I said I would never do online dating. I didn’t want that to be my story. I was that teenager who read way too many Christian fiction romance novels and assumed that I would meet my future husband my freshman year at my awesome Bible college and we would date all four years and then get married when we graduated. Let me tell you–that absolutely did not happen. In fact, the one and only date I did go on my freshman year of college included me being dressed in a blue sequined jumpsuit (long story and I quickly destroyed all photographic evidence) and seeing that same guy, later on that night after our date, kissing a different girl outside my dorm.
That’s all the dating I did in college.
Clearly, my story didn’t go the way that I had imagined, but I never gave up hoping and dreaming of meeting my dream guy or future husband or however you want to refer to it. When people asked me during my college years if I was seeing someone, I told them that I was just focused on school (which was only semi-true). I think I used that as an excuse because when you want something so badly like a relationship and people continually pester you about it, which just reminds you that you’re single, it can become easy to hide behind half-truths.
But then college ended and still my dating life was basically non-existent. I took a year off after college before starting grad school, and had the same picture in my head. Maybe even though it didn’t happen during my college years, it would happen during my grad school years. But no, I sat at my graduate school graduation still single.
So my college plans of meeting my future husband didn’t happen, and my grad school plans of meeting my future husband didn’t happen, but I was not deterred. Some friends suggested online dating–and I’ll be honest, I made an account during my grad school years on eHarmony, but I hardly ever looked at it. In fact, my friends were the only ones who really ever looked at it and sometimes made me send “smiles” to guys, but I wasn’t taking it seriously and was still committed to that not being my story, and eventually completely deleted the account.
I was totally that girl that joined small groups hoping to meet guys (and to truly be in the small group–that wasn’t my sole focus, but hey, it couldn’t hurt, right?!). And I talked to some guys here and there, but nothing ever led to anything. I let some of my friends try to set me up, but again, nothing ever led anywhere. There was just no spark, no attraction. The right guy had not come along yet.
I was twenty-seven and single (and honestly, truly loving my life!) but still longing and hoping for someone to spend it with at some point. And that’s when my friends stepped in. I hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my friends Cristi, Mason, Adam, and Kristina, and after we enjoyed all the food and had drunk some wine, they sat me down and all together as a group they created a brand new eHarmony account for me. I let it slip to them at one point that I was ready to seriously give online dating a try, and they held me to it. In fact, it was Adam who was the one on my computer answering the personality questions that come with setting up an eHarmony account, with everyone else chiming in. I basically sat there and drank my wine as they created a dating profile (although I’m the one that totally filled in the actual profile part, in case you are wondering. That was all me, although it took me a few weeks to actually get to it, and as a writer, I edited it a lot).
Thus began my online dating journey. The end of 2015.
And for a total year, I completely forgot about it.
Then I moved to Maryland at the end of 2016 and I don’t know if was feeling this extra loneliness being far away from my friends or community or just finally feeling ready to see what it was all about, but I decided to give it a fair shot. I told myself to be open minded and just see what happened. If anything, I was hoping to make a friend as I adjusted to life in a brand new place. I started talking to some guys and “smiling” at ones that interested me. I had a few conversations that lasted for a little bit (and some I couldn’t wait to get out of). I told myself that if any guy mustered up the courage to ask me out, then I would at least go on one date with them because I had absolutely nothing to lose. Although nothing happened. I even hopped on Hinge for a little bit (I left a little review of all the online websites and apps that I tried for you to read at the end of this post), and talked to a guy from San Diego that moved to Baltimore a year before me (which HI I was from San Diego and just moved to Baltimore). We talked for three months and maybe I’m too old fashioned and should have asked him out, but I was like, “Buddy, what are you waiting for?!” Eventually, even that just sort of fizzled.
I was beginning to wonder if any of this was even worth it.
Then this year happened, 2018, starting with a whole lot of sadness. My beloved grandmother, who played such a major role in my life, was in hospice. My extended family was all gathered together because we knew the inevitable was coming. Those were the longest six weeks of my life–from the moment that she fell ill to the moment that she passed. But right there in the middle of it, a journey began that I never saw coming. And in God’s goodness, she got to be part of it in a way.
I was staying with my cousin Molly and her husband Kevin during this difficult time so I could be close to my Mimi. One day while we were visiting our grandmother, Molly told Mimi that her goal for 2018 was to find me a husband, which made my grandmother’s face light up as she looked between the two of us and said “you promise?!” It was pretty adorable. She had been longing for years for me to meet someone special, and I never could have imagined that my love story would have begun in a hospice room with my dying grandmother. Mimi began listing off all these qualities that this special man had to have, and my cousin Molly even recorded it so we have it on video forever.
