60-Day Challenge to Use Online Dating More Effectively


I’ll clear the air; meeting online is awkward. After only two months of noncommital use of the service, I met my husband on CatholicMatch. No, it was not luck, fate, or whatever token you want to label that shoves the responsibility of the online user onto something uncontrollable. We met 10 years ago because we used CatholicMatch as a tool to introduce ourselves more efficiently than if we had met in person. We were strategic in our usage, not dependent on some outside inertia.

Here’s how I’d suggest navigating the awkwardness of online meeting with efficacy and grace:

1. Take the time to respond to people who initiates contact, whether through viewing your profile, sending an emoticon, or message. Be thankful for the time they spent in trying to learn more about you. If you don’t think you’re compatible, say so, plainly, clearly, simply, as to not lead anyone into false hope.

2. Focus on the people that are interested in you. When I was on CatholicMatch, I viewed profiles at will, sent a few emoticons or emails commenting on pictures or profiles. With many of the men who contacted me I knew right away that the interest was not mutual, so I let them know. It might sting to be on the receiving end of that correspondence, but they were all happy and thankful that I didn’t waste their time and that I actually acknowledged their feelings and effort. So, the question is, do I need to respond to EVERY message or wink?

The short answer is, “No.” There are any number of reasons why it is not necessary to respond when you do not have interest in the other person. Although some singles claim they would rather know that someone is not interested, the opposite is more likely true. Whether you simply choose to remove the message or respond with a polite, “No, thank you,” either way you will be within reasonable accepted practices of online dating. Rejection is simply not as personal when dating online. Shake it off and move on to the people that are interested in you.

3. Don’t play games. The winning or losing mentality will set you up for mutual use or further feed insecurities. When you’ve “won” you’ll still live in fear of “losing.” Alex knew early in our relationship he wanted to marry me, because I didn’t play with his heart. Don’t mislead and say you had a good time if you didn’t. Don’t say you’ll call if you are not going to call. If you’re an online wallflower, expect no better results than you get in person. When you like someone, let them know. Feel free to flirt, and develop friendships.

4. Be open to all possibilitiesIf you set limitations on how/when/where you meet and date your spouse, you’re leaving little room for God. Act out of love and courage, not out of fear of rejection. Meekness and humility are more attractive than arrogance.

5. Be patient knowing some people are shy or still nursing hurts. Trust takes time to build. If you’re not interested, or even just hesitant, let him/her know, and tell them what you find incompatible as well as what you DO like about them. Give them a chance to process and respond to you. Spouses are not cookie cutter mates. Marriage is the most personal relationship you’ll ever have, which means two individuals have a life time to learn each other well and adapt to their own specific relational needs. If we’re not growing towards holiness, then we’re creeping away from it.

6. Don’t make excuses. Many people want to fall into the trap of blaming faulty wiring—categorizing men and women into strict tightly labeled boxes. Human beings are more organic than stereotypes leave room for. Often relying on our “wiring” limits  us to be good masters of our self. Women are just as much sexual and physical creatures as are men, just as men have the same need for emotional intimacy as do women. We are more alike than different in our needs as human beings in relationships.

7. Learn to communicate. You don’t  know the future, or how you and your future spouse will both influence each other. Just because a woman pursued a man or initiated contact online doesn’t mean she’s stuck planning the dates for the rest of their years. Maybe you’ll have an arrangement where the husband manages the house with shopping, paying bills, cleaning, and the wife’s responsibility is planning dates. Learning to communicate now will only help you in your future marriage.

8. Get rid of the “perfect match” list. Ask yourself if you really can’t live with that “uncompromisable” list. It is important and understandable to have a list of non-negotiables. Issues like insistence on using contraception are red flags to move on, however non-moral issues can always reach a compromise, especially when you consider your happy-ever-after hangs in the balance.

I challenge you to follow this advice for the next 60 days. Let me know in the comments below how it changed your online dating experiences and perspective.



  1. Joel-1364361 January 9, 2017 Reply

    I truly believe a lot of this is accurate. We all need to respond and to not have such a strict list of our “perfect match”. If we do not reach out and communicate with others, how will you find out if that person is perhaps the right person. What is often placed on profiles is only a small touch of what the person has to offer and what they are like. Broaden your exposure and reach out and you may just find the diamond in the rough. Somebody told me once that often what we really want is right in front of us and we just don’t see it. Thanks for the article.

