Married Dating on the Internet: The Dark Side of Online Dating

July 30th, 2009

In a recent visit to CNN.com I bumbled upon an article about Internet dating sites that cater to (let’s not call them cheaters) attached individuals looking for some extra curricular activity. The politically correct term for this is Internet Married Dating.  Strangely I found this rather intriguing. The featured Internet Dating site was a site called AshleyMadison.com. After reading the entire article I was so disgusted that I did what I am sure many other outraged readers did - I immediately went to AshleyMadison.com and signed up.

The folks at AshleyMadison.com present themselves as an online dating agency. As I have discussed in an earlier IdleRomance post, an agency (a real agency) provides a much broader range of services than the standard, run-of-the-mill, Internet dating site. After looking things over I can safely tell you that AshleyMadison.com is not an agency. They are an online dating site plain and simple with a bit of twist on the pricing. I say this because unlike other Internet dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony.com, AshleyMadison.com does not go in for the subscription price model. Instead they have you purchase credits which can then be used to contact other members via site email or chat. I know that doesn’t sound that different but it is in two ways. The first thing is that you only pay so many credits for the first email you send to another member. Once communication is established there are no more charges for email to that member. The second difference comes in how they handle chat pricing. Chat is priced by the half hour session and there is no break for chatting with someone you have chatted with before.

Another way that AshleyMadison.com is different from other  Internet Dating sites is in the amount of information you are asked to put in your online dating profile. They really don’t seem to expect you to write a whole lot. They cut right to the chase with nine basic details: a screen nickname, a brief caption which appears on screen under your screen nickname, a statement of your limits (more on this later), weight, height, body type, ethnic background, smoking habits, and (the all important) relationship status. Most of these are self explanatory but two are kind of interesting. In terms of your limits you are basically stating to others browsing your dating profile what it is that you are looking for. You can pick between long or short term involvement or you can go all in with an “anything goes” stance. You can be undecided or limit your “relationships” to “Cyber Affairs and Erotic Chat”. The other thing that struck me was the choices offered in the relationship status category. For males your choices are Single Male seeking Females, Attached Male seeking Females, and Male seeking Males. I guess in the Male seeking Males category it really isn’t important if you are Single or Attached.

I am sure I’ll be posting more about this site in the near future.
jd

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Finally, Internet Dating Becomes Real World Meeting

July 25th, 2009

I guess I have been at this Internet dating thing for over a year so it had to happen sooner or later. As I mentioned in my last post I actually found a lady who was willing to meet me - I was going to say “in the flesh” but it was really in a local coffee shop and everyone was fully clothed.  This was kind of a strange one because we had only chatted for about an hour last Saturday (7/18) night and had agreed to meet for coffee at one on Sunday. We had got to “talking” because she had “winked” at me on the dating site OKCupid.com. I was a little leary due to the fact that she had just joined the “community” the day before. But, to my surprise she actually showed up!

Well now, in accordance with the rules I layed down at the start of this blog, I am not going to tell you about her or trash her in any way. She is a very nice lady and we had a nice conversation over an hour or so. There was no “click” or “spark” that encouraged me to pursue the relationship further and I am confident that she feels the same way. I feel lucky to have found a new friend.

That being said I did learn a thing or two about meeting people in person that I have met on an online dating site. The first is to study the picture(s) provided closely before committing to a meeting. If I were more of a fashion buff I would have been able to tell that the styles being worn by the people pictured around my new lady friend were a tad old. After the meeting I would have to say that the photo was four or five years old. A lot can happen in that span of time. It is really best, in terms of establishing an honest relationship from the start, that the photo you post on any Internet dating site be as current as possible. I also learned not to let a first impression be a deal breaker. This is not to suggest that when I first laid eyes on her that I wanted to run, screaming, out of the room but I was afraid that the conversation may be a bit stilted. It was not.

If I got anything from this experience (besides a new friend) I would have to say that I have gained some confidence. I guess I was fortunate to have a relatively good first meeting but, then again, I didn’t gain one of those memorable stories of dating disaster that I could use at parties for years to come. Like I go to parties.
jd

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Internet Dating: The Search Resumes

July 20th, 2009

I return to writing about Internet Dating after a longer than expected pause. As I discussed in earlier posts, I have been in the process of moving to a new residence – a process that has throughly occupied my energy and attention for the last month and a half. If any of my readers are interested, I did end up purchasing a used mobile home and am very close to having found a place in it for [most of] my belongings. Everyone, welcome to my new home.

