Kathryn's Blog

Research on Australian Online Daters

I love it as research comes out about online dating, especially when it supports what I have been saying all along.  Researchers in Melbourne, Australia, have been looking at online dating and report in below.  I have underlined what I think is particularly significant and supports what I have been writing and saying.

Online dating: truth or dare

[ The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 1, No. 7 11 - 25 June 2007 ]

By Katherine Smith

So-called ‘Gen X’ online daters tend to be well-paid, professional people who are ‘highly instrumental’ and organised in their mission to meet the one special person with whom they can establish an intimate real-world relationship, according to a University of Melbourne study.

Sociologists Dr Millsom Henry-Waring and Dr Jo Barraket found online daters pursue a means to an end. Evidence suggests they fill out truthful in dating profiles because if they later meet the other person any ‘enhancements’ will be obvious.

Dr Henry-Waring says her investigation into the sociology of on-line dating stems from a longstanding academic interest in the social implications of technology and, in particular, how technologies ‘mediate intimacy’.

“One of the main characteristics of online dating is the speed at which a relationship conducted largely by email can become intense. Many daters interviewed during the project described a relationship that moved quickly to intimacy and an easy, rapid revelation of personal information.

“But what may seem like chemistry by email and SMS is often not proved by a physical meeting, which can be disappointing.

“One media report recounted someone establishing a promising online relationship only to feel devastated when a meeting showed her new friend to be an ex-partner, in whom she was definitely no longer interested.”

Intimacy and personal connection rely heavily on visual cues, tone of voice and body language, says Dr Henry-Waring. “Communication through language matters, but not as much as we think. Similarly a set of highly matched personal preferences, characteristics or likes and dislikes doesn’t always lead to a connection.

“Most users of online dating quickly learn there is a danger in over-filtering potential dates and that highly specified profiles don’t attract people with whom they can eventually ‘click’. It seems people need a fairly broad catchment from which to successfully choose a partner.”

She says the study found that despite increased opportunities to meet partners from ‘outside the square’ being facilitated by digital technology, singles still select potential partners according to more conventional norms. Crossing cultural, racial, class and other social boundaries were not as common as the opportunities suggest.

Findings showed people engaged in online dating spent quite a lot of time online, searching sites and responding to emails. They were also familiar with technologies such as Blackberries, I-pods and PDAs and were comfortable engaging in relationships mediated through technology.

Fewer stigmas now exist about meeting people online than even a few years ago, according to Dr Henry-Waring, and she expects this shift to continue.

“The way of telling ‘the story of how we met’ to family or friends will change over time, and people will feel more relaxed about revealing their online meetings.”

Yet to be seriously addressed in the area of online relationships are some of the “unintended consequences” of establishing networks and intimate relationships online.

Dr Henry-Waring says relationships may become more disposable when one is able to ‘shop’ for the perfect partner.

“This raises some interesting questions about trust and fidelity. The decision about when to take your profile offline can be difficult. When you have met someone and established an intimate relationship, there comes a point when you have to decide you are no longer ‘looking’. Commitment can be conflicted by feelings that you will miss the buzz of meeting new people, or that someone better may be out there.”

The most successful online daters, it seems, are honest from the outset, open minded about people, and strive to establish genuine trust in relationships. In the digital age, old-fashioned, truthful straightforwardness still seems to be the key to successful relationships.


Travel Resources for Singles

I did a house exchange many moons ago, trading my Maine island house for a suburban place south of London.  It was probably the best vacation I ever had.  Here’s an article aimed at hooking up singles (for travel only, not sex—well, maybe not sex) for travel adventures.  Just points to the great uses people are finding for the Internet and online dating-type of connections. 
Have cyberfriend, will travel

Rules of the web
Fellow travellers just a click away
The internet is bursting with potential travel companions – but what happens when you make them a reality? Suzy Bennett finds out.

# Is the internet the best place to find new friends?

‘Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter,” wrote Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler, after what was presumably a very sociable fishing expedition.

Marrakesh, Have cyberfriend, will travel
‘A few days later, our trip to Marrakesh is booked: shopping the souks, gawping at riads and being pampered in hammans’

Other well-known travellers would no doubt agree: Samuel Johnson and David Livingstone both famously enjoyed the benefits of companionship on the road.

Today, Britain has 15.4 million single travellers - up from 9.6 million a decade ago - and while some happily embark on trips by themselves, most still prefer the security, companionship and economy of travelling with someone else.

Until recently, if friends or family didn’t share your interests, it meant signing up to a singles’ holiday, joining an agency or cruise, or posting an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine such as The Spectator.

But as people began to book their holidays at the last minute, this process became outdated. Something quicker and more efficient was needed, and it was only a matter of time before the internet came to the rescue. Travel networking was born.

Social networking sites such as MySpace, which allow like-minded people to meet and chat over the web, have been big news for a couple of years. What’s new is that travellers have joined the party.

In the past year, about 25 internet-based clubs have been set up with the sole aim of introducing holidaymakers to each other and helping them meet people local to an area they want to visit.

The advantage is that instead of being confined to a four-line advertisement or an agency’s questionnaire, travellers have entire pages to themselves - a kind of cyber CV - on which to post photographs, list their favourite destinations, their likes and dislikes and describe the kind of companion they are looking for.

On some sites, such as MySpace’s travel arm (), launched in April, you can even post your home videos. People simply contact those who share their interests and weed out the rest.

If you are a single traveller, the chances are there’s something for you. High society? Asmallworld.net is an exclusive, invitation-only club whose members are rumoured to include Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton and Quentin Tarantino. Pensioner? Retiredbackpackers.com hooks up adventurous oldies. If you’re looking for love, Travelhotties.com cuts to the chase, matching people looking for romance, while Welcometraveller.com connects people with local hosts.

There’s no need to worry about your street cred, either. “A few years ago there was a stigma attached to meeting someone on the web, but now it’s normal to be looking for a travel companion online,” says Tom Hall of Lonely Planet, whose Thorn Tree website was one of the first to connect travellers.

How much time you spend with your fellow traveller is up to you: you can search for someone to join you on a gap year, or for a local to meet for a drink and a dose of insider knowledge. You don’t even have to meet. Many people just exchange tips by email.

