By Melissa WELSH, Abbotsford News
While the online dating world is so varied now that some sites match couples based on aura colours or by specific age groups, five years ago it took only the simplest of sites to pair one Abbotsford couple.
Bobby-Jo and Wes Kowalski met via Plenty of Fish (POF) in November of 2006. The site allows members to search through hundreds of profiles and is ranked the 35th most popular site in Canada, according to Alexa.com, and the no.1 dating site according to Hitwise.com.
With their six-week-old daughter Samantha cooing in the background, Bobby-Jo comments on how their relationship was unique from the start.
“It was very real. That feeling that you don’t have to pretend, that you can be yourself.”
Both 28 at the time, the couple joined POF because other efforts to meet people through work or at clubs were not working.
And despite online dating still being relatively new in 2006, Bobby-Jo and Wes had heard success stories. Wes’ two sisters met their husbands on the Internet prior to him joining.
Their online courtship made communication the foundation of their relationship early on, Bobby-Jo says, even though she jokes that some of the tough questions she asked Wes in the beginning may have led others to run.
But asking those questions, and likewise offering that self-disclosure is what it takes to make online dating successful, says Abbotsford psychologist Dr. Lyne Piche, who specializes in couple’s counselling.
It’s a question of quality versus quantity. Chatting online for a long period of time does not necessarily mean that you are engaging in the deep conversations needed to develop intimacy, she maintains.
Instead, couples should plan to meet within a shorter period of time if they are serious about establishing a healthy relationship. Making a plan to meet also forces a level of honesty.
Having a friend or family look over your profile is also a good idea, Dr. Piche adds. Their feedback may give you a fresh perspective on how you are representing yourself.
For Bobby-Jo it might have made all the difference. A girlfriend revamped her first profile, making it more fun, but also more accurate in describing who she was. Shortly after, she and Wes started talking.
But before meeting Mr. Right, Bobby-Jo was cautious in her online data. She did not post her name, address or home phone number on her profile. Instead, she provided her cell number when she felt comfortable.
Bobby-Jo had a date with a man who said he was single, but found out through a mutual acquaintance that he was actually married.
Yet she remains positive about the experience and encourages others to try finding love online.
“If someone is not having luck with what they are doing, why would you keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. Try something different,” Bobby-Joe said.