Though I have not been writing about Internet Dating, I have continued to maintain my online presence and have been in contact with a few ladies. In fact, for the first time in my Internet Dating career, I actually met with a real live woman last Sunday. We met on my favorite online dating site, OKCupid.com on Saturday – she actually “winked” at me, chatted for about an hour, and decided to meet at an agreed upon location the following day. We had a nice conversation and a good cup of coffee but I have to admit that there weren’t any sparks flying around the room. I think she would agree with that statement. I did write her a “thanks for meeting me” email mostly because I was brought up right.

So, I’m back. Boy, am I back.

jd

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How I Evaluate an Internet Dating Profile

May 2nd, 2009

I guess I have been at this Internet dating thing for at least six months now. Though it hasn’t rendered a single actual date (or phone call, for that matter) I have noticed that I use a specific process when I am checking out someone’s Internet dating profile. Basically, when I’m perusing any dating site’s “catalog” or checking out the dating profile of someone who has viewed my profile I go in the following order:

  1. Photograph(s) on the Dating Profile
    This is, more often than not, the quickest path to the next dating profile. Loyal readers have had to listen to me complain about the quality level (usually low) of many of the profile photos found across the Internet. Here are some attributes that merit an automatic rejection:
    • No photo.
    • Photo of the subject next to another male with his arm around
      her.
    • Photo of the subject standing in front a banner reading,
      “Happy New Year 1992″.
    • Photo of the subject holding an infant.
    • Photo of the subject wearing hunting attire and holding a
      scoped deer rifle.
    • Photo of the subject on or near a horse.

  2. Basic Statistics on the Dating Profile
    Having survived the photo analysis I next move to the vital
    statistics. Conflicts in this area can sometimes be overridden by a
    great photo. Rejection criteria include:
    • Ladies outside the age range of 49 to 58. (It really bums me
      out when a 63 year old “winks” at me.)
    • Smokers.
    • Dopers. (Yes, I came through the Sixties but the drug thing
      didn’t happen).
    • Passionate non-drinkers.
    • Ladies taller than 5′ 10″. (I am 5′ 8″ and have been
      astounded by the number of 5′ 9″ers that consider me too
      short.)
    • Ladies describing their body type as something not equivalent
      to “slender”. (I feel that I should out-weigh my partner.
      Sometimes it is the only advantage I have.)

  3. Interests Admitted To on the Dating Profile
    Of course, having interests in common is an aid to creating a
    lasting relationship. I don’t have a problem if the lady has
    interests outside my sphere of preference as long as it isn’t
    downright nutty. The following examples are eject buttons for me:
    • Nudists. (This one surprised me, too. At first it sounded
      good until I realized that I was expected to follow
      “suit”.)
    • Motorcycles. (Don’t get me started.)
    • Winter sports. (As my good friend James W. says, “Anyone that
      straps two boards to their feet and then jumps off a cliff
      deserves whatever they get.”)
    • Water sports. (I’m afraid of the water.)
    • Any sport with the word “Extreme” in front of it.
    • Barber Shop Quartets.
    • Serious devotion to anything resembling an organized
      religion.

If I make it this far in the in initial evaluation then there is a good
chance that I will begin the process of initiating “communication”.

jd

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Is it Internet Dating or Itinerant Dating?

April 19th, 2009

The Internet dating quest continues. I am starting to realize that there is no “one best online dating site” to be found. Consequently you find yourself signing up at an Internet dating site and “working it” until you have exhausted all the acceptable possibilities (Yes, I am discovering exactly how shallow I really am) or hitting the brick wall (i.e. you must cough up some cash if you want to “communicate” at all). When activity (if any) subsides you are on your way to the next dating site like any itinerant farm worker would.

My latest “work site” is  Matchmaker.com. This dating site is one of those sub-sites of a larger brand. I have learned that many Internet dating sites sell would be matchmakers access to their “catalog” of dating profiles and (probably) their software which they allow their customer to “re-brand” with a new name. It looks like Matchmaker.com is an affiliate of Date.com. I haven’t signed up with the main dating site Date.com yet (though it is only a matter of time) but I am interested in seeing if I am presented with the same line-up of perfect matches when I do.

