A while back, out of boredom and curiousity, I posted a profile at several online dating sites (match.com, cupid.com, true.com, etc; there are a bunch). Here is what I can tell you from my experience. Some of these will sound like superficial generalizations, so bear with me.
(in no particular order)
- The number of Christians is small. Some will check the “Christian” box by “default” because they aren’t Buddhist, Hindu, or Muslim, and they believe in God; but they aren’t necessarily born-again. In the “what they’re looking for” category, if they leave religion Open/Any/All, it tells you they don’t really understand the Christian concept of being unequally yoked. Even if they are true Christians, someone who was raised on Catholic or ELCA doctrine is not likely to see eye-to-eye with me on a lot of issues. The number of people who have a faith that is truly compatible with mine is very low.
- There are quite a few women who are divorced and/or have children. In a way, this reflects reality, but I think the percentages are higher for online dating sites. I think single mothers or divorcees are more likely to use an online dating site than someone who has never been married. That may not be true, but that’s my impression. This is not to say that you should automatically rule out someone who has been married before or had children out of wedlock, but it’s not the ideal situation.
- If they haven’t been married and don’t have kids, they’re likely to be overweight and/or unattractive. I don’t say this to be mean or superficial, and I realize it’s a generalization; it’s simply my observation of a trend that I saw. It seems to me that the people who are most likely to use online dating sites are those who have been unsuccessful in meeting someone via the “normal” means. Often, that means those who have had failed relationships, or those who are not found to be attractive (or don’t consider themselves attractive to others). Again, this is not to say that you should rule out someone who isn’t a knockout. It’s inner beauty that really counts, and someone’s inner beauty can influence how you view the exterior “package.” However, I do believe that physical attraction, though a minor consideration, is important. I also believe that a measure of physical compatibility is important. All other things equal, a 6-foot supermodel is probably not the best match for me. On the other hand, I prefer to marry someone who I can carry across the threshold; so I either need to really start working out, or find someone who weighs less than I do.
- To actually have a conversation with someone, most sites require you to purchase a subscription. They usually filter out email addresses, IM accounts, web sites, etc, and some are more aggressive than others at censoring profiles to eliminate any description of how to contact you outside of their system.
- You are likely to cultivate interest from people who don’t interest you. This makes me feel kind of bad when someone tries to contact me or let me know they are interested in learning more about me, and I either ignore them or let them know that I’m not interested. It’s one thing to get to know someone, but since it’s a dating site, I don’t want to get someone’s hopes up when I suspect they’re not what I’m looking for.
Also, some people lie, long distance relationships are tough, and the impersonal nature of the internet has it’s complications.
On the plus side, some of the personality tests and questions you have to answer in the process of creating a profile are kind of fun and helpful in learning about yourself and what you’re looking for. eHarmony.com is probably the best in that regard.
originally posted 3/3/2005 on bibleforums.org