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How long should you stay on a dating site before giving up?

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Online dating is not for everyone and it can be a slow, frustrating experience. But what I find is that many people tend to make life more difficult for themselves, by putting much money, time and effort into dating sites that are wrong for them. I’ve written before about how to choose the right dating site for you, but let’s face it – even sites that looked good to us to begin with, may not be right for us in the long run.

Your relationship with your dating site is just that – a relationship. If you’ve made what you think is a good choice, you try and make it work the best you can by using a good dating profile and actively messaging people on the site. But sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that the relationship isn’t working.

Some people will react to this realisation by blaming themselves, while others will blame the whole of online dating. In reality, it’s often the site itself that is simply inappropriate. By this, I don’t mean that it’s necessarily a bad site, just not the right site for you and your needs.

Yes, most dating sites have a lot in common (including the common flaws of the whole online dating system), but each one is slightly different. It’s these small differences that can make a big difference to your chances of success.

I’ve met lots of online daters who thought their profiles must be incredibly bad, because they’ve had no success.
In reality, some of these people had profiles I would consider above average. In some cases, I believe their bad dating “luck” was as much to blame on their dating site choices as their profiles, if not more. A profile that is good enough for a certain dating site may not get any responses on another.

match.com , for example, while a good site that works for a lot of people, is also extremely competitive. I’ve found that men in particular seem to sometimes struggle to get anywhere on this site, but these same men can do very well on similar sites, like DatingDirect.com. Does this mean I think DatingDirect is better than Match? Not as a general rule, no. I think they are both good sites. For some individuals, though, the choice is clear.

So before you give up on online dating completely, maybe consider letting your membership on your current site lapse and go on to try another. 3-6 months should be enough for you to assess a website and see if it’s delivering. By that, I don’t mean delivering the love of your life, but you should be making contact and going out on dates with people who may not be your perfect match but are also not entirely revolting to you.

If you’re very active – running searches and messaging people on the site almost every day then something closer to the 3 month mark is probably enough to tell if it’s working. If you’re a bit more casual about things, then I suggest 6 months.

For sites that deliver you matches themselves like eHarmony and Parship.co.uk , I’d say 6 months is the minimum.

Also remember that the busiest time of the year for online dating is from around December – January, where a lot of new people tend to join. Sites you seem to have “exhausted” may well turn up some interesting new blood around that time.

Online dating may well not be for you, but before you switch off the PC and go down a different route, do make sure you gave it a good and varied go.

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