I’d like to take a moment to talk about managing expectations. I don’t mean so much in terms of “dating” in the sense of finding a desirable — if not optimal — person with whom to share your life, but of dating sites in general. To get this out of the way right up front, yes, I’m fully aware I’m writing this for the largest Jewish dating site in the world.
I’m going to assume that if you’re on a dating site, and especially if you’re paying for one, you’re looking for “something.” You might be looking for a serious dating relationship or even have a laser-focus on getting married. Others might be interested in just meeting people with minimal strings or expectations, perhaps just wanting a fun night out with a potentially interesting person. The wide range of possibilities makes it difficult to define the “success” of a dating site, at least for any particular person. I would also guess that those who have higher expectations, such as those focusing on marriage or serious relationships, will also have a greater likelyhood of being disappointed or having a sense that a given website just isn’t “working” for you.
Part of the problem is in assuming what a dating site can actually do for you. A dating site cannot get you a relationship, let alone get you married (not the legal ones, anyway). It cannot even guarantee any of your messages will get responses. The absolute best any dating site can do is get you a first date or meeting. Even if you get to that point, if for whatever reasons one of you isn’t interested, it’s not going to go anywhere. That’s not a flaw in the dating site, that’s life.
Dating sites are tools to meet people you otherwise would not. And like any tool, some will be more effective depending on the problem at hand, if at all. At the same time, this means that the effectiveness can also change over time with a particular individual or the dating pool.
What’s important to remember is that like any consumer, you have the power to patronize a service at your leisure, to move on when things don’t work well or to come back when you have a change of heart.