whiff of misogyny or conventional dating norms from a short email, or if I simply thought we were not alike, I was always right. Text is sufficient to determine if you want to meet that person. Contra the original poster, I never put up a picture. I am conventionally pretty and it would have gotten me too much stupid attention. I never asked for one either, since I was unwilling to give one. When I was answering an ad, I figured I should meet his terms, so I would send one. But I absolutely refused to post or send one if it is my own ad. It is just fucking coffee. You can live through one coffee with an ugly (to you) girl, if that's who I turn out to be. I went on so many dates (and was generally shocked at how bad men were at putting their best foot forward. I think they are so lonely, so as soon as they met a listener, they'd pour their hearts out and I ended up listening to terrible off-putting lengthy stories on the first date). It took me a while to realize. My goal on any particular occasion was not to meet My Soulmate. My goal was throughput. If I met and checked someone off the list, that was also progress. Finally, the key to internet dating, from someone who went on hundreds of internet dates. Go to brunch. Brunch will do you right. There's no question of spending the night. It ends and you haven't wasted your whole day thinking about it. It is always fun to eat brunch out. Go to brunch. A million times better than dinner or drinks. Brunch, my friends. (I did finally meet him. He mentioned the other day that he looked back at all the women he went on a date or two with, or followed their profiles. Every one of them is engaged or in a partnership now. It may take a while, but if that's what you want, meeting a lot of people will very likely get you there.) Reply Here's a second to craigslist. I used it in NYC a long time ago (2003), but found a boyfriend that I stayed with for 3 years. I thought it easy to filter out the guys just looking to mess around, since that wasn't what I was looking for then. I also second the brunch idea, although I'd caution to make sure you have somewhere else you "have" to be afterwards. I ended up on one date that lasted from brunch through 8pm because I had said at the beginning that I didn't have anything else going on that day, and I felt it was too rude to say "I'm tired of hanging out with you now, so I'm going home." (I was young and inexperienced and very shy…) Reply My husband and I met 8 years ago on E harmony…I lucked out and met him during the free online week trial. Haha One of my friends met her husband on Hot or Not.com. if i remember correctly it's a rating site and not a dating site, haha. Reply Add one more to the legions who met their current partner online. I used OkCupid, and he was actually the first guy I met up with in person from there. We've been dating for 3.5 years now. I think the most important thing for that site in particular is to answer lots of questions, and also carefully fill out the "how important is this to you" and "what answers would be unacceptable" corollaries. The algorithm found me lots of people with a match rating of 95% and up (btw, I really am in the right region of the country for meeting people with similar beliefs and values to mine), and when I read their profiles they really did look like people I'd get along with and probably want to date. I also very, very much agree with making the first move yourself, as a woman looking for men. Men don't get nearly as many messages, so someone you like is fairly likely to respond to you right off the bat, and that way your inbox won't be entirely filled with creeps or people who don't have anything to say other then "HEY BEAUTIFUL" and are not compatible with you at all. That gets demoralizing quickly, so use the block button liberally! Reply Fantastic advice! Reply I'm another person who met their spouse on OkCupid, glad to know there's a bunch of us out there!! I couldn't stand PlentyOfFish, but here's some ways I made OkCupid a happier place for me: 1. Set strong filters. It can feel harsh, but setting filters that block certain age groups, people looking for hook-ups, or people whose compatibility percentages are too low helps keep your inbox looking nice(r). 2. Don't be afraid to block. If someone comes off as creepy or sleazy, block them. You might feel guilty at first, but it will save you a LOT of emotional drama down the line. 3. Answer a lot of OkC's questions. The more you answer, the more the percentage system works in your favor. It really makes a difference. 