It took me close to a year to decide to try online dating after we opened up our marriage. It took my husband six months longer... not without my... khm... consistent encouragement to give it a shot. Finally, he gave in. I, obviously, volunteered to help.
OKCupid.com was an obvious choice for both of us, because of its features supporting non-monogamous demographics. Can't say I'm super fond of the user interface, but it does what it's supposed to do: helps people find potential dates. So here we were: hubby, me, a laptop, and some alcohol, ready to get him started on OKC.
We got stuck on one of the first steps: selecting profile photos. Apparently, my husband and I have slightly different taste in men and disagree which photos highlight his best features. I ended up setting up an album of what, I think, were ten of his most flattering pics. He then selected a few that he thought were worthy of being featured in his profile. Uploading these photos had to be done one by one and took excruciatingly long time. Finally, after we finished that part we moved on to the next step - a brief "About me" statement. After discussing what to write there for a while, we decided that we'll just write something that he would update later, because we were really eager to finish setting up the damn thing.
Pretty much every point of the process was painful: starting with deciding whether or not to use his real name, to specifying various criteria for the kinds of people he was interesting in, to answering the questions that were supposed to help identify better matches. By the end of the night we got through it all, and there it was - his brand spanking new OKC profile with a whole leu of potential matches. I showed him the basic how-tos of swiping, and off he went to explore the unlimited possibilities that online dating could open up for him.
As I went about my usual nightly routine of having a cup of tea, I heard a loud outburst of un-quotable sentences from my newly OKC registered husband. After further investigation it turned out his reaction was triggered by the vast variety and diversity of the profiles he came across and by the things people shared about themselves. He had to look up quite a few words in the vocabulary of what different kinds of [...]sexual meant, for example (demisexual, sapiosexual, anyone?). He may have seen a few things he couldn't unsee in some profiles, that I knew he probably would have a hard time erasing from his memory, being a sensitive soul that he is.
Then the questions started coming...
What if I don't know if I like someone - can I skip?
What if I do like someone, how will they know?
This is the best profile ever - how can I share it with my friend?
Ooh! I got a like!!! How do I know who it's from?
Do I have to answer all these stupid questions on my profile?
...and so on.
Once he got the hang of it, he got into it. I think, running into a few people he knew helped my husband feel more at ease and validated. Then he started showing some profiles to me and asking for what I'd recommend doing with them (as in - swiping left, right, messaging, or else). Turned out he was not quite ready to message people until he made a few tweaks to his profile. I guess...
Then we went through a highly un-intuitive process of linking our profiles. Not sure what the point of it was yet, but we did it anyway. Interestingly, as we came across some other linked profiles, we realized that we were both liked or messaged independently by those linked OKC members. Maybe it was a coincidence, or maybe it was deliberately planned, who knows...
Through a seemingly simple task of setting up my husband's online dating profile, we actually learned a lot:
We, apparently, are quite similar in how we answer questions, but the questions that we answered differently were especially telling. For example, there was this question: How would you feel if you did absolutely nothing for a whole day? Husband: bad; me: good.
We learned about different types of kinks, relationships and people's preferences. And we learned what all those types of [...]sexual mean.
We got some new ideas about how we could optimize our online dating personalities: keep profiles weird could be the way to get more attention. At least that’s what a lot of people go for, seems like.
We found a few more people we knew, who are also polyamorous or in some other type of non-monogamous relationship. It’s so nice to run into familiar faces!.. Or other body parts.
And, of course, we learned how to link two profiles on OKC, which would require a separate post if I decided to explain it.
Setting up my husband's profile also forced me to re-evaluate and check-in on a few of my own needs and preferences. I had to monitor my feelings and stay mindful of my reactions to reviewing his potential dates. Overall, it was a positive and quite enlightening experience! Sometimes, too enlightening, perhaps. Maybe we’ll try Feeld next!