Getting Value out of Online Dating Sites
By Debra L. Karplus
You’ve been on your own for a while whether it’s because you’ve always been single, are divorced or are widowed. Let’s face it; going to a movie or vacationing is much more enjoyable when you have that special someone for sharing the experience. But your friends have set you up on blind dates that don’t work out and you don’t like going to bars or sitting alone at a coffee shop hoping that Mr. or Miss Right will show up at the table beside you. You haven’t had much luck meeting someone at church or in the community choir that you’ve sung in for years, and the singles in the ski club are just way more into partying and drinking than you are. Maybe it’s time to try online dating. According to statisticbrain.com in a March 2015 report, of the more than 54 million Americans who are single, over 49 million have tried online dating. That’s over 90%!
How do you get started with online dating?
There are numerous online dating sites. Many sites are those that you may have heard of via their frequent television commercials such as Match.com, eHarmony.com, OurTime.com or ChristianMingle.com. How do you know which site is best for you or if you should even be more adventurous and utilize more than one dating site?
And some sites such as Match.com and eHarmony cater to the general public of singles. OurTime and some other specialized sites cater to singles over fifty years of age. ChristianMingle.com and JDate.com are targeted to Christians or Jewish singles looking to date within their same religion. Other sites have specific target markets as well.
Most of the dating web sites state via their advertising and on the site itself, that you can get started for free. Once you have created a log-in, you can browse the many attractive and eligible singles in your area that are on that site. It is very enticing. But for the majority of these sites, once you’ve spotted a few of these attractive possible matches and want to send a message to show your interest, that’s when you will be asked for your credit card number for a recurring charge of thirty to forty dollars monthly. Pretty sneaky!
OkCupid seems to be one of the few dating websites that allows users to send and receive messages to people of interest and actually arrange face-to-face dates, for no charge. OkCupid does charge for additional services and screening filter options.
Is online dating safe?
If you would like to consider at least trying online dating, read the fine print on the site carefully as to what it involves to close your account on the occasion that you might actually meet someone and get into a committed monogamous relationship or you just decide that for whatever reason, online dating is simply not for you.
Before signing up, you should contact both your credit card company and also your bank to decide the best way to pay for the monthly online dating site fees since they typically take the fees from you automatically from your credit card or bank account. Some credit card companies will allow you to create a special credit card number from your same account so that you can use it for a certain amount of times and then the number becomes void. Your bank may recommend using your debit card to pay each month automatically for those same safety reasons.
But most important, is your own personal safety when dating online. First, be cautious what personal information you divulge on your profile. Carefully select a user name that is cryptic. When you do find someone that you want to meet who also wants to meet you, remember that unlike meeting someone who travels in the same social circles that you do where you know some of the same people, how people present themselves in the online dating arena is, in fact, marketing. Most prospective matches want to present the best scenario possible of which they are whether it is about their appearance or their interests. Playing volleyball once does not really mean it is a serious interest, for example.
When you actually have a date scheduled with this possible new beau, go on your own, do not have them pick you up, and plan to meet for coffee, something short and quick, in a very public place.
Online dating has become more the rule than the exception these days for busy singles. But always be cautious.