Are Online Dating Sites the Best Place to Look for Love?

Marilyn Regan

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Photo by Satira Eleazar on Unsplash

“….Consumer Reports survey found online dating has a 44% success rate, leading to a serious long-term relationship or marriage, so the method is likely to continue to draw more people.”

Just how badly do you want to be in love with your perfect someone?

If you’re willing to do anything for love, then you might find it. I salute you. But if you’re like me and several of my friends, you’ll probably discover online dating comes with too much lying, drama, and disappointment.

I tried free online dating sites and met guys who no longer resembled their photos, were married, or looking to be mothered. Take this one date, for example. In a lull of conversation, he started telling racist jokes. My biggest regret is that I didn’t get up and leave sooner.

Next, I tried a personalized dating service. After spending a few thousand dollars, I met men who were 15 years older, lived 40 miles away, or were “separated” but still pining for their wives. Disgusted, I requested a refund only to have the owner call and yell at me.

By this point, I gave up and conceded defeat. Beer, pizza, and a movie seemed to be a much nicer end to a long work week.

Although the statistics prove otherwise, I haven’t witnessed much success with online dating. And I have my friends’ stories to prove it.

Reina

Meet my friend, Reina, an attractive, successful, and strong-willed woman. After discovering her fiancé had gone back to his ex, she made finding a new man one of her top priorities.

She had several requirements.

He needed to have a college education, live within a 10-mile perimeter, possess a good sense of humor, be active, enjoy the outdoors, and like animals. Well, at least her 20-year-old cat.

Despite having several interesting dates, Reina had what I considered to be the all-time worst date in dating history. For real!

I witnessed this one.

One cold December evening four days before Christmas, we took her out on the town to celebrate. Her latest online find was in attendance. She was thrilled to have a date for her birthday.

As I was ordering a drink, I looked over to see Reina engaged in conversation with him. He said something to her with a big smile and made a gesture with his hands. Some internal alarm went off in the pit of my stomach; something was amiss. Reina sat bolt upright, staring straight at him as if to bore holes through his skull. Then she shook her head no.

Her date got up, turned, and walked out.

Reina slid into the seat next to me and said, “You won’t believe this. My date just told me he was interested in Jessica (one of the other women who’d accompanied us.) He asked if I minded if he hung out with her instead of me.”

“Oh, no!”

“Yep! I told him to leave.”

The very next day, this same guy called her. It was not to apologize, mind you, but to explain that he was really a nice guy and sometimes these things happen.

But wait! There’s more.

Reina had other exciting forays into the world of romance. One of her dates stole an earring and told her he was holding it hostage, promising to return it when they met for their “next” date. He reluctantly returned it by mail under threat of police action.

She busted another guy using her computer in her house to look at other women as he waited for her to finish getting ready.

Reina eventually gave up trying to find Mr. Right. She decided to spend her evenings with her cat and books.

Trish

Then there’s my friend Trish.

She laughs readily, cracks people up with her jokes, and is easy-going. Since dancing is one of her favorite activities, her profile included either ‘dances or is willing to try.’

Mind you; this was one of only a few requirements.

Divorced a year, she was ready to find someone new. With three daughters at home, she had to plan carefully. Finally, everything clicked. She had a date.

Trish met Dan at a local restaurant. He arrived early. She recognized him from his picture and introduced herself. A waiter approached to ask if they wanted food, so Trish opened the menu and ordered an appetizer.

Looking displeased, Dan grumbled incoherently.

“What?” Trish asked, “did you say something?”

“Ah,” he grunted. “I said drinks. Why is it women expect you to buy them food, but then don’t even bother to sleep with you?”

She replied, “You’re right. Never going to happen.”

End of date.

Unfortunately, the next date wasn’t any better. Food wasn’t an issue as each bought their own. The guy, however, stuffed his face, didn’t looked up once, and never said a word. At the end of the meal, he asked her if she’d like to take a walk. It was then she noticed that he had a severe limp he’d never bothered to mention.

So much for dancing!

They walked, or rather crept, down the sidewalk, only to stop once they’d arrived at his parked car. He then got in and drove away with a word — not even a good-bye.

