Saturday, April 15, 2006

Internet Dating

Wow, I never knew Eugene Volokh met his wife online--he is one of a number of intelligent men, whom I have heard met their future wife online. Perhaps when there are fewer potential spouses out there for you because of being quirky, smart, or different, online dating makes sense, since it can narrow the field by matching the same interests, likes, dislikes etc. I must admit that I used to work at a dating service in Brooklyn for several years after my first master's degree (what job did I not have?)

No, I was not an escort, I worked as a matchmaker and the job required a psychologist who had at least a masters or PHD to match people all over the country. I thought I was pretty good at it as I often got letters back from happy couples reporting that they were getting married or dating seriously. I never took advantage of meeting men through the dating service, although, Lord knows, I should have, given the bunch of winners I met in New York. I will not go into detail but let's just say that one of them was OCD to the point he became non-functional, another -- an aspiring model -- mooched off me for a year (I was a grad student, worked two jobs to pay the rent and he would not even help pay for groceries, just his own beer), and well, let's just stop there. Luckily, I met my husband when I moved back to Knoxville.

But enough about me. Has anyone had any luck with Internet dating or not?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in a big city, so there are a lot of women on the various sites from the surrounding area. One "trap" that a person can fall into is losing track of the fact that the people on the net represent only a tiny percentage of all the "eligibles" in your town. Just because you have a profile up and are meeting people, dont give up on the other ways that are available. Church, clubs, book stores, events, etc.

8:06 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not myself, but my mom and my sister have both met apparently great men through online dating. My mom is a widow - my stepdad, her third husband, was the love of her life. He had MS, the chronic-progressive form, and she spent their marriage as the primary caregiver. The man she is with now has similar life-experience, but is healthy and sounds like he wants to make sure she cares for herself now. She has told me she wants to spend the rest of her life with him. I am glad - she's earned her share of happiness.

My sister also sounds happy with her new boyfriend. She has a history of bad relationships, but this guy sounds different from her usual choice of men. She's taking things very slowly for once, and has said that he loves her for all the ways she is different from him, and vice-versa.

If I were single (I'm blissfully married - after twelve years we still love and respect each other, and neither of us would ever say that we wished we hadn't gotten married to each other), I would consider online dating - it doesn't hurt to try, and seems like it beats hanging out in a bar or dance club.

8:15 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met my husband of 3 years on But when you're a female unix sysadmin in Silicon Valley, the odds are in your favor. [But being a stereotypical unix admin, I'm also a bit awkward socially around strangers -- meeting someone via email first suited me much better.] I posted my profile at 10pm, and by 6 the next morning, I had over 50 responses.

I ended up only meeting in person with one man -- someone whose profile I found and contacted rather than vice versa -- and, lo and behold, here we are 4 years later with 1 child, another on the way in two weeks, and we still like and love one another. I'd daresay we're quite happy.

The strangest situation I had was one guy -- also a runner -- who suggested that we meet at 6am on a Sunday morning at a fairly secluded park. I thought about replying, "Do you want me to bring a bodybag, or will you be supplying your own?" ... but instead I just never contacted him again.

Online dating was a big boon for folks like me because I don't drink, I don't go to bars or clubs, I'm not a fan of parties ... I'd meet interesting people now and again, but I was nearly 30 and I needed to step it up a bit.

8:17 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well it has allowed me to meet a girlfriend who is geekier than I am which is nice, and as an added bonus she is also an Iranian protest babe.


9:32 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read Volokh's item and it prompted me to look at a few dating sites. I didn't do an indepth study, but my quick survey indicated the largest number of women were divorced and between thirty-five and fifty-five.

Does anybody have better info on the age distribution of people on these sites?

10:46 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I met three ex-boyfriends online, though not through dating sites. One was a blog reader, another was amused by a personal site I ran in my early college years and another was through a regional bulletin board type site. Considering 2 of the 3 lasted nearly 2 years each, I'd say I've had pretty good luck.

That said, the hosts of my Easter dinner tomorrow are getting married this summer and they met through eHarmony.

11:53 PM, April 15, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been married twice: once, unhappily for 16 years, and now very happily, indeed, for 17 years. In between, I dated, not so happily.

I am too skeptical to trust the Internet as a source of date mates. If my wonderful spouse should disregard my plea and predecease me, and I am once again alone, I would not make the effort to get into the dating game, again. Except--I would get involved in activities, groups, causes, whatever, of interest to me. If, in that process, I should meet someone I cared to know better and spend time with, and assuming the interest were mutual, I would take it very, very slowly. I would be even more interested in finding new gal-friends for lunches, shopping and such.

