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Online Adventures in Dating

Candice is a dedicated educator and counselor who has experienced the joy and the disappointments of love and learning to love.

Weeding out the Bad Seeds

So you just finished your online profile, with your best selfies...and now here comes the winks, hearts, and kisses emojis! But let's not forget the abundance of shirtless men pictures (some of whom really need to remain covered). Let the adventure begin!

I have graced many different online dating sites with my presence. I have probably been on 5 or more sites. Why? Well, isn't it obvious? The first 4 sites didn't work out the way I planned! There are definitely some losers out there, lurking behind kind and luring photos, with nearly perfect profiles. Let's be real, people. There are no "perfect" profiles, and you can expect some dishonesty creeping throughout every site. But let's look at ways to save some time, and weed out (at least some) of the "bad seeds"


Choosing an Online Dating Site

Choosing an online dating site can be confusing and overwhelming. Knowing what fits your needs, and what you want is important. Free online dating sites should be chosen carefully. Some of the popular "free" online sites tend to attract more of the "one-night standers". I started off with a free online dating website. All I received in return was nude photos and x-rated responses. So if that's what you're into, go for it. On the other hand, I found that people who pay for these online dating accounts, also tend to be more serious in seeking meaningful relationships. Of course, there's no guarantee that you will find your soulmate (or not) on any of the dating sites. You may have to go through a few "potential soulmates" to find the one that matches your needs and desires in a relationship.

A Few Selections

Like I said, I’ve gone through about 4 or 5 online dating sites. Here are a few sites that I tried, and my personal experience (your experience, may differ of course):

eHarmony- This popular online dating site was my first choice. Why? Well, have you seen the commercials? They have the most marriages than any other dating site, right? I don’t know if that’s true or not, but let me tell you, there were no wedding bells while I was on that site. First, you have to go through a process which feels more like an exam after the first 30 questions or so. These compatibility questions are supposed to help you connect with your perfect match. Unfortunately, I found my perfect matches to be...
1. A stalker
2. Married
3. Wearing more makeup than me, and
4. An idiot.

Plenty of Fish- What can I say? As soon as I found out my 21-year-old daughter was on this site getting messages from the same guy who was messaging me, it was over. Apparently, I was the last to know that Plenty of Fish translated to “booty call”. This site showered me with potential matches who would actually read my profile in its entirety. This is important to me because as I get older, I get pickier with my choices. In other words, I am very specific with what I want in a relationship. Yes, this may scare off some nice guys, but it also weeds out the guys who are least likely to meet my specific requirements.

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Black People Meet- I have had the most success with this site. In fact, this is the only site that led to an actual relationship. Although not marriage, I did have a long relationship with someone special. The relationship ended after 7 years, but Black People Meet was the most successful online dating site for me.


Be Prepared to Ask Questions

Most online dating sites will provide you with generic questions to help you start a conversation. Generic questions are great if you're nervous or just need a starting point. Here are some questions that I like to ask in order to get to know more about potential matches:

How long have you been in your current occupation? Most profiles will list the person's occupation. If not, then ask them what they do for a living, and be specific. I remember a friend of mine who met a guy online, and he stated that his occupation was in finance. It wasn't until later on in the relationship when she found out he was robbing banks (no really, true story)!

How many children do you have? I ask this so that I know what I'm getting into ahead of time. If you're okay with your match having kids, then great. But does it matter how many? Do you have a limit?

Keep in mind that the questions don't have to be so serious. If you are a fun person (and even if you're not), ask some interesting questions. There are questions that may be serious to you, but can be developed into more fun and interesting conversations.

For example:

What were you for Halloween last year? I ask this because my favorite Holiday is Halloween. I refuse to be with another boring guy who sits at home with the porch light off. I want an exciting man who is not afraid to be silly and embarrass himself occasionally. The answer I get will tell me a lot about my potential match.

Your goal is to ask questions that are important to you, and your potential happiness with another person. If you do not ask, you risk waiting until you've already invested a good amount of time (and your heart) into something that was not meant to be.

It's Okay to be Cautious

Remember, there are no guarantees in who you will end up with when meeting someone online. Technology allows us to alter pictures and appear to be whomever we choose to be. Dishonesty is a frequent visitor to the world of online dating. Like the "almost perfect" guy I met online who turned out to be married with children. We were talking back and forth on the site and finally decided to meet in person. I visited the site to see his profile one more time (in anticipation of our date). Instead of seeing his regular profile, I was greeted with a message from his wife telling all of his potential dates about her husbands lying and cheating.

So how do you know who's real and who's not? You ask questions. You investigate. You do your homework BEFORE you agree to meet. A bit overboard, or overcautious? Not to me. I've met some characters online, so I'd rather check it out now and be safe, than having to pick up the pieces of my heart (again) later.

© 2017 Candice Thomas

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