In followup to the issue about the truth of online dating, two other readers wrote in to share their experiences.
One person successfully met his wife using Christian Mingle:
I would like to chime in on the dating websites. I actually met my wife on Christian Mingle. As a serious Christian, Christian Mingle was the best option for me as it self selects for other Christians. I also used Match and it was ok. I was 34 at the time and I set my age preferences to 25-40 or 45 can’t remember. I did not get professional pictures as your other guy mentioned using but what I did do was post pictures of myself doing things that were important to me so I am not sure how much quality pictures cost. On Christian Mingle it gives you a percent of compatibility match. I pretty much messaged all of the high compatibility women. If they did not message me back that was fine with me. Their loss. When they did message me back I would tell them something unique about me and then ask something unique about themselves. After a few messages exchanged back and forth I would try to find them on social media to look at their pictures. I agree that there is no point exchanging messages if there was not going to be a date in the near future. I went on one date after a day or so of exchanging messages and with my current wife she lived 3 hours away it took a month to actually have a date, because of distance and work, but we video chatted basically every night until then.
I had a few things going for me. While in my mid 30’s I was not overweight and out of shape. I owned my own house, business, and had a hobby farm but lived near to a city. I could present with an active social life so they new I was not some basement dwelling weird person. I was also confident and let them know that and that I was fully capable of taking care of myself and was a good cook. I also let women know I was not really into pop culture. I let them know that I probably possess the one largest personal libraries in our geographic area. I also already had a son at the time so women also knew I was fertile if they were looking for children and I made it very clear that I would like 4-5 kids total, if possible. I also made it clear that if someone had to move it would not be me as I was tied to the area for obvious reasons. Since I shared custody of my son I also let them know that he had the final say. If he did not like them they had to go and if I sensed that there was a problem between them and him in any way they had to go. It also had to be serious before I would even let them meet him. With these rules in place you would think that I would have been hard pressed to meet someone. Oddly enough it was not the case. The only thing I can deduce from that is that I am reasonably attractive and women like confident, intelligent, fertile, take charge men.
My advice to men would be to make their profile real, be confident, and get in shape. Don’t compromise and make women think you are the catch because you probably are.
And another reader shared these experiences:
Although I didn’t meet my wife through online dating, I did delve into it between about 2010 and 2015, so I was reminded of some of my experiences with it as a man born in 1985 living in Austin, Texas. The landscape has certainly changed (e.g. not enough people had smartphones for apps like Tinder and Bumble to matter), but one strategic element that I find very important for men is that the man:woman ratio is very different between sites. Christian dating sites tend to skew slightly female, for example, which can make your odds a lot better (see this old survey where Christian Mingle had the most female users by percentage, although these numbers change). And even if you’re not in the top 20% overall (assuming that graph holds between all sites), you may hit the top 20% in a different pool, such as one where faith and family are of great importance to the women.
Another major factor, although I can only speak from experience and not data, is the payment model. Free and freemium sites usually had a lot of men looking to get laid, a lot of women looking for attention, and a few people wanting long-term relationships in between. Premium sites where everyone has to pay, meanwhile, generally narrowed it down to men and women who were serious about finding a long-term relationship, especially Christian sites, where everyone seemed to want to get married. I really liked the lifetime fee premium model because it incentivized the site to see you get married and leave, as opposed to the subscription model, where the best bet for them was to give you enough hope to keep you subscribed but still never see you get married off.
On free nonreligious sites like OkCupid and PlentyOfFish, I could count on most of my messages being fired into the ether, with the bulk of the responses coming from women I had just barely found attractive enough to message. Meanwhile, I got regular responses on the Catholic premium sites Catholic Match and Ave Maria Singles from some very nice young women who were hoping to find a husband. I had phone calls with a few and met two in person, even driving four hours to meet one of them. I wouldn’t consider myself part of that top 20%, because while I had a high income for my age and have owned a house since 2009, I’m also below average height and a little overweight and didn’t lie about either. However, if I had been a little more mature at that time, I may very well have married someone I met online.