Please Explain: Internet Dating

Friday, February 13, 2009

More than 35 million people are looking for love right now on the internet. The demand has led to an explosion of internet dating sites. Jennifer Gibbs is an Assistant Professor of Communications at Rutgers University. Gian Gonzaga is a research scientist at eHarmony Labs and the UCLA Interdisciplinary Relationship Science Program.

Weigh in: Have you tried internet dating? What was your experience?


Jennifer Gibbs and Gian Gonzaga

Comments [43]

Daniel NP from Boston, MA

I have been in dating sites for about 10 years now.
1)Everyone plays the ODDS Game. NEVER believe you are the only one he/she is flirting with, at any and all times.
2)Pay sites have less kooks on them - but, there are tons of them on the Net.
3)Foreign sites: you are playing with fire.
4)Meet people after months f correspondence.
5)When communicating, ask the same Hot Button questions, in as many ways a you can re-cycle them, every 3 email - lying and hiding issues, is rampant.
6)Accept the other person as is, stop making fantasies about the ideal person.
7)Work at this, do not sit back and wait.
8)Be cautious, not Paranoid.
9)Dress better; groom better.
10)Dump your annoying side, most times it is the reason you alone. Seriously, DO IT!
11)You are not a Failed entity, nor a Gift to Humanity. Get over yourself!
12) Expect to be dumped or not have your calls answered, with no warning. Nothing personal, just the nature of Net Dating.

Good luck!

PS. Leslie (comment No.33), I am worldfriend05 at most major e-mail sites.

Mar. 22 2009 03:39 PM
Michele from NJ

I tried match and eharmony - and it was demoralizing. I think online is horrible if you aren't photogenic: what are those of us who are not stunning, but who are great in person, supposed to do? I did speed dating and found the love of my life!

Feb. 14 2009 10:13 AM
Linda from LIC

The general m.o of men on dating sites is to date multiple women. There are far more women than men online, especially on sites like Match and Nerve. Although I have had a number of dates as a result of Nerve (the men on there appeal more to my intellect, cultural and recreational interests, as well as left-of-center political leanings), I haven't managed to get a man to commit to more than 5 dates. In a span of 4 years, I have had not one relationship. Sadly, this is the easiest way for me to meet men. Unfortuantely, due to my experiences, I just don't date at all anymore and haven't for about a year. Edward, #29, is right on the mark.

As an aside, what is the deal about being able to choose a body type (which men find more important than women), yet there is no option for choosing a minimum height requirement in your matches (which women find more important).

Feb. 13 2009 03:14 PM
Lisa from brooklyn

I think that most people, men and women do have an unrealitic fantasy about what they want or can actually get.

Feb. 13 2009 01:58 PM
Leah from Brooklyn, NY

I'm surprised by how positive most have been about on-line dating. I found it to be quite miserable. The unwritten rules of on-line behavior seem to be completely flipped from the basic civility that we expect and display in in-person interactions.

I did, however, end up meeting my partner on Nerve and we've been together for four years now.

Feb. 13 2009 01:56 PM
Theresa from New Jersey

I'm 27 and have been on both Match and EHarmony. My biggest question is why these sites tend to match people with those who are not a match, either by the radius, age, or other criteria. I have always looked for people who were within a few years of my age. I tend to look for men who are between 25-33. I am consistantly paired with people who are 38. I'm also looking for people who live near me, as I am not interested in long distance relationships, yet I am continually paired with people who are not within the radius that is set up eihther. Is there a reason that these sites pair people outside of their criteria?

Feb. 13 2009 01:56 PM
Lori from Montclair, NJ

I met my husband on When we first met (7 years ago yesterday!), we liked each other but had conflicting goals so we parted. Three years ago after we had both ended relationships, we both got back on Match and found each other again. This time it worked.

Yes, there were a lot of "crazies/liars" on Match but there are some "keepers".

I had also tried EHarmony but was frustrated and offended by their mandated matching policy because they only matched women with men their own age or older. I had dated a lot of younger men and thought that policy was limiting and based on sexist assumptions. Not sure if that remains their policy.

Feb. 13 2009 01:53 PM
Laird Kelly from Manhattan

As a widower I really only wanted to meet women who had also suffered the loss of a beloved relationship. It was easy to sort the "universe" by this characteristic online and it is nearly impossible to do so in typical social settings.

Happily married to Susan, via Yahoo Personals.