I prefer sharing my life with a loving, compatible, mutually affirming, mutually supportive man like the one I'm with. But I believe that, lacking such, I would be much happier alone than I was before.

1:17 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Helen Said: I will not go into detail but let's just say that one of them was OCD to the point he became non-functional

Chris Key Says: I have suffered from a severe Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder since I was 5-years-old, it's a VERY tormenting illness.

I have tried almost every SSRI Anti-Depressant, however the only one that was able to neutralise the anxiety to a level that allowed me function was Prozac.

In 2002 I was prescribed Seroquel, and by 2004 I was taking 800mg of Seroquel per night, and when I was given an anti-biotic to clear a lung-infection, it caused my blood pressure to rapidly decline, and as a result I lost consciousness and fell down a stairs, which lead to me fracturing my skull. I also suffered an abnormal heart rhythm at the the time, and as a result my blood pressure is still quite low till this very day, so I cannot perform a lot of physiological activity without becoming dizzy and weak.

1:19 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've done the internet dating thing and found, with very few exceptions, that the people I encountered weren't a good example of the population at large. A local newspaper (in New Zealand) had an interesting quote connected with internet dating, "Dating, like the tyrant, seeks perfection." I have to agree. For the most part, the men I met seemed to have an internal check list of attributes a woman must have (beauty, intelligence, talents, etc) that bordered on the extreme. One guy didn't like me because I don't like eating octopus! Good grief. It's a pity that he was typical of the sort of men I encountered online.

Before anyone thinks I'm bitter, I have to say I'm not. Just wiser. I'm attractive and seem to appeal to plenty of men, but most men in my age group are already married (early-mid 30s), so their attention seems a waste of time. The single ones I met online were often single for very good reasons, and I'm still learning to spot the warning signs. Good looking, intelligent, charming and well off won't signify that a man is actually "nice".

I think we've got better chances of meeting people through work, sports and hobbies, and taking the time to interact with them not as potential dates, but rather as people in general.

I have heard of success stories, though, but just not very many of them!

3:12 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, it might not be internet "dating" in exactly the sense you mean, but Deb and I are the classic example of people meeting online through our blogs.

We both started blogging in early 2003, grew relatively popular fairly fast, and wound up in overlapping blogging circles. We'd comment-flirted a little, but in October 2003, at almost exactly the same time I started Carnival of the Capitalists and left more of an imprint on the blogosphere than I'd ever have imagined, she really got my attention and it fired up. Lots of e-mails, chats, calls, and by November we knew we'd be marrying and made plans for me to travel from MA to CA to meet her in person. Most of November and December was just "hold that thought," with things like the "warm socks" incident sprinkled in there. I flew out Christmas night and meeting in person was affirmation. We sort of did the honeymoon first, got together with some other bloggers, went to Vegas January 2nd, got married and spent one night there, and I returned home on the 6th. Then there was that strange limbo for a few weeks, until I flew back to Fresno at the end of January 2004, helped finish the packing, loaded up a trailer, and drove a southern route across the country and up to MA. Unknown to most people, that trip was made more interesting by morning sickness. Sadie was born September 29, our "wasted no time" baby. Valerie was born February 21, 2006.

We ended up blogging jointly, yet ended up lower profile than the path we'd been on. Then again, we both were heavily personal bloggers, which seems to be inherently limiting. I recommend it highly for putting yourself out there in full view, as exactly who you are, and being open to what might happen. I am sufficiently shy, and then "damaged" by my experiences, to have all but never dated. Thus being a hopelessly single prize catch at 42. I had finally accepted that I would never marry, never have children, and probably never date again due to my reticence about approaching anyone being that overwhelming. Meeting online solved all that, at least the way we did it. You figure it enabled us to know a huge amount about each other, have an "already know you" idea what type of people we were without ever meeting in person, know we were philosophically similar and intellectually compatible, and feel less scary. Even so, I still almost didn't call her that first time, between my skittishness and phone phobia, despite our having chatted in AIM for 4 1/2 hours the night before. The first call was 8 1/2 hours and the rest is history, but I don't think I've ever told her how close I came to running away before that happened, going silent, saying "naw, can't happen." For all it was easier and more certain online, I still had to let my normal reactions go.

Since then, we've seen other bloggers marry bloggers on account of blogging. A couple weeks ago we went to dinner with some friends and form colleagues of mine. The other two couples there met online with excellent results. One of the two singles there had not yet ahd that kinbd of success, though she had tried it. We've been to the wedding of a blog friend who met his excellent wife through eHarmony, which seems to be a particularly recommended online service. It's happening more and more, at least anecdotally.

5:21 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

form = former

Hey, it's middle of the night.

