"You need to date like it's your full-time job."That's something a friend of mine once told a whole table-full of women, when she was talking about her (now) husband - who she met on Match.com.
"Just go through and click 'wink' to anyone who looks remotely interesting. You're bound to get a hit."Another friend suggested that strategy over a year ago. It's how she met her live-in boyfriend - also on Match.com.
I don't mind telling you - the very idea depresses me.
Yes, I get that relationships take work. But shouldn't the work come after you're in the relationship? Is all that effort really necessary just to find a date?
What's interesting is that even the professionals at Match.com say that the successful dater is one who approaches it like a job. If you're willing to make the commitment to stick to a "schedule" - and willing to pay the increased monthly fee - they will give you the Match.com Six Month Guarantee.
Just what is the guarantee?
Everybody knows somebody who's found love at Match.com - It works so well, we guarantee it. If you don't find someone special within 6 months, we'll give you an additional 6 months free.Notice they don't guarantee you'll find love - they guarantee you'll find someone special. I searched the terms, but did not find a definition for "someone special." Figures.
In addition to creating a truthful, visible profile, with at least one visible picture (rules I think are very fair), you also have to initiate or respond to at least five emails to unique members through the site each month. If you don't meet this criteria*, the guarantee will not apply.
Do successful daters really make all this effort? Or are the best relationships those that happen naturally?
I think the answer is yes - to both questions. Based on what I know about successful relationships (which is obviously based more on observation than experience), it seems to depend on the people.
I know people who truly believed in dating sites, and followed all the formulas, and did all the work - and met the love of their life. I think it's the nature of online dating to require that much forethought and effort. Sure, you can sit back and wait for people to approach you - but really, is that why you signed up for a dating site? You spent all that money to wait?
If a person doesn't believe in online dating sites, she's naturally not going to put as much effort into meeting people that way. How likely is she to meet the love of her life online? Not very - but that doesn't mean she won't meet him. It just means that she probably won't meet him online.
So where do I fall in all of this? I'm still not sure. Yes, I signed up for the site (I couldn't resist). This isn't the first time I've tried online dating - but it is the first time I've seriously tried a paid site. I met Big on Plenty of Fish, and Trooper on OKCupid - both of which are totally free.
Part of me still thinks using an online site at all might be forcing it too much. Another part of me wonders if maybe I need to change it up - after all, I can't keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result. That's the definition of insanity (and, it seems, dating).
But part of me couldn't resist the catchy commercials, or those real-life success stories that I know personally. I couldn't resist the idea that love is something I'm meant to search for, not wait for. I couldn't resist the idea that nothing good ever happens to someone sitting at home, not doing a darn thing to bring that good to her life.
So, I'm trying. I'll be sure to report back.