Playing With Destiny OR Putting Yourself Out There?

Being 32 and single, has its advantages, but it also has its challenges. And although I am sure past generations have had it worse, today’s “Internet Age” adds a new host of relational pitfalls – namely communicating online and via text messages instead of over the phone or hand-written letters (remember those?) and meeting prospective suitors on FaceBook, MySpace, and internet dating sites instead of at cotillion, blind dates, and sorority formals.

None of these things are bad. It just seems like today we are trying to navigate a path that is a little less clear. That is why I want your opinion on something, something that makes me a little (a lot) uncomfortable, internet dating.

matchcomAnd by your opinion, I mean what would you do if you were in my shoes. Not what you think I should do, as you sigh under your breath that you wouldn’t be caught dead doing it. (I am talking to you, married people. I am on to you – you are famous for giving advice to your single friends that you would NEVER follow yourself.)

Over the last few years, I have had both friends and co-workers take the plunge and create a profile on internet dating sites. And I always have the same reaction, “that is great” but “I just am not there yet.” But yesterday as I drove to work, I started questitoning myself. What am I waiting for? How else am I going to meet a man? (Still somewhat new in town, I seriously can count on one hand the single men I know in Nashville.) Am I just afraid to put myself out there? Am I holding on to an idealistic picture of how I will meet my man? Is internet dating playing with destiny or is it just a way of putting yourself out there?

I promise to listen with an open mind to your thoughts. That being said, I will only “take the plunge” if I can truly get excited about the possibility. Life is too short to waste doing things that I do not want to do just because.

So please, shoot straight, hold nothing back – what is your take on internet dating? (Mom, Dad, guess you can jump in here too, I know you have opinions.)

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lindsey,

    My wife and I met over the internet, 6 children and 14 years later, I would do it all again. I don’t think it matters where or how you meet, but what happens after you meet. Best of luck. jack

  • Kendra Fleming

    I have a very good friend who talked to me and several other people she trusted about this a few years ago. Honestly I was very skeptical & worried for her safety. But after talking to her more & hearing how much control she had over the process I kind of came around. She promises to tell a couple of us who she was talking to & when she was going out & several of us double dated when she was first dating to make sure it wasn’t some wacko! And there were a few strange ones…I won’t lie!

    But last week I held her beautiful little baby boy. Yes, she found someone who lived in another city and got married a few years ago! All through online dating! It happens & I hear it more & more.

    I say go for it! You’re a smart lady & will weed through the riff raff easily & who knows? Maybe find the one for you!

  • Hmmm…that’s a good question. I’ve known several couples who met online. One it worked out amazingly well for and another – not so well.

    One couple that met online, met through friends back when MySpace was all the rage. They would comment on each other’s profiles, then they started chatting and finally, they met in person. They lived in different states and she ended up moving to his state (he was in residency, so he couldn’t move) and lived with a family in his church. They dated for 6 more months then they got engaged. They are a WONDERFUL couple and are a perfect match for each other.

    Another couple used an online dating service and had a rather quick dating/engagement period. It hasn’t worked as well for them.

    I imagine the best way to meet online is through mutual friends, but I think a dating site might be ok as long as you date for a pretty long time. Just because someone seems like the perfect person, doesn’t mean they are and you certainly don’t want to spend the next 50 years of your life learning that.

    So, I’d say, go for it….with discernment.

    Not sure my input will push you to the “truly excited about the possibility” point, but that’s my 2 cents.

  • Society and culture are different because of the Internet. Once upon a time, girls would get all dolled up to meet boys at town picnics or big barn dances. We don’t have that now. We have the Internet.

    So just think of the Internet as a town picnic or barn dance. Get dolled up and make the plunge. You’re not going to meet a guy sitting at home (well, actually nowadays you do)!

  • Lindsey,

    I’m about to celebrate my 10th wedding anniversary. I met my wife online and thank God the he was able to use that medium to fulfill a long dream of both of ours (btw, we married when we were 31 years old). So, I’m sure you know that God will be the one to bring your future husband, but I’m a testament that he can use the internet.