There are, or course, risks associated with meeting people over the web. Information is rarely checked, and the person in the flesh can vary wildly from a persona that has been crafted over a keyboard. But for the most part, communication is friendly and horror stories tend to be more of the “we didn’t get on” variety rather than anything sinister.

According to Christine Davies, a former producer of the BBC’s Holiday programme who set up a travel-networking site, the Thelma and Louise Club, after searching for a companion herself, the chances of getting on with someone you meet in cyberspace are about 60 per cent.

“It’s a spin of the roulette wheel, but when it works, it really works,” she says.

Her company boasts dozens of success stories, including that of Chris Baker, a recently retired pharmaceuticals manager from Perth, Scotland, who went on a two-and-a-half week holiday to South Africa earlier this year with a woman she met on the site.

“I love travelling and have reasonable funds to do it in luxury, so I was looking for someone in a similar position,’’ she said.

‘’Jill and I both had a burning desire to go to South Africa, so we did, and had a super time. We went diamond shopping, ate in lovely restaurants and went to wildlife reserves. We got on really well, with no cross words, and spent 90 per cent of the time together. We’d both be happy to travel together again.”

Travelchums.com, one of America’s biggest travel networking clubs, has had its share of successes too, and its first marriage. Its home page is crammed with endorsements from customers, including a pair who got on so well they wrote: “We are twins separated at birth.” So, is travel networking really a land of limitless potential? What would happen if a thirtysomething like me tried to find a companion? Armed with my dream holiday itinerary, I log on to find out.

I choose Davies’s Thelma and Louise Club, set up for women looking for companionship. Named after the 1991 film starring Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, it’s aimed at adventurous women of all ages, although most members are between 40 and 65. Britons make up the majority, but Americans, Europeans and Asians are there too.

As well as connecting single travellers, the club, which is free to join, organises regular group holidays, from trekking in Nepal and cruises round the Caribbean to shopping excursions and city breaks. Road trips are on the itinerary, but the Grand Canyon, scene of Thelma and Louise’s famous cliff exit, is not. “It would be tempting fate,” says Christine.

I plug my details into the four-page questionnaire and upload my photograph. Application approved and profile page set up, I am free to start searching. They are a mixed bunch: intrepid backpackers seeking like-minded companions, young career women, housewives with busy husbands, and young-at-heart pensioners. Scrolling through them is like browsing through a mail-order catalogue, only instead of buying some CDs I’m shopping for a travel buddy.

To refine my search - the club has 4,000 members - I use the automatic matching service, which links people with similar requirements. It throws up 24 potential travel companions. I decide to poke six of them - not a literal poke, of course, but a virtual one, the cyber equivalent of a friendly hello. Of the three who reply, one can make the same dates as me.

Her login name is Flying Solo. She looks nice. From her profile page, I learn that she is a university educated, 31-year-old living in north London, a social drinker and non-smoker. She lists her hobbies as sightseeing, clubbing, food and outdoor sports.

New to the UK, she has written in her “further information” box: “Looking to meet interesting, fun, adventurous types.” Ditto.

After exchanging a few emails, Flying Solo and I agree to meet in IRL - cyber speak for “in real life”. It’s awkward at first, and feels peculiarly seedy. Why am I meeting a strange woman in a Soho bar on a Friday night?

But I soon get over it. She is a high-profile entrepreneur, articulate, cultured and well-travelled. We talk about our holiday successes and disasters, our likes and dislikes. She has a self-confident air and our discussions are frank and open. “I think we are reading from the same page,” she tells me at the end of the evening, and we agree to give travelling together a go.

Back home, a Google search reveals she was recently ranked one of the world’s most powerful young businesswomen.

A few days later, our trip is booked: four days in Marrakesh, shopping the souks, gawping at riads and being pampered in hammans - Moroccan steam baths - with one night in a kasbah in the High Atlas Mountains. To save on single supplements, we choose to share a twin room and agree to split bills down the middle.

When we meet again at Heathrow airport, the sense of camaraderie we originally felt is still there and conversation flows easily. It’s a promising start.

There’s something thrilling about travelling with a virtual stranger. With friends or family you always know what you’re in for, but with a stranger you have no idea what will happen next.

Our hotel is an exquisitely restored riad in the Medina: all intricately carved woodwork, cool marble and orange trees.

The benefits of being with Flying Solo pay off immediately. Her haggling skills in the souks, honed by years living in India, are ruthless and she bags us countless bargains. She has an ability to sniff out a tasty lamb tagine, which borders on genius and encourages me to be more adventurous with local delicacies, although I stop short of boiled sheep’s head.

Being together in an Arab country such as Morocco allows us more freedom than we would have by ourselves. We wander around Marrakesh late at night, watching snake charmers and fortune tellers, eat in beautiful courtyard restaurants and mingle with the Marrakshi elite in bars and clubs.

I’m painting an idyllic picture, but it’s not all mint tea and bougainvillea. After just two days, some of my companion’s habits start to niggle at me.

On such a short trip it hardly matters, but if our holiday were longer they would be irritating. She warned me that she was a late riser, but she is rarely up before 11am, meaning I either have to wait for her or go on ahead by myself. She’s a poor timekeeper too, rarely apologises when she’s late, and leaves all the organising to me.

Worse, she has virtually stopped talking. I’m hardly a chatterbox, but entire mornings go by when she says nothing. We shop the souks in silence. We drive for two hours through the mountains - not a peep. We have a six-course meal, and still nothing. I try to engage her in conversation, but she replies in half-sentences that don’t invite further comment.

When I confront her, she seems genuinely surprised, and assures me she feels no animosity towards me. “I’m just tired,” she explains, but things don’t improve.

Instead of reading from the same page, I now feel as if we are in completely different libraries. I would be better off alone.

By the final day, I have given up. I spend the afternoon by myself in the souks buying last-minute presents, and she stays at the hotel. We meet only to catch our flight home.

Despite the disappointing outcome of my first internet-meets-reality experience, I am addicted to travel networking. I join the party at my desk each evening in my dressing gown and slippers and when “new messages” flash in my inbox, my mind spins with the promise of finding the perfect travel buddy.

