When it comes to dating sites, I’ve been round the metaphorical block, and I’ve got the mild heartache to prove it. So when an online friend mentioned on Twitter recently that she was debating dipping her toe in the proverbial man-pool (that sounded better in my head) … I thought I’d offer her some words of ‘wisdom.’
However, I then realised that although I’d been on lots AND LOTS of dating sites, I’m still not sure whether I’ve learnt that much – after all, two and a half years on and I’m still very much single.
One question that often crops up when it comes to beginning to date is whether you should shell out for a paid dating site. I’ve struggled with this because part of me feels that it’s a bit sad having to pay to meet men, (not sad pathetic sad … but sad that I just don’t meet men day-to-day sad), but the other half of me understands that sometimes you just have invest in something as important as your love life.
Free Dating Sites
“You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.”
I can’t help but think of that saying whenever I log on to a free dating site. What kind of person can’t find a few pounds per month to pay for a quality dating site?
Oh. Me for one.
I’ve tried out a couple of the main free sites and they have, for want of a better phrase, served a certain purpose. It helped me reconnect with the opposite sex after coming out of a ten year relationship. I dated men of all ages and gradually learnt what I DO want … and what I DON’T.
I think you have to sort the wheat from the chaff somewhat when you are on a free dating site, that is … you have to be patient and be prepared to put up with the people on there that are a) only looking for sex, b) married, c) bored, d) all of the above.
My experience has taught me that if a site is free, men (and I would imagine women) can join at no cost to themselves and just mess people about. Trust me – it happens an awful lot, and it’s a shame because people like that give the serious daters a bad name. I would say if you have the patience and/or if you’re just beginning to date after an absence from the scene, start with a free site. BUT … I think you’ll be very very lucky if you strike gold.
Which leads me onto …
Paid Dating Sites
I’ve put my money where my mouth is and tried a handful of paid dating sites with the understanding that … if we are all forking out £30+ per month then hopefully we are pretty serious about dating. That doesn’t necessarily mean meeting The One, but if we’re at the stage in our life where we’re prepared to part with hard earned cash, particularly in this economy, then we’re serious about … dating people who are serious!
I don’t want to mention the names of the sites I’ve tried out but I haven’t really noticed much difference between them if I’m honest, in terms of the type of man that is on there. Again, patience is a virtue and I found the men’s criteria tends to be a little … specific. They will be more ‘strict’ about what type of woman they want to meet … the age of woman they specify can be quite tough to handle because believe me, the amount of men actually looking for a woman who is over 40 years old is minimal. Age, for me, has been a big barrier in finding suitable longer term dates because on most sites, once you go past that 40 landmark age, you’re not searched for as much. I’m talking as a woman … I can’t see age being such an issue for men.
You have to then ask yourself, should you start lying about your age just so you turn up in a man’s search. More about that another time.
Dating on free sites has been fun but I never expected to find anyone serious about dating on there. And I was proved correct. Having said that, my friend married a man she met on Plenty of Fish … go figure!
I’m at the stage in life where I’m prepared to pay money to not be messed about. I might not meet a lot of men’s criteria … I’m over 40, I’m a plus sized woman with a plus sized opinion to boot, but I remain optimistic. I just haven’t met my lobster. (I’m not actually into lobsters I should point out … although there may well be a dating site for people who are!)
I like to think that I may meet someone in the future that isn’t even on a dating site, paid or otherwise, but I just don’t get to meet many eligible bachelors these days. I will be asking where they are in another blog post!
In the meantime, life is good. I date occasionally but not extensively. If you’re about to start dating and have a spare £30+ to spend each month, why not try a paid AND a free dating site out … what have you got to lose?