4. If you're bi, it is really hard to find same-sex people on OkC. It's a problem with their site's set up or algorithm or something. I haven't used the site in a few years, so they might have fixed that problem, but a lot of my bi friends would temporarily change their settings to "gay/lesbian" in order to find same-sex compatible people — one woman complained that she would see 60% compatible men before OkC would show 85% compatible women. Reply Bi people have the option of making their OKC profile invisible to straight people. When you select this, only gay and bi people of your own sex and bi people of the opposite sex will show up in your matches. You can turn this option on and off whenever you want. Reply I met my husband on a dating website. I was on and off the same website (nzdating.co.nz) for a good… 10 years actually. I had several boyfriends from there, a few of them for over a year, one for 2.5 years, and now my husband. I definitely found that the more I put in the profile, the better quality of guys that sent me messages. It also helped me weed out those that couldn't be bothered reading it. If they asked me a question that was clearly stated in my profile, I'd ignore them. I laid out exactly what I wanted in my profile, so if they didn't fit it, I deleted their message. I agree with going on at least one date. My husband had particularly unflattering photos up, so even though his profile was okay (not hugely filled out) I was iffy. I decided to go on a date with him anyway. I came home from that date telling my flatmate I'd met the man I was going to marry, and did so 3 years later 🙂 Reply This made me grin wide 😀 Reply I met my fiance on OKCupid. I admittedly had to wade through the idiots first and through people who were kind of nice but didn't interest me. It was obviously worth it in the end though. My fiance is amazing. 🙂 I agree with someone above who said to answer many of the questions on OKCupid. Comparing answers made for some good conversations between my now-fiance and me. I also agree that it's good to talk on the phone and/or voice chat for a while before meeting in person. Before I met my fiance there were some dumb messages I got that I simply laughed off and ignored. My "favorite" being nothing but the following: "I want be friend wih you." (I left the "t" out of "with" on purpose, to be clear, lol.) Reply Any words of advice for an online introvert? I signed up for OkCupid when I moved to my new town, but I actually just disabled my account because I just never worked up the nerve to respond to anyone. Granted, most of the message I receive are pretty bland and don't actually elicit responses, but even with the ones that were nice and thoughtful, I just couldn't do it. (Honestly I am more of a dating introvert than anything, and I have trouble with any interaction that could possibly lead to romance – I thought online dating might be a good way to practice, but without the pressure of face to face interaction, I just opt out!) Reply I met my husband through a craigslist personals ad. I'm an ordained minister and have done weddings for a couple who met though yahoo personals, and two couples who met through craigslist. When I turned 30 and decided to date (prior to that I decided to be single and not date) I started reading craigslist personal ads. I didn't post one of my own. My filtering criteria: age, location, a modicum of decent grammar, and can't be overtly looking for sex. That immediately filters out 90% of the ads. I also preferred reading the ads without pictures because you never knew who was gonna try to surprise you with a picture of their genitals… My rules for safety: google voice phone number and dedicated gmail account for all emails. Also, any photos I sent had a filter on them so you got the "colored pencil" or "comic book" version of my image – good enough to see if you're interested in meeting in person, but not so good that someone could use it for nefarious purposes (and also no geo locator tags on them). (I also became aware at one point about the traceability of IP addresses so I started sending those emails from public wifi access points). I hope I don't sound über paranoid, but I got curious about the guys who emailed me and started snooping around with the information I had about them and was freaked out how super easy it is to pinpoint where someone lived and worked…and I'm not even a techie person so if I could do that then it is creepy to think about what someone who knows what they're doing could do if they wanted to! I usually tried to speak with a potential date by phone before we met in person (hence the use of the google voice number) and we would always have our first date at a crowded coffee shop. I'll be honest and say that I broke at least two of the above rules when I met my husband. His ad had terrible grammar and we didn't connect via phone before the date so he never got my google voice number. But, I knew he was special because at the end of our first date he got my real phone number, and I'd never given that out before! Reply I'm very happily married, and we're in a sort of one-sided open relationship (husband is totally fine with me seeing other people but he doesn't feel the need to do so himself). I've been using OKC to find likeminded people in my city (pop. 900k) and it's mostly been disappointing, with just enough fun experiences to keep me from deactivating my account. All my relationships/hookups/whatever follow the same basic pattern: I meet someone, we hit it off really well and have great chemistry, we have a few dates, sexytimes ensue, everything goes really well… and then they just stop returning my calls or replying to my