Now that my sarcasm is out of the way! Blessings to all you who are still here and may God grant you the grace to fulfill His vocation for you.
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This room is for general discussion that doesn't specifically fit into one of the other CatholicMatch rooms. Topics should not be overly serious as this is to be more of a "cafe setting."
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Id like to say that I am honored and a bit surprised that the founder of this site wants to know my experiences with the site. Some of what I will write could be/is subjective however Ill try and provide my reasoning and any facts or perceptions behind the why(s) in order to aid this community. It is a bit private as some of the reasons delve into my personal life, but I think it is alright to let the community know and Im willing to take any criticism that may come my way.
First as it is most recent, my search results as of yesterday suggested I had over 100 new matches between the default 10+, regular ~64, and trad ~42 searches that I have and use. I found it suspicious that I would get so many new matches only a few days before my subscription was to end, and upon a quick review of those new matches found that 95% of them were recycled, meaning they had already been matches prior. Im not sure what algorithm is used to determine search results so I am not sure if that many changed some small part of their profile and are now new matches or if it is a ploy to help members renew their subscription. If it is the latter, and Im sure Im not the only who has this perception, then it seems that it is just a money grab really and while I understand you are a business and need to make money to offer this service to a niche market it does not correlate well with the Catholic value of Truth to me. Id expect a site that caters to Catholics and presents itself as being Catholic to abide by a high moral standard and not use shady tactics to help retain members or get new members. Again I fully realize that this is just perception and may not be fact as I have no knowledge of how the search algorithms work.
Next Ill go through some of my personal story and how it is relevant to CM, and finally Ill talk a bit about the community here, pros and cons. I signed up originally sometime in 2003 I believe (though I might have deleted that account and started this one sometime between 03 and 07). I had a single 6mo subscription then and talked with a number of women, none of whom were close to me geographically. I even took my spring break in Steubenville to meet a few of the ladies I had been talking with and visit a friend who went there at the time. While it did not work out with any of those I met in person as person verses emailing and talking on the phone was like night and day and there was no as we call it a lot chemistry, I did meet someone there that I was enamored by, and started to come to a realization. (Side note, I should have given the women more than one face to face meeting and now that I am older and wiser would never count someone out after just one meeting as it is not really a fair shake, but I was young and dumb so) That someone who I had met and talked with one night into the wee hours of the morning never ended up returning any of my future attempts to contact her, (she lived in Kansas and was the oldest of a family of 8 or so and her younger sister played for the school soccer team and apparently could have any boy there if she wanted, ok that is all I remember :P ). The realization part that I had while on that trip is that I had traveled 1800 miles to try and find love yet had not realized that God had already placed someone in my life right under my nose who did love me and that I could love. She is on here now too, but I wont mention the name or member #. I went on to have a 7 year relationship with this young lady, and while the first few years were great the last 5 were chaotic and to this point the most emotionally difficult times of my life. During the last few years I have had an active CM account off and on, (We were not officially together and she was allowed to see others as she wanted to see if there was better than me out there, that 100% because I was only 98 or 99% of what she wanted in a husband). You could say during this time even though I was looking and messaging people now and then I was not really open to a relationship as I still desperately wanted things to work out between her and I. Some of the women I met during that time are now married and one found her husband on this very site, and we are still friends and stay in touch. That brings me to June of last year when I finally made the choice to break up with her and give her to God, and if He wanted us together than He would find a way to bring us back. It was my attempt to trust God more than I have in the past as I am someone who likes to be in control, have plans, ect. I started to be more active on this site in an effort to move on and find who He wills for me to meet and marry. Still I was probably not emotionally ready for a relationship, but Im hard headed and was trying to force myself to move on. Now I am ready to fully trust Him and truly believe that I do not need this avenue to find someone to have a holy marriage with. Im not of the thought that there is only ONE (soul mate or what have you), but that there are many women with whom I am compatible with and could have a sanctifying marriage with. However there is only ONE who I will pledge my love to before God and she will be the only one for me then. (All you ladies can stop screaming at your computers now).