5:26 AM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Chris Key,

I am sorry to hear about your OCD. As a psychologist, I understand how disabling this illness can be. People with OCD can be fine partners, in my case, the boyfriend I was discussing did not want to be involved with anyone. I do hope by now he has found some happiness.

7:38 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My g/f and I met in a chatroom on AOL and have been together for 8 years this month. I had met other people from chatrooms, they were all nice, but we didn't end up dating. I always found it was nice to be able to see if someone could hold a decent conversation before meeting them in person.

I know lots of lesbian couples meet online for a variety of reasons - the most common being a lack of bars, etc. in their area to meet people.

(Side note - Hi Jay!! Nice to see not just a marriage but some cute little kids come from blogging!)


11:11 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never tried online dating, but a frend has. Maybe it is due to the place we live in, but, seems he did not have much luck meeting anyone locally. Seems most of the womn he met were either, mightily obese, or people totally lacking social skills.
i am single, but, havent worked up the courage to try the online dating game yet!!

11:24 AM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've had good and bad experiences with online dating and meeting people.
I met the latest ex-gf through and Eharmony (matched up within of week of each other), and she's now the ex-gf, because I proposed and she accepted 2 weeks ago Saturday.
For me, internet dating worked far better because I didn't meet women in my normal course of the day (computer work during the day, flying/hanging out at the airport at night). Suffice to say, over the course of my 5-year search, I've got some stories about some people I met who.. well, you could probably write a book about them. But I also met some very good people, some I'm good friends with even though dating never worked out.

12:09 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Internet dating never turned up sucessful dates for me. The worst results started with an atytractive picture. Tall attractive asain lady, our email clicked. We set up a date on a weeknight and when she showed up. Well there should truth in advertising laws for internet dating. I explained that she wasn't as she presented herself and excused myself. See -- she was a guy in drag. Very passable in photos, but clearly a guy. LOL
Later that year I met my current GF in a more traditional way. In person, but at an SF convention and we're quite happy together now.

12:27 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting post Dr. Helen. My first late wife was my roommate's date to an end-of-semester party at our apartment. We were married for 2 weeks shy of 27 years when she passed away. My second wife was a former coworker and a good friend of my first wife. Though I've never even "thought" of internet dating (it was in it's infancy when I re-married) I've several friends that have tried it, with mixed results. One couple "living" together but planning on marriage and one friend who is on his third or fourth "great" internet established relationship. It kind of makes me wonder if the first was so "great" why it still isn't on?

1:32 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whilst Internet dating does offer a useful option for finding people who are intellectually compatible with oneself, it has severe limits in allowing one to judge whether the 'chemistry' of personal attraction is present and it also carries the risk of letting you imagine that the person is something that they are not really. In either case the solution is to look to meet local people and don't leave it too long before you actually meet up.

One thing I dislike about dating websites is that it applies the paradigm of 'internet shopping' to the world of personal relationships: allowing the women to search for the men who meet their criteria for high income, profession, height etc, as though he were a commercial product like a pair of shoes.

Nevertheless, while one instinctively recoils from the formalisation of relationships into some kind of digital algorithm that pairs people up, there is most certainly a need for an easier way for people to meet and join together to make stable families. Currently the dating system is very messy and tends to result in a small minority of socially-aware and extrovert 'bad boys' monopolising the majority of the young women for casual sex.

2:18 PM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger silvermine said...

I didn't meet him on the internet, but on a BBS, before the internet was available. We met in 1991, became friends, and started dating in 1993. We got married in 1998, and we're expecting our second baby in August. :)

My brother met his wife on the same BBS at the same time, though they got married in 1996, and they just adopted a beautiful daughter.

My other brother has been married a year and a half to a wonderful woman he met on

My sister didn't meet her husband online though. The freak. ;)

We're all geeks though, so where better to find people with similar interests?

3:06 PM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

I met my fiancé online, not via a dating site, though I did try some, I never got any replies from the ones I sent out, or from people who saw my profile. So I had given up, I had dated a few people from online, but it never seemed to work. There was something holding me back, I had been hurt, I had a low self image, I felt worthless. So I became shy, I pulled back.

Then I was on a forum/blog board, and I had been posting for a few months there before, and I had seemed to be responding more to one persons online posts, they seemed to have something different about them, but I wasn’t looking. Then one day September 2004 she posted, she had an awful day, she felt as if she had no friends, no one liked her, and she was really depressed, so I emailed her saying look, you have a friend here, if you need to talk, I will listen. She got my email and replied to me almost instantly (she was going to email me but I beat her to it). And we both moved over the yahoo and started talking, for 3 hours we sat and typed and found we had so much in common, I felt this is someone that will be a good friend. We carried on talking, sent each other our pictures, then we got webcams, and microphones, so we can see and hear each other. Then we phoned each other, and it felt right. As if she was the person I was looking for.

