Was it really so long ago that there wasn't an internet, much less internet dating? We didn't have internet when I was a kid - it was just emerging as a market force in the early 1990s when I was in middle school. I distinctly remember the first time we got dial-up internet service - I was 14 - and how cool I thought it was. I remember the getting my first web-based email account - Yahoo! - and AOL Instant Messenger. I still have the same AIM screen name that I first signed up for when I was 15. I loved these services because they were free and made it much easier to stay in touch with my friends that I'd left behind in NY when me moved to NC in 1993.
So, with that background, I finished high school, went to college, and scoffed at the idea of online dating. As internet dating emerged and grew in popularity, I wondered how desperate someone would have to be to sign up for an online dating service to find a complete stranger to date. I finished college, got a job, went to grad school, and struggled to find a job during The Great Recession. Time passed, and this past year, I turned 30, I am still single - and trying online dating. What I did not understand when I was young and in college was just how difficult it is to meet new - and single! - men once you are out of school.
I signed up for my first dating site this summer. I took the plunge (so to speak) and signed up for Plenty of Fish. It is free, so I figured I did not have much to lose. Summary: no luck. Messages I received tended to be along the lines of, "Hey sexy, what's up?" - and any resulting conversations (if any) tended to be just as short, as were many profiles (not all though). Kinda hard to get any kind of a picture of who someone is that way, at least for me. After months of bad matches, unresponded to messages, and guys looking for just sex, I have pretty much given up on Plenty of Fish.
So, two weeks ago, I decided to give one of those paid site a try - GULP! My hope is that the fact that the site costs real money will help weed out some of those who are less than serious about finding a real relationship. I decided on E-Harmony because one of my friends has been using the site for awhile now and seems to be having some luck - good conversations, good dates, and now seems to be in the early stages of an actual (gasp!) relationship with one of the guys she met through E-Harmony. Also, E-Harmony's extensive personality assessment approach to relationships makes intrinsic sense to me. So, I took a deep breath, got out my credit card, took another deep breath, crossed my fingers, and signed up.
Now, every morning, I have 6-8 new matches in my inbox. I've started communicating with some of these matches (E-Harmony has a communication process rather than simply starting to email each other blindly). At first glance, the profiles of these matches seem to be a better fit than anything I found on POF, so maybe there is some hope to this thing yet... I'll let you know how it turns out.
It's amazing how our view of the world changes over time, isn't it? When I was younger, even into my late 20s, I scorned the idea of using an online dating site. Now I find myself using the very sites I used to scorn. I shake my head and marvel at how much my views on this topic have changed in the course of the last decade. I wonder what views I will have on relationships 10 years from now.