National Edition

Online dating search delivers laughs, disappointments and sometimes even love

Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 9:45 a.m. MST

Vedomske was on the other side of precautions, too. Bonnie Riley sent a friend who lived near him to see, as he described it, that "I didn't have any face tattoos." The friend took her duties seriously and she and her husband grilled him. In February, he met Riley in person and they married in July.

The Bells didn't use real names online at first. When they first met, at a restaurant, they drove themselves. Pat Bell had already had a friend do a background check on him. Her clergy asked his about him.

When Jackman first meets someone, it is deliberately quick and they each drive themselves. She suggests lunch or ice cream — start small and decide if you want more, with little risk.

Women often said they made sure someone knew where they were going to be that first date.

Both genders suggested getting an email address just for online dating. If things go wrong, you can dump the account.

Be yourself

Crawford said the Jason she met online and the one she married were the same. "There's a temptation to put yourself out as something you think people are looking for. That's tempting in dating, no matter what. It's valuable to be honest. If everybody does that, you can quickly see what works for you."

Crawford was in two online relationships that didn't take off. One flopped quickly; she "sort of dated the other for a few months."

She and Jason share a sense of humor. They got engaged quickly, then married a few months after that. She was 26, he was 28.

Jonathan Sandberg, a professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, said online dating provides a bigger pool in which to seek companionship. "But you have to move into real interaction, to look and be real."

He was struck by advice he once heard about improving the public image of organizations. They were told their people should stop wearing masks. It's a truth that applies here, too, Sandberg said. Relationships, to progress, require that one drop the mask of the Internet.

"Texting and Facebooking, meeting people online gets an unnecessarily bad rap," he said, "but it gets used beyond the point of effectiveness. It is meant to superficially connect, to share parts of life. But if you want to really connect, you have to speak and touch each other."

EMAIL: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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