Frodo had to make many serious decisions. Is Strider a true friend? Should The Fellowship attempt the Misty Mountain Pass? Through which method should they enter Mordor? Unfortunately for Frodo, Middle Earth had not entered the age of the computer, and therefore he didn’t have google to help him.


My first decision is choosing between a paid or a free dating site. Rather than looking at online reviews of this, I decided to ask my friends. These anecdotal responses are not scientific, but know that they are actual users and includes paid and free users, male and female, LGBT, a variety of races, never-married, widows and divorced, and those with and without children.

In general, my friends viewed free sites to be of use for those that are “less serious” about forming a lasting relationship. This does not mean that only those with serious intentions were on paid sites, but their experience was that the fee acted as somewhat of a filter. So that brought up another decision to make: do I want a serious relationship? Well, yes, kinda.

I want to stop here and define for myself, and for the reader, by what I mean by “serious relationship.” For me, a serious relationship is committed, monogamous, growth oriented, mature and healthy, and public. Serious for me doesn’t have time requirements each week. Serious is better defined by intention and dedication than by rules and check-lists.

My friend Tammy is currently “dating without expectations.” That idea is appealing to me. Being able to get to know someone without the heavy weight of their expectation that the relationship will lead to marriage is the type of dating I need. If you’re familiar with Harry Potter, in The Order of the Phoenix, Harry goes on a date with Cho Chang to Madame Puddifoot’s. It’s Valentine’s Day, and all the couples around them are kissing and holding hands. In contrast, it’s Harry’s and Cho’s first date. The pressure suffocates Harry. That’s pretty much how I feel when a date tries holding my hand walking through Target! I couldn’t even imagine facing a 3rd date with someone knowing ahead of time their expectation was the date would lead to a relationship and that it was really just a matter of time before that walk in Target was a walk down the aisle!

Credit to
Credit to

I decided that although I am not seeking “marriage” necessarily, I am seeking a serious relationship, since I do require monogamy, and I do not want a friend with benefits. Based on my friends’ feedback, I am going to go with a paid site. That narrows my field down to 1,000, right?


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