Later that January night, as Molly, Kevin, and I were relaxing on the couch after another emotional day, wondering what type of news we would wake up to in the morning, I happened to mention to her that I had an eHarmony account, to which she became extremely excited and basically took my phone and started looking at all the guys that I was matched with. Between the two of us, laughing and (once again as part of this story) drinking wine, we smiled back at some guys and sent some messages. She’s the one that found Bobby. He had sent me a smile and she said I definitely needed to smile back. And honestly, we might not have ever met had she not told me to send him one back. But I did. Or she did. I truly don’t remember which one of us actually pressed “send.” And a conversation began. Four days shy of my 30th birthday Bobby and I “matched” online and haven’t looked back since. I’m still surprised everyday that he is real and all this happened and that this is my story. And I know it wouldn’t be real without Cristi and Mason and Adam and Kristina and my Mimi and my cousin Molly. The army of people who wanted me to find love and basically took the action steps to find it for me.
I said I never wanted online dating to be part of my story, but you know what? Why not?! Because without it, I wouldn’t have this amazing man in my life. And that’s just the story of how our paths crossed. Our story together is continually being written day after day. I never thought it would work for me, and that I was just paying monthly fees for no reason. But it wasn’t for no reason, and God knew that all along.
There is so much more that I could share about our story, but this is meant to be a post all about online dating, so I want to share with you the different sites and apps that I used (and y’all, I was willing to try anything) and my personal thoughts on them. I know people who have met their significant others on each and every one of these sites, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt as they are just based off of my personal experiences!
- eHarmony! I mean, let’s just start there, since that’s how Bobby and I met. Of course, I’ll highly recommend it because it worked for me, but I also truly do stand behind the compatibility test that they make you take when you create an account. It is very extensive and it helps to weed out a lot of people who you aren’t right with and allows you to prioritize what is important to you in another person like shared faith, education, hobbies, etc. Bobby and I have said so many times to one another that we can totally see why we matched online. They know what they are doing! Plus I love the different options they give you to communicate–sending smiles, sending pre-written questions, or just diving right into sending messages. It is both a website and an app, making it easy to use!
- Match–I maybe lasted three weeks on Match. I didn’t find the compatibility part as extensive as eHarmony, and even as I created my settings in terms of what I was looking for in a person and also things such as age and distance, the only people who messaged me were men my dad’s age, which was absolutely not in my settings, and quickly creeped me out.
- Christian Mingle–It seemed like a good one to try, since the most important quality I was looking for in a man was someone who shared my same faith and values. I got a LOT of messages from people on Christian Mingle, and just in my experience, it all just seemed super cliché and everyone was using all these Christianese terms to sound super spiritual. It didn’t feel authentic to me, any of the conversations that I had, so after my three months were up I decided I was out.
- Hinge–I loved the idea of this app, as it matches you to people who you have common friends with on Facebook, so somehow, someway, you actually already have a connection. The app is super easy to use and also super brief. It doesn’t allow for space to write much about who you are like the above three sites do, but that also means it lets you cut to the chase really quickly. This is where I was talking to that guy for three months from San Diego that didn’t turn into anything. Again, I still love the idea of this app, but it just didn’t end up working for me. I love the idea of being matched on shared connections!
- Bumble–I lasted one hour. The whole concept of Bumble is that the girls are the ones who initiate conversation with the guys. I didn’t find the app that user friendly, and was frustrated by it enough that after an hour of my time, I was done with it. Also, although in every other area of my life I tend to pretty much be a go-getter and take the initiative to jump in, when it comes to dating, I 100% recognize that I am not that person. So knowing that initiating was in my court was actually a big intimidation factor for me.
- Coffee Meets Bagel–I never fully understood how this app worked, but I know it worked for a lot of people so I was willing to give it a chance. But that chance ended after about a week cause again, I never fully understood how it worked. Similar to Hinge, it tries to connect you to people “in your network.” But there was this whole thing about earning beans which basically meant spending more money, and I wasn’t about that. Either that, or I just didn’t understand it.
As you can see, I’ve tried quite a few online dating websites and apps! If I had to recommend my two favorites, it would definitely be eHarmony and Hinge. But again, I know people who have met their significant others on each of these sites as well as others that I haven’t listed. The biggest piece of advice that I can give about online dating is that you get out what you put in. If you don’t actually take time to invest in it, you’re never going to make a genuine connection. It’s something that you have to show up for and invest in (both personally and monetarily) in order for it to work. And it also takes time. I made my eHarmony account toward the end of 2015 and met Bobby at the beginning of 2018. But all of this is 100% worth it if it leads you to that special someone! It could be the beginning of a really great story. And realistically, more and more people are meeting online these days, so I know I shouldn’t be surprised that that’s what happened to me. My whole business and life is online, so why not meet a guy that way?! In fact, Bobby and I are currently in a pre-marital small group at our church, and the majority of the couples in our group met online. If your heart is ready, give it a chance! It’s okay to be proactive about your dating life! I used to think that all I had to do was wait around until God brought the right person my way, but sometimes His way of bringing us the right person involves us actually getting out there and looking for it.
And at the end of the day, I figured I had absolutely nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain!
Have you tried online dating?! What have your experiences been like?