Friday, June 8, 2012

Online dating doesn't have to be awkward.

I met my husband on eHarmony.

I signed up for an on-line dating three separate times in my late twenties. Once for three months with eHarmony, one month through Match, and then a final one-month sprint on eHarmony that led to the final match with my husband. These facts don’t make me an expert on the topic. I went on dates with three different people and obviously married one of those three.

That being said – I’ve had multiple friends ask for advice when it comes to online dating. There are important things to consider before meeting a total stranger, but I think there are also some really important things to consider on the day you sign-up for an account.

Here’s my list of important reminders!
On-Line Dating Pros:
1.  1 in 8 marriages now start out as online dating relationship. We were hesitant to talk about it at first, but now it’s just a part of our story. I feel like every time we tell our story we hear about more and more people who are really finding success through the medium.I have no problem giving a shout-out to the matchmaking skills of a website… and more importantly to the matchmaking skills of a Heavenly Father who can use ANYTHING to accomplish His purposes.

2.  Online dating provides a "place" to meet people that you don't already have reason to meet. Very helpful in our situation… we lived almost an hour away from each other.

3.  Online dating websites are super user friendly. You get to find a service that embodies your values - which already helps you narrow the field dramatically. (So helpful.)

1. Make the main thing the main thing. I set up some “must haves” for myself when I started the journey. I was personally looking for something more than someone who just went to church. I wanted someone who was following after Jesus. I was careful to use that type of language in my profile so no one would have to guess where I stood. Put out there whatever is most important to you – active vs. sedentary lifestyle, willing to attend sporting events, wanting to have kids, faith… etc. It will save everyone a lot of time.
2. Have someone who knows you well read through your profile. My girlfriend who did that for me actually changed a few things. She said that even though what I had was good, it wasn’t an accurate and full picture of me… it was too serious. She helped refine the descriptive words about me and checked for grammar and spelling. (Speaking of grammar – that’s something I looked for in every profile I came across. If you can’t take the time to proofread I’m probably done reading your profile.) She also helped me pick out a variety of pictures. A lot of guys and gals choose to put up one in a bathing suit to show off tats and what-not… but that’s not my M.O. and frankly that’s not the guy I was looking for. (In fact, a shirtless pic as the main pic was a turn off for me. I’m not dating/marrying someone’s abs or nipple ring.)
3. Fill out that “What’s one thing my friends know about me?” question. I rolled my eyes at the number of guys who answered, “Guess you will have to wait to find that out.” Not clever. Everyone answers that way. Be unique!
4. Don’t make your search too small. Again – keep the main things firm (for me strong faith, not smoking, and wanting a family were most important) – but be ready to make the rest of the search broader. Had my friend not encouraged me to change the height and age range of my search I would have missed meeting my guy! Keep your options open unless you keep getting too much of one age. Feel free to change those ranges of distance etc. on a weekly basis to see what kind of different matches you get. If you only get one a day, chances are you need to make the distance or age broader.
5. I wouldn’t jump to “fast track” open communication. Take your time and don’t get discouraged if people don’t respond as quickly as you might want. Some people only get on once a day, or even once a week – it just depends how long they’ve been on e-harmony. At the beginning I was checking 2xs a day… not so much in the weeks that followed, especially after D and I moved to e-mail.
We went through the E-harmony steps, then moved to personal e-mail, then to texting and talking on the phone before we had our first date. When we moved to open communication D asked how I thought things should progress. He asked about the timeline of each progression so that I would be comfortable… and I didn’t give him my last name until we moved to personal e-mail addresses.
6. Give a piece of info on your profile that makes you stand out. Most people say they like sports, hanging with friends, their families and “God.” Great. But what makes you “you”?
What caught our attention?
David listed my favorite book, A Severe Mercy, as the last book he had read. Major bonus points. 
D said that aside from pics and a general pleasant profile, my “one thing you should know about me” fact snagged his attention: “I have mad board game skills.” – it was comical but also something he enjoys.
  • Ask LOTS of questions before you meet.
  • GOOGLE and research. (Be smart!)
  • Let friends and family know where you are going to be and when. (You might even have someone within walking distance of your first date.)
  • Drive separately until you feel like you know this person.
  • Involve your community in your relationship. (We didn’t want our marriage to exist on an island separated from the input of other relationships – so we made spending time with each other’s community a top priority. We double-dated with friends, watched LOST with his crew, and made sure to stay connected to both of our faith communities.)
  • Pray it up. 
This is not an all-inclusive list by any means – any of the tips. So feel free to add everything I’ve forgotten today.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

So, I've never used an online dating site. And I certainly don't need one now. But I really liked reading this. I have several friends who met their significant other and/or spouse on a dating site, and I've wondered about the actual process, especially how you choose the people to pursue. I think it makes a lot of sense to cut to the chase of dating and have an advantage even before you meet!