  2. Frances-1298636 April 11, 2016 Reply

    There are a good number of men my advanced age that have never been married. I am most curious
    why a person at this age has never been married but says they are interested in a relationship. Can anyone
    give me their opinion on this?

  3. Flora-1231656 July 24, 2015 Reply

    Hi everyone, may the Lord God Almighty bless us all espicially to those who have good intentions in this dating site. I have read all your comments, advices and etc. thanks to all of you who spare your valuable time in making efforts to share with your views and opinion. I am new to this CM I just arrived in this country for 2 months now, and I joined this site a week ago, my problem is I don’t have yet the credit or debit card? I have seen in my profile that I have already some special messages for me but my problem is that I could not view the message because I have not subscribe. I am a tourist in this country. I understand that CM will not accept money order? Could you help my situation? Thank you and God bless..

  4. Daniel-1229601 July 24, 2015 Reply

    I tend to agree with most of the content but I disagree with not responding to messages. Ok an emoticon is not really a message unless there is a note with some actual content included but I believe it is only common courtesy to make some kind of reply. I have sent actual introduction messages spending time to compose and introduce myself with no response at all. Maybe a few people would rather get nothing back rather than a polite decline but it leads me to wonder if that is not the reason why the recipient has not landed a spouse yet or whether they ever will, chemistry notwithstanding. I absolutely agree that you must not be too inflexible. Years ago when I met my late wife online I was not all that interested in getting involved with someone 800 miles away. I decided not to dust her off and I ended up with the most wonderful kind woman for a wife that I ever met. Everything else I have read so far in a lot of these blogs has been very good and those of you who have never been married should carefully consider the advice. Peace be with you….

  5. Leocardia-1226578 July 16, 2015 Reply

    Great article. Thanks for the tips joy. I joined CM ten days ago…so am new and hope to implement what you have suggested. To all CM members. Let us all keep the faith for God has His timings and He makes all things beautiful in His time. God bless you all.

  6. Please comment my feeling

  7. Yirgale is one of the transparency and integrity person and who want to respect people

  8. Ryan-1191814 July 12, 2015 Reply

    Wow, Barton…

    Sure you’re Catholic? That kinda attitude is what keeps fellas like us single…and people far far away.

  9. Barton-1228742 July 11, 2015 Reply

    I believe this National Catholic Singles Conference is typical Catholic HOO-HAA. For $169 to 200 & change? I get this Catholic babble on Sundays. This is just what I need.. All the Catholic Pooh-Bahs will talk, talk, and talk and accomplish absolutely NOTHING. O! And by the way, don’t forget your wallets.

  10. Ryan-1191814 July 10, 2015 Reply

    Does anyone know the ratio of unpaid member successes to paid members? If there is one…? I’m kinda in a predicament here. Just wanna know if there is hope for those unpaid members..

  11. MaryAnne-1217872 July 10, 2015 Reply

    Oh I thought emoticon is better. Oh so words are better than emoticon? Okay. Will do that. I just that it’s more expressive or perhaps would start a conversation. Anyhow, it’s nice to hear different view on this light.

  12. Terri-1150256 July 7, 2015 Reply

    Keep The Faith!!

    • Hi i am single and eager to met single woman and full confidential and i will tell you my full history later

      rds, Yirgalem

  13. Jane-1218650 July 7, 2015 Reply

    I have joined dating sites 5 times and still have not gotten a date. It is really hard to get people to respond to the messages. I keep sending messages, and no responses. You talk of relationships and I have none and don’t even know how it should be. It’s hard for me to get beyond this point.

    • Shobha-1022898 July 7, 2015 Reply

      Jane, please don’t lose hope. It is hard when it feels like you are getting nothing out of this site. Keep active on the site, and maintain your focus on the One True Love, and if it is His will, the right person will get in touch.

    • Mary-1136150 July 25, 2015 Reply

      Hi Jane, I looked at your profile and may I suggest that you give more information about yourself and also outline the type of man you’d like to meet. While you seem to want to meet someone who is very much like yourself, don’t rule out the possibility that opposites attract! You might catch the interest of someone who hasn’t a note in his head, but when he read your profile he found things that resonated with him. As the article says, men are human, too and most of the men on dating sites are lonely and looking for someone to love and to be loved. Men don’t like to admit that so you have to get to the second layer of a relationship before you can see their vulnerabilities. I bet you have lots of interests to share with someone, so go ahead and broaden your profile and let them know. My other suggestion is that you add several photos rather than just different aspects of one. You seem like a very nice person so let others know about that, too. As this is a Catholic site, you might also talk about what your faith means to you. After all, isn’t that the common factor among all of us on this site — our love of God and His part in our lives. Ask the Ho.y Spirit to guide you as you describe yourself and you can’t go wrong.