So we arranged for me to go meet her (she lives 5000 miles from me). Yes I flew 5000 miles to meet her, I thought it would be wonderful, but I wasn’t prepared how wonderful it felt to be with her. Instant connection. I spent a week with her and her father, letting them get used to me. And I knew. 100% she was the one. So this xmas, she spent 6 weeks with me here, meeting my family then on xmas eve I asked her to marry me, and she said yes. We have provisionally set a date for april 7th (as its half way between mine and hers birthday)..

I speak to her every nite, and I am flying back over to her in a weeks time. For a month. She is the one I have been looking for. And I had given up and so had she.

4:18 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a single male so keep in mind I'm writing from that perspective.

Reading the online profiles of females, there seems to be somewhat of a pattern. "I like shopping, hiking, golf, tennis, dining out, the beach, the mountains, going on cruises, dancing and traveling."

My first thought is who in the world has time to keep that schedule? After reading it again and again in variations, it seems to become more of a required maintenance list than a list of hobbies & interests.

My suggestion to females (and to males) is to outline what you have to offer, not just what you expect.

8:19 PM, April 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr Helen Said: I am sorry to hear about your OCD. As a psychologist, I understand how disabling this illness can be. People with OCD can be fine partners, in my case, the boyfriend I was discussing did not want to be involved with anyone. I do hope by now he has found some happiness.

Chris Key Says: When I was 17-years-old I went to an OCD Support Group, and one of the women was half Japanese, and she was a malevolent old shrew. She once came to the meeting and stated how ALL men were horrible creatures - she didn't care that there were two men sitting in the room - and she talked about how she liked to obtain alfoil and roll them into round objects, and squeeze them after imagining they were the testicles of a man that she hated.

The female psychologists just sat there and lauded her actions and really enjoyed the misandrist tone of her comments. Imagine how they would have responded if a man said that he obtained a cherry and squeezed it as hard as he could after imagining it was a clitoris (a blow to the clitoris is extremely painful and debilitating).

I have met some OCD sufferers on the internet, and they were quite cruel and vindictive.

11:39 PM, April 16, 2006  
Blogger Jeff with one 'f' said...

For an entertaining if atypical look at the current online dating scene in New York, try the (appropriately named) blog Constant Dater.

The author (a woman) is 30, single, very cute, and.... the post will tell you the rest.

12:50 AM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was amazing meeting my Merc. Just like he said, I had given up completely, and wasn't even looking when we met. I had joined a board to speak with others that had the same interest. A funny thing was, it was mostly females on the board, and I never even DREAMED I'd meet the love of my life there. I'd been posting there, and one day, as he said, I'd had a horrible day, and posted it on there. He'd been replying to me for a while, and the next night, I saw his reply to that post, and summat told me he'd be a good friend, and to eMail him. Lo and behold, when I went to my mail programme, there was a mail from him! I replied, and everything went just like he said. A few months later, he came to meet me in person, and I KNEW from the instant I saw him in the aeroport he is the ONE. We spent an amazing week together, and then a few more months later, on Xmas, I went, and spent 6 wonderful weeks with him, and met his family. His family is wonderful, as well. Christmas Eve, he proposed, and I happily accepted. Mercurior is the MOST wonderful thing that has ever happened to me. In a little less than a week, he will be here, and I can't wait. I definitely know Merc is the one I have been waiting my whole life for. Yes, we have set a provisional date of 07 April, 2007. I'm immigrating to be with him, and there are many things to sort out. It will be so wonderful when we can be together without anyone telling us we have to be apart geographically for a time. Just him and me living our lives side by side, and growing old together, still in love.

3:28 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Merc's fiancee,

Thanks for joining us and sharing your wonderful story.

7:31 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Rizzo said...

Anonymous at 8:19

You're absolutely right. I tried online dating and I was astounded by the amount of stuff women "claimed" to be interested in. I didn't know whether they put so many interests up because they wanted to appear fun, or did it because that's what they expected their partner to do to entertain them. Either way, I read the profiles and thought, "I don't have the time or money for all that."

Anyway, I never had much success with online dating. My friend, however, was able to use as his never-ending supplier of sexual partners. It was like a pimping service.

It was sort of ironic, in a way, since I'm a decent guy who's terrible at dating and actually tried to use the service to find a long-term relationship, while my friend is a male slut who excels when it comes to dating skills and used the service to find women to sleep with. Women think he's the perfect guy after he basically buys them dinner, fills them up with drinks, sleeps with them, and sends them packing.

