It was the constant back-and-forth via email that began to really drive me crazy. It didn’t matter what online dating site I was on. I felt like I kept ending up in a rabbit hole of non-committal emails asking me endless questions about things that didn’t matter. And I was paying to participate in this torture!

I wasn’t sure why, how, or when dating had gotten so complicated. It used to be so easy — go out, lock eyes with a handsome gent, and the next thing you know, we’re dating.

Meanwhile, my other friends made online dating look easy. They were meeting people — sometimes a lot of freaks, but still.

At least they were meeting people from time to time. Not me! And it was hurting my morale.

Talk about a bad omen for dating. Each month, I would watch as my bank account diminished by a hefty sum withdrawn by the dating site.

A Series of Bad Online Dating Experiences

The first was OKCupid, which had a decent free system of profile accessibility. I could look at profiles easily and contact people without a lot of hassle. But I found that the folks who contacted me were extra freaky. I realized that to connect with more suitable matches, I would have to pay around $9.99 a month. Even so, I opted out, having been thoroughly weirded out by the first lot of them.

Then I moved on to Though I signed up during a “free” weekend, it really wasn’t all that free. Yes, you could look at profiles for free, but you had a limited number of connections that you could make. If I wanted to really check out their profile, it was time to pay up. So I did. Again, I found myself in a merry-go-round, the guys constantly circling till they found their perfect match. More often than not, it wasn’t me. I started small with a three-month subscription and that cost me around $27 a month for a total of $81. I will say that I did go out on a couple of dates, but the money that I spent just didn't feel worth it.

In a final attempt, I signed up for eHarmony. In my opinion, eHarmony is for people who are truly committed to the process of meeting someone with long-term intentions. When you use the site, you go through a serious process of “communicating” with your future date prior to meeting them. I signed up for a six-month membership (more than once) and spent at least $40 a month ($240 over the course of the six months) for dates with some of the most awkward dudes I’ve ever met.


Giving Up on Online Dating

If your online dating experiences are different from mine, that’s awesome! But after a while, I felt that the time I spent at the computer, the investment in a cute outfit for the occasional date, and the cost for my half of the dinner (some wanted to go “dutch” on the meal) just wasn’t worth the struggle.

I stopped paying for online dating because, in its real sense, I wasn’t dating. Instead, I decided to try something different: meeting people “in real life.”

So I removed my online dating profiles and committed to participating in activities that I enjoyed. I exercised with the November Project (free) and shared great sweaty hugs at the end of each workout. I started going to various Meetups (hiking, happy hours, liquor tastings) — all free. In the process, I regained my confidence, started to meet people, and began properly dating.

Meeting people offline has been suspiciously easy. Perhaps we’ve made meeting people too complicated? If online dating didn’t work for you, don’t despair — you’ll be able to meet people in real life for free. Just do the things that you enjoy and connect with people who have similar interests. And best of all, you don’t have to keep your credit card handy — just try to smile.