    I’d met a number of people through the internet prior to Zolla. The big mistake I made was spending too much time getting to know them ON the internet before actually meeting. What that did was create a “literary” expectation on both sides, which was deflated once we finally met. Zolla and I met maybe a week after we made contact. So, the internet “introduced” us, but we didn’t develop a relationship there.

    The site we met on was important, however. This was way before Eharmony and the big craze. It was a Christian dating site, however. And, most importantly, it was EXTREMELY THOROUGH in detailing who you were, including several essay questions, so (assuming the person was honest) you could really learn a lot about someone before choosing to connect or meet.

    Think about how you usually meet someone. Someone introduces you, or you meet through work, church, something else. Most often, you go out knowing next to nothing about each other. So, it’s often a bit of a crap shoot. So, if you choose a responsible internet dating site, you can very often cut through a lot of that trial and error, and then go from there. Nothing is guaranteed, and it won’t guarantee a spark, but it’s certainly as good a way as any to meet someone, in my opinion.

    So, I’m a big fan, as you can tell. Use common sense, but like anything, do your homework, and trust God. Even if it doesn’t prove to be your path to marriage, I bet you’ll advance your cause further by trying. I.e., you’ll be further along in refining what you want and what you don’t want, which is always a good thing.

    John

  • I would have to agree with the above comments. I think the key is getting to know the person “in person” sooner rather than later, and let the internet be a weeding out process. I don’t see anything wrong with expanding your territory, because God can definitely use the internet to bring your husband to you. Just be wise and use discernment—but that applies to dating in general!

  • Jessica

    I will tell you that I have done this and actually really like it sometimes. But it takes a lot of time. I did meet one guy out of the 3 that I went on real dates with that I thought was really going to work out.. It didnt but it didnt make me feel like I failed either. I will tell you that you cant go on for just a month. and the only sight that i have liked is Match. I sign up for 3 months every time I do it and to justify the cost I choose to go out with friends one less time or so a month. I have not had any bad things happen. Most people understand it is not the safest thing for a girl. So I have always let my roomies or sister know where we are going and have somone call or text to make sure Im good and always have a pass word.
    I have done everything from drinks and dinner to dinner and a movie, to just chilling at a park. I say its a GO!

  • Kendalyn

    Linds – I say go for it. You are such an amazing person that anyone would be so lucky to be with you. Trust me, if I had not of met Mike when I did I would have tried Internet dating. I’m actually trying to convince Mike to let me set up a profile for his brother. Just be very careful when you actually meet someone. Remember how you made me check in with you the first time I went to Jacsonville? You do the same thing. And of course if I meet someone I think is good enough for you I will let you know!

  • It certainly doesn’t hurt to look online. As some of the other commenters have proven, it can work well. I met my husband online in a community that we both frequented. But, when I met him I had stopped looking for a date, much less a husband. Sometimes, when we’re trying to find someone we try too hard and get discouraged. Open your eyes and your mind and be yourself. It will happen for you when it is supposed to happen.

    And, you are absolutely NOT old. We didn’t get married until we were almost 35. It was meant to be that way.

  • Joy Haynes

    As others that have commented, I met my husband online in 2003 when I was 30. I too was running out of knowing single men. I just did some math:

    If I went to an event with 100 people, let’s say 50 might be men. Then maybe 15 were single and maybe only 5 of those were looking for someone too. Finding the right five people to talk to and interact with in a crowd of 100 and knowing which ones to spend your time with… nearly impossible. So I turned to match.com (one of the only sites at that time).

    While I found my husband online, I like to think we actually “met” at Sherlock Holmes pub. That’s were we decided to meet in person and that’s were we had a face to face conversation. That is my main memory of meeting (which is more “ideal” than an email or phone call).

    He was probably about the 10th person I had met in person from an online site over a four year period. Two others I dated for a few months. The rest I didn’t see past the first in person encounter… chemistry wasn’t there. I got down the line, “this isn’t working for me. I wish you luck in your search.” They seemed to understand.

    Give it a shot. Use your instincts (this is important, not only for safety but good use of your time). I knew that I loved my husband about 3 months into our dating relationship. I knew there was something different and wonderful that night at Sherlock Holmes.

