Love at First Site
To avoid telling people that he met his present wife Susi online, Noah Manheimer used to get creative and weave together intricate, tongue-in-cheek tales to spare himself the embarrassment. “My favorite story is that I was standing in line at a convenience store late one night, and someone came in to knock off the store,” he says. “I was afraid for my life, but Susi dragged me into an aisle and hurled a can of beans at the perpetrator, knocking him out. And she’s been my hero ever since.”
Although some online daters are still secretive, the stigma attached to the online dating world is dissipating. After all, some 40 million Americans (about 40% of the country’s singles) turn to the web to line up dates, which is good news for those still searching for “the one.”
So if you’re feeling embarrassed, hesitant or just uncertain about this method of meeting new people, relax. There are things that are different—like learning to write your online profile, figuring out when to meet face-to-face and how to keep yourself safe—but the basic rules of dating still apply. So, go on and jump in the dating pool. You’ve got nothing to lose, and you might just find someone special.
Navigating the Online Dating Waters
Dating online offers lots of things cruising for a date in-person can’t—like control, anonymity and a broader range of individuals from which to choose. But where do you begin?
Many experts recommend starting out on a large, well-known site. “It just gives you more choices,” says Erika Moore, a dating coach and partner at Romancelanguage.org, a firm specializing in writing online dating profiles for its clients. “But if that’s not working for you, it could be you need a niche site.”
Large sites with something for everyone like Match.com are great if you just want to dive in. The criteria are broad, and there are all types of individuals with profiles on the site. Niche sites such as Veggiedate.com (for vegetarians/vegans) or Jdate.com and BigChurch.com (for people of faith) can help remove some of the guesswork if you prefer a mate who shares a specific common interest. Take some time to figure out what you’re seeking before committing, as many of these sites do charge a monthly fee for members to communicate with other members.