08 August 2013

Ask Kate - Week 1: Online Dating

Dear Kate: I am a woman in my early thirties. I have been divorced for several years and have no children. I would very much like to meet a man who I can share my time with. A romantic companion, a partner, and a friend. I have not had any luck at work, at the grocery store, or any other place for that matter! I would like to know - what are your thoughts about Online Dating?

I believe there are certain pros and cons that come with dating online. I'll start with the pros first.

Online dating services essentially turn your muddy water into clearer water. Meaning that there aren't necessarily new fish in the pond you're swimming in, just fish that you may have never otherwise met or noticed.

It is likely that the rigorous interview you have to go through just to join an online dating community will do a fairly good job of matching you with someone of similar interests. It will also attempt to weed out the ones with deal breaker characteristics or desires such as - children or no children, Christian or not a Christian, or smoker or non-smoker. So, it could be a time saver.

In this constantly rushed life, online dating is convenient and provides nearly instant gratification - a trait of our generation (although I would argue not a positive one). Just put the app right on your phone, and you know who is checking you out, who you want to check out, who you can strike up a conversation with instantly, and chat back and forth with continuously. Before online dating, sometimes the hardest part (or most exciting - depending on how you look at it) was the wait.

Now the cons.

As the waters are clearer and the fish are now coming from all directions (because they are better able to see), you are more likely to meet someone you, your family, or your friends will know nothing about and may not even approve of. It's not impossible, but adds an element of risk. It's always a comfort to know someone who at least knows of the someone you are dating and can attest to the fact that he is in fact a good citizen, employed, kind to humans and animals, and any other basic traits of human decency most women desire.

Online dating in general comes with certain risks. How accurate and true is their profile? Is their about me section truly reflective of who they are when no one else is looking? Are their responses honest or an expectation of what they think you want to hear? Is that what they genuinely look like? How old are they really? Until actually meeting someone in person, it's more difficult to use that gut instinct detector (not that we're always right), but it does provide an element of comfort. You hope that you'll know right away when meeting someone if they give you an uneasy feeling. Plus, they'll have a more difficult time masking their appearance and age in person.

Your first meeting in person is probably a strong combination of nervousness and heightened security. You think you know this person a little, but you're highly attuned to the fact you may not know them at all. You've more than likely watched one too many Law and Order SVUs - and this is not a bad thing.

So, if one of my best friends were to ask me this very question, how would I respond?

I would say that it is entirely your choice in whether or not you utilize the online dating avenue. And, I will support you. I would also offer two very important suggestions in addition to the pros and cons I've mentioned above.

Be cautious - be selective in which specific personal details you share at first. If and when you decide to meet someone in person, consider going with a group or have a friend nearby. Always meet in a public venue and choose a place where you are familiar with your surroundings and are most comfortable. Give yourself time to let your instincts kick in and your emotions to calm down. If he is the one for you, there's no need to rush.

Most importantly of all - be certain that God is in control and that your faith remains in Him. Pray diligently that He prepare the heart of the man that He has for you. Pray for discernment so that you are attuned to His leading and guiding. And lastly, pray that He prepare your heart for what is to come. As long as God is in it, then He can use whatever means He sees fit to bring two people together.

Remember, if we...

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. - Psalm 37:4-5
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. - Proverbs 3:5-6

Thanks for reading.


August 8, 2013

For more about Ask Kate, check it out here.


Unknown said...

Well done! I love how you handled this question. And I love how you incorporated prayer and discernment. And prayer for safety if they decide to meet up with someone;)
p.s. still super glad you're back;)

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

Very well put and I too love how you incorporated scripture and allowing God to be in control. That is the ultimate true test to whether or not you should walk in it or run the other way!

Jasmine said...

I agree! I would definitely say that it is your choice as well. I actually think that another pro of paid sites are that you have to pay. This will weed out some people as well. At least you kind of know these people are serious about finding someone.

I would just be careful in making sure you don't stop looking outside of the online arena. You can do both online and other venues....

Nancy said...

Hey - just found you through SITS! Good to meet you.
I met my husband online and I completely agree with everything you've said here. It was definitely a risk and throughout the whole process I had those "what if's" running through my mind, but we took things slow - online communication first, then progressed to phone calls, then a few months later met in person. And most importantly, lots of prayer and asking God for direction before moving forward with anything. Fortunately, everything worked out for us and we've now been happily married for 5 years.
I look forward to following you! God bless!

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