9:26 AM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used online services to find dates, had some sex out of it (not all of it good, but hey..).

When I finally got ready to settle down, I put a different ad and started contacting women. I got no replies but a few offers out of the blue, one of which I took because she seemed cute.

She was a little rounder than I expected from the picture, but what the heck. Turns out we had a great first date, and by the second one I couldn't wait to see her again. We've now been happily married for almost two years.

10:18 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

I met my wife through the online personals. We answered each other's. How cute is that. She lived 2 blocks from me too.

Married for 6 years, second for each of us. I love her and she me, thankfully! One of God's best gifts to me is this lovely woman. We are happy together.

I had a lot of fun Internet dating. Most of the people I met with were fun and healthy. No wackos, but then as a psychologist, I have a good ear for gross pathology.

Chat room dating was more full of not so healthy people. But then I was immediately post-divorce and not so healthy myself at the time.

My sister did not do as well with eharmony. She is a strong Christian and the people ehy matched her with were not spiritual. Seems an easy thing to match for, but it was perhaps not taken into consideration.


11:06 AM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

eharmony thinks that matching personality is the ideal way to find your "soul mate". For those of us to whom values are more important, eharmony basically leaves it to us to do value-based screening during the "share must-haves and can't stands", and subsequent conversational phases. Presumably, this will result in an even more compatible match should you happen to find someone who matches both personality AND values, but it does mean wasting a lot of time during the formalized communication process until you can get to the point of determining if the candidate shares your values.

11:30 AM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Unfortunately, I think a lot of women say they want a nice decent guy but the truth is, the one that sends them packing because he does not give a flip will always succeed with women. There is something inherently intriguing to some women about men who "do not care."

12:39 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Freeman Hunt said...

I did not use a dating service, but I did meet my husband online. We started IMing about movies, met for coffee four days later, got engaged four days after that, and were married a month and a half after that. That was almost five years ago. It's been unfathomably blissful, so I guess it worked.

2:27 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You could not be more right about that. Part of the problem is that the biological software women use to select mates is pretty much completely obsolete- it compels women to look for dominating alpha male types (who "don't give a flip" because they are so secure in their dominance). While these guys would be the best picks in a tribal society, their traits can be maladaptive in the modern world because of the monogamous family structure our society promotes, or at least tries to promote.

Before I wised up to this I used to be a nice decent guy, appreciated by women about as much as a piece of lawn furniture. Now I'm a calculating pseudo-jerk, tactically manifesting some of the outward signs of this persona not because it's who I am, but because it's what women reward and respond to. It ain't perfect, but at least I'm less lonely and get laid from time to time.

2:43 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

anonymous 2:43:

Hey, I guess you have to use what works at times. It is too bad that women are training guys to be jerks and at the same time, complaining about the fact that they are. Some women are too self-absorbed and busy playing the victim to see the role they play in perpetuating this male stereotype. Frankly, if I were a guy dating today, I might play the same game--but the problem is, if you want an actual decent relationship, this behavior will only take one so far.

3:10 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

aww thanks dr H. she is the most wonderful woman ever. but then i am in love (my first real love)

before i met her i found the women i liked, to hide themselves under a good girl persona, but as soon as they got you, they would become self absorbed, manipulative shrews (well some of them did). internet dating or with im's seems to be better than real life dating, there seems to be less barriers, because you can block people if you dont click. and its a one on one situation, if you go out to date you generally have to date her friends as well they have to approve etc..

for some real life is best, but for others who are shy (like me i know i dont sound it but i am), or are concerned about going to any woman and asking them out, and being laughed at (its happened to me). or even being considered a rapist or a murderer, just because you dared ask someone out.

this is why the internet dating is so much better, the impersonal yet personal aspect of it. you can be yourself, without any of the faces we show in public.

3:39 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE matching women's 'alpha male' criteria filters for initial attraction while maintaining defensive autonomy, and then, if desired, subsequently adjusting the relationship to suit longer-term needs: .

Now let's just hope I haven't lit the thread's 'splodeyfuse.

5:04 PM, April 17, 2006  
Blogger Mark K. Sprengel said...

I've had good and bad experiences. Some I'm still friends with but I haven't found "the one" just yet. Unfortunately, being fairly conservative in politics keeps me from moving over to Illinois/Chicago where the singles scene is quite a bit larger and this part of Indiana isnt all that conservative. oh well

7:36 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I met my wife using Yahoo Personals back in October 2000. We are both in our 40's at the time, both never married. Neither of us mis-represented ourselves in our ads. We have been married almost 4 years. The small problems we have are with not being married until our 40's. I knew being married would be a difficult adjustment after being single for so long, but it's harder than I thought. I am committed to the marriage, because it's stupid to get divorced for trivial differences.

