Signed up for Match -- what do I need to know?
May 23, 2018 9:05 AM   Subscribe

After being on OKC for a really long time, and looking for greener pastures (following this question) I signed up for Match. I used to be on Match years and years ago, and it's obviously changed a fair bit. Also, all my recent online dating experience has been solely on OKC. My question: is there anything particular to the Match experience/character/interface that I should be aware of? How does Match differ from other sites?

Thanks in advance.

Still so, so tired.
posted by Capt. Renault to Human Relations (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
As someone (woman dating men, nerdy lover of music/philosophy/politics/history) who used Match & OKC in my late 30s & early 40s, I found Match guys more seriously relationship-focused, which was a good thing in my view. I found my people more rare on there (Match had a lot of guys who presented as either abjectly materialistic or indiscriminately wife/stepmother-hunting), but that also made it a bit easier to winnow down to potential matches. I met some lovely guys on Match.

I hope this addresses the "character" aspect of your question, as well as the "experience" aspect at least from the woman-dating-men perspective. I don't recall the interface being particularly different from OKC, but hopefully a current user can give you a better idea there. It's been 3 years since I used either.

Wishing you every success. I remember that tiredness. A gentle hug from someone until recently in the trenches.
posted by pammeke at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am a woman who dates men, has used OKC (not the most recent iteration), all the swipey ones, and Match. I went on more dates, faster with Match versus others (fewer long message exchanges; most dates were set up within a day or two of matching with the person). It is much more relationship-focused than OKC, there was no pretense of that "just seeing what happens" or "I'm not really taking this seriously" vibe that you get from OKC. I think part of that is that Match is paid service, so people are more driven to be efficient with their interactions.

The biggest difference in interface is that you get MUCH less information on a Match profile than on OKC, and there aren't the exhaustive questionnaires. As I get older, I actually like this better. I created my OKC profile when I was about 20 and never updated a lot of the questions, so they actually didn't reflect me very well..but did give a false sense of compatibility to a lot of the people I matched with!

I went on the most dates total with guys from Match, and there were some duds but nobody horrible. I also met some very nice guys, and had a lot of fun. I really felt like I got on a dating "roll" with Match and it helped me figure out what I wanted in my eventual partner (who I actually did not meet on match but there you go).
posted by assenav at 10:05 AM on May 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've been on Match for almost a year, and am very ready to let my account expire. You're tired? I'M TIRED.

It's not been a positive experience. Perhaps that is because I want someone who is thoughtful, possibly introverted, interested in music, theatre and literature, and therefore less likely to feel comfortable expressing himself in a way that speaks to me.

Since Match offers less information, the profile is key. I read every word, because I want to know how someone crafts language. That matters to me. If you're hoping to draw women who care about such things, then I'd say- more is more. Don't use canned prompts EVER.

I do not know your age range, or desired search parameters. I imagine one's Match experience to be different across different age groups, but I can only speak for mine (which is from the perspective of a woman in the mid-40's and up range, dating men). So here is a real woman's reflection on how men come across on Match, and you can take it with a grain of salt of the appropriate size. All opinions are my own.

In my age range, men in my search results (and those served up to me by Match) seem to be looking for whatever they were denied or found lacking in the relationship they were last in. It has been very, very rare for me to find someone who has been single for a while, comfortable in their own skin, and looking for a partner who's the same.

I continue to be surprised at how many men are still married, with the "currently separated" status. In conversations and dates with these barely-single dudes, there is so much baggage... anger and sadness, regret, entitlement... whatever the previous partner failed at, that's what they are on Match to find. They want the woman they deserve, dammit, and she needs to be ready to meet that ideal. They want distraction. That is, until they can't help themselves and start to unload about their relationship woes. These men want a therapist/parent. So- don't do that.

Another revelation was that these men want a woman that other men will be impressed by. They are making up for the anger and depression that their divorces or broken relationships put upon them, and they feel very justified in setting forth lots of distinctive requirements that code for the kind of person they want, usually in very un-subtle ways.

These men are overwhelmingly obsessed with self-identifying as "active" and referencing how much they "love to be outside" and how they hope that a woman can "keep up." It sends an instantly recognizable message: "I want a thin, conventionally attractive woman." They say things like how much they love the beach/being on the water; they want someone who can "drop everything and hop a plane for a beach weekend." Their profile may have 10+ photos, but only a couple are of the man... the rest are of his motorcycle, his boat, his car, his mountaintop vacation from 15 years ago, that one time he finished a marathon, and his high school sports team picture. Invariably there is a photo of said man posing with a large fish.