So, my advice for anyone wanting to give it a try? Remember that, if good company can make the journey seem shorter, bad company can make it seem like a lifetime.

Read between the lines, take time to find the right person, and stay clear of anyone who eats sheep’s brains for breakfast.
# Suzy Bennett travelled to Marrakesh with the Best of Morocco (0588, http://www.bestofmorocco.co.uk). A four-night break, including flights, transfers, two days’ car hire and half-board accommodation at the Villa des Orangers, Kasbah du Toubkal and the Dar Zemora, costs from £770 per person during June and July.

Rules of the web
# 1 Get to know your potential companion by email before disclosing your telephone number.
# 2 If a site verifies users’ details, check that your potential buddy is registered.
# Meet your companion as many times as possible before travelling with him or her.
# Ask about shortcomings and be upfront about your own.
# Ensure you are both on a similar budget, but avoid discussing personal finances in detail.
# Give family or friends your buddy’s contact details.

Fellow travellers just a click away

With free membership, this site links people who are on the same flight or in the same airport to relieve the boredom of long-distance flights.

A unisex version of the Thelma and Louise Club, this site offers single travellers the chance to scout out buddies. The fee is £30 for 11 matches. Most members have had their names and addresses verified, so it is relatively safe. Companions2travel.co.uk is similar.

“Anyone have a private jet I can borrow for a weekend to Capri?” These are the kind of requests posted on this ultra-exclusive website. Those who manage to get behind the virtual red rope share information about restaurants, clubs and hotels.

Welcome Traveller is a free hospitality service that links travellers with local people in 30 countries. Members are grouped by very specific interests. Accommodation with a local host costs from £5 a night.

Looking for love as well as companionship? Try the traveller section of this British-based dating website. Annual membership costs £25. Travelhotties.com and speedbreaks.com are similar.

The website through which Suzy Bennett found her travelling companion.


Not the Kind of Guy You Want to Meet Anywhere

A recent article on Recordnet.com underscores the ease of posting on a dating site and creating your own persona.  Robert Gay is free while his 10 year prison sentence for murdering his wife is on appeal.  He posted a profile on Yahoo! Personals.  Note in the article below that he was turned in to Yahoo! by a woman who he was emailing.  She did a Google search on his name and found the story.

Yea for Googling, but here’s more reason to be very careful in your online persuits.  With stats like 100 million registrants on Match.com, people you wouldn’t want to be caught in a dark alley with are going to be part of the mix.  I’ve got lots of info on how to keep yourself safe here on this blog.  Go here to read my entries.

A Web wake-up call
Woman’s discovery raises the question: How much do you really know about the people you talk with, or date, online?
By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
June 10, 2007 6:00 AM

A woman clicking open Robert Gay’s online dating page might think the Lodi man is a dream date.

He plays tennis, walks his dog, enjoys fine dining. And the 55-year-old who doesn’t smoke draws six-figures even in retirement, according to his Yahoo! Personals profile.

“Married my HS sweetheart in 1973 and she passed away in July 2005,” Gay wrote, adding that he’d like another long-term relationship with someone near Columbus, Ohio, where he’s from. He’s planning a trip there later this month to visit relatives.

Yet Gay’s ad fails to mention some important details about his past: A jury last year found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter for shooting his wife, Peggy Spencer, at their Stockton home. A judge ordered him to 10 years in state prison but freed him on bail pending an appeal of his conviction.

Gay’s attorney defended his client’s right to socialize, while a prosecutor who convicted Gay and opposed his release called the Web ad “worrisome.” More and more singles who rely on dating sites to boost their chances for romance may be putting themselves in peril, an online dating researcher said.

“It’s easy to edit the details of yourself online in ways you may not be able to face to face,” said Julie Albright, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, who wasn’t independently knowledgeable of Gay’s story.

“Sometimes people leave out important details - like I’m married or I killed my wife.”

According to trial testimony, Gay’s wife wanted a divorce, which Gay feared because it would ruin him financially. Gay, who admitted a quick temper, brought home a handgun, and, days later, his wife died from gunshot injuries caused during an argument. Gay, too, suffered a superficial gunshot wound.

Albright said that until recently, most people made love connections through friends and family. This low-tech way allowed you also to check out the prospective mate’s reputation through your match-makers, she said.

Most people seeking romance online are honest, said Albright, whose research led her to query thousands of online daters about their experiences. Online personal sites allow people to reinvent themselves, and some chose to exploit the chance, Albright said.

“If you’re in a town and everyone knows you’ve got this black mark on your reputation, you can go online and nobody knows this,” Albright said. “You can reinvent yourself. You’re a new person.”

The Record learned about Gay’s online personal ad from an Ohio woman who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing Gay. At first finding of his Web ad, she began chatting with him by e-mail. She later did a Google search and found a Record story about his conviction. She reported him to Yahoo! Personals.

Gay declined the request for an interview when reached by phone at his Lodi home. Asked if he thought his ad was dishonest, Gay simply responded: “I’ve got no comment.”

Yahoo! Personals spokeswoman Jill Webber said Thursday the company deleted Gay’s ad once his background was brought to their attention.

Mark Brooks, an online personals industry analyst for Onlinepersonals.com, said social networking Web site MySpace.com received the brunt of bad press in the last couple years for people who found themselves in bad places after meeting others online.

The trend has been for Web companies to start screening their clients better, though that has proved difficult, and many online companies work closely with law enforcement to help them arrest dangerous people caught trying to abuse the site, Brooks said.

As in the real world, there will always be some bad people in a large group, he said. The same goes for those going online, he said, noting that MySpace.com has 100 million registered users.

“You take a random sample of 100 million people, and you’re going to end up with some crazy people in there,” Brooks said.

Gay’s attorney, Charles Bonneau of Sacramento, said Gay’s desire to date again has no relevance to the court case. Gay has to wait several more months before the state’s 3rd District Court of Appeal rules on his conviction. Meanwhile, Gay’s a free man.

“He has the right to a social life,” Bonneau said.

Not everybody is so forgiving. San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Valli Israels, who prosecuted Gay, called his foray back into the dating scene “worrisome.” Women who foster romantic relationships with prisoners at least know what they’re getting, she said.

