Both sides of online dating
We asked our readers to tell us about their online dating experiences.
Charisse Tyrer met her husband online, she said: 'Online dating is almost like "window shopping". I made a good few friends online but - best of all - I met my husband online, and he is simply the best thing that could have come my way. We met on 1 December, he proposed on 12 February and we got married a year later on 11 December. I recommend online dating to all the singletons out there. There is no shame in it at all and plenty success stories.'
While Nikki Mehl was a bit more sceptical: 'Been on it for a week. All those "guys" "checking" me out gave me the creeps! [A] few "nice looking" fans...but who knows why they're on dating sites if they so good looking?!'
We expanded research and asked our readers to e-mail us about their online dating experiences. While some found love, some would rather forget the whole experience. This particular reader had a great story to share, which shows that there are good and bad sides to online dating.
'Ever since I watched Must Love Dogs with Diane Lane and John Cusack, I was tempted to go onto an online dating site to see if I too could find the “love of my life”. However with the millions of stories making the rounds about how dodgy some of the men were, I was a little sceptical. Cue my trip to Cape Town to visit an old friend and some rainy weather on my first day. So my friend, in all her “knowledge” set up a profile for me with me wailing and saying, “Please don’t!”
A profile pic went up, I bought a month subscription and updated my profile, including that I was German-speaking, but willing to also date English and Afrikaans men. The messages started STREAMING in as we clicked live. It was madness! Many were dodgy married men, I also had a guy in Cape Town who, on finding out I was there for the weekend, wanted to meet me “on his yacht”. We all know what that means, especially since I was leaving a few days later. I kindly said “Thanks, but bugger off”.
My subscription passed without me going on a single date and still getting these dodgy emails. So I took my photo down and thought that if someone was really interested, they’d contact me without a photo present – that was in December.
I was still getting a few requests at this point, including one guy that I actually organised a coffee date with. But I cancelled the date at the last minute because I had a bad feeling about it – not that he sounded upset about this. One specific guy remains in my memory though, he was a bit odd, not my type at ALL, who sent out an apparent suicide note to all the girls he had sent messages to – very strange indeed.
In January, I received a message on a Friday morning that really piqued my interest. It was from a German guy living in Pretoria, where I lived, with a message in German saying he would like to get to know me better. I sent a generic message back saying I was interested and I’d contact him when I got a subscription. Immediately I received a three-day gift subscription. I activated it straight away and then headed home, intending to go into the office the next day to answer him.
That was the weekend our internet connection at work was upgraded and it was off all weekend. I was very upset because I actually wanted to get to know this guy! So when I headed in to work on the Monday morning, I received a message from him giving me his email address, in German, with each letter a word in a sentence. It took me all of a minute to decipher and as I was typing him an email, I got another message telling me, if I didn’t get it, it was his email address. I promptly deleted my message and replied “I know, I’ll chat to you a little later, need to work”.
Even with that answer, we started chatting over email, SMS, MMS, instant chat - the works. I was very hesitant to meet him and made excuses every time he wanted to go for coffee. We had by this time exchanged photos so had an idea who we were chatting to.
It took a client of mine to finally get me to contact him on a Monday morning to ask him to meet me for a cocktail at one of my favourite hangouts that night. He didn’t hesitate to say yes and although I almost turned around back home before meeting him, I bounced into Rhapsody's that night. When I saw Martin for the very first time all I could think was: “He looks so nice!”
The rest was history. We have been together for over five years, with our ups and downs, and he proposed in Sydney last year.
The ironic thing was that Martin was a single, good-looking, Catholic German boy in Pretoria. I had been planning to start going back to church, and wanted to go to the German Catholic church because I felt I would meet more German people in our community there. We would have met either way. It was, to me, a meant-to-be situation.
What I found out a while back, was that Martin had sent the same message to three other German girls on the site. I was the only one that answered. Luckily for me I did.
Internet dating is a difficult thing to judge; sometimes it goes right, sometimes REALLY wrong. Two of my friends went onto the same site as I did and the one is getting married this year to a guy she met online and the other found a dud. But more and more people are actually finding a successful match. In all I know of four couples in our circles that met each other online, and are now married or getting married. But we are all proof that internet dating CAN and DOES work.'