This translates to me in a very odd way. I see it as a statement about the type of person that man is, and what he finds valuable. This man's profile is not aimed at women. It's aimed at other men. They are creating their profiles according to what they thing other MEN will be impressed with. It's a resume for showing off to other dudes, in hopes that it will attract a woman that will also impress other dudes. Over time, these profiles are so quick to spot that they might as well be red-flagged. My profile is not aimed at these guys, not by a long shot... but for some reason they keep trying to meet me. I've found exactly two who managed to find their way through. One I am dating now, so hopefully he may end up being the exception that proves the rule.

I suppose the dearth of quality people (that is, those who I would deem "quality") is of my own making. But I can't help but see my perceptions prove to be right, over and over. Dates with these men have been invariably disasters, some less than others. They can't communicate; they are passive-aggressive; they ghost, they lie, they push boundaries. The experience has, in many ways, been deeply disturbing. To see that such a broad swath of humanity has resulted in an overwhelmingly high percentage of assholes is so discouraging. I am tired of subjecting myself to yet another bad date. My self-esteem and my belief in my own sense of judgement and discernment is shot to hell. I need to recover from how shitty it can feel to have yet another fish-wielding jerk reveal himself after 2 weeks of pretending to be a nice guy. Dating sites make it possible to be an asshole.

They also make it possible to pretend to be someone you're not. So I try to protect myself as much as I can, upfront. I continue to be shocked at how easy it is to find out a guy's real name... most men use their actual name in their profile, or otherwise include easily verifiable information. From there, I use every available source of public information (which there are LOTS OF) to find out all I can. I've discovered that men were still married, were on probation, had tons of debt, had children when they said they didn't... so much information is out there. So - be honest.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:39 PM on May 23, 2018 [39 favorites]

I really, really, really feel like this is age and location dependent. In my age bracket (early 30s at the time) and city (Upper Midwest), I had less success with Match. The majority of men who contacted me were married. Two were separated, but the rest were upfront that they were looking for a side girlfriend. I couldn't believe it! I expected more from this site since you had to pay membership to be able to send messages. Of my matches who were actually single, none seemed serious about meeting up, and I wasn't looking for a pen pal. I even went to a Match in person event, and it was lackluster as well. Again, it varies based on age and location, but for me, every single one of my dates (and my husband) came from Plenty of Fish, so they are also an option when you get tired (and I KNOW the tired of which you speak!) of Match.
posted by BlueBear at 1:21 PM on May 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh and in your photos- SMILE. That seems like a no-brainer. But far fewer men use a smiling, natural photo. I am attracted to a relaxed, smiling profile picture before anything else.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 1:44 PM on May 23, 2018 [5 favorites]

I have found Match to be filled with grim, conservative, religious men who will only go on dates with women 5-10 years younger. My experience is much like Banana's. There really is a large contingent of men holding up dead fish. I find it gross and end up feeling very sad after browsing Match.
posted by parakeetdog at 9:16 PM on May 23, 2018 [3 favorites]

To expand on my earlier answer, because I realize that the details as I stated them are probably not applicable to you, but I spoke with a male friend of mine of my age in my city that had a similar experience with married women, so it can happen to you too.

Be aware that the women you contact may also be a bit tired and a lot wary when they get your message.Show that you're not like the other ones they've encountered. Be honest and upfront, but only as much as appropriate for whatever stage you're at--emails, texts, or quick get to know you coffee.

I feel like pictures are particularly more important here compared to OKC. Since you don't have all those questions to help show your personality, your pictures help to continue the story. As I_Love_Bananas said, smile! In addition to smiling, make sure your photos are of you and not your toys. I feel parakeetdog on the men holding up dead fish. But if fishing is a passion and you want to show that, great. But make sure that you're the subject of the photo and the fish is the accessory, not the other way around. If you ride motorcycles, use a nice photo of yourself on the motorcycle, not just a photo of the motorcycle.

Like i said above, I know the tired, but dating is supposed to be fun! When you start feeling that feeling, take a step back. Best of luck!
posted by BlueBear at 11:35 AM on May 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

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