    Best wishes to you.

  • My dear twitter friend, you must take the plunge and do it. Alyson and I met through a friend via MySpace! We dated long distance for a while, and then she moved here! The rest is history! 🙂

    With that said, I would totally internet date if I were you! What do you have to lose. If you don’t like the person then you don’t have to keep talking to them. Good thing about it, is they won’t know where you live or what you drive because it is all on the net! Stalker free dating! You win and then we win by getting to hear you tweet about your dating experiences! 🙂 right?

  • Lindsey
    I dont anything about internet dating or matching whatever you want to call it. I been married twice. My second my I meet at church,I proposed to her in the same church,And now we been married for 9 years. Lindsey Go with what your heart is telling you to do,because god is in control of the heart He will tell you what to do,be in prayer,dont be shy to ask God for a husband,you will be amazed.,how God anwsers your prayer,be honest with & tell Him exactly what you want & when you not expecting the answer He will answer. i will be also praying for you. But before you look on the computer,look up

  • Kelly Valenta

    Hey Miss Lindsey! I actually know several people who met online and married – so I think it’s a great idea. One thought – your blog has your real name on it, so it’s not hard to find you… you might not put your blog address on your initial screening page when you get matched up initially….. (coming from your “not related but may as well be” older sister!!)

    Hugs hugs – I just LOVE your blog and hearing your thoughts on life. You’re such a cool person and a great writer!

  • Go for it, hon! We babysat our perfect granddaughter yesterday and her mommy and daddy met through online dating. My brother and his wife met that way and my other brother met a wonderful girl a few weeks ago and it’s going quite well. I’m a big fan!

    • lindseyreadenobles

      Of course, you are right “God can definitely use the internet.” Don’t know why I am reluctant to have faith in that?

      • lindseyreadenobles

        Yes, it definitely worked for you! Very cool.

        • lindseyreadenobles

          Thanks Kendra.

          • lindseyreadenobles

            I completely agree about the mutual friends thing. I would feel so much more comfortable if I could check someone’s references if you know what I mean.

          • lindseyreadenobles

            Great story and great advice. I appreciate you weighing in. Thanks.

  • Lindsey, you don’t know me, so I’m not sure how much weight my opinion should carry! But I’ll tell you what I think anyway… 🙂

    I’ve been married to my high school boyfriend for almost 10 years. However, my two best friends are both 30 and single. As we all three know several people who have met their spouses online, I’ve encouraged both of them to try online dating. I truly think it’s what I would do in their shoes. Because like you said – how ELSE are you supposed to meet people? I know it’s hard!

    But doing the online dating thing may be hard, too – because despite our many conversations about it, one of my friends has tried it briefly and quit, and the other isn’t willing to try at all.

    Good luck with your decision!

    • lindseyreadenobles

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  • I know plenty of friends who have used sites like eHarmony to find their soulmate. Obviously you’ve got to be smart and safe (just like traditional dating methods).

    I think in today’s socially connected society, the technology tools are available that help connect two potentially compatible people in ways that would have never happened 15 years ago.

    I say, take the plunge!

  • Lindsey, when LeAnn and I first started dating, we were a little hesitant to tell people we’d met through eHarmony. The internet dating scene had this stigma and we didn’t want to deal with it. Gradually, we were fine announcing it, because it worked so well in our situation. Even though we lived in the same town, by meeting that way, it gave us a chance to let our guards down and get to know each other without the awkwardness of starting out in person (“so what do YOU do for a living? really? how cool”….). Taking proper precautions and care, I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, just a new way for people to meet.

  • [Caution: Long comment ahead.]

    As someone who gave the Internet dating thing a go a few years back, I have mixed feelings about it. (See disclaimer below.) Like many who have already responded, I’ve heard my share of success stories. Cheers to you all. But even though I went into it with reasonable expectations, and found one woman who became a good friend (though not a romantic interest), I walked away dragging a cartload of disappointment.