“But a woman who finds a man on a Web site may not know a man has a 10-year prison sentence hanging over his head.”


More on eHarmony and exclusion of gays…

Remember the book “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller?  From Wikipedia: “Catch-22" is common idiomatic usage meaning “a no-win situation” or “a double bind” of any type. eHarmony’s Neil Clark Warrens’ quote in the article is a “Catch 22” if I’ve ever heard one: “When I asked Warren about his refusal to serve same-sex couples, he listed several reasons for his policy. ‘First, we’re into marriage,’ he said, pointing out that gay unions remain illegal in almost every state. He also doesn’t feel there is adequate research on how men can be matched up with other men, or women with women,” Traister wrote. See the story below and make up your own mind…

Matchmaker’s marriage goal disqualifies ‘gays’
eHarmony berated in lawsuit for refusing to facilitate homosexuality
Posted: June 6, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

The popular matchmaking service eHarmony.com rejects homosexuals from its profiling and matching services because its goal is marriage, and that isn’t legal for “gays” in most states, the founder has said.

The site, one of the most popular matchmaking operations in the nation, is facing new accusations in a lawsuit brought by a lesbian who alleges the company discriminated against her because of her sexual choices.

While eHarmony did not respond to WND requests for a comment about the situation, founder Neil Clark Warren has said several times that his company’s evaluation and analysis procedures are intended to result in long-term relationships, ideally marriage, and that’s why they do not apply to those choosing a homosexual lifestyle.

A Salon.com report by writer Rebecca Traister addressed that specific issue in a recent article—before the lawsuit was filed.

“When I asked Warren about his refusal to serve same-sex couples, he listed several reasons for his policy. ‘First, we’re into marriage,’ he said, pointing out that gay unions remain illegal in almost every state. He also doesn’t feel there is adequate research on how men can be matched up with other men, or women with women,” Traister wrote.

She said that Warren reported various business interests have approached him about building a service designed specifically for homosexuals, but he’s turned them down for those reasons.

“We’ve got thousands of years of history of the human race in which this [homosexuality] was never treated as a marriage and there are a lot of people who think it’s just not going to have the same kind of stability over time,” Traister said Warren told her.

The accusations of discrimination arose when a northern California woman, Linda Carlson, filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleging she was denied services by the company. She had tried to use the site in February to meet a woman but could not, because of her sexual lifestyle choice.

She reported she complained to the company, which refused to change its policy.

A prepared statement was released in which Carlson said, “Such outright discrimination is hurtful and disappointing for a business open to the public in this day and age.”

Her complaint names Warren, his wife Marylyn, and the Pasadena-based company as defendants.

The company’s formal response was immediate, and aligned with Warren’s earlier concerns.

“The research that eHarmony has developed, through years of research, to match couples has been based on traits and personality patterns of successful heterosexual marriages,” the company said. “Nothing precludes us from providing same-sex matching in the future, it’s just not a service we offer now based upon the research we have conducted.”

Carlson’s lawyer, Todd Schneider, said the company’s signup procedures include only options for being a man seeking a woman or a woman seeking a man—nothing else.

“If you fail to put anything in that box and hit resubmit you get an error message,” he said.

Carlson said she brought the lawsuit against eHarmony instead of choosing among the dozens, if not hundreds, of other matchmaking sites that do refer homosexuals, because of its reputation for positive results.

Warren is a clinical psychologist who has written several books about dating and relationships. He also has a ministry degree and worked closely with the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, which published his first three books.

His Internet company grew out of his work, including his 1992 book, “Finding the Love of Your Life,” which is a primer on what people should look for in a marriage partner.

He ended up with 29 “dimensions of compatibility” he believes must exist for a couple to enjoy marriage, including “mood management,” “spirituality,” and “sexual passion.”

He believes at least 25 should match in ideal couples, and eHarmony.com has been granted U.S. Patent No. 6,735,568 for the process.

But unlike many matchmaking services, eHarmony also has focused on long-term relationships, especially marriage, which aligns with Warren’s early work with Focus on the Family’s Christian base and perspective.

It was one appearance on James Dobson’s radio program, in 2001, that triggered a response of 90,000 new referrals to the website, he noted, starting a climb of registered participants on the site from 4,000 to 350,000.

It now claims a membership in the millions, as well as thousands of successful—so far—marriages.

But while some of the early promotions for eHarmony boasted that it was “based on the Christian principles of Focus on the Family author Dr. Neil Clark Warren,” it now is advertised without a religious reference.

“We’re trying to reach the whole world—people of all spiritual orientations, all political philosophies, all racial backgrounds,” Warren told a news magazine.

Most other sites let users pick their own dates, but eHarmony requires answers to 436 questions, and then the company sends potential matches.

And homosexuals are not alone in being rejected from eHarmony. The company reports turning away about one in six who take the personality test because they would offer poor marriage prospects.

Warren has said he continues to be passionate about his Christian faith. But at the same time, he told USA Today, the public he wants to serve is the world.

The dispute already has started drawing support for eHarmony from other ministries and groups working to fight the homosexual agenda of normalization of such lifestyle choices.

“Doesn’t eHarmony.com and its Christian founder have a fundamental right to promote traditional marriages between a man and a woman—and not cater to unnatural ‘unions?’” asked Peter LaBarbera, of Americans For Truth.

“Will this and all private American companies be forced to promote the homosexual agenda?” he asked.

“There are plenty of places offering ‘match’ services for homosexual couples—just try any (liberal) ‘City Paper,’ where all sorts of disordered unions can be arranged,” said LaBarbera. “But no, eHarmony must bend to the tiny minority of homosexual militants who have no regard for others’ liberties—including your freedom to live out your religious beliefs as you see fit.”

“If they capitulate, it will only lead to innumerable other lawsuits. Who’s next? Christian-owned day care centers? Summer camps run by orthodox Jews? The message coming from liberal, pro-homosexual activists here is simple: you can have your beliefs in your church or synagogue or home (for now...) but don’t you dare try to live them out in the public square,” LaBarbera said.

eHarmony even announced not long ago that because of its “enormous success” matching compatible singles, it was beginning a service to help couples achieve “stronger, healthier and happier marriages.”

eHarmony Marriage is a “marriage wellness” program to deepen understanding, appreciation and connectedness, the company said.

