Five years ago today, Zack and I had our first date. It was also our first time meeting one another in person because we met on CatholicMatch! While I’m by no means an expert, I did learn a lot through the experience, and I’m going to share that wisdom with you. Here are my recommendations (with some help from Zack) for online dating!
- Be called by God: Pursue online dating if you are being called by God to try this avenue for meeting people. Before I even considered joining CatholicMatch I prayed for God’s guidance because I only wanted to try CatholicMatch if it was truly God’s will. I experienced a great deal of peace in making the decision and had the support of people close to me so I decided to move forward. I think the process of online dating will be much more fruitful and enriching if God’s will is at the center, as opposed to using online dating as a last resort when you haven’t met anyone in person to date.
- Be thoughtful about creating your profile: Spend time writing your responses and choose your words carefully. Your profile is your first impression and your introduction of yourself. Describe yourself accurately and use language that is genuine to your personality. Be honest about who you are and what you are looking for in a significant other.
- Pictures matter: Select pictures that represent how you currently look and your interests. I was drawn to Zack’s profile because he had silly pictures, and I knew he had a great sense of humor! He also still comments on my pictures from my CM profile because a few of them were quite memorable! Also, if you are on the site for awhile I suggest changing your pictures occasionally to refresh your profile.
- Have a support system: I had a close friend who met her boyfriend (now husband) on CatholicMatch. She addressed all of my questions about online dating and was so reassuring! I also had friends who I talked with as I went through this process. I highly recommend having people to talk with as you go through the ups and downs of online dating.
- Don’t treat this like social media: As I started the online journey, I was concerned that I could treat the site as a form of social media. To counter this, I said a prayer before logging onto my account each time. I also was intentional about reading messages and reviewing profiles. I tried to use each profile I viewed as an opportunity to get to know that man and his interests.
- Assume the best of the other person: This is one of my greatest insights about online dating!! If someone doesn’t respond to you, please try not to take it personally. You have no idea what is going on in his or her life. In my case, I always reminded myself that a man I messaged could have been not as active on the site, met someone to date in real life, or was already pursuing a relationship. Yes, perhaps he also was not interested in me based on my profile. But that is ok! The right person will like your profile because your profile is an initial reflection of you!
- Online meeting: I’m a fan of moving things offline as soon as possible. I often refer to online dating as “online meeting.” Dating online doesn’t work. Messaging and texting are fine for initial communicating, but if it persists too long, I would question the other person’s commitment level. Besides the point ought to be to connect in person (or via Skype if distance is an issue) to see if you would like to keep getting to know one another. Sites such as CatholicMatch are a tool for meeting people, they are not intended to be a substitute for connecting in person.
- Continue prayer: Keep praying and include God in the process. God may call you away from online dating or bring someone else into your life. Remember to trust in the slow and beautiful work of God. It bears fruit in time, but it does take patience.
- Be intentional: Don’t send the same canned message to everyone you want to get to know. Trust me, that is obvious to the recipient and doesn’t make me feel unique! Those who have experience with CatholicMatch gain a sense of when a message is written for a specific person. Commenting on what the person mentioned on their profile is a great way to assist in making it more personal. In fact, that is exactly what Zack did for me – and it worked!
- Keep trying to meet people in real life: During our time on CatholicMatch we both continued living our regular lives and took opportunities to meet other people as much as we could. We tried to meet people through friends and Catholic events in our community. Though that wasn’t the way for us to meet our spouse, it might be for you. So be prayerful, patient, and always try to meet new people, preferably while doing activities you enjoy!
Photo Credit: OMG Photography