messages. I've had that happen with 3 people, and I'm currently seeing #4 and worried that the same thing will happen with him, which would really bum me out because I'm super into him. The worst part is that I can't figure out what the hell I'm doing wrong (or if I even am doing anything wrong, apart from being attracted to people who turn out to be flakes). One of the people this happened with was a really fabulous woman who is also in an open marriage. We had a ton of stuff in common, the sex was great, she told me she hoped to see me at least once a week… and then she stood me up for a date and just totally cut me out of her life with no explanation. It gets pretty disheartening! Reply Don't rule out Plenty of Fish just because of its bad interface (though I do agree it's terrible). I met my husband on there after getting advice from a friend who met her husband there too. As she put it, "You have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to the good stuff, so don't get discouraged." She's right. I actually found Plenty of Fish to be preferable to eHarmony. Sure, eHarmony is "prettier" but I was sometimes getting matched with 100+ guys per day, which I found overwhelming. There was also no way to browse users on your own; you had to content yourself with whatever people the algorithm matched you with. I was once comparing eHarmony matches with a friend. I saw a guy on her matches that she wasn't interested in, but we both agreed that he sounded perfect for me. But I hadn't been matched with him and there was no way I could look him up from my own account. I also found that it was really time-consuming to answer all those questions every time I wanted to contact someone. Oh, and the cost was prohibitive. What I liked about Plenty of Fish was that it's free, and you don't have to follow guided questions in your profile. There's also an option that blocks people who have contacted other uses solely for sex from seeing you. Not that there's anything wrong with a hookup if that's what you're looking for, but I was looking for marriage and so I did not want to deal with men who had recently been hooking up. I also liked that I could browse people on my own, because sometimes you see profiles that aren't "on paper" what you're looking for, but are still appealing. (Like my husband – I doubt that eHarmony would have matched us, but we're super compatible.) Something else I would add is that when you write your profile, really check your spelling and grammar. It sounds dorky but it is all about first impressions. You wouldn't have spelling mistakes on your CV so why have them on your dating profile? In fact, the reason I initially messaged my husband was because his profile was well-written and thorough and had no spelling mistakes. He later told me that he replied to my message after he read my profile because I had no spelling mistakes either, hahaha. But as far as online dating goes in general, it seems to be the case that if you persevere long enough, you will eventually find a partner. In fact, I now have more couple friends who met through online dating than those who met in other ways. I also think it's a more efficient and targeted way to find someone. After all, if you meet someone in the street and want to ask them out you have to go through the whole song and dance of "Are they single? Are they looking for the same thing as me? Are we compatible?" With online dating you can find out what you need to know relatively quickly, because hey, we all know why we're here. Reply I was one of those people who thought negatively about online dating before finally trying it. I met my husband on a gothic dating site that I don't think exists anymore. I liked it because it meant I'd find someone with a shared music, lifestyle, and fashion interest more likely than on a larger more mainstream site. It also had a small part of the questionnaire about interest in bdsm which was something that was important to both of us in finding someone compatible. Also used Geek 2 Geek and went on two dates through that and also chatted with a few other guys who had potential to be interesting. I had an ad that stressed that I liked creativity and was a writer so got a lot of cool artsy people responding who liked painting, writing their own comic books, or making movies and stuff like that. From my experience I think it would work well for a lot of the interests of the ladies of the empire. Got maybe two odd responses on each site, but I just ignored them. I'd definitely recommend searching out more niche sites if you live somewhere with a high population density (I live in North Jersey near NY City). You might get less matches but those that you do find will be more likely to meet your offbeat personality than on larger mainstream sites. The funny thing is while I was experimenting with online dating I also went on a date with a guy I met at a goth night and out of all the dates it was the most awkward and least fun. I agree with the other comments about fetlife. I love it a lot, but it is much more like Facebook or Vampire Freaks than a dating site. You might meet a play