"Most online sites will allow you to do a free search. If they don't, try another site that allows you to do a global search for free."
Imagine being able to walk into a bar with hundreds of thousands of prospective daters. How many could you meet or speak with in a given evening
Not too many. That's where online dating has a definite advantage. It offers you a large number of people to choose from with methods for filtering down those with whom you might be compatible. Pretty good bar, huh
Okay, so now you've decided to give online dating a try, or perhaps as a "veteran" you're considering some changes in your approach. There are a few basic questions you should ask yourself first. They may seem too business-like but after all, you are making a decision that requires resources such as time, money and emotion.
There are literally thousands of online dating websites, not to mention a myriad of social networking sites. But in my opinion there are really only a few credible sites and I'll talk about those in this segment. Answering the above questions will help you narrow down your best options. Let's take them one at a time:
What kind of person are you looking for
Do you have an idea of who that person is? Type in your criteria - gender, age, proximity - and see what pops up. Most online sites will allow you to do a free search. If they don't, try another site that allows you to do a global search for free.
Some sites provide full profiles while others are limited. Again, I'd step away from any sites that provide limited profiles. You want as much information as you can get before making an investment of your time, emotion, and, in some cases, money.
Finally, some sites may require you to join in order to search and see profiles. If they provide free memberships, typically also limited, that's okay, too. This will give you some insight into the type of questions prospective members must answer. Do they ask about your disability? Do they give you the opportunity to speak about dependence and other issues you may want to address in advance of meeting someone? The bottom line, though, is that I would not recommend joining any kind of online dating website that doesn't allow you to look around first.
How much time, effort, and emotion are you willing to invest
Consider the project of finding your life partner the same way you might consider buying a new car or house. I know they're very different, but in the sense of using your resources most efficiently, there are similarities. Both are projects. Both require resources that are likely limited. Both are important contributors to your happiness.
Some sites require you to complete a detailed profile before you can do anything else on the site. In fact, they may also restrict your ability to search on your own. Their proprietary matching methods utilize "dimensions" or other "top secret" psychological profiling and they pick the match for you. Completing the application, and even waiting for a match to be found, can be quite time consuming. While you may be one of the lucky few that do find your perfect match on the first try, it's more likely that the advertising for the site's success is more show than substance.
On the one hand, there are sites that require a lot of work upfront - detailed profiles and long questionnaires.Other sites offer no real matching, they just provide brief profiles and an email address that allows you to communicate with whomever you'd like. There are merits and disadvantages to both approaches. Figure out which best fits your personality. Are you the kind that likes to do your own investigation, or do you prefer a third party to offer suggestions as to whom they think is most compatible with you
This is the toughest one. It is very easy to become enamored with a picture, a profile, and/or an email. But aren't we all on our best behavior when we first meet someone - especially someone we think we want to spend time with? My advice is simple - BE CAREFUL, BE PATIENT, BE CAREFUL! Did I mention BE CAREFUL? Anyone can look good on email. Do your due-diligence before you go out on that first date. And be especially cautious before you get emotionally involved. Hard as it is may be to control your emotions you'll be grateful later on. If it's the right person, it was worth the wait, and if it wasn't, no harm has been done. And one more thing - some dating websites feature members that are not really active. It's not always easy to identify who they are, but you may be communicating (email, poke, wink, or whatever the site options are) with an inactive member. I'd suggest avoiding sites that do this, but the real message is to remind you not to be discouraged if you do not get a response.
How much money are you willing to invest
Prices for online dating sites range from FREE (I mean really free, not limited free) to more than $50/month. If you're paying $50+ per month, that's an annual cost of at least $600. And it may take more than a year to find the right person. Truly free sites of any value are rare. The key thing here is that these sites will have limited features, and no one on the site has made a financial investment. That brings to mind the old saying "You get what you pay for." My advice is to look for value in anything you purchase, and online dating is no exception. One measure of value is the type of people that are on the site.
There's no rule that says you can only join one site. My advice is to pick one free site, and one paid site, improving your odds and providing a more diverse dating pool to choose from. Managing more than two profiles and a series of communications can be difficult, confusing, and time consuming.
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