In the past couple weeks, I’ve been asked a handful of times what online dating sites I used and what I thought about them, so though I am no expert in this, I’ll toss in my two cents.
But let me first toss out two caveats:
If you are separated, my deep belief is that you are married until you are divorced. In other words, to protect your heart and the heart of the other party or parties, I strongly advise that you do not date at all until you are officially divorced.
And if you are recently divorced, my deep belief is that you need time to heal. Probably more time than you think. So, my suggestion is that at the very least, you do not date for one year post-divorce. Trust me when I say that your healing is paramount in preparing you for your next relationship. And I say these things with no ulterior motive other than I care so much for each one of you, my sweet readers.
Okay, so to be upfront with you, this was my timeline:
June 21: joined two sites.
June 26: date #1 with bachelor #1.
June 28: date #1 with bachelor #2.
June 29: bad thing happened with bachelor #2.
June 30: took profiles down, declaring the month NO-BOYS-JULY. (hahaha!…I’m cute)
July 5: profiles back up (because I’m a girl whose prerogative it is to change her ever-lovin’ mind), adding one more site to the mix.
(Fine-tuned my process.)
July 16: date #1 with bachelor #3.
July 18: my two-year divorc-ary
July 19: date #1 with bachelor #4.
July 22: date #1 with bachelor #5.
July 24: date #2 with bachelor #5.
July 27: took all three profiles down to see where things go with bachelor #5.
I tell you all this to show you I wasn’t on the sites very long at all, which gives me limited experience. In fact, I just read a comment from a reader that she’s been online dating for ten years. I couldn’t imagine doing that, as it practically felt like a part-time job. But even with limited exposure to these three sites, I do have some thoughts that might help. And again, this is just MY OPINION. I am not endorsing one site over another. I get no kick-back (though I wouldn’t mind being in one of those success-story commercials if things keep going well with Tall-Shadow. I always wanted to be on television…this could be my big break!).
Anyway, I’ll simply tell you the three sites I joined and my experience with each one of them.
eHarmony: I joined this one because I loved the idea of the questionnaire that you have to take to set up your profile. It was super thorough and I even had a friend help me so I could be objective. It took about 45 minutes and it gave me loads of confidence that I would be matched well. Unfortunately, I only had two men show interest, and neither I was very interested in back. And the process felt pretty slow to me. You have the opportunity to send the other person you’re interested in five questions, then they answer, then they can send five back. Then you sort of continue that process. That’s all good and fine, but I’d rather just old-fashioned emailing. To be honest, I had expected more yield for the money and upfront time. But that’s just me. I was glad I had also signed up for…
ChristianMingle: This one had originally felt like my back-up, but bachelors #1 through #4 came through CM. Who knew?? It didn’t cost as much and was much quicker in the setting up stage. And right away I was being “smiled” at by multiple guys. (Blech.) I had set up a rule that I was not going to initiate any contact with any men, but that I wanted to be pursued. I then added the rule that I was not going to even respond to those stupid smiles, especially if the guy couldn’t be bothered to personalize the corny message (“I like your smile so I’m sending you a smile in return” or something like that…really??). But CM also has an email system, so if a man took the time and effort to read my profile and then write something appropriate and I thought he was cute and he lived somewhat in the area and I liked what he had to say, I wrote him back. (If there were no pictures, I deleted. If he lived far away, I deleted.) The downside is that without the lengthy questionnaire on the front end, I’d simply advise that you’ll need to be a bit more thorough in your sifting process.
So, those were my original two sites. Then I took my five-minute sabbatical and when I decided to move forward, I was literally sitting on my couch with my laptop and the TV on, when a Match.com commercial came up and I thought, “What the heck?” (Famous last words.)
Match.com: I had NO INTENTION of not using a Christian site, but I was super curious how that site worked and if that would open up my options a bit (I do NOT mean that I was opening up my options to men who didn’t believe and love Jesus, just opening up my options in general). So, here’s the funny thing: I saw many of the same men on Match that I saw on CM. And another tip: if you think you have to sift on CM, you REALLY have to be wary on Match. I made my profile so freaking clear…in fact, here’s a portion of it:
Okay, so even if you outright say something like DO NOT CONTACT ME, I HATE MEN…you will still get winks and liked and favorite’d and emailed. You will have to grow a
pair thicker skin if you want to navigate this thing well.
I had an atheist email me. I had a seventy-one-year-old wink at me. (To quote Jimmy Fallon as Sara with no ‘h’, “ew“.) I had men from New York and Florida and Colorado ask me for drinks in the first email. So, clearly, most men don’t actually READ the profile. (Boys.) You will have to be prepared to either ignore/delete or send a polite ‘no thank you’ and move on.
But, if you’re willing to keep an open mind (an appropriate, Jesus-y open mind, of course), and do your due diligence, and keep praying for discernment, you actually can meet a good man. (I met several, and then I met the box-ticker.)
So, there you go. No matter which site you choose, God is active and present in your life. If he wants you to be partnered up, I have NO DOUBT in my mind that he will bring someone – a really good-for-you someone – to you when you’re both ready.
And in the meantime, continue walking closely with Jesus. Continue becoming more healthy and whole. Continue serving. Continue worshiping. Continue reaching out and staying connected. Continue living.