partner or someone for a dating relationship there, but it is not setup for that and some kinksters actually get offended by others who try to solely use it that way. I've never tried Collar Me, but my husband went on a date with someone he met through it and had an ok experience with the site. Reply Online dating (OkCupid) has worked out sooooo well for me. If you're female and looking for men, though, you have to wade through a lot of dreck. It got a little overwhelming when I started looking for guys as well as ladies. So many messages. So many. Most of them awful. But then if you go to a bar or something, you'll get hit on by a bunch of people you have no interest it and maybe one you do. Online dating at least you have the option to just not respond at all. I've have some fantastic friends and playmates that I never would have met without the online dating thing. You just have to have the energy and willingness to sort through a lot of people who you don't want. Somewhat like face to face interactions, except you can do it in your pjs at three in the morning, so for me it works better. Reply I haven't see the website I met my fiance on mentioned yet so I might as well give it a plug! We met on the passions network, which is a HUGE group of niche dating websites all joined together. We met through the largepassions (fat people :D) one. Granted, this was 7 years ago, but when I used it, I didn't really encounter any creeps. That's probably changed by this point, but if you want to look for trekkies, vegans, exercise fanatics, or any other sort of specific thing, it might be worth checking out. Reply I don't think it's so odd that a man who thinks that homosexuality is a sin would be romantically interested in a bisexual woman. I'm bisexual and when my husband and I started dating I think he thought that sex between people of the same sex was a sin. I think he also thought premarital sex was a sin but wasn't put off by my having had sex with people I wasn't married to, including women. For my part, I'm vegan and I wasn't put off by his eating meat. Maybe it was different because we knew each other before we started dating. I think my dating pool would be very small if it only included people who agreed with all my moral positions. Reply For UK people, I hear amazing thing abouts Guardian Soulmates. I know three couples (two straight, one gay) who are now married after meeting through that site. Reply I met my husband on Geek2Geek (gk2gk.com) which is a geek dating site. I really like the whole idea of specialized dating sites. I tried several other sites but realized that I was just looking for _a_ geek. Due to the limited amount of geeks on each site, there weren't many options and it wasn't very likely that I'd find _the_ geek for me. So it was quite a revelation when I found geek 2 geek. Reply I met my boyfriend on OkCupid. The site worked out well for me, but I did have to field a lot of uncomfortable requests. At first I'd give my number to almost anyone to asked for it (I was newly divorced and had a 'I can do anything I want!' mentality). I stopped that after I received some 'unbidden penis' pics (thanks for that one, Dootsie!). I got a lot of messages, but I'm very non-confrontational so if I wasn't interested, I wouldn't respond. The messages I did respond to were ones that referenced something in my profile. If someone said, "Hey, I like Christopher Nolan films too." then I'd at least email them back. Also, a bit of advice that's OkCupid specific: Pay attention to the match percentages, but don't put too much weight on them. I went on dates with several guys who matched me 95% (one even matched me at 99%). Incidentally, none of those ended up being my boyfriend. My boyfriend's match percentage with me was 75% which was why I initially passed him over. He saw I looked at his profile and messaged me. We emailed back and forth for a couple weeks, and I realized that even though we had differences, the way we handled them made them not a big deal. We met in person two or three weeks after we first started talking, and we've been inseparable ever since. Reply I met my husband through OKC. Actually…. I've met a lot of people and I've blocked a lot of idiots. I have also suffered through POF, Fetlife, and OKC for over ten years. (I refuse to generally meet people from fetlife and I hate POF with a passion now though.) I've met some great people and I've met a LOT of assholes. I will admit- I look at dating as looking for a potential mate, so I generally don't go for people who are only looking for fuck buddies. I get horn dog messages at least three times a week nowadays. ( Well…. that depends on which profile picture I have up though!) Now that my husband and I are openly poly and somewhat taking to dating again it's "back to the drawing board" with dating in general because we have to approach everything at a whole new angle. We aren't swingers, and we aren't looking for sex partners- it's difficult. I have generally have a huge Q&A on my profile because I've gotten so tired of answering the same questions over, and over, and over. (I'm working on shortening