LookingForClues - Article

  Online Dating

Are you single and "looking"? Why not approach your quest for a mate the same way you would for a job.  Do some research online and then go out and "interview".  There are literally millions of other people, some just like you, who want to meet someone and who are looking for that person online.  Begin your research by reading the article on Online Dating, presented below. You can prepare even further by reading one or more of the books we link to, below.  Then visit some of the online dating sites we link to, pick one or two that you are comfortable with, and sign up!

There are advantages to online dating.  You will be able to choose from a larger and more varied group of people than you would find in the local nightclub or similar singles gathering spots.  You can "meet" these people in the privacy of your own home (via email messages at first) and at whatever time of the day is convenient for you.  Many people find it easier to converse online than in "real life", at least when they are first meeting.  Just be a bit discriminating in the process, get to know someone online before setting up an actual date.  Others have been doing this for years, now it's your turn!  Keep an open mind and enjoy the search!

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Check out these e-books on Dating.

Enjoy our exclusive Feature Article:


Could You Find Your True Love Online?

by Crystal Schwanke   11/10/05

We are so busy these days. We walk through grocery stores and wait in line with "Don't talk to me; I'm in a hurry" faces on, potentially blocking out those chance meetings that may involve our special someone. We go to school and focus on learning. We go to work and focus on working (plus, relationships with co-workers are usually bad ideas). Then we go home and cook our dinner for one and sit in front of the television or computer, whatever the wind-down method may be. We start to wonder how our lives would be different if we could just find our soul mate. Is it too much to ask? But there's no time during the day, no room to lose focus; we might slip in our education or our careers. What does that leave other than a part-time drunken search through a dimly lit bar blaring AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long"? The Internet. Helping sober people find love since the 90s.

So, does it work, or is it an illusion for the desperate? It worked for me, and I wasn't desperate. Neither was my now-husband. I was 20, just out of a serious relationship and looking for friends. Little did I know, my husband would fall into my lap from where he was deployed on the opposite side of the world. He was from my town but had been deployed to a quiet spot in Asia during the holiday season. He was lonely, eating cold Salisbury steak instead of turkey and dressing, and looking for someone from home to talk to. I was shy, unable to meet friends easily, and not comfortable with the bar scene. He saw my picture and information on the site and before he knew it, he was making his own profile and entering his credit card information so that he could send me a message. Five months later, he came back from overseas. Five months after that, we were engaged. And three months after that, we were married. We've been married almost two years now.

The power of online dating comes from getting to know one another before the lust and the physical attraction blind you. You focus on what's in the head and the heart of your potential mate rather than the curve of her hip or the line of his jaw. As long as you're both being honest with each other about who you are, what you enjoy, and what you want in a mate, the Internet is even better than meeting in a club. (In a club, either party could still be lying about whether they're married, who they are, and what they want from a partner. The ultimate shot taken at online dating--"how do you know they're not lying?"--is really a non-issue. Anyone, anywhere can lie).

Another plus to being online is never having to be at the right place at the right time to meet your match. You may be working while your potential spouse is looking through their matches at home because they work a later shift. Both of you don't have to be in the same bar at the same time, but you can still meet and chat online throughout the day or night. It's the ideal situation for the rat race called life.

Are the more intense sites really better at letting you know if you're compatible with someone? Do all those questions from eHarmony really amount to something more than answering a few on Yahoo Personals and sifting through the e-mails? Do you really get what you pay for? Yes and no.

The more rigorous online match-making services ask more questions in order to probe deeper into your lifestyle, personality, and what you need in a match. However, people can lie--sometimes they lie without even realizing it because they don't perceive themselves correctly. What if you answer a question or two wrong and it skews the site's perception of who you are? Will your soul mate slip by because you don't match up in the database? Maybe, but probably not. Being quizzed so zealously is actually a benefit, in that they test you in the first place to see what kind of temperament, social style, and beliefs you have rather than just asking you to check yes or no, or fill in a box explaining yourself. In a way, if used correctly, these sites allow you to get to know yourself better before ever attempting to figure out what you want or need in someone else.

With sites that ask fewer questions and generally just give you boxes to post into for your own profile page rather than analyzing your results on a grand-scale database, you really depend more on luck. But if you're more of a romantic, a believer in fate over science, what do you have to lose? Time, maybe. Instead of a database matching your answers with another person on 29 dimensions, these sites take the basics (smoking--yes or no; want kids--yes or no) and give you multiple matches based on those. It is then up to you to sift through the responses, keep up e-mail conversations (try to get to know someone before agreeing to meet them, and never let them know where you live before you've been on a few dates, just for safety's sake), and decide if this potential match is worthy of being a long-term relationship (or friend, or short-term relationship--whatever you're both looking for).

I think I had a lucky encounter wrapped in fate because I used a site where I could put up a free profile and let people contact me (those who had accounts they paid $20 for, which would allow them to e-mail anyone they wanted). I wasn't looking for a husband or even a relationship. If I had sincerely been looking for a meaningful relationship, I probably would have gone to one of the more science-based websites. With a degree in Psychology, it just seems more feasible to me to take the personality tests and be matched up. It would've been more efficient than looking through the 60+ e-mails I got in the first weekend my profile was up and deciding which contacts to pursue. But since I was just looking for friends and an ego boost (after a broken engagement, both of those are very important), I went for the free one where I could get to know lots of other types of people at the same time I was trying to get to know myself.

You have to decide which type of online dating service is right for you. Do you want to meet an eclectic group of people to pull friends and dates from? Or do you want to find your one-and-only right off the bat? If you're not sure, sign up for a free site just to test the waters. If you find yourself having a lot of fun, but you're not interested in meeting anyone but Mr. or Mrs. Right Now, go up only a notch and sign up for a site that'll allow you to contact the people you want without too much testing or financial involvement. If you find yourself excited about meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right, step it up a notch or two and go to the paying sites that ask pages of questions before ever trying to match you up. Good luck!

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