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February 3, 2011

Online Dating: Match vs. JDate vs. eHarmony vs. Plenty of Fish

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/online_dating_match_vs_jdate_vs_eharmony_vs_plenty_of_fish_20110203/

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Online dating sucks.  There is a one in a million chance you might meet someone great so we do it, but to be clear, the other 999,999 people you come across are painful.  When I read a profile I know I am going see something interesting because online dating profiles are fascinating.  By fascinating, of course I mean occasionally weird and scary.

There are a lot of dating sites, so no matter what you are looking for, you can find someone online.  Sadly, I have been on a lot of sites.  I do it because it’s a necessary evil of the dating game, and also for “research”.  I write a blog that includes my dating life so one could argue my daing online is a job requirement.  Pathetic?  Yes it is.  Thanks.

I have been on Match.com for a while and it’s been great.  Statistically, it’s where I have met the most “normal” men.  There are a lot of members so your odds are better, but also people there seem easily separated into two groups.  There are those with potential, and those who are clearly not well.  After reading so many profiles I’m getting good at telling the difference.

If someone writes that they like to “end each day with a few beers to take the edge off”, chances are he’s not a match for me.  One of my personal favorites is the man who wrote, “I prefer a woman who has less than 5% body fat because the only thing that should shake on a date is the earth”.  It’s men like these that make me want to give up on love and get another cat.

I was on and off of JDate for years.  I learned a lot during my dating experience there.  The main lesson being that Jewish men have no idea what their height is.  I don’t think I ever went out with a man on JDate who was the actual height that he listed on his profile.  As a Jewish woman who is looking for a Jewish man, JDate was the most disappointing dating site.

My favorite profile from JDate read as follows, “I was raised Jewish and go to temple for the high holidays, but I am open to dating women who are not Jewish because my tolerance for whining, complaining, and withholding sex is limited.”  His mother must be so proud.  Perhaps she was his teacher in these life lessons. This guy was listed as 5’9”, which means he was 5’6”.  Oy vey.

eHarmony is an interesting site.  In theory, it sounds like it would be the most successful, as it is the most focused.  They talk about honesty, and different levels of compatibility, but there is no guarantee that people are going to tell the truth.  I have seen men on eHarmony that are on other sites, and their profiles are completely different from one to the other.

I like to think people are inherently good, and if they tell small lies while searching for love, it comes from a place of hope, not to hurt someone.  I think it’s easier to lie on eHarmony.  The questionnaire is painfully long and takes thought to fill out.  When you have so much time to fill out a form, you click what you think sounds good, so eHarmony can be misleading.

Then you have Plenty of Fish.  I’m new on this site, but it’s been the most fun.  When you are new on a site it’s like sharks to chum.  People are on their best behavior and compliments are flowing.  I’m sure the novelty will fade, and I will come across a few kooks, but the men who have written have been lovely.  There is a certain honesty on Plenty of Fish that is refreshing.

If someone is looking for something casual, they write that is what they want, not that they are hoping to get married one day, and I dig that.  There are lots of people online who are looking for lots of things, and you can find all of it on Plenty of Fish.  The good news is that people there seem to be clear on what they want and not afraid to be honest about it.

The thing about all these sites is that there are Jews everywhere.  Not only are there Jews, but there are non-Jews who are open and accepting and dating Jews.  I think that is important.  Peace comes when religion is set aside, so even though I like to date Jews, that there are people who are open to all faiths, even in this silly context, I think is a nice thing.

One other part about Plenty of Fish that is worth mentioning, is that it’s totally free.  For everyone.  Putting people on an even playing field.  It’s lovely that anyone can go on and search for love, regardless of what their finances are.  Even the wealthiest of people can get resentful to pay $50 a month to meet a bunch of schmucks.  Searching for free is a good thing.

If you are not paying for something, it takes the pressure off.  You can search comfortably because there is nothing at stake financially.  If you are rushing to meet someone, so you don’t have to pay for another month, you can take your time, be more selective, and not worry about it.  While Plenty of Fish has no track record with me, it makes online dating a little less painful.

Since Prince Charming is clearly not going to ride up to my home, knock on the door, and sweep me off my feet, online dating is a part of my life.  As long as I take it seriously, without taking it too seriously, I will be fine.  I might meet someone great, so even if the chances are slim, I’m willing to try. All it takes patience, a sense of humor, and the ability to keep the faith.

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