it down and then maybe posting it as a journal entry that I can just link to.) Just like walking through a crowded room- online dating takes a lot of patience and time to sort through people and find someone worthwhile. It's rough because you have to visually SEE each "potential" person and read about them instead of just bumping into them while going for a drink. It's awesome because you can get a real feel for the person and if you even WANT to meet whoever you are looking at. Personally, I've always thought that dating online is WAY safer than dating random people who slip you their number at some seedy bar. (That is ME though and my thoughts on the matter via MY experiences.) Truth be told, I've dated two people who I met offline- first one was a complete psychopath and the other was VERY not someone who I would even associate with… ever. I like and prefer online dating because I can read about a person before I even try to meet them. (It probably helps that I can tell if a person is generally bad news after so long of reading profiles.) Add on that a picture speaks a thousand words- you can tell a LOT about people by their profile pictures. Reply I recently set up an OK Cupid profile for similar reasons. My ex- and I had been together since highschool and I spent over a year single before even considering dating again, and then realized that dating in highschool is a lot different than dating in your early twenties and that I needed practice. Similarly to the messages from 50% Enemy dudes, I found a lot of people who had 90%+ Match but didn't jive on my level (somehow I got people who thought homesexualty was a sin with a really high Match percent? Or people with high Match percents who tried to rid me of my self-professed Feminst Killjoy attitudes?). Despite some pretty sketchy messages and a handful of mediocre at best dates, I think online dating can be a really great way to get to know what you want from a relationship without having to worry about setting yourself up for a ton of heartbreak. Post-break up I realized a bunch of things I need in my next relationship, and post-OKC I know even more — minus all the time spent putting my life back together. Plus, it was surprisingly good practice and helped me figure out how to date people I knew IRL as well. Reply I have almost always online dated. Mostly because I don't do crowds and have social anxiety, partly because I just found that the sort of people I actually wanted to spend time with were more apt to be on dating sites. POF is a cesspool. OKcupid is where I meet my husband. As a woman on these sites you are almost certain of getting a huge amount of messages that go something like "wow! Your eyes are so beautiful. What's your bra size? Do you like "insert sexism position'?" It is a sad fact of online dating. Reply My best advice in the realms of online dating is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. I was guilty of always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt even if something they said bothered me. Those guys were definitely not the ones I should have been on dates with. If you get a bad feeling, or just aren't feeling it save yourself the time/energy and move on. Don't feel bad about saying no. I did end up meeting a few guys on Yahoo! Personals , one that lasted a few months. I met my now husband on OKCupid. We chatted for about a week, talked on the phone and then met up. I don't recommend trying to establish any kind of relationship online. The sites are a great way to meet people, but there are a lot of creepers and just-for-sex people out there too. Filter yourself where you can and trust your instincts to do the rest. Good luck! Reply Wow, I sooooooo agree with what you said! I've used Match, and it took me a few weeks and couple of awkward meetings to finally realize that instincts are key! At first I found myself feeling like I was being "judgmental" for not being interested in someone's profile if they emailed me, but I think this is just a habit that many people (especially people in communities such as this, that pride themselves on being open-minded) form based on social expectations. I had to kick this habit, and go with my gut – once I started doing that, I started meeting people with whom I was much more compatible! I think that even in the digital age, connections are connections, and impressions are impressions. You have a connection, or you don't! And don't feel bad if you don't 😉 Reply I met my husband on Nerve.com in 2006. That was sort of before online dating really took off though, so I have no idea how it's all changed since then. I kind of have an impression that the % of skeezeballs using online dating has gone up as it's become more mainstream and less nerdy. Before him, I had dated someone else from Nerve for a year. I met some good people on there. It used to be that the dating site accessed through Nerve was a pool of profiles that people could access from various sites. I believe my husband had accessed the people network through The Onion, actually. Don't know if they do that anymore or not. And damn am I lucky he's more open-minded