As I write this, my fiancée and I have a confirmed date and venue for our wedding, and I have appointments set up to go wedding dress shopping. (That still feels so weird to say out loud ….!) But I thought this would be a good time explain our story a little bit, and give some helpful information.
I mentioned it briefly here, but my future husband and I met online.
We met on the dating app Zoosk. We met in late May 2017, and met in person June 10, 2017. However, we both didn’t create our profiles with the intention of getting into a relationship. He had just moved back into the state after living in another state for several years, and he was looking for quick ways to get to know people in the area. My cousin had created a profile on another app as a joke, and ended up finding a relationship. I was very single at the time, and was curious at what could happen if I set up a profile. I wasn’t looking for a relationship; I was more curious as to the culture.
Zoosk is a subscription service. I hadn’t realized that when I set up my profile, but I very quickly discovered, that in order for me to be able to have access to all of the features of the site, I needed to pay. I decided to just pay for one month, and at the end of the month, I would be content with whatever happened. I had my profile for about a week and a half before I met my fiancée.
Growing up, I believed quite firmly that I would meet the love of my life in person, in a natural way, a love a first sight kind of way. I was rather adamant for quite some time about not getting on a dating site. Some part of me thought it cheapened the romance of fate bringing two people together. But, God has crazy ideas sometimes that turn out to be more wonderful than you could ever imagine.
I responded to Ben’s first text, and the rest involves a diamond ring and wedding planning.
Recently, a YouTuber that I watch quite frequently and rather adore, released a video where she subtly mentioned she was the victim of domestic violence, at the hands of a boyfriend she met on Tinder. In tears, she begs the viewer to read her soon-to-be released book, in which she detailed what happened, before creating a dating profile.
As much as my heart hurts for Brittani, and I wish she hadn’t had to go through all of that, I can’t help but be reminded of my own successful online dating story.
Guys, I implore you, much like regular dating, know yourself before you get involved with someone else, especially if its someone you only know from online.
Know your expectations and morals, inside and out. Know what you want in a partner, and what you will not give up on. It’s perfectly fine to talk to whoever sends you a message, and it’s also perfectly fine to stop talking to someone because of whatever reason. (Of course, it is polite to give them a heads up and not just ghost them, but do what you need to do.) It is also okay to go on a date with someone you meet online, to test the waters, so to speak, but again, do not give up on things that are important to you, just because of your desire to meet someone. In this same vein, I would recommend to set your perimeters to a distance you feel comfortable driving to, and that meets in a very public place that is between the two of you. Overall, just be level headed.
Understand that the pictures you put up, attracts the people who respond. My pictures were strictly of my face, and the picture from the “Who Am I?” section for this blog. I recognized that any pictures with lots of skin showing would direct the wrong attention, and I even got some of that kind of comments, with the pictures of my face. I understand that until that type of dating has been completely addressed, those comments will exist everywhere.
Don’t let the dating app consume you. Most apps have so much you can do, from sending and responding to messages, swiping left or right on profile images, and interacting with people who send you “gifts” (like digital flowers, teddy bears, or candy). Also, from experience, I should let you know that girls get a lot more attention online than guys do. I’m pretty sure, at one point, fifteen different guys had sent me messages in two days, and I was actively talking to at least three. My boyfriend, on the other, had maybe three girls he was talking to in total. But set the app, and your phone, away during certain parts of your day, and do not let in intrude in your daily life in any way. I will admit, there were times, when I had first set up the profile, that I was unable to keep my phone away for the entire three hours I was at work. Don’t let the app consume you.
Know who you are. This ties in quite heavily to the first one, but I think it’s just as important. I think, for the most part, I am a stable and level headed person. I can judge things pretty accurately and I am able to reign myself in, if I begin to feel like I am letting a situation get the better of me. I think it is so important that, if you are interested in engaging with the online dating scene, that you understand who you are, and how you function with relationships. Do you mind the typical mind games, like not texting right after a first date? Are you good at reading people? Is it important that your friends or family are involved in your romantic pursuits? Do you know how you handle stressful or uncomfortable situations? If you would like more of my thoughts, you can find them here.
I will also put out a word to the wise: online dating is not the place for the romantically desperate, the overly dramatic, or those with low self-esteem (really, though, no one wants to deal with compliment fishers.) There are some really incredible people out there on dating sites (trust me, I’m marrying one!), but sometimes (and I encountered a few), people on dating sites are like the stuff from the dark and obscure places of the internet. There will be people who make you laugh out loud at the ridiculous pick up lines they send, others will make you stare at your screen in disbelief in how they think it is okay to talk to a potential date, and still others will just make you feel all kinds of pity for them.
I know the possibility of Brittani’s story happening to others is incredibly likely, but I pray that it doesn’t happen to anyone else. I know that I can’t force everyone to view online dating, or even face-to-face relationships, the same way I do, but I do know the power of educating and spreading awareness. I hope that, if any of you reading this are considering trying out online dating, please don’t jump into it. Be conscientious of all the different sites out there, and pick one that you feel comfortable with, and makes you feel safe.
And above all, like in any other relationship, stay on the look out for red flags. If anything makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, trust your gut. Please. You and your sanity and heart, are waaaaaay more important than someone’s feelings or inconvenience. Trust me.
Ciao for now,