Love in the digital era has been nothing short of revolutionary: With the surge of sites such as Match.com, eHarmony and Plenty of Fish, singles can get a date any night of the week. And it works: According to Match.com, 39 per cent of Canadian singles know someone who met their current partner using an online dating site.
We asked Globe and Mail readers to share their experience in the trenches.
48% of respondents had great experiences
We chatted on a dating site for less than 30 minutes – and met for sushi that same evening. We've now been together for six years and were married last fall!
– Jessica, Halifax
He showed up with flowers in hand and our first date lasted 14 hours straight. We walked Toronto streets, stopping for food and scenic tidbits. I was the tour guide du jour, he was a tourist and he didn't complain about the miles we walked – until four years later, after we were married. Now whenever I suggest going for "a walk," he makes sure I promise it won't be as long as our first date, which just about did him in.
– Marilyn, Toronto
I met my boyfriend on Plenty of Fish. I took the volume approach: Normally shy, going on date after date helped to normalize the process of meeting complete strangers. After a furious few weeks of taking dates with any guy who could form a sentence, I met an absolute sweetheart who wrote the best sentences. Win.
– Andre, Toronto
I met my husband online in March, 2001. He literally lived around the corner from me and as we talked we discovered that we knew so many of the same people that I thought it was one of my friends playing a joke on me. We agreed to meet at a local pub and ended up bumping into each other at the bank machine across the street ahead of time – we both actually looked like our online pictures! A year a later to the day, he proposed at that same bank machine.
– Mo, Toronto
I was new to Internet dating, she had been on Lava Life a while and had lots of horrible and humorous dates. She was my first online experience, I was going to be her last. We hit it off right away – our first date (ironic mini-golf, lunch and then dinner) lasted nine hours. Happily married three years later and now have two kids.
– Jake, Muskoka, Ont.
I've gone out with two people that I met online. The first ended disastrously after one date, but I decided to try again: My second first date, I fell head over heels – we went to an amusement park filled with mini-golf and games, got a coffee then went to the movies. When he proposed, he duplicated the first date and put his proposal on the theatre marquee. Swoon.
– Korina, Chilliwack, B.C.
I was one of the lucky ones. I decided to try online, and married the second person that I dated. Six years and one kid later (plus one in utero), I've never been happier with anyone in my life.
– Tara, Vancouver
A FEW GOOD LAUGHS
32% of respondents reported dates that at least made for a decent story
Not long before meeting up with a new potential date, I spotted the man in person. I knew it was him because he was wearing the same coat as in the photos he'd sent, but in person, I wasn't attracted at all. Cringing, I cancelled our date by text, lying that I had car trouble and couldn't make it. Of course, I then returned to my (always reliable) car and guess what wouldn't start? Instant karma.
– Allie, Victoria
The guy seemed nice, sounded normal and I agreed to meet him for coffee. When he arrived, he gave me a Ziploc bag full of unshelled nuts, which he told me he harvested from a tree in his backyard. Apparently, he thought I was a bit of a nut, based on a story I included in my profile. He said he was going to put the nuts in a fancy bag, but was concerned that I would think he bought them in a store, rather than picked from his tree. Having just met the man, and having just received a plastic bag of nuts from him, I was understandably reserved, not that I'm usually boisterous. This was incredibly disappointing to him, and he told me so. "I thought you'd be crazy," he said dejectedly.
– Melissa, Vancouver
19% of respondents reported a less-than stellar experience
After four months of dating, he said, "Now that we're getting serious, there's something I need to tell you." I jokingly punched him on the arm and said, "You're married! Haha!" and he stared at me with a stunned look. He was.
– Elle, Vancouver
My personal experiences range from average to appalling. I had a guy message me (a Jewish woman) and say "Hey, I'm from Rwanda so we have genocide in common!" I've also had the man who shows up on my date be 10 years older and 100 pounds heavier than his photo.
– Rachel, Toronto
I met a man on e-Harmony and it was a two-year relationship that sadly ended, but I don't regret it. Since then, I've had quite the fair share of horror stories: I've thrown in the towel, but garnered quite the number of goodies, including a man with a "recreational eye patch," a man who didn't speak English (he used a translator to message me!) and a man who lied extraordinarily about his height. (He was 6' 8", said he was 6' 2".) The straw that broke the online camel's back? We had three lovely dates but he kept getting my name wrong in person, and texts. I soon realized he was a serial dater who just couldn't keep track.
– Allison, Toronto