Dating can be daunting. It no longer begins with a simple, innocent, “meet cute.”  I’m aware that online dating has been around for a couple of decades, and although I’ve been widowed for awhile, I’ve shied away from sticking my toes in that particular pool.  

So I sought information from that all-knowing resource, Facebook.  Because I am a divorce mediator, I’ve joined several Facebook groups that bring people together who are newly single.  These groups, according to their administrators, are designed to provide emotional support to members going through divorce.  Inevitably, the comments in these groups turn to dating.  Which online dating sites are better than others?  What do you do if you’re ghosted?  Why are people so obsessed with looks?  With sex?  When is it too soon to fall in love again?  Will they ever fall in love again?  

I read through the questions and comments with both professional and personal interest, and with the intent to blog about online dating.  Armed with the belief that we first have to decide whether we’re looking for companionship, sex, or love, I began my research by asking Alexa if she recommended online dating.  Her response was to give me a list of movies and reality tv shows on the subject.  Strike one.

My next resource was Google.  After I scrolled past the ads, it seemed that Google was overwhelmingly in favor of the whole concept, and even went so far as to list the best dating sites.  

On the other hand, most of the people in my divorce support Facebook groups had nothing but negative tales to tell.  Being a neophyte about dating profiles, paid sites versus free ones, and swiping right or swiping left,  I decided to do an informal poll, once again on Facebook.  I got a lot of feedback in a short amount of time, so  I’m going to unscientifically divide the results into three categories.

The first group are the “I could write a book” people.  They had what I’ll optimistically refer to as adventures in online dating. 

The second group were totally deceived by the people they met online.  Evidently, a lot of online daters lie in their profiles.  Who knew?

The third group are the success stories.  There were many uplifting tales of couples who met online and are still happy together. 

Quite a few people told me the online dating sites that cost money attract people who are more serious about a relationship, while the free ones attract people who are simply out for a good time.  I was told to trust my instincts.  If someone doesn’t seem genuine, run the other way.  Safety concerns were also addressed, time and time again.  Meet in a public place, don’t divulge where you live or work until you’ve taken the time to get to know that person.  

This is some scary stuff.  I think I’ll just wait until someone I trust tells me, “Nancy, I want you to meet my friend.”