Are dating sites worth the trouble?

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You're hovering a bit there bucko.Dating sites: Dating in the Time of Technology

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Hey Beth,

Loyal reader here with a pretty simple question. Dating sites–are they worth the trouble?

I just moved to Chicago six months ago and thought that joining a dating site would be a good way to meet people. Over those six months anyone I’ve met through it hasn’t lasted past a third date. What are your thoughts about the dating site scene? I wonder because I just recently went on a first date that I thought went really well. Four hours of constant conversation and laughs and then no contact from my date for four days now and I’ve sent a text and an email. I can see she visits her profile page though.

Overall, just wondering if you think these sites are worth all the trouble and if not any recommendations for a new guy in town?

– Christopher


Hi Christopher,

Unfortunately, I cannot speak from personal experience. I met my husband before dating websites were around. In my day, you had to hike ten miles uphill, barefoot in the snow to get a date (insert emphysemic chuckle and rheumy-eyed gaze). Seriously though, back then the Inter-webs were used for email, video games, and accessing library databases for term papers. Telling someone you met your other half through the “world wide web” was tantamount to admitting you wore orthondontic headgear to bed and you could speak fluent Klingon.

Editor’s Note: Qapla’!

Thankfully, times have changed. We use the Internet for everything else so it was only a matter of time before love matters of the heart were addressed online. It’s a pretty efficient way to find a mate–tell the site everything you like and everything you’re looking for, and it runs some algorithms and gives you a list of people you’re most likely to be compatible with. This, instead of heading to the bar every weekend and hoping that petite blonde across the room is going to be a good fit for you. I do have a number of friends (all of them men, incidentally) who have found their girlfriends and boyfriends through dating sites, or are single and using dating sites to meet someone.

I think dating sites are worth the trouble, as much as is, say, going out and trying to meet someone, or asking your friends to set you up with someone. They have as much potential to find you a partner as anything else will. And though it’s a bummer that you thought your date with this new woman went really well and she seems to be MIA, that’s not connected to your having met her through a dating site, right? This is just part of the game. Sometimes you’ll like someone more than they like you, and vice versa. Plus, four days isn’t an eternity, I’d still give her some time to get back to you before giving up.

Dating. It can be scary out there.

Also…six months may feel like a long time, but it’s really not. Finding “your person” is an odd proposition. It’s a goal that you don’t have a lot of control over, whereas most other goals, you do. For instance, if you want to run a marathon, you can buy a pair of running shoes, look up a running schedule, follow that schedule, sign up for a marathon, and run it. Short of getting hit by a bus a week before the race, you have control over whether or not you achieve that goal. Because love is this mystical, chemical (read: annoyingly unpredictable) confluence of two random people each deciding they can’t live without the other…it’s hard to pursue. All of this is to say–be patient. Be open to finding love by doing what you’re doing. Be active on dating sites. I would encourage you to join groups that speak to your interests (co-ed kickball league or alumni group for your college), join professional organizations that will help you network (this is good for romantic relationships and friendships alike), and volunteer regularly for a good cause (after-school programs or serving food at a shelter). Taking these steps will introduce you to lots of new people, get you out in the community, boost your self-confidence, and make you an interesting, well-rounded individual. Keeping busy is the best thing you can do as the new kid in town. Eventually your efforts will pay off.