The categories for compatibility include emotional temperament, social style, cognitive mode, physicality, relationship skills, values and beliefs and key experiences, along with many sub-categories.


Golfers in Love!

A tale of

Diane and Brian were both single golfers and met on DateAGolfer.com in April 2006. The couple were married on May 05, 2007 - exactly 365 days after their first date. We had our first date and followed that up with a round of golf the next day,” says Brian. “It was as if we had known one another for a much longer time.


eHarmony gets sued by gays—finally!

My chum Mark Brooks (he runs OnlinePersonalsWatch.com) ran this article recently:

Popular online dating site accused of excluding gays
Published: Friday, 1 June, 2007, 08:29 AM Doha Time
LOS ANGELES: The popular online dating service eHarmony was sued yesterday for refusing to offer its services to gays, lesbians and bisexuals.
A lawsuit alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on behalf of Linda Carlson, who was denied access to eHarmony because she is gay.
Lawyers bringing the action said they believed it was the first lawsuit of its kind against eHarmony, which has long rankled the gay community with its failure to offer a “men seeking men” or “women seeking women” option.
They were seeking to make it a class action lawsuit on behalf of gays and lesbians denied access to the dating service.
eHarmony was founded in 2000 and has has more than 12mn registered users.  Reuters

Mark’s comment: Match.com’s ad program for Chemistry.com sure sparked a fire.  I wonder how far it will burn.  Dr Patrick is welcoming eHarmony gay member-denials with open arms at myPartnerPerfect.com. (I wrote about Chemistry.com’s ad campaign too—see it here.

Here’s what I wrote as a comment to Mark’s posting:

Well, good. It’s about time. eHarmony’s refusal to serve gays and lesbians has been an undernoticed yet glaring flaw in their otherwise spic and span facade.

Something I have always liked about online dating from very early on was the leveling: women could contact men rather than waiting for guys to make the first move, and men could look for men and women for women, all on the same platform. eHarmony’s refusal to open up their service to gays can only, in this day and age, be a peek behind the curtain at eHarmony’s conservative—and homophobic—Christian roots. As I wrote in a blog posting on 5/10/2005 “From [eHarmony’s Neil Clark} Warren: ‘I don’t know how to do those matches, the research has not been done.’ What a weak excuse for blatant discrimination.” https://find-a-sweetheart.com/blog/item/eharmony_again_and_focus_on_the_family_connections/
For heaven’s sake, educate yourself. Go read a book.

From the same posting:

“What I do know is that eHarmony attracts many more women than men, so the odds are very bad for women, especially older women. Warren also believes that the more similar people are, the more likely for success of the relationship.

“So if you are male, heterosexual, with fairly traditional, conservative values, looking for the same in a woman, and you don’t mind someone else doing the picking for you or not seeing what the lady looks like until you have communicated for awhile, eHarmony would be a good place to sign up. If that doesn’t describe you, go somewhere else.”

If you’d like to read more of what I have written about eHarmony, there’s plenty. https://find-a-sweetheart.com/blog/C38/

Kathryn Lord
Romance Coach


Facts About Boomer Singles

From a press release about LavaLifePrime—LavaLife’s new (and free for awhile) site for singles over 45:

A few interesting statistics on single Boomers:
* 30% of Boomers are single
* 70% of Boomers are internet savvy*
* 70% of single Boomers are dating regularly*
* Of those, 45% of men and 48% of women have sexual intercourse more than once per week*
* Only 14% of Boomer women and 22% of Boomer men are looking to get married or live with someone.* (For the younger groups these numbers are a significantly higher, ie. ages 30-39, 60%.) FULL ARTICLE @ PR LEAP

* AARP Study - American Association of Retired People

That’s SOME set of stats!  If you are a single “Boomer,” get out there and have some fun!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


Single Dads Prefer Dating Online

Ya’ll know I have my problems with True.com (see my postings here), but I am not above quoting their surveys (minus their self-promoting ya-ya).  This is from a :

Survey results showed that most single fathers agree that online dating is a safer and easier method for meeting other singles:

—75 percent of respondents said that online dating is the easiest way
for single parents to meet others
—67 percent said that online dating is a safer way to date


The survey also revealed that saving time is considered the most popular convenience of online dating:

—37 percent said that online dating helped them balance time between
work, dating and family
—More than half (53 percent) go out on traditional dates less than once
a month


Don’t Drink That Drink!

This is a horrid story about a skilled seducer and rapist.  His preferred method seems to have been meeting women via Match.com, convincingly telling them a pack of lies about who he was, meeting them for drinks and then smuggling drugs into the woman’s drink, then somehow getting the women out of the bar and to someplace where he could rape them.  Ladies—and men—remember that these folks you are meeting online are strangers!  take time, be curious, ask questions, and let trust build on reality.  And DO NOT leave a drink unattended, and then even crazier, drink it.

Also, I have a great article about internet seducers.  While the folks I describe are not necessarily rapists, they are smooth as glass and very good at manipulation.  To get your copy, go to My Sweetheart Store and click on Beware the Cyber Lothario!

Two More Women Testify Against Alleged ‘Internet Rapist’

by KYW’s Tony Hanson

A Philadelphia jury has heard from two more alleged victims of accused serial rapist Jeffrey Marsalis (above), who met the women through an on-line dating service.

The two women told similar stories. Both met Jeffrey Marsalis through Match.com. He called, they met for drinks, both left their drinks unattended briefly, and then blacked out entirely or intermittently. And both have testified they came to to find they were having sex with the defendant. Both also indicated they couldn’t move.

But they didn’t see Marsalis put anything in their drink, and defense questioning focused, in part, on the fact both women had consumed several drinks. And neither woman went to police or reported the incident to any authorities. One woman went out to eat with Marsalis when they woke up the next morning.

The prosecution alleges Marsalis drugged and raped seven women. The defense contends the victims drank heavily and the sex was consensual.


Tell Your Worst Secrets

I just stumbled across the greatest site: It’s a blog where secrets get posted.  What a great way to deal with something embarrassing in your past: Make a postcard with your secret on it and send it in.  Every week, new ones get posted.  The blogger Frank Warren is an artist and has complied the postcards into book.  See them here on Amazon.