I’ll keep you posted.
jd

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Internet Dating Turns to Internet Dumping in the Blink of an Email

April 11th, 2009

I’m still navigating (badly) the hazards of Internet dating. I’ve discussed it before so you’d think I’d listen.

For a number of weeks I had been corresponding with a lady I “met” on the dating web site OKCupid.com. Our online dating profiles were very similar - both of us liberal, open minded souls. I have to admit that the exchanges were getting boringly mundane with each hoping the other had had a nice week and all that. So I decided to ratchet the “relationship” up a bit and discuss what has been on my mind lately. I was really surprised by the response that I “received”.

As a quick background I’ll explain that my life has been approaching one of those points where a big decision must be made. In this particular case it involves my living arrangements. There are three major issues that are all pushing me in different directions. At the center of it all is the fact that the lease on my apartment terminates on May 31st. It simply burns my buttons that I have dropped 13k in rent over the last eighteen months and have nothing but a dry behind to show for it. I just don’t want to rent any more. The logical option is, of course, to buy a small house, townhouse, or condo. Considering the fact that the economy is collapsing on itself - you’ll probably understand my reticence to purchase right now. I know it is supposed to be a “great time” to buy but I think that is only true if you plan to live in the house for at least 5 or more years. I may stay that long but I just don’t know because I would really like to head West to Colorado or Wyoming. Enter my youngest son who is graduating from high school in early June and will be heading off to college in the fall. Consequently I feel that I should hang around Pittsburgh for a year or so to make sure he gets off to a good start in school. There’s that and the fact that I have a job here and not out West. So I have been trying to find some middle ground between buying and renting that can work as a short term solution. Emphasis here is on short term.

Well, I attempted to share these issues with my pen pal, though I didn’t go into quite as much detail. What I did was I mentioned that my lease was running out and I was looking to change my address. I asked her if she knew
anyone who had a cheap place to rent and I mentioned that I was considering (here comes my short term solution) buying a trailer. Given all that I have explained to you (but not to her) I think that a used manufactured home on a rented lot really fills the bill for me. I guess I’ll never know exactly how she felt about my plan because she hasn’t written back.

jd

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How Much is Too Much Info for Your Online Dating Profile?

March 22nd, 2009

Once again I’m considering sprucing up my online dating profile on a couple of the Internet dating sites that I frequent. I’ve already covered the divorce thing here and I have decided to continue to leave that out of my base profile. Still it is hard to know what you really should include. I’ve been thinking about bringing up a bit of my medical history in that shortly after the arrival of my second child I paid a little visit to the doctor for some alterations. Don’t know if the ladies would be interested in this information or not. Seems like it might be hard to naturally work into an internet dating profile - I was thinking about the following headline:

Shooting Blanks Since Nineteen Ninety One.

jd

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Can Internet Dating Sites Really Know You?

March 19th, 2009

Continuing with my analysis of dating site PerfectMatch.com’s analysis of me - we come to the Complementary Test. Again - the names of these tests are a bit mysterious.

Your Complementary Test Results - SCTI 

Structured, Compromiser, Temperate, Introvert

You have strong opinions and you like things “just so”. Still, your personality is modified by the fact you are willing to let someone else take the lead. You tend to be the person in the relationship that lets the other person dominate a large number of decisions. Most of the time, that doesn’t bother you. You are more likely to have many private thoughts about what is going on in the relationship (or your life) before sharing your thoughts with a partner. This has some very good aspects to it. You are unlikely to erupt impetuously and cause arguments that way. On the other hand, you will often come to your opinions and conclusions by yourself, rather than through mutual discussion. This can be alienating to an extrovert. You might want someone who is like yourself and understands this. On the other hand, without an extrovert, things may stay bottled up and become big problems that could have been handled easier, earlier.

I am not as impressed with this result. I would not say that I am “willing” to let someone else take the lead. I might begrudgingly allow it but, thus far, my partners have not dominated even half of the decisions. True I don’t erupt and start yelling and screaming - but I am likely to engage in discussion on important points surrounding my relationship and I will compromise to a better position if one is presented. Maybe I should take this test again.
jd

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How do Online Dating Sites Know Me So Well?

