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Dating is hard.

Dating is really hard.

First you have to find someone with whom you share a mutual attraction, then you have to make sure that you want the same thing in terms of commitment.

But the hardest part is meeting someone. As a result, many have turned to online dating sites. In fact, a third of recently married couples met online. They’re also less likely to break up.

But online dating is different for men and women Online Dating - Men Don't Get It And Women Don't Understand Online Dating - Men Don't Get It And Women Don't Understand Do online dating websites work? It's time for a frank discussion! What I learned from interviews was that online dating is equally painful for men and for women, but for very different reasons. Read More . As the saying goes: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them.”

While it is true that straight women get more attention on dating sites than men, that doesn’t always mean it’s positive attention from safe potential partners 5 Signs You Shouldn't Date That Guy You Met On The Internet 5 Signs You Shouldn't Date That Guy You Met On The Internet I was an online player. Here are the tricks I used to win women's hearts – and how to spot them. Read More . As an experiment I set up accounts on three of the more popular free dating websites, then spoke to some women about their experiences.

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Here’s what happened.

OkCupid

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When someone says online dating, one of the first sites that comes to mind is OkCupid. It is estimated that there are about 30 million total users, with roughly 1 million unique users logging in every day.

It goes without saying that OkCupid has one of the better reputations of more popular free dating websites for having a wide variety of quality users. However, OkCupid has many not-so-great users as well, and it’s not uncommon for women to have the misfortune of encountering them, and in the past, I have as well.

In total, I received 11 messages with 218 visitors. Mostly, they were just guys saying hi. A few were a little more forward, and two were straight-up aggressive.

Casual Kiss

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Despite Casual Kiss being kind of scammy, with only 3000 monthly visitors, I decided to give it a try all the same – and I wasn’t entirely disappointed. I joined February 4th, around 7 AM, and received a total of one vote, two winks, and six messages. The messages were all nice, although one user messaged me three times.

PlentyofFish

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PlentyofFish is perhaps the most popular online dating sites out there, with an estimated 6 million pageviews a month and 76 million users (a little less than the entire population of Turkey). It’s no surprise that I received nearly twice as many messages on Plenty of Fish than OkCupid and Casual Kiss combined.

In total, I received 34 messages, all of which were very nice. I never replied to any of the messages, however there were a few men who messaged me twice despite that, in an attempt to get a response. 497 people said that they wanted to meet me on PoF’s Meet Me feature.

Other Women and Their Experiences

While my experiences here were relatively tame, that doesn’t mean it’s the case for every woman. In fact, it’s not uncommon at all for women to be threatened for refusing to send nudes or insulted when they say they’re not interested in the man messaging them.

I spoke to a few friends about their experiences with online dating websites. One friend brought up a message where a man had told her that because she was a ‘woman of size’, she ‘must suck good ****’. Another simply sent me this screenshot.

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Others in the past have conducted similar experiments, setting up fake accounts on free dating websites and recording the messages they received. Cracked’s Alli Reed set up ‘the worst online dating profile ever’ and still received heaps of messages from men who wanted only to hook up with the terrible woman she had created. Continuing to be horrible did not dissuade any of them.

There are also instances of men, believing women ‘have it easy’ on dating websites, setting up fake profiles and being shocked by the messages they receive. One of the most notable of these is a reddit user who set up a fake profile and didn’t last two hours. He came away with the realization that women have it much, much harder on these sites:

I figured I would get some weird messages here and there, but what I got was an onslaught of people who were, within minutes of saying hello, saying things that made me as a dude who spends most of his time on 4chan uneasy.

I personally have had some experience with OkCupid before this experiment, which weren’t completely positive.

My Own Past Experiences

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When I was living in southern Oregon, the dating scene at my college wasn’t that great. A lot of people, including me, turned to online dating, and OkCupid was all the rage. As I was serious about finding someone, I uploaded a lot of pictures of myself, had a very thorough profile, and received a lot of attention. A lot of it was like the above. Eventually, it got to be too much and I closed my profile. I haven’t used dating sites to try to find men to date ever since.

Tips For Men On Dating Sites

First off, telling a woman about what you would like to do to her sexually without any prompting is not a compliment. It’s creepy, and in some instances really scary – not a turn-on by any means. Neither is asking for, or offering to send, nudes (unless they were not discussed first). No one likes unwanted sexual advances.

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Insulting other women, while looking for a woman, won’t help your chances of finding someone. That’s another turn-off.

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Don’t be this guy and send this as your first message to a woman.

If you see a picture of a woman you like, take the time to read her profile. Find out what she’s interested in. When messaging a woman without bothering to learn about her through her profile, it may come across as you not caring about her as a person – no one wants that.

Make your intentions known. If you’re interested in something casual, tell her or put it in your profile. If you’d like a casual encounter, make that known as well. And if you’re serious about finding someone, make sure you don’t come across as too aggressive.

Finally, take no for an answer. No means no, and you’re not going to be able to ‘convince’ anyone to fall in love with you, and reacting with anger and threats when someone isn’t interested won’t help you.

Safety Tips For Women (And Men Too)

Try to get to know someone before meeting them. Watch for any red flags, such as disregarding your boundaries and not respecting your feelings.

When going to meet someone in person, it helps to suggest you both bring along a friend. This may help relieve the anxiety of the other person, plus it’s a safeguard for you both in case something happens. Also, be sure to meet in a public place and to stay in a public place. If you’re going alone, be sure to tell a friend where you’re going and what you’ll be doing.

For a first meeting, be sure to stay sober.

Don’t send out money, especially overseas.

Finally, don’t give out personal information – your phone number, email address, or even full name – right away. If you really want to talk on the phone with someone, consider getting a Google voice number 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Voice 5 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Voice Read More . Finally, read up on ways to make your online dating experience better 4 Tools For Easier & Safer Online Dating [Google Chrome] 4 Tools For Easier & Safer Online Dating [Google Chrome] Dating has gone digital. Once considered a realm inhabited only by the socially awkward, online dating is now just another tool in the toolbox, no matter whether you’re looking for a hook-up or your soulmate.... Read More .

So What’s The Verdict?

Casual Kiss is full of scammers, so that is a website I suggest avoiding. OkCupid is renowned for having a wide variety of users, although I received more messages and views on PlentyofFish. However, the problem with a lot of free dating websites such as these is that many of the users, the male users especially, are looking for sex.

If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money, paid websites like Zoosk, eHarmony, and Match are fantastic and you’re bound to find someone who is as interested in commitment as you are. If not, as trashy as they can be, OkCupid and Plenty of Fish are both decent websites. There are also other great dating apps What Is The Best Dating App For Android? What Is The Best Dating App For Android? Dating apps have come a long way, and there are actually some great options on Android. Give these fantastic apps a try! Read More you can use in place of websites, like Tinder.

Have you had any bad experiences with online dating? What about good experiences? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it!

Image Credits: hands hold Via Shutterstock

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