Among people who are online, there is a rich history of Internet romance, from fake marriages between local college students to marriages betrayed through virtual relationships. Even in a heartland like Oklahoma City, stories are everywhere.
Rick, a 26-year-old aspiring musician, is engaged to a woman he met online. Andrew, a 22-year-old waiter, found something else: a long-distance relationship with a woman in Florida who, after only a few dates, revealed she was married. “He would come over about once a month and always tell me about this guy who was his roommate who was gay and who happened to have the same last name,” Andrew recalled bitterly.
Personally, Andrew is skeptical about going back to the Internet to find a date, but everyone around him does. The chef at the restaurant where she works is a 35-year-old divorcee who has been corresponding with a man in Florida wondering whether to accept an invitation to visit him. And, Andrew says, all of his single friends in town are looking for love or friendship online.
Yet none of these people had joined or even visited an online dating service. They all used Internet chat rooms where they found that no matter what the topic of discussion, it always seemed to be about heart problems. And it was free.
Good luck on JDate.com!
One niche site that has been particularly successful is JDate.com, part of the MatchNet network of dating sites, which has helped Jews from Los Angeles to Jerusalem find Jewish partners. In cities like New York, the term JDate has come to be seen as an obvious place for unaffiliated Jews to find partners.
Self-described nice Jewish guys, Michael and his brother Josh both found their future wives on JDate within months of each other, shortly after graduating and moving back to their native Los Angeles.
Michael, 25, who works in marketing, said he first learned about the site from his older brother when he was in medical school in San Francisco, where he didn’t meet many beautiful Jewish girls. While Josh eventually met and got engaged to a woman who went to the same high school as him, Michael met a girl who was still in college but didn’t like the college social scene.
“It wasn’t easy for me because I was a little reserved,” Janice said a few months after her wedding to Michael. “You’re surrounded by so many different people. I think that scared me a lot.” The brothers also have a younger brother who is still in college, and they sometimes joke that it would be three-for-three if he also married one of JDate.
“Mom, I met the best boy.”
JDate also serves to provide an important social outlet for those who live in areas where the Jewish population is sparse. When Dina discovered Jay Date, she was a 52-year-old divorcee who had found few men in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, in the eight years since her separation from her husband.
Although Dina ended up being another JDate success story, it wasn’t an easy or painless process for her. First, there was the application, which took him six weeks to complete. Like many people who toy with the idea of online dating but never seem to follow through, she didn’t know what to say about herself. The JDate registration form includes many questions that require thinking, some people even call them essay questions, such as describing an ideal first date.
She hadn’t been on a date in 25 years and was confused. Then there was the hard truth that being a woman in her 50s. she did not have an abundance of men writing to her. When she finally made the effort to answer a man in Seattle and then make an extra flight to call him on a trip to visit her mother, Dina was bitterly disappointed. He never answered the call.
However, Dina was resilient, and when she heard about her second JDate suitor, she immediately had a good feeling. She sent him a photo of herself with the words “Too many books, not enough time” and a yarmulke. He found both the offer of intellect and a strong Jewish identity attractive. In early correspondence, he explained that although he was not an Orthodox Jew, he wore a yarmulke to show the world that he was in no way ashamed of his identity. 1991 An awkward incident occurred during the Persian Gulf War when a colleague suggested that he hide the fact that he was Jewish. Instead, he had chosen to promote it.
“It fits very well with my Jewish identity,” Dina said. The next time he traveled 300 miles to visit his mother in Seattle, he fared better on the social front. Howard, her reporter, followed through on her plans to meet her and showed up wearing the same clothes as in her photos. They stayed outside talking until 2 am.
“I woke up my mother and said: “I met the best guy.” he said. “I never did that in high school.” Dina, who eventually married Howard, initially had a strong offline, even old-fashioned, component to her courtship. After he met Howard in Seattle, but before he invited him to come and visit him, he contacted his local rabbi to inquire about the Jewish community in Howard’s hometown of Bellingham, Washington. He contacted the synagogue in Bellingham and only received a positive report so he decided to continue the visit.
The Frog Prince
Of course, for every tale of online dating success, there’s a horror story. Some psychologists have noted that the Internet seems to prevent people from moving from shallow conversation to deep honesty, as they normally do in the offline world.
Merry, a New York journalist who found her husband on her second internet date, did have one bad internet date. “He was a total badass, weird, creepy guy,” she says. “I was so discouraged and depressed, but I decided to keep doing it.” And that persistence eventually led her to adopt a more positive attitude in the online dating jungle. As he sees it, one of the best things about Internet dating is that it lets you get over disappointments faster.
“Everyone knows you have to kiss a lot of frogs to meet your prince, but the Internet speeds up the process,” she says. “You can go through nine frogs in two weeks than in two years.”