March 11th, 2009

The following is the first appraisal piece (on me) from perfectmatch.com. Their approach is a bit different than the other matchmaking online dating sites in that they focus on you. I am not exactly sure why this section is called the “Similarity Test”. I am pretty sure that I am similar to myself. But they got pretty darn close to pegging me (in fact, they make me seem pretty gosh darn boring) except that I don’t see myself as being totally risk adverse. Anyone who watched me buy 500 shares of GE for $20 a share a month ago could see that. Hmm, maybe I should try to be more similar to myself and be more risk adverse!

Your Similarity Test Results - XBOP 

Risk Averse, Relaxed, Optimistic, Seeks Predictability

You don’t like the idea of a quick romantic connection and tend to be more cautious than not developing a relationship. That doesn’t mean you aren’t romantic. In fact, you are more than less likely to put a relationship at the center of your life. Even though you are an optimistic person, and generally expect life to go well, you think love needs time-and more than your instincts-for you to trust it to last. You are looking for a serious, monogamous relationship and you tend to invest deeply in both people and places.

I can’t really remember the questions that were asked (I always get so wrapped up in the interview that I forget to take notes) but that last sentence is dead-on. How did they figure out about the places?
jd

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Perfect Match Dating with PerfectMatch.com

March 7th, 2009

Without much activity on my current Internet dating sites I’ve been looking around the ‘net for some more action. I seem to be drawn to sites that do the work for me (eharmony.com, Chemistry.com, okcupid.com) because none of the other smorgasbord type online dating services have search functions that allow me to really narrow things down to a fine enough point for my liking. Plus - after spending hours reading online dating profile after online dating profile I get everyone all mixed up. This weekend’s find was perfectmatch.com. This dating site forces you to go through their perfect match dating profile generator before you can do anything. The questions weren’t all that different from the personality detectors at eharmony.com or Chemistry.com except that they are really more focused on you (me) instead of who you are looking for.

Perfectmatch.com examines your essence in the following four aspects: Similarity, Complementary, Core Values, and Lovestyle (a term they have trademarked). I am publishing the results of my test to help explain these four classifications. I’ll discuss each determination in later posts.

Your Similarity Test Results - XBOP
Risk Averse, Relaxed, Optimistic, Seeks Predictability

You don’t like the idea of a quick romantic connection and tend to be more cautious than not developing a relationship. That doesn’t mean you aren’t romantic. In fact, you are more than less likely to put a relationship at the center of your life. Even though you are an optimistic person, and generally expect life to go well, you think love needs time-and more than your instincts-for you to trust it to last. You are looking for a serious, monogamous relationship and you tend to invest deeply in both people and places.

Your Complementary Test Results - SCTI
Structured, Compromiser, Temperate, Introvert

You have strong opinions and you like things “just so”. Still, your personality is modified by the fact you are willing to let someone else take the lead. You tend to be the person in the relationship that lets the other person dominate a large number of decisions. Most of the time, that doesn’t bother you. You are more likely to have many private thoughts about what is going on in the relationship (or your life) before sharing your thoughts with a partner. This has some very good aspects to it. You are unlikely to erupt impetuously and cause arguments that way. On the other hand, you will often come to your opinions and conclusions by yourself, rather than through mutual discussion. This can be alienating to an extrovert. You might want someone who is like yourself and understands this. On the other hand, without an extrovert, things may stay bottled up and become big problems that could have been handled easier, earlier.

Your Core Values Assesment

You seem to be a person of many passionately held core values, and probably not limited to the ones above. You will most likely need someone who has similar core values to your own, or at least, in possession of terrific negotiating skills. Sometimes passionate people respect intensely held differences of opinion. Still, this probably means if there is a lot of conflict throughout the relationship, it could endanger your sense of being soul mates. Ultimately, this may undermine your love for one another.

Your Lovestyle (TM)

You want a lot of closeness and affection but you reserve some time and space for yourself. You need a lot of time together- but you could feel suffocated if you were with someone who wanted total closeness.

As a preview - I am impressed with these results.
jd

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