My deepest, darkest secret

As long-time readers of my blog (you folks are awesome!) already know, I’ve dedicated this blog to saying the things that the Church is afraid to say–to being brutally honest about my own struggles and mistakes and life choices. I haven’t held much back.

But I’ve got to be real with you all today.

I’ve been hiding something.

Something that I’ve been too proud to talk about.

But it’s time for pride to go before a fall…

It’s time for the truth to come out.

Alright…deep breath…here goes!

I met my boyfriend on a Christian dating website.

Sigh of relief. Okay, it’s out. You now know my deepest darkest secret. I was not only crazy enough to try out a dating website, but I was crazy enough to date someone else who was ALSO crazy enough to try out a dating website.

It was called “Christian Café,” too. Ugh. So cheesy. And the payment plans were named after coffee-shop beverages, like the “mocha grande plan.” Ughhhhhh (I didn’t actually pay for the service, but Abe did and I like to tease him about that). 

Anyways, now you know the truth.

Really, though, it’s the 21st century. I shouldn’t be any more ashamed about meeting my partner on (shudders) Christian Café then I would be about meeting my partner in a local Starbucks. But I am.

Why is it so embarrassing for people to admit that they met their partner on the internet? Why did Abe’s and my third date involve a “What are we going to tell people when they ask how we met?” conversation? What’s wrong with online dating?

Let’s talk about some of the negative things people say about online dating, shall we?

“Anyone who uses an internet dating service is desperate.”

Okay, I’ll admit it. I was desperate.

This might come as a shock to those of you who know about my feminist tendencies and my slight distain for all things romantic, but stick with me here.

When I signed up for Christian Café, I was going to school as a full time student in a demanding major and I was working forty hours a week at Taco Bell.  I would get off of work at 6 am, enjoy an hour or two of “free time” (more like, “pick pieces of soggy taco out of my hair” time), go to class all day, come back to my dorm and get four hours of sleep, then wake up, go to work and do it again.

I was at a school where I barely knew anyone. I didn’t have time to make friends. My roommates were fast asleep when I got home from work. The only conversations I’d have for weeks at a time were arguments with drunk customers about why their cell phones are not accepted as currency in exchange for tacos.

Yeah, I was desperate. Not for love or for romance. Just for some dang human interaction.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s okay to need human interaction. It’s a need that almost everyone shares. Some people can fulfill that need by calling up a few friends or going to a party. But there’s nothing wrong with fulfilling that need in other ways, even if the words “Christian Café” are involved.

And you know what? Even if you have plenty of friends and a social life, it’s okay to want to go on a date. That doesn’t make you weak or desperate, even if you meet your date on the internet.

“Anyone who uses an internet dating service is just too socially awkward to meet people in person.”

First of all, I’m sure this doesn’t describe everyone who uses dating services. Some people work weird hours and can’t have normal social lives as a result. Some people just don’t know anyone who is a potential partner.

And then, yes, some of us are socially awkward. Again, I am guilty as charged.

Who cares, though? You extroverts have ruled the dating scene for far too long. We introverts shouldn’t have to change our personality styles in ways that make us uncomfortable in order to get a date. Online dating lets us socially awkward people get to know each other without having to go through the painful process of small talk.

There’s nothing wrong with meeting people the old fashioned way, but there’s nothing wrong with us introverts using new technology to our advantage either.

Creepy people? On the internet? No way!

“The internet is filled with creepy people.”

To that I say, so is the world. That doesn’t mean we don’t leave our houses.

Don’t turn off your common sense when you turn on your computer. Be careful and follow safety tips like these and you should be fine.

“If you’re a Christian, you should wait on God to bring you a date.”

This stems from the idea that God hand-picks The One for you, and that you should wait passively and patiently until He sends The One down on a unicorn from heaven.

I call bull crap on that.

You would never say, “God promised to provide me with food. I know there’s some in the fridge, but I think I’m going to wait for him to bring me the right sandwich.”

Why do we do that with relationships? God made a world full of awesome people and it’s our job to get to know those people and find a person that we like and form a relationship with that person. And no method of meeting people is more or less “divine” than another.

