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Is Online Dating an LDS Alternative?

The dating scene has changed since I was in college. Even at BYU. When I was there, dating was everything. Now maybe that was was just me, heh heh, but if I couldn’t score at least three dates a week it was a slow, sad situation.

These days, no one dates. They “hang out.” Which means, in a nutshell, that a bunch of guys and a bunch of gals completely unrelated and unpaired and very possible with great discrepancies in gender numbers move within generally the same vicinity and do whatever pops into their heads for as long as they feel like it.

It’s gotten so bad that general authorities have given BYU devotional/fireside speeches, explaining to the student body what dating is and why they should join in. Is response, a number of years ago I made some pro-dating t-shirts to do my part in encouraging LDS dating. Seriously, guys, step up to the plate!

I have often wondered if the digital age has been getting in the way of dating. And maybe that means that online dating really is taking over the social world. Being a long-time digital follower, I have no problems with that, as long as the social experience eventually moves from the virtual world to the real one. Until you can get an online temple sealing, I’m thinking real world dating is the thing to shoot for.

Whenever I make a major purchase, I check Consumer Reports for reviews. You can get feedback and ratings on just about anything online these days. You compare online fax services, you can see subcontractor reviews. You can even check out Wix reviews, if you are in the market (and know what it is!).

There are tons of online dating sites specifically for members and for a general dating audience. So if you’re going to go that route, how do you find out how best to spend your time and money? By searching online, of course! There are even reviews to help you find the best dating site on the web.

Have any MM readers used an online dating service? What do you think? Great idea, waste of time? Thumbs up or thumbs down to the online dating process for LDS singles?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • agardner September 28, 2010, 5:53 pm

    I think online dating definitely has a place, but I too am concerned if it is overtaking actual social interaction.

    I know of 4 couples who met this way and now have successful marriages. In all cases, at least one of them lived far away from a large group of LDS singles, and were on the older end of the age spectrum.

    Couple #1: Wife from Australia, husband from Utah. He was nearing 30 when he joined an online dating service and met her. She came here to meet him and they ended up marrying shortly after meeting. When they lived in our ward they had 2 darling kids and seemed very happy.

    Couple #2: Wife (my hairdresser at the time) was a returned missionary and already in her career when she joined a dating service. She was one of those who was also getting set up and such but nothing really working out. She met her husband soon afterwards – he lived in Vermont I think, or Maine, and attended a small branch. They were both in their mid- to late-20’s and overweight. I think for them it was more comfortable to date online at first and be upfront about their physical appearance than to have someone judge them at a dance or singles activity. They have been married about 6-7 years now and live in Utah where he is now attending school.

    Couple #3: Wife from Utah (I’m seeing a trend here), also an RM with no real dating prospects. Husband originally from Minnesota but joined the church in his mid-20’s while serving in the Coast Guard in Alaska. At the time they met, she would have been in her mid-20’s and he in his early to mid-30’s. I don’t know his exact age but he’s a good 7-10 years older than her. They are still good friends of ours and seem to be very well matched. They’ve been married for about 10 years, and are expecting their 5th child.

    Couple #4: Wife from Utah, divorced, in her 50’s. She tried to date in a traditional way for awhile, even moving from a small town in Utah to Utah County where there might be more available LDS men. After a few years of that, she joined an online site and met her husband within a few weeks, married within a few months. He was a widower from Idaho with a big family (I can’t remember for sure, I think 8 or 10 kids). She was head over heels after they met in real life, and they got married within a few weeks of their initial meeting.

    Now that I think of it, I just thought of at least 2 other couples. So that’s 6, and not a divorce among them yet (marriages ranging from 10+ to 2 years). Maybe there is something to actually getting to know the heart and mind of a person before judging them on appearance?

    Now that I’ve said that, I’m not sure I think online dating is a good idea for those still in college, especially in Utah or a major city where there are lots of LDS singles. Those darn kids need to heed their leader’s counsel and DATE! This hanging out thing is weird. It’s like hang out casually or pair off. There is no in between, no casual ask-a-girl-out and have a good time getting to know each other. Relationships do still happen but they seem to follow a much different course than back in “the day”.

    Then again, what am I saying? I graduated from BYU in 1995 before this current trend really got going, and I was still almost 27 when I finally really clicked with someone after years of traditional dating. Maybe the best answer is that we meet who we meet through whatever method we meet them? Ha ha.

  • jennycherie September 28, 2010, 7:49 pm

    interesting reading – – a couple of short thoughts for now – – I have been concerned about some divorced sisters who enter into the online dating realm far before they would have the courage to date in real life and so they end up “dating” before they are really finished dealing with the divorce. Also, I worry about people getting sucked in too quickly and not taking the time to get to know a person in real life (but that can happen even when you meet people in real life–like the rather cliche “we’ve known each other for two days and we’re getting married in 3 weeks” Utah weddings).

    Second – I have noticed that some people who are very shy and awkward in real life are able to relax and let their personality out when they are chatting online and so this is a great option for them (at least as a starting point). I have a friend (okay, acquaintance)from high school who was always painfully shy and I feel like I have finally gotten to know her through facebook. She has the most AMAZING sense of humor and such a knack for telling stories and poking fun at herself but I NEVER saw that side of her even though we were involved in many of the same clubs and spent quite a lot of time together. For that type of personality, I can see online dating being a perfect fit.

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