Here’s another, more effortless and less arty way to confess your flaws:  grouphug.us Here’s another one, though the “confessions” are a bit raw:  onlineconfessional.com

I’ve written quite a bit about secrets, their power to keep us from getting close to someone else, and what to do about that.  You can get a copy of my article “Do You Have a Secret?  How to Tell Your Sweetheart Your Worst” for free by subscribing to my enewsletter *eMAIL to eMATE* or you can buy it at Your Sweetheart Store

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Like the Facts…

I always like seeing some facts and figures come out about online dating.  Here are a few from a new poll by Vizu Corporation for OKCupid.com.  The numbers I found particularly interesting were in the last paragraph, which lists the factors that singles use to eliminate candidates.  If you are chubby, smoke and have kids, your chances of making the cut are slim.  One thing that is hard to judge by an oline profile is character, which I think is THE most important attribute in a potential mate.  Maybe the chubby mom who smokes would be thebest risk of all.  Who will know if you don’t give them the chance?

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord

From New Opinion Poll Benchmarks the State of Online Dating

Of the 49 percent of survey respondents who claimed to have interacted with an online dating Web site, more than 20 percent were committed users, either by paying for a subscription or using a free service. Another 29 percent admit to at least browsing profiles, even if they don’t take that final step of signing up and making a connection. Those who do commit tend to stick around - 62 percent trying their luck for two months or longer.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents prefer services that provide personality questionnaires, analyze compatibility and offer matchmaking recommendations. And users want that service for free, too. Free sites are preferred over subscription services at a ratio of five-to-one.

Despite the reach of the now ten-plus-year-old industry, 72 percent still feel there is a social stigma to online dating. Yet that perception appears attached to those who are less involved in the experience. Once daters embrace the online path and actually meet their match, they become more comfortable. Nearly two-thirds will admit that, upon meeting their significant other online, they would tell the truth if asked about how they met.

Finally, the report shows online daters to be highly selective. Most (58 percent) rely primarily on photographs to quickly filter their field of prospective matches. Deal breakers that tend to cause prospects to be rejected include smoking (23 percent say no) and having children (32 percent aren’t interested). As for physical characteristics, 45 percent will reject someone because of his/her weight, and another 33 percent will disqualify those outside their age range.


Some Online Weddings End In Divorce? Duh!

I’m starting to see stories come out in the news about divorces and assorted romantic miseries in couples who met on Internet dating sites.  Well, duh!  Did anyone really think that couples who met on the net would somehow avoid the troubles that every other couple has in spades?  Of course not!  People who meet on the net are going to get married, some in wildly impulsive sort of ways, and a certain percentage of those folks are going to get divorced.  When upwards of 15% of couples marrying now are meeting on the web, it only stands to reason that about 15% of divorcing couple will be cyberpairings.  There is nothing magical about Internet dating that will protect you from marital misery. 

Internet-initiated marriages can head south

11:51 AM PDT on Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Press-Enterprise

In 1998, Matt Frassica was featured in People magazine as a cyberlove success story.

He had found his bride on the Internet and was among an emerging group of those who clicked their way to love.

Six years later, the Northern California resident belonged to a different group. He became a Net nuptial divorcee.
Story continues below

The common interests of long walks on the beach, homemade lasagna and a love for the romantic comedy “While You Were Sleeping” weren’t enough to make Frassica’s marriage last. Frassica realized he was gay and the dream of “happily ever after” ended.

“We really had nothing in common,” Frassica, 34, said. “Our profiles had lots of commonalities, but it didn’t go much deeper than that.”

Internet dating sites began to sprout up about 12 years ago. By 2002, it was a common way to meet a mate. An estimated 3 million Americans have found love online and married or entered a long-term relationship, the Pew Internet and American Life Project reports.

But now, area therapists and family-law attorneys say they are seeing an increasing number of cybersplits. While some swear by online dating and say they would have never found their one-and-only if not for the Net, it’s inevitable that cyberromance will also bring with it its fair share of divorces.

Fantasy World

The emerging rocky Web unions make sense given the median length of a first marriage that ends in divorce is eight years, according to a 2005 Census Bureau survey. There are no formal statistics showing if Internet marriages fare better than traditional forms of meeting, but some say the fantasies people create before meeting a match face to face can be blinding.

A 2004 Match.com study revealed 11 percent of married couples who met through its site were in love before meeting. What’s revealed online through the profile and e-mails exchanged is just enough to start the fantasy, said Orange County relationship specialist Michelle Conboy.

“They have already created this image that this person is perfect for them,” said Conboy, a marriage-family therapist. “They become so excited about the prospect of this fantasy coming true that they ignore red flags and don’t ask the right questions.”

Marriage-family therapist Randy Davis, of Corona, described it like this: “It’s like when you see the dessert plate at a restaurant and you create an idea in your head about how it’s going to taste and then when you get it you’re thinking, ‘Wait, this tastes different. It’s not what I ordered.’ “

Divorce Prevention

But dating sites are finding new ways to help make forever a reality. Some sites have hired love doctors, others boast personality tests that measure compatibility for the long haul, and a few have expanded their services to offer advice and interactive tools for married and committed couples.

For example, eHarmony.com, an online dating service that boasts 90 marriages a day, recently launched a separate Web site, eHarmony Labs, dedicated to the study of relationships. The Web site includes tools to strengthen a couple’s partnership such as a relationship checkup, a 60-question survey that identifies a relationship’s strengths and weaknesses.

Last year, eHarmony launched eHarmony Marriage, a Web site that aims to help couples achieve “stronger, healthier and happier marriages” through interactive videos, exercises and coaching. Match.com offers a program called MindFindBind, a series of online videos, workshops and exercises developed by talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw. The program is said to help people “enjoy successes in relationships they value,” says the Web site.

BlackPlanet.com, a black social networking site, and MiGente.com, a social site for Latinos, say they are unique because couples typically stay logged on even after they have found love.

“It’s about fostering a community,” said Taryn Langer, spokeswoman for Community Connect, which owns the sites. “The ongoing dialogue between members even after they have found someone creates a support network.”