Most of online dating is with expectations. It is easy to create a fantasy representation of a person, and be disappointed with the reality. Just chill out - it's only a date, and not likely to be your last one.

In addition, you still have to go on a date, and still have to do the social interaction thing.

7:40 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm 45 now and was married long before online dating...but wonder how things would have worked out had this been around when I was in the dating pool.

I have a blog, read books and use words of more than one syllable, but was never, in any sense, good looking and anybody who thinks that doesn't matter in dating is fooling themselves. Besides, I was never plugged into popular culture that much.

I ultimately wound up doing pretty well in law school. Marriage has been okay. But dating, and finding someone to date, was an absolute nightmare.

Any way of meeting somebody which reduces at least to a degree the power of looks (and its close ally first impressions), and gives an opportunity for other qualities to at least come into play, cannot be a bad thing.


9:16 PM, April 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a)female and b) a fatass. I know better than to even try.

11:06 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger mdmnm said...

I, too, am a single male and I've desulatorily tried online dating. Out of perhaps eighteen contacts I've initiated in the last two years I've had four or five responses, all of which resulted in meeting interesting and attractive women. Only a couple of those meetings led to subsequent dates and none of the latter went very far, but the internet seems to me to be no more or less successful than meeting people through random encounters or through friends.
I agree with Darren Blacksmith that the "internet shopping" aspect is a bit offputting, which probably applies equally to both men and women. I think people, at least before an initial meeting, get a little too hung up on trivia: "Let's see, grad degree, likes cooking, wine tasting, speaks some Spanish, been to Mexico several times...good....What!?! Reads People Magazine! What a loser!"
Lastly, it does seem to be a buyer's market for women, as there are far more men on most sites, at least in the under-40 range that I've seen.

11:29 AM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Grim said...


I met my wife online. It wasn't through a dating service or anything like that, just a discussion group for people interested in exploring the writings of a certain author. Such groups exist for almost any author, and indeed for almost any interest.

In any event, after a year or so of having known her "socially" over the internet, she mentioned that she was going to Savannah with a friend, and invited me to meet them in Knoxville (as I was visiting my grandmother, now deceased, at the time). It was the beginning of what is currently a happy marriage in its seventh year.

The internet allows people to meet people with similar interests and compatible minds in spite of the distances that fate put between them. In that way, it seems unremarkable to me that any number of successful marriages should be made over it.

1:52 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Anonymous 2:43 here. Interesting that you should bring up that site, for it's exactly where I learned my new skillset. Pathetic as it may sound, this website has taught me more about how to deal with women than anything else in the world.


you are right- therein lies the catch. Relationships are hard to maintain because, to put it bluntly, the hustle never ends. To tell the truth, however, like an increasing number of younger men, I'm not so sure about the desirability of marriage as an end goal. Seems like I'm expected to take on all the risks, and many of the rewards of marriage are readily available outside of it. If I ever do get married, it will probably be because I love children.

7:46 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


I have read some of your comments on my blog and you seem like a nice and decent person. I am not sure what you mean as far as stating that you are "female and a fatass" but if you mean that you are overweight and a woman, I would imagine that there are still plenty of guys (if that is your choice) that enjoy women who are not sticks. I would not give up so easily. I can imagine that internet dating is not for everyone, but I imagine/hope there are people online who are not superficial and enjoy meeting a variety of people.

8:56 PM, April 18, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those people are thin on the ground when you're in your 20s.

Maybe by the time I'm in my 30s I'll have managed to drop both the weight and the Brobdignagian chip on my shoulder.

10:34 PM, April 18, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

all you need to do is search for bbw dating sites, there are some, they love larger sized ladies and large men too. bbw or bhm;s they arent too bad. i was once told i was too skinny ;-)

5:26 PM, April 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've met about 60 men through (mostly) for 6 years. I'm still alone. I'm 49, attractive, have the baggage that comes from having LIVED (i.e. children), been told that I'm wonderful... I look in my age group and am not picky -- to the point of giving the benefit of the doubt to men I wouldn't have if I had met them in RL (Real Life)! In short, I do everything right, but now I know... it's not the site, not my photo, not my profile. It's the fact that people tend to settle for what's easiest and cheapest for them and with online meeting and dating, it ends with the meet and date. I only have the experience of what men do, but I think that once a guy who's browsing, contacting, flirting, meeting finds out that he gets what he was looking for (attention? validation? free sex?) he shies off from a relationship that will cost him the give-and-take of RL. It becomes easy and comfortable to stay detached and move on to the next one -- there are so many to choose from! There's a lot of buzz about how the internet is changing how we relate and interact, but someone's got to point out that it's changing us into preferring the shallow encounter to the meaningful realtionship.

