Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Finding your soul mate can be an endless battle. There's first dates, compatibility issues and suffering through break-ups.
So to aid in the search, some people turn to online dating websites.
One local social worker said that online dating websites are a tool to open up the dating field to a larger area. But like any tool, it may not be appropriate for everybody.
Lindsay Pahls never thought online dating would be for her.
"No, absolutely not," said Pahls.
But out of curiosity, she created a profile on E-harmony.
"I wasn't looking for a relationship, I wasn't looking for marriage," said Pahls.
She got more than she bargained for.
Lindsay completed a long series of questions to set up her profile, and two weeks after signing up, she was matched with active duty military member Adam Pahls.
"We had some of the same life experiences, we view everything the same, from politics, to religion, to morals and values, like there's no differences," said Pahls.
Unlike the common saying opposites attract, this website searches for similarities between individuals to create a match.
"We were finishing each others' sentences within a few weeks," said Pahls.
Social worker Renee Fields said that she's witnessed a number of online dating success stories.
But she cautions that there are also dangers.
"It's just easier to mask who you are, and it prevents that fac- to-face for a little bit longer time so the person can masquerade sort of for a longer time," said Fields.
Fields said that when meeting for the first time, it's important to meet briefly, and make sure somebody knows where you're at.
"Don't let them come to your home, meet somewhere very public," said Fields.
Lindsay took the necessary precautions.
They met for lunch, at a crowded restaurant.
"I was a little afraid just because you truly never know who's on the other side," said Pahls.
But for Lindsay, that first meeting was successful, and their relationship accelerated quickly.
After seven months of dating, they got engaged. And just ten months later, they were married.
"It was pretty soon after we started dating that I realized he was someone I could actually marry," said Pahls.
Lindsay and her husband Adam are nearing their one year anniversary in October.
But relationship experts warn that not all online dating experiences are as successful as Lindsay's was.
Fields said that a new risk associated with online dating is that the medium is being used to steal money from people.
She says that if someone asks you for money on the site, that should be an immediate red flag.