questionsdoes anyone have any experience or advice with…

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My friend has been trying it. He's a guy in his middle thirties, never married, no kids, having recently hit the restart button on his life He's living with his mom, back in school, working on a degree in mathematics with the goal of becoming a statistician. He hasn't been having a lot of luck with the online dating sites, but I don't know if it's the sites or if it's because he hasn't gotten his own head on straight about what he's looking for. He says he wants a long term relationship possibly ending in marriage, but he is far too focused on the physical aspects. He's like a hormone driven teenager, more interested in "boobies" and sexual chemistry than long-term compatibility. He seems to be doing better meeting women at school and through his friends where he is forced to see them as human beings rather than objects he is shopping for.

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No, my wife frowns on me using online dating sites.

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My cousin is 27 and has been using online dating sites for a few years now. She met a guy and they had a 2+ yr relationship and he was great. But that ended and she's met a lot of people since then but all have been short term things. She's seeing one now and it's lasted about 2 months now, so it seems to be going ok. It doesn't hurt to try it if you really are interested in going out and meeting new people.

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I tried online dating in 1999. I told the truth and used a recent photo of myself.

I went out with about a dozen women in the next 6 months. All but two either lied, used an old photo, or both.

One the ones that was honest omitted the fact that she was under psychiatric care and seeing a therapist 3 times a week. That wasn't a lie, she just failed to mention it. It came out when she started acting very strange. Maybe her meds changed.

The one that was honest was also very good looking and real smart. Unfortunately, after about 6 dates she told me that she really was looking for a rich man and I was out.

I did meet a woman, not on a dating site, but she ran a forum about Airedales. We met in person and now we've been married for 11 years.

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In my experience, online dating is best treated as another avenue to meet people, but not the answer to any one problem. It certainly has it's faults -- people tend to be a little more creative online -- but it has serious benefits, like a glimpse into the personality or pre-seeding conversation topics. You also eliminate some of the awkwardness of trying to communicate in a bar, or whatever, for the first time.

...that said, I've not had much luck in relationships regardless of the source, so your mileage may vary.

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A lot depends on your gender, age and what you are looking for. You also have to be prepared to commit time and effort. A guy will have to be proactive and send lots of well crafted personalized messages; unless of course you are looking for a hookup in which case you might get by with a massive spam of "Hey DTF?"

Tip: If a woman's face picture is taken where the camera is above her forehead and angled down, add 50 pounds.

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It's awkward at first. You can pretty much expect your first date from it to go poorly.

That being said, don't sell yourself short. If anything, you should be highlighting the positives about yourself and little else. If you're going for something like OKC, make sure you do a decent amount of those questions. It's also good to change a part of your profile regularly, that keeps you near the top of lists and gets you more visitors.

Ask a female friend you're comfortable with to take a look after you finish. She'll tell you what's good, bad, or boring. I had a friend of mine do this and I was actually surprised at how much more attention/ responses I got. They were pretty minor things in my mind, but it evidently made a difference.

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OK, time for me to chime in here.

I met the current Mrs. Wilfbrim on eHarmony. Let me tell the entire story, then you can decide if you want to go through try it.

I had been divorced for several years (4 I think) and hadn't been dating. There were some deployments in there, but mainly I didn't have much of interest. So, cut to 2009 and I'm out kayaking with some people I know and I casually mention my lack of companionship (not complaining really, just stating a fact). This friend of mine thought it was awful, and launched into a discussion of online dating sites. I was highly skeptical. This led to him taking a bunch of pictures of me for profiles, and a $20 bet as to if this would work. The pics, btw, were quite good: he had a really good eye, but I think that was due to his day job of working in the adult entertainment business, but that is a story for another time.

So, with photos available and a credit card in hand...(cont below)

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I created a couple of profiles on (I think) Match.com and eHarmony. The guy mentioned above (and his gf, I seem to recall) made some very good suggestions about my profile. His general lack of tact was helpful in this case: getting somebody who knows you (at least a bit) to give an unvarnished opinion of what you write was very helpful.

Generally Match.com was useless. Too many not serious people. If you are serious, I'd head to eHarmony. Not due to their "special computer matching on xx numbers of compatibility", but more due to the money involved in joining: if somebody is willing to part with cash, they are obviously more willing to think about meeting somebody. Expect to spend a significant amount of time writing and reading responses, many of which will lead nowhere. That is fine: the entire point is that you can get to know (at least a bit) a large number of people with not a huge investment of time or money. A bunch of them are not going to work for you at all. (cont)

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Likewise, you need a bit of a thick skin. Even you look like the next incarnation of Brad Pitt, you are going to get some rejections: the rest of us mortals get many. Deal. At least you didn't drop money on a date to find out she's not into you.