  14. Robert-1208020 July 7, 2015 Reply

    I do not respond to plain emotigrams. They are like junk mail or mass emailed resumes. Include some text.

    And ladies, *please* stop complaining about the shallowness and other negative attributes of “the men on this site”.

    I have witnessed and been subject to the same nonsense from many women, but I do not attribute that behavior to “all the women on this site.” Sheesh.

  15. Scott-51331 July 6, 2015 Reply

    You are right Katherine, it’s not fair for a guy to message a girl on this website when he knows very well there is no potential for a relationship, even thought there is an attraction…

  16. Scott-51331 July 6, 2015 Reply

    Thanks Joy ! very helpful

  17. Antonio-1040785 July 6, 2015 Reply

    Simply agree. Thank you for the article, Joy!

  18. Joy Kubik July 6, 2015 Reply

    Hi Scott! Thanks for reading the article and for your comment. It sounds like you have a great handle on things by knowing what you’re looking for, and also when to stop before feelings really get hurt. Unfortunately there’s way to guarantee keeping feelings in tact. That’s part of the risk we all have to take. You are not responsible for how others feel, but you are responsible for how you treat them. Be kind, but the sooner you can let them know the better so that both of you can resume the rest of your lives. When my husband wanted our relationship to get more serious, he shocked me when he said, “I don’t need anymore girl friends.” But I got his point–and I made my choice!

  19. Katherine-1199126 July 6, 2015 Reply

    I think this is a great piece. However, I am frankly shock at the shallowness & behavior of the men on CM. I put the things listed in this piece into daily practice but find I never receive it in return. I have actually met kinder Christian men on Match.com who actually want relationships and marriage. I find this to be very frustrating 🙁

  20. Scott-51331 July 5, 2015 Reply

    yes, taking someone on a date is fine if they are local…

  21. Scott-51331 July 5, 2015 Reply

    Hi Joy, I read part of your article about using on – line dating more effectively. I find myself sending emtgrms to girls I find interesting. Usually I am pretty sure nothing will develop after 2 or 3 e mail exchanges. I want to send a message saying “let’s stop this, because I do not want to do this pen pal thing.”. What I would like to do it to send you a note I am considering sending to a girl I met on CM & see if you think it is appropriate & also not hurt her feelings. If you have no interest in reading it that’s OK. Scott

    • Vincent-767706 July 5, 2015 Reply

      Why not couch that in positive terms. Instead of “Let’s stop this.” Just say you want to take her out on a date and meet her. If she doesn’t like that, you’re done.

      I believe in taking things slow, myself, but putting off meeting someone is not taking it slow, but just a refusal to hit the starting line.

      • Michelle-950681 July 8, 2015 Reply

        Vincent, I’m curious. I’m an older woman (like your mother’s age), and most of the men I meet through CM want to immediately have me call them, thus revealing personal information (full name, phone number, address available from there). You said you believe in taking it slowly, and I ask, why? And, how can I convince other, older men, to communicate via CM for the first few times, at least?
        Thanks for your help.

        • Vincent-767706 July 10, 2015 Reply

          You learn more about whether you click with someone by meeting them sooner and people on this site are prone to dragging out over the computer relationships. Why not set up a date in a public place through the messaging on this site? Then you don’t have to give any of the info you just mentioned.

          The last girl I went out with from this site was asked out by me pretty quickly. I didn’t make it to a second date, but at least we figured out how we felt quicker by meeting in person. So many of the cues are missing over online messaging.

          Certainly men should be doing every possible thing to make women feel comfortable and not pushing for info they don’t want to give. Tell a man what you are comfortable with and if he is still being pushy, you should probably drop him.

  22. Vincent-767706 July 5, 2015 Reply

    This downloadable online dating guide from the Catholic Match Institute says you DON’T have to respond to every message, so the etiquette is not set in stone: http://www.catholicmatch.com/institute/resources/dating-guide-for-catholics/

  23. Marisa-1082131 July 5, 2015 Reply

    Thanks for these great reminders!

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