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Mismatched by an Online Dating Service

As Told by : Tina, age 42

When I first joined Myspace, I was a bit naive about the dangers of "strangers". I think I "friended" 10 or so people who I did not know. Eventually I realized my mistake and de-friended each of them except for one who I will call Jay. We chatted back and forth over the course of at least a year. He worked in same company with many of my friends, however, no one I knew really knew him. But that didn't bother me really because they worked for a larger company. Over time, we ended up exchanging phone numbers and would text each other occasionally.

One day, he was telling me about a few good dates he had with a girl he met on a popular dating service. I had always joked with my kids about signing up, so I thought with Jay’s success that maybe I should join? When I was creating my online dating profile and indicating the type of person I was hoping to find, the preferences I entered were fairly broad - I think the age range I indicated I was interested in was 27 to 42 and I added the distance as 200-300 miles. Looking back, I probably should have been more realistic and specific, but I wasn’t altogether sure of what I was doing. Needless to say, I received a lot of matches and I was shocked to see that Jay was among the Top Five!

I have to admit that I was a little excited to have matched with him. Even though we had never met, his online profile was pretty attractive. He had a great job at a telecommunications company, was a volunteer EMT, and said that he worked out religiously at a local gym. The pictures he posted online seemed to indicate that he was nice looking. I decided to send him a text message and tell him that I had matched with him. He was very happy to hear this and asked me to meet him for lunch.

When Jay showed up, he did not look like I had expected. He was wearing a Harley Davidson shirt (yet he didn’t own a Harley – he was driving an SUV) and JORTS (jean shorts). And I found myself wondering what he actually does at the gym because my teenaged daughter has bigger biceps than him! It was also obvious that the pictures in his online profile must have been 10-15 years old because he said he was ten years younger than me, but in reality he looked older than I was. But since I am not one to judge someone based on physical appearance, I tried to keep an open mind about our date. Unfortunately though, my time with Jay was only going to get worse.

We sat down and ordered and then proceeded to have the most one-sided conversation I have ever experienced. I had to rejuvenate the conversation over and over. We'd talk a bit, then he'd get quiet, so I'd come up with another topic, and a few minutes later he would get quiet again. He was also cross-eyed (no I’m not kidding) which was very distracting. He was a nice guy, but we had absolutely ZERO chemistry between the two of us. When we parted, I had no intentions of ever seeing him again.

Over the next few months, Jay continuously sent me text messages and also contacted me through Myspace. For whatever the reason, I was afraid to tell him the truth – and that was that I really didn’t want to hear from him ever again. Instead I ignored a lot of text messages or made up excuses about how I was working late. He started asking me to meet him for weekend getaways and it was beginning to really freak me out. Eventually he gave up and stopped contacting me. My biggest regret was that I didn’t just tell him the truth and end things more quickly, but I was afraid to hurt his feelings.

I learned a valuable lesson through my Internet dating experience and that is that people are not always what they seem to be online. It is an important thing to remember and I have kept it in mind throughout all of my dating experiences since that time.


Wright from the Heart

Editorial by : Norma Leigh Wright

Tina said she learned a big lesson from her online dating experience, but what are some of the things that the rest of us can learn from what happened to her? First, she is right – not everyone who is a member of an Internet dating service tells the whole truth about themselves. Tina actually should have had an advantage because she and Jay had been chatting for so many months, but it didn’t work out quite that way. Be aware of this when you meet someone online. Ask lots of questions and be cautious in the information that you give to the other person just in case. You should never provide a great deal of personal details about yourself in the beginning of any online relationship.

Another lesson to be learned from Tina’s experience is to be honest. Tina admitted that she waited too long to be honest with Jay and let him know that she wasn’t interested in pursuing anything further with him. Yet she let things drag on for a lengthy amount of time, which not only needlessly took up more of her time, but also wasted Jay’s time and probably led him to believe that he had a real chance for a connection with her. Not being honest will not help you in your quest to find your lifetime soul mate. Tina could have ended things with Jay much earlier and put all of her energy towards finding the person she was truly meant to be with long term.

Lastly, it is unfortunate that Tina let her one experience with online dating cloud her opinion of it entirely. It’s understandable that she became frustrated and closed her online dating account, but what if her perfect mate was also using the service and she missed the chance to connect with him? It’s important not to let one negative situation ruin your opinion of online dating entirely - and it is also a good idea to leave your options open when you are searching for a match. Try to be patient and open minded when using an Internet dating service. You never know when the time will come for you to cross paths with your lifetime soul mate.