than I am. He winked at me, and I took a month to reply. My filters were set to search for someone with a college degree within 10 miles of me. Thank goodness he had fewer "criteria." He had no college degree (or high school diploma, for that matter) and lived 40 miles from me. So glad he found me. Reply I've considered signing up to okcupid a couple of times, but I've always been stopped by the fact that, since I'm genderqueer, I can't sign up without misgendering myself. Also I'm poly and there's no 'looking for' option for that but y'know the gender is the big issue. Reply I use Plenty of Fish (PoF), eharmony and RSVP (Australian specific I think?) I've also tried some plus size specific sites but they don't seem to have many local users and I'm not into my weight being fetishized (we all have our things but that isn't mine) I hate, hate, HATE eharmony. I want my money back. I can't even list the way it sucks, especially when they do the free communication weekends. I end up with my inbox full of matches to profiles filled out with ejajfndsvndkjndfbdf and pictures of beaches. POF is ok its more of a hook up kind of vibe and I'm not really looking for that so I haven't really used it after the initial month or so. RSVP is probably the best in my opinion of the three. Partly because I can list my body type, it isn't a huge issue for me but I want to make it clear I'm fat because in the past I've been matched with people for whom that is an issue and I like to avoid the waste of time communicating with someone only to get dropped when they realise I'm fat. I've experienced quite a bit of racism on the online dating scene. A friend and I actually just started a blog to vent about it because as it turns out she's also had similar experiences. Once my subscription to eharmony expires I wont be renewing it and I probably wont sign up for a subscription style site again. Reply Oh, OkCupid… if we go by Einstein's definition, that site is proof that I'm insane. I have much the same story as you, Caroline. I met my ex working at Disneyland when I was 19 and when we broke up 6 years later I had absolutely no clue how to date as an adult. But I knew I was ready to get back out there and make up for lost time. I started with "legitimate" dating sites (read, the ones you have to pay for) and quickly found that having my matches chosen for me was extremely irritating and limiting. I wanted to be able to look at whoever's photos I wanted and read any profile I liked. So after several unsuccessful tries at other sites, when I came across OkCupid it was like being a kid in a candy store. My first year of being single I went on something like 50 first dates. I definitely started out with a goal of finding a new long term relationship, but knowing myself to be picky, I just dove right in head first so I could meet as many new people as possible. There were a lot of lousy coffee dates where I ended things with a quick shake of the hand and a polite, "Well it was nice meeting you." I had some pretty strong personal filters out to make sure I didn't end up meeting anyone too creepy, but there were a lot of nice guys that I just had no chemistry with. There were a few short flings, a one night stand or two and then there were a few of actual relationships that came out of it. What amazes me is that even after my OkC romances lead to two of the most spectacularly awful breakups and heartaches of my life – I still went back for a third time. And I'm so very glad I did. My current boyfriend is so ridiculously perfect for me. It's been two years and I'm happier with him than I've been with anyone else. But after years of activity on dating sites I learned some really important lessons that if I should ever end up single again, I know I'll be prepared. The biggest piece of advice I have for women dating online is set your own boundaries. There are a lot of people out there who will try to push you to fit into their timeline or make assumptions about what your interactions will lead to. I'm not just talking about sex either. There were plenty of times that people assumed that since I had responded and was friendly that meant I was 100% interested and ready to jump into a deep, committed relationship the moment we met. Likewise, there WERE lots of men who felt that dinner and a movie meant that I owed them sex. But I had no qualms about shutting both of those situations down fast. If someone doesn't respect your boundaries, don't worry about being called a tease or a bitch, just walk away and don't look back. Reply Thanks for this comment, Nicki. This is great advice. It's also heartening to hear that someone in a very similar situation as mine ended up finding the happiest relationship of their life through OkC!! Reply I dated my ex for 7 years from age 19 too! Must be that certain age followed by the 7 year itch, haha. I met my fiancée through OKCupid and as strange as it sounds, it is possible to have that instant chemistry. My account was active for 20minutes and he stumbled upon me. We had a compatibility score of 94% and the conversation flowed as if I'd known him my whole