Community issues as I seem them anyway:
First, there are very few matches that fit the parameters of what I am looking for. Yes there can be a huge debate about Im too picky or that is not being open to Gods will ect, I understand that and those are valid both ways depending on how you perceive it. To me I would like someone who supports me fully in my faith and will help me attain sainthood and heaven. In order to do this, she should share my beliefs in the faith, and this is a huge problem right now as many Catholics dont know their catechism! Ive tried the other way, the relationship of 7 years was with a charismatic (7/7 and very devout) and we clashed ALL THE TIME over the faith even though we shared the same one!!! I could never raise kids in that environment, as they would see the discord between us and then would they even believe either of us or just fall away from the Church? Then that would be on my soul when Jesus gives me my personal judgment after I die; not going there period if I can help it. While I do have the means to have a LDR, it is not easy and many women are not open to it. This is one of the issues that you really have no control over, yet is a huge problem for those of us seeking. Id hate to say segment things more to make it easier to find those who are equally yoked as we are ALL Catholic. The problem is we are not all equally in agreement with doctrine/catechism. (Again Church problem not CM)
Wasted effort. This being I dont know how many hundreds (no exaggeration) of emotes/messages I have sent to people who are not members and I had/have no clue (ok after that many I did have a good idea who was and was not, but that took a while to get there and those who are new to the sight quickly get frustrated not knowing). I have limited resources just like most people and want to know (especially as a provider type) that they are being spent wisely and efficiently. If I cant tell if that is the case or not it can lead to discouragement or neglect. I know you are in this to make money as well as help people, but there has to be some better way for those of us who do pay to know we are spending our time productively in the efforts we are making to find someone! If time is money why are we paying money AND spending time on those who arent paying? In all my messages Ive had ONE, ONE, again, ONE person say they signed up for the site simply to read what I wrote. Happened to be a bunch of nonsense/jokes/filler as I correctly assumed they did not have a subscription and thought it amusing to write a bunch of stuff no one would ever read. (I hope you are not mad about this young woman and if you want to give me your address Ill send some flowers in apology).
I was a case in point for this next one, but a lot of people on here dont seem to be fully open to a relationship or the ability to love in the way required of one. This is not something that can ever be fixed really and is just an issue of human nature. Sure you could maybe try and develop a questionnaire that helps to weed those people out, but they could change if they meet the right person anyway, so lets call this a false start and back up 5yrds replay the down.
There can be a LOT of negativity on the forums, from both genders. There either needs to be a whiners room for that crap or mods can be Nazis. Your best mod is Jerry hands down, if you are not giving him a membership free do so now please.
The chat rooms are good and a great place to get to know people on a mostly superficial level.
More events to meet face to face would be great. I know you probably dont have the resources to sponsor them yourself or pay people to organize, but finding a strong individual in a major market to aid you on the ground and is willing to do so as a volunteer would be an immense aid. Consider teaming up with young adult groups to do this? I know many who go to the Veritas group Im a part of in Sacrament are also members here on CM (though the paying vs. not is about 1:3). catholicveritas.com
There are a lot of good people on the forums who are wise and can offer great insight to various subjects.
Trivia is fun even if I dont do well at it and am always concerned that someone will look up my scores and think Im a fraud when it comes to my faith. :P
Make it easier for those who have trouble responding or politely rejecting others. As in some pre-done emotes or messages that say, Im sorry but Im not interested in having a conversation with you. No reasoning, just a no, or no thanks. As men we hate no responses more than we hate rejection.
Change the whole member numbering system if you can so people cant figure out how long you have been here or if you are brand new ect. There is a stigma attached to those who have lower numbers I think. (This may not be possible with the current database ect and is a pie in the sky suggestion).
Maybe have a 20 questions ice breaker pre-done thing that two people can do together if they show a mutual interest or can opt-into if they talk and want to use it. By this I mean in the new my matches feature if both parties say yes have a series of short questions they can answer and are automatically sent, or for those who start communication without that, that is available to them if they so chose.
To sum up Geographic location, readiness, effort, Church/Catechism problems, negativity, Gods will.
You mocked me once; never do it again. I died that dayand you can die too, for all I care Asss youuuu wiiiiisshhh.
Blessings and best of luck with helping Catholics fulfill their vocation in accordance with Gods will,
Thought about deleting all the Church problems that show up here, but decided to leave them in as it is something we deal with while working with a service like CM.