Evidently, her role that evening was that of an escort.

Trish eventually met a nice guy once she moved out of the city. Though not through any dating site. They moved in together and haven’t regretted the decision.

Katrina

Next is Katrina, a pretty blond, divorced, single mom who has a beautiful smile and superior fashion sense. She’s one of those energetic interior designers with a thriving business. Someone in love with the idea of being in love.

Once she connected with a guy, there’d be a flurry of text messages for the next week. Although these men seemed genuinely interested, she was the one who had to initiate the date.

There was this one particular guy. He was easy to talk to, and they both shared her love of music. She was psyched and felt the connection before they even met.

Almost like in one of those fairy tales, the two of them planned a Saturday night date. It felt like a dream come true. They agreed to meet in front of a local Chinese restaurant.

I was in the coffee aisle when I got the first call. Fumbling for my phone, I was able to answer it just before it went to voice mail.

In a panicked voice, Katrina said, “He’s not here! And this restaurant is no longer a Chinese Restaurant. People are giving me funny looks.”

“Hey, Katrina. I’m sure he’s just late.” Reassured, she hung up.

Ten minutes later in the pet food aisle, I received the next distress call.

“He’s still not here!” Katrina said. “And I think this is some type of special event. Everyone is dressed up. I feel like an idiot!”

“Why don’t you call him?” I suggested trying to be helpful.

“I did. He’s not picking up.”

“Probably driving. Try again and call me back.”

“Okay,” she said, sounding mollified.

Figuring the crisis wasn’t over yet, I kept one hand on the shopping basket and my phone in the other. An “oh no” feeling was starting to seep into my gut.

Was this jerk going to show-up?

I took a deep breath as I told myself that if this didn’t work out, I’d better prepare myself to listen to her go on about this for the next several weeks. I knew there’d be no convincing her the guy wasn’t worth her time.

Inevitably the phone rang again.

“Hello,” I answered.

“He picked up the phone,” was all she said.

“Great. You okay then?”

“Yup. We’ll talk later.”

Believing everything had been straightened out, I let out a big breath I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. Only it wasn’t alright.

An hour later, Katrina’s date still hadn’t shown. So, on her initiative, we met up and spent her date night together. We ordered out and shared a bottle of wine. The next day her date called to tell her that he’d been in New York, five hours away, the entire time.

Don’t ask.

I offered to help hunt him down and publicly humiliate him, but she declined my offer.

Katrina went on to be the victim of two other no-shows. One she never heard from again and the other told her he had something better to do when she called to confront him.

The last guy she dated for a month only to learn he was using her to make his ex-fiancée jealous.

Amanda

Finally, there’s my friend Amanda.

A very attractive woman, the kind men wanted to meet. Wherever we went, guys lined up to talk to her.

She was skeptical of online dating, but oh so wanted to meet a guy. Her online profile received a lot of interest from men who didn’t seem to bother reading her information. They missed her age, where she lived, and other relevant information.

Yes, they do only look at the pictures.

One particular guy wouldn’t leave her alone, despite her ignoring several of his messages. He was 15 years younger but insisted that if she would meet him, she’d see that age was no barrier. Thinking a date would home in the age difference, she agreed.

They met and went for a walk along the beach one sunny afternoon. Although in his twenties, he acted much younger, like a teenager. At the end of the date, Amanda thanked him and said she didn’t think he was a good match.

Ignoring her feedback, he sent her another message that night. This time it included a picture of him. A full frontal. It almost made her change her mind.

Almost.

The Unlucky want to know.

If you’re one of the lucky 44 percent who’s met someone online and he or she acts like a normal human being, please raise your hands so I can see that you truly exist.

Honestly, although the Consumer Report may have based their survey on 9,636 subscribers, mostly women, those numbers mean nothing to me. I want to see the bodies they’re attached to.

What’s your secret?

Did you meet the man of your dreams by luck? Or did you make dating your second full-time job? Maybe it became a quest for you. Did you persevere and kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince?

Please, do tell. We’d love to hear what advice you might have for those of us who are still searching and ready to give up.

Photo: Satira Eleazar on Unsplash

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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.

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