Last week, John Brownhill explained why internet dating is not for him. CALM reader Neil Billingham wanted to share his thoughts on why he disagreed…
“The internet is getting a bad reputation these days. From online paeodophile rings, to bullying on social media sites with tragic consequences, it seems the world wide web has more than its fair share of detractors. Internet dating has often been tarred with the same brush. Some people will tell you it’s full of desperate, needy people who don’t have a life and are incapable of interacting with people in the real world. Undoubtedly, internet dating attracts its fair share of unsuitable types, but the attitudes towards meeting someone online have changed dramatically in the past few years, and, if utilised properly, the likes of Match.com, Plenty of Fish and My Single Friend can enrich your life and steer it in a positive direction.
At the age of 39 I was getting divorced and I was feeling low on confidence and terrified at the prospect of being single again. I work in an industry which is dominated by men, so my chances of meeting anyone at work were slim and my days of frequenting late-night bars and nightclubs were long gone. Then a friend mentioned internet dating. I paid my subscription, wrote an honest profile and uploaded what few photos I had of myself.
Before long, I was sending and receiving messages from several women every day. “This is fun”, I thought.
Before long I was going on dates, getting out of the house and starting to feel good about myself again.
Some of the dates were terrible, some of the dates were brilliant, but either way I felt I was putting myself out there, meeting some fascinating, interesting and attractive women and what could possibly be bad about that?
After a while I began to have more bad dates than good and wanted to find something more serious. I then developed a golden rule that, after several e-mails, I would always speak to a potential date on the phone. Communication is the key to any relationship and if you don’t have a rapport on the phone with a person there’s a good chance it won’t work when you meet in the flesh.
Weeks later I met Rachael who I will be marrying next year. We’ve been together for two years and every time a Match.com advert comes up on the TV we can’t help but laugh and thank our lucky stars that we gave the website a chance. Rachael’s story was similar to mine. She lived in Carlisle where there isn’t an abundance of single, professional men. For her internet dating opened up her options. She went on dates in Edinburgh, Newcastle and then finally, with me, in Manchester. Before I met Rachael I had three weeks working in Spain and even managed to get dates in Barcelona and Madrid such is the global appeal of internet dating.
Not everyone will be as lucky as Rachael and myself, but so long as you don’t have unrealistic expectations and you are careful about who you choose for a date, internet dating can be exactly what you want it to be. If you want it to be a bit of fun, great. If you want it to be a means to finding a lifelong partner, brilliant – give it a chance. Just be honest with yourself and the people you meet. The closing line in my profile was something like: “Just want to meet lots of new and interesting women and if something serious develops then great”. For me, at a time when I was low on confidence and frightened about the future, internet dating fulfilled everything I could have wished for.”