life. We met about 6 weeks later and the rest is history. The best advice I can give is don't ever feel like you need to settle for any date because of a dry spell. There's an amazing person out there for everyone! Just sometimes it's harder to find them than others. Sometimes just entertaining polite conversation can result in fabulous friends so there's another win 🙂 I honestly don't see a bad side to this, hehe Reply Unlike most people who talk about their experiences with Ok Cupid, I had a good experience with the site. Like users above have said, think about how you're answering the questions (I answered A LOT of the multiple choice questions), and how you're describing yourself in the profile: be true to yourself. While I went on some dud dates, they weren't BAD dates: we just didn't click. They were nice enough guys, but not quite what I was looking for. Eventually I found my partner on there, and he even said he didn't have a horrible experience as an Ok Cupid user. Maybe it turned more into the hook-up site after we met (~2010)? Reply I've had ridiculously good luck with online dating. But I want to say it's more than luck because I think my attitude played a big part. I never "needed" what I was looking for. I laugh off the gross comments (and share them with my male partners so they "get it") and I only go on when I feel like it (goes from 3x/day to 1x/month). I met my husband (been together 4.5 years) after 5 weeks of online dating, then I met my partner of 1.5+ years 6 weeks after officially opening up our relationship. And just a few weeks ago, I had an excellent first date with another guy. All from OkCupid. I absolutely love it. I had very low expectations/standards in the beginning, but I didn't really care about results. Now, I'm busy with 2/3 partners, so my standards are super strict. I've stopped talking to anyone with a match lower than 85%. I figure if I didn't want a B in school, why would a B in love be ok? I do about 2-7 days of messaging before scheduling a first date, and it's always coffee. Even though I've only gone on ~10 first dates in 4+ years, 3 of them worked out wonderfully, so that's a 30% success rate! Reply Er, I used World of Warcraft and met someone that I've now been with offline for 5 years now. Apparently it's pretty common to end up with someone from there. (It's just too bad you can't have a setup to only play with people from your area. That'd be a neat preliminary exclusion. Did he steal loot? Block him. People like that are jerks. "No date for you!") A friend here even introduced us to now-friends who had also met on WoW and were only slightly farther apart in years than we were. Crazy world. Reply I met my fiance on plenty of fish. I didn't bother with okcupid because it tends to be more of a hook up site, at least in my area. I agree with that list, I never messaged anyone back who said "hey babe" and that was it. if you want to talk ask me something, if not I'm not interested. and yes! always talk to them on the phone! I know one guy (honestly I knew it was fishy but I heard after the fact) who went to meet a girl and it was a guy. also, if you can't have a decent phone conversation its unlikely you'll be able to have a decent face to face conversation. Reply Also: have a thick skin and a bit of confidence in yourself. I found my fiance on OkCupid and he's so lovely but I had to wade through an awful lot of rubbish before I found him (or rather he found me haha). If I hadn't worked on loving myself a bit more before trying internet dating, the things some guys said to me might have completely wrecked me, or I'd have agreed to keep going with some pretty emotionally dangerous guys. Reply I joined OKCupid after dumping the worst boyfriend ever. I had no intention of looking for anything remotely serious, I was looking for one and done. I found a bunch of creepers. Then I was laid up after surgery and bored so I answered a WHOLE BUNCH of survey questions. OKC collated my answers and spit out a list of guys topped with my now husband. We met and were dating within a week, married exactly 4 years to the day after we met. Reply I tried online dating and finally i knew online dating wasn't for me. I've attempted a couple times but shockingly been frustrated with what I have found. After attempting a couple times I have decided to do it the old school way"getting out to clubs and meeting girls there" that works better for me. It doesn't work for me however you could be distinctive. I think the most ideal approach to meet peoples is quite recently to go out act naturally, no requirement for fraud relationship profiles that cant be clarified until you really meet the online date personally. Just leave the internet dating and go out and meet peoples socially, not on the online dating sites. Reply I tried online dating and finally i knew online dating wasn't for me. I've attempted a couple times but shockingly been frustrated with what I have found i agree with wilson here and hanks for dropping this post really useful. Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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