True.com offers its users a long-term-relationship compatibility test, which follows the standards of the American Psychological Association, and is designed to create lifelong matches.

“That’s what we are after, to lower the divorce rate,” said True.com founder Herb Vest. “Divorce is a real bad deal and we are working to eliminate it.”

Vest’s advice on finding a lasting match: “Take your time,” he said. “If it’s love, you have got to give Cupid time to do his work.”


But with dating sites touting marriage results and nearly promising a soul mate, it’s difficult to ignore the pressure to find Mr. or Mrs. Right, said compatibility expert and psychologist James Houran, spokesman for Online Dating Magazine.

Houran said he is a believer that online dating can create lasting relationships, but the issue is expectations.

“Online dating sites base their success on the number of marriages they create,” Houran said. “When you set people up to think they are only looking for marriage, they come in with the wrong mind-set.”

At first glimpse of what might look like forever, visions of wedding bells begin to dance in their heads. On a turbo trip to the altar, couples are often quick to relocate and make drastic life changes, Houran said.

“These advertising campaigns to find your soul mate are only feeding the fantasy and contributing to the divorce rate,” Houran said. “What they need to be saying is, ‘Put the brakes on.’ “

Exhausted from setups, short-lived romances and bar prowling, online daters are often on a mission to meet someone, Houran said.

“They are eager and looking intently and therefore are more at risk of rushing it and eventually divorcing,” Houran said.

San Bernardino lawyer Stefan Pancer said online dating has opened up “a whole new can of worms.”

Pancer recently got a call from a woman who went overseas to be with her cybersweetie. They married, but when the romance didn’t go as planned, she returned to the United States.

Now she has a husband in another country she wants to divorce, which makes the situation “difficult,” Pancer said.

“I used to see the impulsive Vegas weddings and now I am seeing this,” he said.

Lawyer Stephen Levine, of San Bernardino, has also seen his fair share of Internet splits. On one occasion, the marriage only lasted months before the couple landed in his office.

“She moved here from Idaho and after they got married they were wondering, ‘What the heck did we do?’ “ Levine said.

Palm Spring’s psychotherapist Patricia Craine’s advice: “Remember all that glitters isn’t always gold.”


Try Your 7/7/07 Luck at a Walmart Wedding…

This is either the height of cool or crass.  If you want a bargain wedding, look at what Wal-Mart is getting into.  PS two of the seven couples met online.

Thursday June 21, 7:03 pm ET
‘Lucky in Love Wedding Search’ Awards Couples Ceremonies at Local Wal-Mart Stores on the Most Popular Wedding Date of the Year

When Kymberlie DeRouen helped her longtime friend and ex-boyfriend, Billy Guidry, clean up the wreckage to his home from Hurricane Rita they found a love letter under a flag on the front door that she had written to him when they were dating. The pair interpreted finding the letter as a sign that they belonged together, forever. Wal-Mart Stores and G-Squared, a Wal-Mart exclusive brand from Gartner Studios, announced today that Kymberlie and Billy, along with six other couples from across the country, will receive wedding ceremonies and receptions inside their local Wal-Mart Supercenter on the most popular—and possibly the luckiest—wedding day of the year.

“Considering that Wal-Mart is like a second home to us, we’re excited to have our wedding there,” said Kymberlie. “Billy and I have been through so much during the past couple of years, so we truly consider ourselves lucky in love.”

Seven lucky couples have been named to receive these ceremonies and receptions as a result of the Lucky in Love Wedding Search and will exchange wedding vows on July 7. Couples were invited to register by logging onto http://www.walmart.com/giftregistry and clicking on the Lucky in Love link. The link connected them to the G Squared/Gartner Studios entry information, which asked for a brief love story essay. Registration began March 20 and concluded at Midnight on May 6, resulting in more than 400 couple registrations.

In addition to Louisiana-based Kymberlie DeRouen and Billy Guidry, the following couples were selected to receive a wedding package, including a reception and gifts, at their local Wal-Mart Supercenter:

Oliver Roper and Debra Russell, Oklahoma City, OK—Oliver and Debra seem destined to wed on 7.7.07. They met seven years ago—in July no less—and hit it off immediately. Financial hardship forced them to postpone their wedding indefinitely, and being chosen as one of the “lucky in love” couples has finally given them their long-awaited chance for a meaningful ceremony in front of their loved ones.

Jimmie Lee Cottrell and Katessa Burtch, Kokomo, IN—Jimmie Lee, who has two daughters of his own, and Katessa Burtch, who has three sons of her own, are excited to join their families together as one. After changing their wedding date twice, coordinating busy family schedules and Katessa injuring her knee, planning the wedding hadn’t been an easy task—until now. Because Wal-Mart is such a part of the family’s daily life and Katessa is a former associate, the couple believes the store is the perfect place to join their lives.

Duwayne Surprise and Liz Donaldson, Janesville, WI—Duwayne and Liz found each other through friends on the Internet. After spending countless hours together online, they realized they were an ideal match. Liz surprised Duwayne by proposing to him on her blog. Little did she know, Duwayne was planning on proposing to her that same week.

Michael Lefevers and Rachel Evans, Lebanon, OR—Michael and Rachel have always been close. In fact, they have lived three houses down from each other for most of their lives. However, it wasn’t until Michael’s sister introduced him to Rachel in 2005, that they even knew they were neighbors. Since then, their relationship has blossomed and they can hardly wait for 7/7/07.

Caleb Cox and Ella Glass, Charlotte, NC—Caleb and Ella met, as fate would have it, by complete accident in an online chatroom. After they began chatting away with one another, they realized they were a true match. After almost five years of dating, the couple is thrilled to get married.

Matthew Cauthon and Candace Presley, Gore, OK—Matthew and Candace met through mutual friends in 2004 and hit it off right away. They spend countless hours with each other, playing with their dogs and spending time with their families.

“We are predicting that twice the number of brides as other Saturdays in July will marry this July 7, and many facilities were booked well over a year in advance,” said Richard Markel, Director of the Association for Wedding Professionals International. “Wal-Mart has provided a great opportunity—and solution—for these brides; without this opportunity, they might have had to settle for another, less memorable date.”