Online dating worked for me and Abe. We both have the same favorite jelly bean flavor and I think that makes us soul mates. We also both have the same tennis shoes and I think that makes us sole mates. But we would have never gotten to know those things about each other without the help of the internet.

Online dating helped two socially awkward people fall in love.

Have any of you ever tried online dating? Did it work for you? Why or why not? Don’t be ashamed! Your story can’t be more embarrassing than my “Christian Cafe” story! Hah! 

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  • Sarah Kaminski

    Sarah, a good friend of mine met her husband on an online dating site (I think it was e-harmony). They are both Christians, and believe God brought them together that way. They have been married for 6 years or more, and have two precious kids, and are doing just great! I think your story is sweet, and you have no reason to be embarrassed. I love your sandwich illustration, and wish eating lunch was that easy 🙂

    • Me too! I wish God would make me a PB & J right now! Guess I gotta do it myself…

  • ‘You would never say, “God promised to provide me with food. I know there’s some in the fridge, but I think I’m going to wait for him to bring me the right sandwich.”’

    That’s awesome! 🙂 I know people who met online and they’re extremely happy together. I don’t know why someone would judge someone for how they met there SO, unless it’s through illegal activities.

    • haha, I’m trying to imagine people meeting through illegal activities, and coming up with some humorous scenarios.

  • Because I’m old, I have friends who met through the pre-internet weirdness of the “personal ad.” Happily married for 15 years, 3 great kids.

    Two amazing bloggers that I’ve had the privilege to meet got married just a couple of weeks ago – they met just through following one another’s blogs.

    I don’t think there’s a right way to meet someone. What is far more frightening to me is settling for someone you know IRL who you don’t really like because you’re too afraid of people’s reactions to try something like internet dating.

    So no mocking from me. As long as you didn’t use this:

    • bahaha! My boyfriend and I watched that video the other day. We laughed so hard at the “bring a gun, until Obama pries it from your cold, dead, fingers” part.

  • I absolve you of cheesiness. Consider thyself uncheesed.

    I would feel the same way if I had met my spouse on the internet, just becuase of the social stigmas involved, but there is no sense in it. We live so much of our lives on the internet and form so many other relationships this way, why on earth should anyone look down on those who form romantic relationships online? I’ve met some of my closest friends on the internet and don’t feel the least bit embarrassed about that, so what’s the difference?

    • Ah, it feels good to be freed from the bonds of cheesiness.

  • KMR

    “This stems from the idea that God hand-picks The One for you, and that you should wait passively and patiently until He sends The One down on a unicorn from heaven.”

    That’s funny as hell, Sarah. Thanks for the laugh 🙂

    In regards to internet dating, I don’t have a problem with it and this comes from someone who avoids all technology like the plague (except a few blogs of course). If you had confessed that you were still dating Abe through the internet and have since decided to marry him, then I might think you were a tad bit odd. I think of internet dating sites like any other forum to meet people. But at some point – and rather quickly – your relationship has got to progress off-line for it to develop in a healthy fashion. But that’s just my opinion and you know what everyone says about those.

    • I agree that online should progress to off-line. I won’t say strictly online relationships CAN’T work, but I can imagine there is great risk involved.

  • Jeanette

    I met my husband online but it wasn’t even through a christian website. It was shortly after I stopped attending Faith Christian School in MI when Facebook informed me that I went to the same school as Matthew. I added him and then I received a message from him informing me that he attended a Faith Christian School in IL. From there we just decided to keep talking over Facebook and after less than a year of getting to know each other as best we can he drove to my house (with both our parents okay) and met my folks and myself. He then proceeded to visit me regularly on weekends and after that he started taking me to IL to visit his home and folks. Less than a year of online conversing and less than another year of visits and dating we wanted to get married. We talked it over with parents and pastors and we prayed a lot about it. We got “Go for it!” from everyone. And now we’ve been married for 10 months.

    Matthew and I really believe that our meeting was all God’s doing. He didn’t send that first friend request but only an amazing God could allow this to happen and to work out so perfectly. We’re blessed.

    So this means you’re not crazy! Rock on, Sarah!

    • That’s an awesome story! So glad things worked out for you like that.

      It’s good to know I’m not crazy (at least not for that reason!)!