1:51 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 1:51:

I don't think it is necessarily the internet that is changing people into engaging in shallow relationships--it is also that people read and believe the things they see from from ads that focus on beauty on TV and magazines to living in big cities where you can avoid people if you want to after you go out with them.

If you lived in a place where people knew you and knew about your behavior, it would be harder to act in a tacky and/or shallow manner. One would hope that people would have some ability to manange their own behavior from an internal moral compass--that is, they would behave in a decent manner and try to relate to other human beings on a meaningful level because it is the decent way to be. But, I imagine that I am asking for too much, many people simply see others as objects for their needs and never relate to others in a full and meaningful way. Hang in there because not everyone is like this--the goal is to find one grown-up person who can interact with you in Real Life in a reciprocal way.

7:53 AM, April 20, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

exactly dr helen, i am lucky to have good online friends, people i can count on, i got rid of the ones i couldnt. but thats like anywhere. online lets you see many more people in a safer environment, i dont think dating sites are all they are cracked up to be, the best bet is to visit forums, with your interests, at least that way if no romance occurs, you still have friends to talk too online. but dont give up
Anonymous 1:51: love will happen. if i can find someone, anyone can ;-)

3:32 PM, April 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You always have to remember that virtual dating is not for everyone. I definitely can not blame match employees or owners, they did not push me to sign up, I did this to myself. And also we all have to understand, of course they trying to make money and not doing this out of goodness of their hearts, we all need to pay bills.
But the quality of people on most matching sites is awful, man as equally as woman.


No purpose (even last) justifies such means, as:

- A deceit;

- Desire to recoup for the last insults(relationship, divorce, break up);

- Cruelty and cynicism.

Consider matching sites as an easy adventure and do not consider each new meeting fatal. As a rule, in the first three minutes it becomes clear to everyone, if you interested or not. But it does not mean, that if not that, during the same moment you should just leave. Certainly, if absolutely impossible to communicate with the unpleasant person, it is possible to refer to errands, a headache, planned meeting, etc. and peacefully leave.
But if the person is pleasant, but you not interested do not make any promises, ask for the phone number or make plans to meet again, or become friends.

If the person does not like you, do not create tragedy, thinking, that nobody will ever like you or that thus in general it is impossible to get acquainted with the normal person. It is not so. Use each SITUATION of ACQUAINTANCE to advantage for itself. You learn people, you study them to listen, understand, at last, you are defined, that in this life actually it is necessary for you.

Only when the person will cease to carry all to love and will give physiological splashes other meaning, simple, clear and certain explanation, only then its unfortunate love has chance to decrease or in general to die out.
Write sincerely and, having gone down on the ground, about for what you wait from the date. Hardly the Arabian sheikh or princess will come into the INTERNET to find their love, but maybe decent earning banker or the model can glance at the site sometimes, though it is improbable:)
Lets stop blaming the society, parents, matching sites, government and try to meet each other old fashion way. Man asking woman out.
Good Luck to you all!

5:52 PM, April 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again -- I posted earlier about how Internet dating is actually changing what people WANT. What I was saying is that I have come to believe that men (mostly the middle age men) are finding out that, through Internet dating, they have an endless (they think) supply of women to date, without having to do the relationship thing. It's hard to make changes in your life at this age and a lot of men are very comfortable and settled into the single life. My complaint is that -- aside from the men who (more and more) are declaring from the first contact that they are not looking for a commitment, just a good time -- the other men are using the "hook" of "looking for someONE" knowing that they are not looking to find, just looking.

I know it sounds like sour grapes on my part... I have had some very interesting acquaintances and complimentary attention from doing Internet dating, but I honestly believe that something is happening. More and more, men are either thinking that it's a good thing to be honest about not wanting to settle in with someone (and that honesty is supposed to score virtue points), or they are getting more articulate about how they know that they are meeting special women and should appreciate it, but can't stop wanting to continue looking. Some even admit that they are in love with the fantasy of finding the fantasy.

I'm not blaming society, or the Internet (how do you do that??) but I am certain that a quantum shift in society is occurring, even though it affects very few people. For me, however, I see it as the pool of available men who would have continued with the social custom of committed relationships (the give and take) are being sucked into a new phenonemon of serial dating standing in for a relationship with one person.

In addition, I have more and more been feeling like a commodity -- men have actually complained to me (their date!) that they haven't felt that the product (like me??) has been all that they were led to believe after paying good money!! I have men acquaintances who were surprised that I went off the site. Even when a guy thinks he's paying me a compliment to say that I look better than my photo -- I say real life IS better than a photo -- it seems to go right over their heads. There isn't some disconnect happening here?