Couples will receive a wedding package with an estimated value of more than $5,000. This package not only includes the decorated wedding venue in Wal-Mart’s colorful lawn and garden area surrounded by the season’s bright foliage, but also an adjacent tent for the reception area, wedding cake and party food. The package also includes 14kt gold and diamond wedding bands, wedding invitations, wedding and groom’s cakes, fresh floral bouquets, digital cameras and digital photo frame, a portable GPS device, reception food and a $1,000 Wal-Mart gift card.

The average American wedding costs a whopping $22,000(1) and requires multiple trips to various vendors and many betrothed couples are searching for solutions to save money and time without sacrificing quality for their special day. One example is in a quality wedding cake—more than 1500 customers a week purchase wedding cakes at Wal-Mart Supercenters around the country. That totals up to more than 78,000 wedding cakes a year that Wal-Mart provide couples walking down the aisles.


How dangerous is online dating, really?

How dangerous is online dating, really?

In an article about compatibility testing by Dr. James Houran in Online Dating Magazine, Houran included some research from Synovate about why people choose NOT to use dating sites.  Interesting are the numbers about perceptions of danger:

30% of those in the U. S. thought online dating “Could be dangerous.”

But only 2% acknowledged “a friend or family member had a bad experience with it.”

Seems to me that despite fear-mongering, the booming success of online dating sites indicates that while people worry, they have little evidence of the danger. 

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


ARGH! Get it right about online dating, okay?

I’ve been seeing a lot of articles like the follow one.  Clearly, the media is paying attention to the burgeoning success of online dating sites and the singles who are meeting via them.  But the paranoia!!!  “Well, yes, happy couples meet, but the DANGERS!” Gawd! 

Yes, there are dangers in online dating.  But in case you haven’t noticed, plain old tradtional dating, before the Internet and dating sites were even invented, was fraught with dangers: Without dating, there would be many fewer rapes.  And domestic violence has to start with a courtship, right?

If anything, online dating has to be safer.  People talk, and if folks heard in sufficient numbers about bad experiences via online dating, don’t you think they’d stop doing it?  See my next posting for some supporting facts and figures.

From The Daily Vidette:
Relational risks, realities of online dating
By: Amy Gorczowski
Posted: 4/2/07
A happy couple stands embracing each other on the television screen as music plays in the background. They tell their story of meeting online and describe it as the best experience ever. Is logging on a computer to find a soul mate easier than meeting in person?
“On average, each month Match.com receives news of more than 400 marriages or engagements from members of former members,” Maida Goodman, public relations coordinator for Match.com, said.
As Goodman mentioned, some couples from this count are former members, so even with this statistic, there is no guarantee that the couples in question actually met online, only that they used Match.com at one point.
“Last year alone we got word that more than 500,000 people found a relationship that changed their lives through Match.com,” Goodman said.
But what qualifies as changing a life? While online dating may bring happiness and long lasting relationships to some, it also poses a wide variety of risks.
“My first thought about online dating is that there’s a certain degree of risk,” Lisa Rutherford, a licensed clinical social worker for Chapin and Russell Associates in Peoria, said. “You don’t really know the person that you might come into contact with and nothing they have told you is necessarily true.”
In addition, it is important to realize the age difference in any potential online relationship. Pursuing a relationship through an online program too early may increase risk for future relationships.
“Our program targets people who are 21 and older, but there are some college aged students involved,” Goodman said.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 90 million single people in the United States older than 18. Of those 90 million, 60 million are online and 33 million are open to pursuing an online relationship.”
Although millions of people are willing to be in an online relationship, one cannot help but wonder what type of people these programs attract.
“As a counselor, one of the risks is getting involved with someone and having that person be sick,” Rutherford said. “If that person has significant relationship issues to begin with, that may rub off on the other person involved.”
Rutherford went on to emphasize that if one is involved in a traumatic relationship at some point, it can certainly effect future relationships. She stressed that problems created in early relationships can trigger similar, even identical, problems in future relationships. Still, online dating sites advocate such ideas and even promote them as better than traditional dating.
“Couples who meet online can potentially have a higher success rate or longevity than ‘offline’ couples,” Goodman said.
“Of the people I have seen who have used such programs, there seems to be a pattern of a risk of multiple rejections.” Rutherford said. “If you use online dating, you’re really setting yourself up to experience a lot more rejections that if you were to not use it.”
Apparently, the public is not interested in this fact, as more and more people are joining sites such as Match.com every day.

“More than 60,000 new people register on Match.com every day,” Goodman said. “They join the millions of people who know that Match.com is simply a better way to find love.”

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord


We Love Love Stories and Where to Find Them

OnlinePersonalsWatch’s Mark Brooks has done it again: Given us some very useful information.  Mark has listed the top sites that post their success stories!  What’s an online dating site’s measure of success?  Marriages and couplings!  Here’s Mark’s list:

Ranking, Property, Number of success stories*

1. Christian Cafe, 1287
2. PlentyofFish, 470
3. JDate, 195
4. eHarmony, 160
5. Date, 128
6. American Singles, 100
7. HotorNot, 93
7. Yahoo Personals, 93
9. Match, 90
10. Cupid, 80
11. BlackPeopleMeet, 74
12. DatingDirect, 54

*As at March 30th, 2007.

Online dating industry analyst/consultant Mark Brooks commented, “Nothing is more compelling to prospective online daters than success stories from people just like them that have met through online dating. It would be good for the industry as a whole if more dating sites would feature their success stories and keep them up-to-date.”

If you want to have some inspiring fun, go on over to any of those sites and take a look at who met the loves of their lives.

Isn’t it interesting that Match.com and Yahoo! Personals (the biggest sites and probably accounting for thousands of happy couples) post so few of their success stories?  You are missing a great opportunity, Match and Yahoo!

From Your Romance Coach, Kathryn Lord



Contact Kathryn by phone at , by email at

home | kathryn's romance newsletter | test yourself | new, fun, free | facts
about kathryn and coaching | who is kathryn lord? | kathryn's own cyberromance story | what is romance coaching? | are you ready for romance coaching? | what kathryn's clients say | want to try romance coaching?
kathryn's blog | contact kathryn


Copyright 2003-2007 Kathryn B. Lord