Also, like non computer dating, expect most of the real dates to not be all that great. Sometimes somebody that seemed great online was not that awesome IRL. And (as above) sometime people don't use recent pictures in their profiles. Note: if somebody has something that looks like an old picture on their profile (or no picture at all), then stay away.

TL;DR: It obviously worked for me. Think about it: a few months of eHarmony doesn't cost that much and may help.

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I am guessing the downvote on my response is because of the tip. I put it there because you seriously have to consider how realistic people are being in the profile. There are lots of ways people tend to misrepresent themselves on dating sites. Pictures from odd angles are often used to hide something.

Maybe the OP is someone who would totally remove physical attraction from consideration when choosing a date, but most people don't/can't.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5578209_pose-picture-look-slim.html
http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/myspace-angles
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=myspace+angle
http://www.officialdatingresource.com/beware-the-dreaded-myspace-angles-pics/

BTW, I met my current girlfriend online, she used a downward angle shot and I knew she was overweight but so am I. I have been with her through her lap-band surgery. We have been together since 2005.

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I met my wife from an online dating site. We've been together for 4 years.

Guys- Prepare to do all the initiation. Women very rarely message guys, which is part of why some pay for dating sites only charge guys to message.

Women- prepare for a deluge of messages. Typically you get a lot of guys contacting you, and not all of them pleasant.

All- Be persistent, and don't give up right away. Also, don't judge by the profile pics alone. Sometimes they look bad in the picture, but much better in person. It isn't uncommon for the picture to look different from how they are in person, for better or worse. The picture my wife used didn't look bad, but I thought she was much more attractive in person. She told me that she thought I looked really dorky in my picture, and wasn't sure about going out with me, but thought I looked much better in person. I've also seen people that used old pictures, doctored photos, or otherwise misleading photos. Moral? At least see them with your own eyes.

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Sorry, 1000 character limit.

Guys - When you do message, one liners and other really short messages tend to be ignored. Read their profile well, making mental notes of things that are important to them, and comment on those things in your response. If they feel it is like a form letter or something generic, again likely to be ignored.

All - Your profile is like your resume. You want to make yourself look good, but remember if you lie or distort things, it'll likely catch up with you and cause problems. Just best to be honest. Also, try to put some effort into it. Little details, bad pictures, poor grammar, etc all will make you look less appealing to any prospective dates.

Personally, I had the best luck with OKCupid. It is one of the free ones, but I got pretty much all of my dates when I was single off there, and had really zero luck on any other dating sites. However, your mileage may vary. I think my mom and stepdad met on match.com.

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@scmtim: "Tip: If a woman's face picture is taken where the camera is above her forehead and angled down, add 50 pounds." Perhaps if you'd said "person's" or something to that effect. I didn't downvote you, but I did frown when I read it, especially after listening to my friend go on and on about the physical attributes of the girls he's shopping from on his sites, with no observation of anything more than what they look like. I suspect your down-voters may have been reacting to the standard gender-bias of judging women by their appearance while men expect to be judged by more meaningful criteria.

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@moondrake: Most people only look at profile pictures of their preferred gender - and aren't going to make a generalization.

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protip: everyone lies. The ones who don't get skipped over for being boring.

I have one friend who got married from an online dating site, and another who earned a 3 year stalker.

I tried it a few times, through several sites - and it was more like online arranging a hookup than serious dating.

I met the girl of my dreams as a friend of a friend (but not a setup), and married her, so my overall success rate with online dating is 0%. As a casual hook up method, it was a solid 85% lol.

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@scmtim: Really? So it's just women who do that sort of thing?

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After meeting many people, via the internet or real life - I can say that your odds of meeting a jerk are about the same. I met my husband online and we'll be married 3 years this month - together 4 1/2. There are definite ups and downs, but if you're honest with yourself and everyone else, it may work for you. Also, if you luck out and meet some people online, it may boost your confidence irl, which will help.

Good luck!

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@dogbountyhunter1: The BEST way to meet people is through social activities like classes, conferences, events, etc.. Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting. Knowing everything about your date before you go out is like reading the spoilers in a movie plot before you enter the theater. Where's the fun in that?

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@magiccave The OP asked for people with experience in online dating. I don't have experience dating men online. I do have experience with exactly the situation I mentioned in several cases. Obviously other people do as well from the links I posted. I never said that men don't have their own tricks. If you have some examples of what men do feel free to add to the conversation rather than just criticize.