2:18 AM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gathering of liars, losers, cynical, bitter S.O.B, who are either financially, emotionally, physically unstable, if not all 3 in one bouquet.
The ratio of finding someone is ridiculous, not considering that there are tons of fake profiles through out the country.
Both man and woman constant liars, they either have an ex which they try to get over, if not married or engaged, emotionally crippled even when they write how passionate they are, owe a lot of money, and not for the house or the car, credit cards. Physically barely can get there groove on, not even mentioning some extremely low hygiene problems, or extremely high into themselves . Blaming there parents, exes, friends(they do not have) for all there own faults. I am not even mentioning the appearances. And do not even think if the person dirty washes his ex, will eventually do the same to you. And how much disrespect when someone f...s you, dates you but there profile is still there. Too much chooice will never end up being any good for a man or a woman.
FUCK YOU MATCH.COM, hopefully in a couple of years this virtual business will die all together.
The world will be so much better if they close down all the matching sites at once, and all the losers will stay home in front of the TV's masturbating.

2:08 PM, May 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Helen
"Unfortunately, I think a lot of women say they want a nice decent guy but the truth is, the one that sends them packing because he does not give a flip will always succeed with women. There is something inherently intriguing to some women about men who "do not care."
I have noticed some very good comments on this site, but just in my personal opinion do not think anything can beat a real face to face meeting.
To tell you the truth it is very difficult to meet people in general, even in blogs, ICQ messengers, Chats, the majority of people lie. And just reading all the above how can you make a friend through a blog, maybe we completely forgot the definition of friendship. We call friends people we sleep with, work with, meet online with but aren't in reality they just acquaintances.
And what is the difference between dating and relationship, committed and not committed relationship.
What else funny about the comment of yours above, when I do not care about the guy he wants me, but as long as I start showing him softer site he start loosing the interest.
When I tried the online matching(I also completely agree with the comment above me from anonymous user) I was really careful and cautious. I did write my profile short and very obvious that I am looking more than for a fling but for a relationship. I mention what I personally have to offer, and what I will not except no matter what, I made clear that it wont cause any confusion
The first guy I met was very interesting, seemed very normal and interested in me, but shorter than stated in his profile. Apparently 2 month later he told me I need to be afraid of his ex, he meant he is still in love with her and bitter that she left him. I froze when I herd it. Also he complained about how all of the woman he use to be with are bad, and how the girl he dated before me from online, was in love with him, but she was crazy, and he dumped her and also he kept in full contact with her. And than he is better than me. To tell you the truth just a very regular bitter S.O.B, who doesn't have anything to offer.

The second was very cute, but much more shorter than stated in his profile. But that was not important to me, what turned me off is he told me he was in the relationship with someone he loved, but he would still keep his profile posted and when she confronted he reacted like so what, I am just trying to meet other people. That was a signal to me, I am no better than the other girl, he will be with me but just searching for something better again.

The third one was out of the question, lied about his age(was much more older in real life). But very smart and articulate, who is still at 50 is discovering himself:) This particular man had a lot to over but 20 years difference was not what I am looking for. Would of loved to just hang out together, but he was looking only for woman who are much more younger, to sleep with, not to be friends with. Wanted to play the role of the sugar daddy.
The fourth one I did not meet because what we looking for was completely opposite, he was just looking to have fun because he was on a brake with his girlfriend, I politely emailed him back and stated that I am not interested. Did not expect tons of emails back that he can change my mind. That I might be the one.

The others emails I have gotten either from a very young, or very much more older man who would send a little sexually perverted comments.

I just realized maybe it will take some time to meet someone, but I will never go an any of the matching sites again. I will ask my real friends to introduce me to someone, I will go to bookstores, and I will socialize more. I will try to give others a chance to get to know me. I do not think that any matching site is for anyone who knows there worse, has something to over and fulfilled human being.
What scared me the most that all the people that I met was looking for "real love"(Princess Bride), they do not even know how to be real to themselves, but had expectations for others. When people start looking you have to be able to offer something, to have a potential before you can even post yourself on the net.
I once read" Never love the person who does not love you, and try to grow fond of the person who loves you. In the first case you will be eternally unhappy, and in the second - you have a small chance to become happy"
And maybe like one very famous Russian poet said"The less we love a woman, the more she will like us" (A.S. Pushkin), but it will not work for me anymore, I want to love and be loved. Maybe I will not get love in return all the times, but I will neither stay and create the world for myself which does not exist.

2:11 PM, May 05, 2006  
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