    Some of that disappointment was pointed right back at me – I am an admitted hopeless romantic and pursuing a dream through a calculated, prescribed fashion ultimately just didn’t mesh with that idealism.

    But most of my disappointment was birthed by a constant and often unpredictable experience with rejection. I think this is because with online dating services, that intangible we call “chemistry” is reduced to a profile picture and a few words, or a clever-but-imperfect algorithm, and people quickly pass over dating possibilities who don’t live up to the first-impression image they’ve painted in their heads for years. This means they will miss out on getting to know someone who – in a more organic setting such as the workplace or small group – might have become an amazing friend, and potentially an amazing romantic partner.

    Of course, my experience will not be the same as yours. Here’s a simple, painful truth (I blame the fallen world): If you’re pretty or handsome and good (enough) with words, your chance of finding multiple matches is excellent. If not? Prepare for repeated and often painful rejection.

    Even though I didn’t have a great experience and don’t have a lot of love for dating sites, I believe the Internet is still a perfectly appropriate venue for meeting people. The key, for me anyway, is using available technologies simply as tools for finding and then getting to know people. Following someone’s blog comment to his or her website and discovering common interests is a great way to start a friendship across the miles. And maybe, just maybe, one of the friendships you discover will grow into something more. As someone whose community is primarily found online, this is my hope.

    Okay, that promised disclaimer: I’m in an older demographic than you and also carry the baggage of divorce. These (along with my romantic idealism) certainly have some bearing on my particular experience. So take all my words with a few grains of salt. Unless you’re on a low-sodium diet. Then I recommend fresh ground pepper.

  • mcpryce

    I understand your anxieties about internet dating. I have several single friends who are totally opposed to it, others who have had great success with it, others who are now divorced…

    I have so many GREAT single girlfriends (and I’m sure if we were friends, you would fall in that category) and I feel a certain sense of injustice and angst that none of the single guys I know are date-worthy, much less marriage material. I wish someone would create a happy medium.. like a site that married friends could “advertise” (I don’t like that term, but you know what I’m saying) their single friends and send it out to their network…the friends of friends would read it and think, “hey, Bob would be great with this woman, let’s connect them!” Sorta like what happens when you go to a friend’s BBQ and meet a friend of a friend and get connected to your future-husband that way.

    Just a thought. Wishing you wisdom and discernment in your journey.

  • lindseyreadenobles

    I have married friends who lament about this as well. They know lots of wonderful single woman but not eligible single men. Surely, there are GREAT single guys out there somewhere, right? I would much prefer an internet match-making network where friends set friends up with friends, or friends of friends. Anyone want to start one?

  • Christy O

    Lindsey, I’m just out of a 5-1/2 year relationship with a guy I met online. Before him, I had done the online dating thing for years, with varying degrees of success. Before I tried it, I had exactly one date in three years. So, I am a big fan, and I think it’s a great way to change the “single” situation. But these days, I would actually recommend something else: Meetup.com. This has been big for me, especially now that I’m single again and have lots of time to fill. Meetup is a social site that is organized by interest group, and once you join (almost all groups are free and run by enthusiastic volunteers) you attend events in that category. There are meetups for every conceivable interest and category (I’m in hiking, backpacking, paddling, ethnic dining, etc).

    Once I am ready to start dating again, I feel certain that I won’t need the traditional online dating site, because I meet so many single people now (one group recently had a “bring a guy” mixer, just like you long for above, where each girl had to bring one date-able guy friend!)

    And what’s even more important: because this is strictly a social site, not a “dating” site, there is no expectation or awkwardness (well, there are actually “singles” meetups, but I’m not in those at the moment, though I know lots of nice people who are). Try it: meetup.com, put in your zip code, browse the available groups, and check out their calendars. It’s been life-changing for me! If you like hiking at all, I can’t recommend the hiking group highly enough. They have very frequent events, the organizer is great, and the people are friendly and open.

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  • Tim

    I think that it's a great tool if it's used wisely. It's important to screen through who is really intentional and serious about marriage versus who isn't, but certain sites make it easier to do that, as well as to find out early on who is committed to Christ.

  • Check out John Piper's response:


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