Feb. 13 2009 01:50 PM

I've used, briefly,, eharmony for a few seconds, and My experience is that the majority of men online are dishonest. I've had long relationships as a result of meeting online. There's a general trend toward misapprehension that volume = value. There are many many more men than women online, and the reality is that men are spending lots of money on these sites clicking through fantasies without a true interest in taking a stab at reality.

eharmony's matches me for me left me scratching my head. is terrible unless you live in a location with many participants. i met a married man on match, who'd been on for over a year, listed as divorced. after notifying match twice, they never acted upon that information. why? because they make their money from men.

Feb. 13 2009 01:49 PM
Neal from Manhattan

Are services like eHarmony as popular and successful in small towns and rural areas as they are in big urban centers like New York.

Feb. 13 2009 01:49 PM
Leslie from NYC

I recently joined again. I'm an attractive woman in early 30's, MBA, well-traveled, have a career, cultured...The funny thing is, I've had no luck on Match. Interestingly enough, I've had over 800 people view my profile, and received only 4 emails. And even funnier, I've sent 25 emails over time and had no responses. Just curious what the secret is? And BTW, I try to make my emails witty and short. What gives?

Feb. 13 2009 01:49 PM
Rogie from manhattan

Why must a man who uses an international dating site submit all sorts of background information to the foreign woman BEFORE HE CAN JUST SEND AN EMAIL TO SAY "HELLO" TO HER?

This is required under IMBRA, a federal law.

Feb. 13 2009 01:49 PM
C. from Brooklyn

I took a peek at my boyfriend's OKCupid profile right after we started dating, and I think if that was the only information I had about him, I wouldn't have been interested! Online he seemed pretty dull and a bit pretentious, not at all the quirky individual I'm dating. Just goes to show how difficult it is to accurately portray yourself.

Feb. 13 2009 01:48 PM
Mira from NYC

I tried eharmony a while back and it worked ok. Now though, after the company has doing a lot of promotions to get people to sign, they allow users to get matches without being subscribers. What do you do about a fact that right now, I just signed 2 mo ago, I have more than 250 matches and not ONE has initiated a conversation, or very few has returned my request to communicate. Can your guest explain the reason behind that!? It seems like now there's a lot of members who are just hanging out there to see what's around and really not planning on getting serious into dating...

Feb. 13 2009 01:48 PM

Did for 2 years. It was about sex,sex, and more sex. The women I met were starving for sex as well as affection - but really had not had sex in 6 to 9 to 12 months plus. They all had advanced degrees, top of their professions, really on the ball, just could not meet men who were not intimidated by them, etc. For me was shooting fish in a barrel, in fact, I had to ween myself of as I was become accustomed to simply using it to hook up. This was '03-'05. I am married now to someone I did not meet online.

Feb. 13 2009 01:47 PM
Kris from New York

Q.: Why does Eharmony send matches without pictures? I really hate this, it wastes time. Why don't they require pictures.

Q.: How successful is internet dating for older peple (50+). I would like my mom to try but I'm afraid she will only meet dirty old men.

Feb. 13 2009 01:47 PM
al oof

what about meeting people online on not dating sites? i know a few people who met their spouses on, which is just a message board about nerd stuff. there are lots of ways to meet online where you aren't intending to find dates. why doesn't anyone ever discuss that?

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Stanley from Manhattan

might you ask the e-Harmony fellow why e-Harmony decided to set up a separate site for gay males and females.

What could have kept them from including them w/in the main site?

Could it be because of the site's principal's ties to the Christian Right and Fuller Theological Seminary where Neil Clark Warren was dean of the psychology school?

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Vanessa from New York

My best friend is biracial and listed herself as "other" (or the like) on eharmony. After a few months of casual dating, she was told that she would get better matches if she listed herself as "white." She finally did and found a good match . . . but we both thought that it was a bit odd . . . what extra people was she picking up?

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Lonnie from Brooklyn!!!!!

Still looking-- I find that Men tend to Look for a partner-- while Women tend to 'Shop for men' like they're picking and choosing off a shelf.
I want to TALK to a woman and usually, the woman's first words are "I want. . ."
Buying an expensive japanese dinner for someone tells me nothing about the person except that they know how to spend other men's money.

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Jessica Bram from Westport, Conn.

Some years ago eHarmony took my $50 membership fee, spent the next month telling me "We haven't found a match for you that meets our excruciating standards," then let me know my membership expired and invited me to submit my credit card number to extend my membership and let them continue "searching for my perfect match." I declined.

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
John Z from Brooklyn

I tend to go for the free sites, because I find the rates on match and eharmony and nerve to be outrageous. is free, and even if the dates are a bust, it's still a somewhat entertaining site. A good time waster, really.

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Larry from Brooklyn

I find that most women are more critical of themselves "body image" than men are. A good photo of their face and figure should be presented.

Feb. 13 2009 01:46 PM
Benigno Veraz from Wash Heights

Who oversee dating sites that they are being 'true' to their words.