  • I did EHarmony for a year and three months. There were a few bites, but they mostly lived far away from me, and since I’m a PT teacher, I can’t afford to travel for a long-distance relationship. All the locals pretty much closed me out right away. That, by the way, does help explain my 28-year single streak–it’s the area! I do have a friend who joined a little before me and ended up marrying one of her matches earlier this year.

    I ended up not continuing mostly because of finances, but also because on paper I seem to have a lot more baggage than actually directly affects day-to-day relationships. My lack of dating experience (because almost all of them ask a question like, “How did your last relationship end?” I have to explain I’ve only been on one date) scares a lot of guys off. Plus, I just started a freelance art business to try to make my PT teaching income livable, so I don’t have a lot of time to do internet “getting-to-know-you” time. I’d much rather get to know someone in person, because that way I can allot time into my schedule instead of trying to remember to respond to some vague question that I don’t really have a good answer for between student conferences and brushstrokes.

    It would be nice to have a relationship for once, though. It’s not the singleness thing that bugs me–it’s the perpetual nature of my singleness that subconsciously niggles at my self-confidence.

    • My boyfriend tried eHarmony years before he met me and they told him, “2% of the population is too unique to have any matches. You’re in that 2%.” hah.

      yeah, online dating isn’t for everyone. I hope you can find something that works for you! Don’t let your singleness bring down your self-confidence, though!

  • I have friends who met on an online dating site. And the coolest thing was that the girl wasn’t even really looking. She had only gotten on there to fill out the profile stuff rewuired because she had a tendency to change herself every time she met a guy, conforming to who she thought he wanted her to be. And next thing you know, there’s this guy who liked her for who she was instead of who she pretended to be. And the rest, as they say, is history. I just love how Jesus takes us at our moments of surrender and says, “That’s what I was waiting for.”

    • That’s a really cool story! Similar to mine as well–I had spent 3 years trying to change myself to fit into the relationship I was in before. When that relationship ended, I was completely broken and all the false “me”s fell apart. I had to really figure out who I was. What Abe got was a very real, raw version of me, and he liked it, which was wonderful.

  • Before I met my husband I did a good deal of online dating, and I met some really nice guys, and some kind of strange guys… but none of them developed into a relationship. And I met most of them through “hot or not” or AIM. *GASP* It’s embarrassing to admit that.
    I met my husband the old fashioned way, through a mutual friend. And I know a few folks who met their spouse online, so I don’t knock it, even though I tried it and it didn’t work for me.

    • awesome! I remember AIM. I have a few friends who met boyfriends via AIM back in the day. I don’t think any of them are together now, though.

  • You don’t have to just meet potential boyfriends/girlfriends online. I have a few friends that have used a site called meetup to meet friends in new cities. The whole online deal is starting to lose its stigma.

    • I’ve never heard of that, but it sounds neat! I’ve met a lot of people through facebook and blogging that have become friends as well. Also, I’ve used facebook and blogging to get closer to the people I already knew in person but was too shy to get to know well.

      The internet is a dream come true to socially awkward people like me!

  • I know a couple who met through eHarmony. He was serving with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Papua New Guinea and on his first furlough home, joined eHarmony and found himself a wife! They’re very happily married with two kids. I think online dating services have a strong potential to create happy marriages, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage my children from using them.

  • I actually went to a wedding a while back, and the couple had met on Christian Cafe – and both of them just did the trial and didn’t pay for it.

    I also had a college roommate who met her husband online.
    …and there were two guys from my church who both met their wives on the good ol’ internet.

    It’s not as uncommon as you think.

    And come on. Even though it’s dated and super cheesy…. You’ve Got Mail, anyone??

  • I didn’t meet my husband online, but I do have several wonderful friends that I met online. Nothing wrong with it at all. 🙂 I’m glad it worked so well for you!!

  • Catching up on my blog reading, so that’s why this is so late, but my wife and I met on Christian Café and have been married for over four years. I tried several other sites and was much happier with that one than any of the others. We’re now in the beginning stages of fundraising for an adoption, so I think we’ve got a pretty secure relationship, too. I can’t imagine being married to anyone who would be a better match with me. And there were so many reasons we should not have met that God was clearly working through online dating to t us together.