So, a few months ago I decided to put myself out there ( per se), and signed up on an online dating site. Since I have experienced it for a few months now, I feel I’m ready to give my take on it. I won’t deny that I was one of the people thinking, ” holy cow, 1 million people online, one of them is bound to be mine!” Then my logical, annoying mind brought me to a halt. 1 million people signed up for (add your dating site of choice here). Okay. How many of those people are men? How many are men that I would actually consider dating? How many of the men I would consider dating meet the criteria of my expectations? Once all these questions are answered, that 1 million quickly dropped to a lousy 100 (maybe). Now, we can wrap our mind around it. Let’s start sending smiles! Wait, I have more questions. How many of these men would consider dating me? How many of them are seeking a Godly relationship leading to marriage? How many whose criteria of expectations I meet?
I am not bashing online dating, it is truly a preference. If that is the avenue God chooses to use for you and your mate to meet, then that is His will for you. I can’t say that for me for sure. Yes, I prayed about it before I signed up but for me it was also a leap into the world of taking risks. I am not a risk taker. I look too much into all the possibilities to feel comfortable taking risks (the movie Along Came Polly, I am the guy). I wanted to give it a try and I did. I took a risk (If you know anything about traditional Haitians, we’re not too fond of online dating). I have heard many successful stories in Christian relationships that started online. At the same time, I can easily say that it is definitely not for everyone. It takes work filing through matches who are far your dreams and others whose dreams you are far from. Similar to the face-to-face, it is frustrating and can be as much of a roller-coaster. Here is what I mean: Say someone send you a smile. You look through that person’s profile and decided you want to smile back and then that was the end of it. I’m left staring at the screen like, ” Oh, you just wanted to smile at me”? I see… I have a hard time learning the social cues online. For me, I have a hard enough time figuring out when someone is flirting with me face-to-face as it is, so online I am completely lost.
Something else to consider about online dating is that the time frame is different for everyone. Just because you are online does not mean prospects are going to fall at your feet (well, computer screen) like rain. I find online dating to match my real life dating almost like identical twins. Don’t sign up because your friend met her now fiance within three months or so on an online site. Your life partner may or may not meet you online so be careful setting too high of an expectation on meeting him or her online. I find it to also have seasons. For some time I was getting emails, smiles, flirts like rush hour traffic and after looking through them, the light turned green.
When and if you decide to try online dating, keep an open mind and keep your expectations of meeting the man or woman of your dream there at a controllable level that you can manage without stress. Also, be sure you are doing it for yourself. Again, just because your friends meet people online easily does not mean you will. I have to admit, it did boost my confidence a little hearing about girlfriends who met their fiances and husbands on there. I was reminded quickly that that is their story, their paths and I need to maintain the understanding that my story and my path is going to be different from theirs.
Last piece of advice: Be careful not to lose yourself into the idea of simply meeting someone. Don’t settle face-to-face and don’t settle online either. Dating is dating regardless of where you are doing it. Don’t get so wrapped up in being so relationship driven that you forget to enjoy yourself and embrace who and where you are for this season.