Who is to say that among the millions of members they claim to have in their data bases, there are also millions of 'ghost profiles', those who don't pay for a subscription, the ones who abandon the add... which is the real the reason why you never get a response or connect with the best match. Their customer service people blame you when you complain: they tell you to update your profile, change pictures, write another personality profile, the 29-points of dimension thing has yet to find you a match.... I don't trust these people... I think they design the system so that they cash in a given amount of money before they really match with someone who is likely to hit it you. I've been at eharmony, for years and here I am, still throwing the net...

Feb. 13 2009 01:44 PM
Katie from NYC

I was on eharmony a while ago. I am 5'5 and I like tall men but height wasn't a criteria I could select... they used to send me men shorter than me all the time so I cancelled my membership. How can your guest explain this?

Feb. 13 2009 01:43 PM
Mel from Los Angeles

I found eHarmony attracts folks with a religious bent, not a lot of progressive matches on the site and I had very few matches. In general, I think these online dating sites are not upfront about their methods regarding subscriptions and getting 'matched' with someone RIGHT before the subscription expires and keeping folks in the database that aren't active. Chemistry utilizes's database, by the way. At least speed dating is less $ and it all comes down to meeting in-person anyway.

Feb. 13 2009 01:43 PM
sara strom from new york

Harmony is fraudulent according to my experience:
>all responses to my emails bore no relation to the subject of the email sent,

>very few people were referred to me UNTIL shortly before my account expired

>about a week before the expiration date of my account, Harmony referred more than one man to me almost every day.

Feb. 13 2009 01:43 PM
james from caroll gardens

Your guest mentioned that you could register at
or .org

Doesn't seem to exist.

Feb. 13 2009 01:42 PM
Lane T from New York, NY

Please ask your guests to address the subject of rejecting matches.

Feb. 13 2009 01:40 PM
Charlie Roberts from Oceanport, NJ

I found the love of my live online . . . on what, IMHO, used to be the best site . . . Matchmaker. Then, after seeing the success of, they changed the site to be more like match and ruined it. Eharmony and match are a lot of work . . . Matchmaker was fun.

Feb. 13 2009 01:39 PM
mel from brooklyn

In sum, I think commonality can easily be given much too much weight.

Feb. 13 2009 01:36 PM
mel from brooklyn

What does internet dating mean for the old saying "opposites attract"? My husband and I are both different and opposite in many respects and I can't imagine any "algorithm" that would match us up, yet we're very happy.

Feb. 13 2009 01:35 PM
Chris from New York

Oh yeah, ultimately I met my match online.

Feb. 13 2009 01:34 PM
s from Ringwood

I may be one of the few that read the disclaimers. E harmony wanted to include my demographic data to all their affiliated companie. So I went to, It's been 4 months & I still haven't completed filled out all the questions. And the questions are repeated in different ways. It's maddening.

Feb. 13 2009 01:34 PM
Chris from New York

Oh yeah, utlimately I met my match online.

Feb. 13 2009 01:33 PM
martha jones from brooklyn

What is the deal with EHarmony rejecting a significant number of people who try to sign up?
I've heard that it's because a certain percentage are "difficult to match", but I find that hard to believe. What is the real methodology? This seems really sketchy to me.

Feb. 13 2009 01:31 PM
Interested from Manhattan

Is Leonard looking to date? If yes how can an interested party make that happen?

Feb. 13 2009 01:30 PM
eve from newark

there is also: which is free and a bunch of my friends like it.

Feb. 13 2009 01:28 PM
a woman from manhattan

I've never met anything but freaks and nutjobs online. Nothing beats in-person. That's how I met my mate. Very happy with him, too.

Feb. 13 2009 01:27 PM
Briana from Manhattan

I met my boyfriend on We have been together for two years. It was a great match :)

Feb. 13 2009 01:25 PM
Chris from New York

I tried a few years back and found it to be a lot of work. I went on a lot of dates. However, it did introduce me to a couple of wonderful ladies. I believe internet dating can be a great outlet if you are willing to try it and tired of the bar scene. It's gotten really tough to meet people these days in the typical meeting spots (bars, museaums, etc.), especially in NYC.

Feb. 13 2009 01:20 PM
David from Rockland County

My experience with Yahoo personals three years ago suggests that they boarder on fraud. Apparently when someone leaves the site they leave that persons profile online to make it look like they have many more members than they really do. is better but it’s an exhausting process and sometimes feels like a job.

Feb. 13 2009 11:25 AM
David from Jersey City, NJ

Are internet dating sites doing anything to help the longevity of these newfound relationships? If so, are they effective?

Feb. 13 2009 11:25 AM

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