As I settled in on my couch for a night of binge watching “Dexter” on Showtime on Demand I realized this had become a regular Saturday night routine. When I left my first husband, I had a fantasy that I would be re-married within a year, 2 years tops, after all I was “a catch”, the ultimate woman. I was sexy, personable, good-looking, career driven with a successful law practice and I had my own money. Well, fast forward 6 years and I was still single, going through another very long period of celibacy, not by choice might I add.
It was the end of the first decade of the of the new millennium and online dating was all the rage. Everybody and their Mamas were on Match.com or e Harmony; but I still thought how pathetic do you have to be if you can’t meet and connect with someone in real life. I thought online dating were for ugly, weirdos so I refused for years to give it a try. However, loneliness makes us do some crazy things, so 7 years ago I did the craziest thing I thought I would ever do; turned off “Dexter” picked up my laptop and created an online dating profile. Today, I have been married for almost 3 years, and I am here to tell you that online dating works; yes, I met my husband online.
1. You Get a Variety
Here’s the thing, most of us, by the time we get to our mid-thirties, have developed several routines; we go the same gym, hang out in the same bars, go to the same church and essentially have the same friends. We rarely open up ourselves to anything new, let alone anyone new, so we keep seeing the same faces everywhere we go over and over and over again, therefore our chances of meeting someone new and different is zero to none.
Variety is the spice of life; with online dating there are so many potential suitors at our fingertips, the variety made me almost giddy with excitement. There were so many men to choose from, all with different backgrounds, different looks, different interests, different styles, different levels of education, and it was a pleasure to find out that most of them were in fact not ugly weirdos. The differences were pretty damn sexy; you could go from winking at a bad boy rocker with an arm sleeve tattoo to having an online conversation with an English professor all within 2 minutes. I was in heaven. Within a few days of creating my online dating profile I had scheduled a date with a guy I seemed to share several interests.
2. You Meet People You Wouldn’t Usually Meet
My husband is from New Jersey, and I would never have met him if I hadn’t tried online dating. I could count on one hand how many times I had been to Jersey prior to meeting my husband, Greg. Similarly, Greg’s trip into Brooklyn on the night we met, was one of only a handful he had ever done. In fact, he got lost while he was on his way to pick me up, our first date was before Google Maps became a thing.
Online dating works so well that Greg wasn’t my first success story. Even before I met and fell in love with Greg, there was Paul. I met Paul 3 weeks in after I first signed up for online dating. Paul lived only 2.2 miles away from where I did, less than a 10-minute drive, yet we never met prior to connecting online. We just didn’t move in the same circles and even though we had similar interests we had never ever bumped into each other before. Paul and I dated for a year and a half but alas we went our separate ways when our relationship got to an impasse. We broke up the first week of 2013 and that was the last time I saw him. Despite living only 2.2 miles away from each other Paul and I have never seen each other again; but for online dating we would never have met.
3. You’re in Control
Online dating gives you more control initially than dating in real life does. Take for example, you meet a seemingly cool guy or gal at the grocery store in the checkout line on a Saturday afternoon. The conversation is short and sweet, so you exchange numbers in the hope of continuing the conversation another time. During the very first phone call you make plans for a date. During that first date you realize that guy or gal is a freaking psychopath based on the crazy things he or she is spewing out of his or her mouth. You quickly end the date and escape with your life.
Now, had you met that same guy or gal online, chances are, during the very first several email exchanges you would have realized that he or she is a psychopath and you would have had the fantastic option of blocking that person from future communication with you and avoid wasting precious time on a date from Hell.
One of the beauties of online dating is that it gives you ample opportunity to weed out the crazies before you are seated in front of them sipping on red wine. I have had the sheer joy of using the “block” feature on a few occasions during my online dating experience and I couldn’t be more thankful. Dating tends to work a lot better when you’re in control of the situation.
4. You Meet Like-minded People
All online dating web-sites require that you fill out an application illustrating your hobbies, needs and desires before signing up, the application also asks that you be detailed about what you’re looking for in a partner, from height to weight and everything in between. As such you’re more likely to find the one or the one that works for right now since online dating applications demands such specificity.
Dating sites make it easy to find other like-minded individuals because it requires that each person create a profile explaining who they are, what they are looking for in a partner and what they want. So if you’re looking for a hook-up and you make it clear that that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll probably find someone who is also looking for something casual. Similarly, the same is true if you’re looking for something “long-term”, as was the case with Greg and I.
There are even websites designed to bring people together with similar beliefs and tastes, if you will. Take for example “Christian People Meet”, that site exist for believers seeking other believers to share a cup of coffee and talk about their faith. Further, if you’re adventurous and your desires lean towards something raunchier you will have several sites to choose from, among them “Adult Friend Finder” claims to have a 97.5% satisfaction rate among their members.
5. You’re Encouraged to have an Open Mind
Online dating will work because oftentimes it encourages individuals to step out of their comfort zone, think outside the box and have an open mind. Sometimes what you think you want isn’t what will make you happiest. In your mind you may be dead set against dating a guy who is under 6 feet, especially if you’re a woman who stands 5’ 10 without shoes on and likes to strut around in elegant 4-inch heels. However, you may be winked at by the guy who barely stands 5’9 and even though you might not have winked back he may still be brave enough to send you an eloquently written email that piques your interest, so you’ll go back and check out his pictures and while doing so you realize that he has gorgeous eyes and great teeth. Chances are you might just respond to the eloquently written email.
When I met Greg, I had a check list with specifics for what I thought I was looking for in a guy. He had to be at least 6 feet tall, be accessible, which meant he had to live within a 10-mile radius from my home, no way I was driving over a bridge or through a tunnel to go visit my boyfriend and most importantly he had to be Jamaican, or at least be from the Caribbean. Well, my Greg, is none of that, what he is, is the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate man I have ever met. He is the epitome of the strong, sensitive type – physically strong, with an inner resilience that is second to none, while highly sensitive to the needs of others. He emailed me on a Wednesday, we had our first date the following Saturday on March 16, 2013; and on November 13, 2015 we were standing in little Chapel in Astoria, Queens promising to continue to love and respect each other through good times and bad, with our family and friends as our witnesses; all because I had an open mind.
It’s never easy to put one’s self out there and that is what online dating requires us to do. It takes a certain type personality to cast that net into the World Wide Web and hope for a catch. Is it risky? Yes! Is it worth the risk, 100 times yes!!!!