Love

Why Quitting Online Dating Actually Helped Me Find My Husband

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Over a four-year period, I was on almost every dating site online, not at the same time, but I tried almost all of them at least once. Mostly, I frequented Match.com and eHarmony. I totally bought the eHarmony story about the science of compatibility. To be honest I still do. What I appreciated about Match.com was the immediate gratification.

Now don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t active in online dating for four years straight. I was on and off. I took my profile down for months at a time while I was dating someone or just taking a breather. However, for the most part, those years of my life were largely dominated by my online dating experiences, which to be clear, were mostly terrible.

My first online match-up heartbreak was a product of Eharmony. The science of compatibility matched me with several wonderful prospects. I was instantly attracted to what I have to believe was the rotten apple in the bunch. He said all the right things, in our “getting to know you” email period.

He must have been some sort of psychic mind-reading expert because this guy couldn’t have answered those questions better if he’d hired my best friend to write them for him. He said he was a chef and wanted to start a "meals for the homeless program." He talked about the light of his life being his two little girls and how they inspired him. He shared stories of fatherhood that would have melted the hardest of hearts but brought this single mother to tears.  He said he wrote poetry.

I ended up in a relationship with that man. In reality, he wasn't a chef. He was a hobbyist, a bad cook, who’d dropped out of culinary school. He was an unemployed truck driver. He didn’t have custody or even regularly visitation with his kids. He didn’t write poetry. He couldn’t spell. He was a pathological liar, with serious mental health issues. Eharmony failed. I decided not to trust the science of compatibility to an algorithm. 

Match.com was a minefield of disasters big and small.

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I went on a date with a man I’d been doing business with for years but didn’t realize who he was from his profile. He knew from the get-go and when I didn’t go out with him again, I lost a lucrative contract.

I exchanged emails with a guy who lived a couple of hours from me for a few weeks. When my intuition kicked in that something was wrong, I quit communicating with him. He didn’t quit communicating with me though.  He threatened to kill me in a very graphic way. I reported him to Match.com and the authorities.

I dated multiple men that weren’t really dating. They were interviewing for the position of nanny and housekeeper.

I went on a date with a man who told me he’d recently gone through a hard breakup with his girlfriend of two years. He was just getting back to seeing people. I kept looking at him thinking he looked strangely familiar. The next day I was in a friend's office and saw his picture on a co-worker’s desk.  She was sporting a brand new engagement ring, happy as could be. 

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I went on a date with a guy and there was this incredibly awkward moment where we both realized at the same time we were probably related. 

I went on one date where the guy told me straight up he was happy to pay for a date, as long as it was less than $15.00. If it was more, he felt it was only fair to expect "a much longer date"  wink, wink...

I dated a guy from Match for several weeks whose mother would call at random times throughout the date, only to learn later his mother had passed away four years ago, but his wife was still alive and well.

There were many, many more terrible experiences.  Too many to list or even count. In hindsight it’s funny. At the time, it was a soul-sucking nightmare. 

To be clear, the worst dating relationship I had was initiated by a setup from a friend.  So, obviously, I wasn’t exactly attracting healthy men because I wasn't healthy myself. However, when I look at my online dating experience as a whole, it was horrible...

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...and yet, I met my husband, the love of my life, the most amazing man on the planet, on Match.com. 

I hear it from my clients all the time. "I don’t want to do online dating again. I had a terrible experience with that a couple of years ago." or "I tried that. Nothing but losers. I swear."

For me, the common denominator in all my bad experiences with online dating was me. There are a lot of great guys dating online. I managed to get my act together and attract one.  I have male clients who are in the online dating scene right now that would be a great catch for any woman.

However, if you’re unhealthy, if you are sad and lonely, if you’re desperate, online dating is a dangerous place to be doing business. In fact, if you’re unhealthy, and dating, you are putting yourself and others at risk, no matter how you’re meeting people.

Dating is always a process. It’s a numbers game. However, you can’t date enough people to find “the one,” if you aren’t the person you want to be. 

One of the smartest things I ever did was quit online dating.  I quit dating altogether and took the time I needed to heal my heart and manage my issues. The absolute smartest thing I ever did was deciding not to give up on online dating, and get myself back out there when the time was right. If I’d been jaded by all my bad experiences, I would have never met my husband. 

Online dating wasn’t the problem. I was. The cool thing about owning your problem is, then and only then, can you fix it.

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Lisa Hayes is a Relationship Coach and Author of How to Escape from Relationship Hell And The Passion Plan. She is also co-founder of Good Vibe Coaching Academy, specializing in LOA Coach training. 

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