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Dating in the Online Arena

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Is it possible to find love online? I didn't think so at one time, now I'm cautiously optimistic. As a woman in my thirties, reentering the dating scene after years of marriage, the new dating arena was intimidating. Limited dating experience combined with fear of rejection made the thought of attempting online dating almost inconceivable. Friends shared the experience of meeting a special person online and the relationship blossoming in hopes that I would give it a try. I wondered how this was possible, but eventually their optimism overcame my skepticism and I decided to give it a shot.

My main concern was that it is easier for a person to misrepresent himself online. You don't have a way to validate whether the description or photograph the person shares are factual. You must take a leap of faith from the very beginning, something I was hesitant to do. Despite my doubts, I shoved these concerns to the side and took the steps necessary to set up an online dating profile.

I joined Match.com with high hopes and low expectations. I signed up hoping for a match, as were the other participants on the site, but not really expecting to find one. I filled out my questionnaire, carefully considering each answer. I was striving for the right mix of humorous and serious responses. I didn't want to appear flippant, nor did I want to appear desperate!

The tide of emails came in waves, overwhelming me with their sheer number. I couldn't possibly respond to all of them! Luckily I was able to weed out several with a glance. Some people were just looking for a quick fling, something I wasn't interested in entertaining. Others were older or younger than I requested, another quick decision. The remainder weren't so clear cut. I read the emails, viewed the owner's profile, and emailed him back if I could think of something to say.

Within a couple weeks, I was limiting my emails to one person. He seemed like everything I wanted. His profile described a well-rounded individual with interests similar to my own. He made it past the initial checks; we were able to converse freely via email and eventually moved the conversations to the phone. Those conversations went well also, so we made a date to meet in person. One date led to another and eventually we became a couple. I was happy. He was everything I wanted!

A couple months into the relationship, I decided it was love. We were an attractive couple. We both liked sports and well... the rest would come. A couple months later, it was obvious he wasn't as well-rounded as I believed. He was very set in his routines and any deterrent from this was unwelcome. I had a hard time giving up my illusion of the perfect man so it took a while for me to end the relationship.

I took a break from dating at that point, convinced I wouldn't be able to trust another online experience. After a month or so, I was able to come to terms with the fact that most of the problem was mine, not the guy's. I wanted to believe he was the perfect man. I overlooked the signs of failure because he looked perfect for me on paper. I didn't take the time to really get to know him before I decided he was the one. I was in love with the idea of being in love.

With this knowledge, I decided to give online dating another shot. I reviewed my profile, making changes to ensure I was as honest as possible. I didn't try to hide my flaws, instead I embraced them. I got another slew of responses, some good, others trash. I emailed a few people, making sure I asked questions and really paid attention to the responses instead of seeing only what I wanted to see. I met another man and we decided to meet in person after a few phone calls filled with laughter.

I've been dating Mike for over a year now. I don't know if he's "the one," but he's become a wonderful friend. We make time to spend together, selecting activities we both enjoy. We also have our individual interests and make time for those as well. I am enjoying getting to know him. It takes time to truly know another person. You can't determine who is a perfect match based on a profile.

People have many facets, most of which can't be seen online. Inflections in voice and body language add a whole new aspect to the relationship, bringing a couple closer together or helping them realize that it can't go any further. Many matches are made online, but relationships flourish in person.

About the author:

Sonia is an author and editor of the Romance/Love newsletter on Writing.Com.

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