Christian Dating Sites: What To Expect and What To Avoid

Living single has its charms, but no one wants to be lonely. For those of us who want more than just friends to hang out with, online dating becomes an option. However, making connections with people online is extremely dangerous. If you can go into it with your armor on, you may be able to find someone worth exploring.

When I was actively looking, I tried dozens of dating sites and apps. They were all buggy and plagued with issues. When I finally decided to pay for something, I chose Christian dating sites. I wasn’t on both sites at the same time, and I couldn’t have afforded that if I wanted to. However, my experiences across a gap of about 5 years should give you some perspective of what to expect online dating on these sites and others like them.

Christian Mingle

Christian Mingle (CM) is a dating service that promises to be exclusively faith-based with their matches. Clients purchase a paid membership, answer a detailed intake questionnaire, and are matched to potential partners. Though there is an app version of the service, it is so buggy that it is a wonder the service still exists. Nevertheless, many reviewers have left positive reviews for the service and negatives for the app.

What you should expect from Christian Mingle is that you won’t get anything for free. Even the stuff they say is free to try is extremely limited on purpose to try to hook you in. No service can guarantee you a match much less a faithful Christian one, but this service does a fair attempt at trying to keep a safe, exclusive environment.

When I tried CM, there were a lot of legitimate good people on the site but not necessarily good prospects. I would say it was a lot of lonely people looking for connection without much to offer that connection. Nevertheless, I did meet a good person and move forward with dating him. We were able to stay together for two years, but it ended because we were long distance.

eHarmony

eHarmony is a dating service that promises to make a match every couple of minutes, and they claim to have done so successfully for years. They do this based on a highly detailed algorithm and intake questionnaire used to match you to potential partners, but they don’t exclusively stick to it. Let me explain why they have that statistic and why it isn’t true…

What you should expect from eHarmony is a fairly decent app with advanced connection capabilities. You can also expect higher level prospects for your matches and a more closely scrutinized list of things they are looking for. What you can’t expect is for them to stick to your list or even honor it when they DON’T have the right matches—even if that means sending you same sex gender matches when you are heterosexual.

About five years ago, I tried eHarmony and that is what happened to me. They had more general prospects than Christian ones, and those that claimed to be Christian were either wearing the badge loosely or had already left. eHarmony kept their profiles active and used it to fluff their numbers. I know this because when I finally got tired of messaging people and hearing no response, I tried to leave. In the exit process, I was told that deleting my profile was not an option.

Setting Your Expectations

If you are thinking of giving up and that it is all hopeless anyway, don’t. There as just as many lonely hearts looking for legitimate connection online as there are scammers. If looking for love online is part of your journey, go in hopeful but not with your efforts all in one place or your heart so open that it is easily scarred.

There are plenty of free and paid dating apps and services out there, but you need to prepare for the majority of the people you meet to be scammers. Until you meet on a video chat, don’t even consider falling in love with them. More than that, don’t let anyone talk you into sending them money for the privilege of their time and company. You can read more about how that happened to me on a secular site in this article.

Stay safe out there!

Get Used To Different: The Pivot of Hope During Covid-19 and the Heart of The Bohemian Princess Journal

“Get Used To Different” by Mandisa

When Covid-19 happened, the world was turned on its head. People turned against each other and made a cause to fight even if there wasn’t one.

The buzz word everywhere became pivot. We all had to learn to think on our feet and be willing to change quickly to stay relevant. Our culture was evolving into a global one at levels of interdependence we had not experienced before. Instead of a few countries in partnership with each other, the entire world got hit with an invisible enemy and the need to work together to crush it.

In some ways, this was a good thing. People spent more time at home and got a reset on their values. Business increased as more people shopped online. The supply couldn’t work fast enough to keep up with the demand and now, going into 2022, we have shortages effecting every corner of the market. That means opportunities for work are opening across the globe in ways we haven’t seen before in years…perhaps even my lifetime.

We have seen the good and bad in humanity during Covid-19. While all these opportunities are presenting themselves, we also face them with polarized views about health-care, politics, race, and religion. Across the globe, human trafficking, domestic violence, and genocide have increased because of our isolation.

But hope still exists. International dependence also creates International awareness. We don’t have to struggle alone in the dark anymore. The world really is your oyster.

The Catfish Who Was Neither Cat Nor Fish

One morning I got a message through social media from a man I had never met before. I was used to men trying to catfish me on social media, so I had pulled my picture off all my accounts save this one. I approached the message a little guarded. What sort of person messages a lady at 2:00 in the morning that is NOT a catfisher? I thought. As it turns out, a married man on the other side of the world would.

E reached out to me from hiding in Afghanistan. He saw my connection to the Afghan Coalition and hoped I could help them get out. E was in the media during US occupation in Afghanistan, and he was actively promoting equal rights and democracy for his country. His wife, N, was a human rights activist helping women get legal protection from abusive marriages and education to start small businesses. If Wonder Woman were real, I imagine she would be like N.

I vetted my new friends, E and N, through channels of aid who could verify they were who they said they were and who could connect them to help evacuating the country. If I am honest, however, I was already invested in caring about them and wanting to tell their story to anyone who could help or make a difference.

We knew it was just a matter of time before the Taliban found and “detained” E and N. I feared the worst and worried that every word I wrote them in English risked their life. Thankfully, E was smart enough to delete the messages…but I still worry that our friendship is a threat to his safety.

After the Taliban assassinated his father-in-law and threatened him to stop advocating for western ideas in the media, E and N left their home and went into hiding. They have been living off their savings every since. This week, I asked E how much money he had left to live on and he told me: one month. One month before communication stops. One month before hunger becomes so real your body feels like it is eating you from the inside out. One month before two heroes fighting for the lives of their people cease to be.

Then E told me he had two gold rings he could sell to buy another month. I didn’t want to ask–I already knew–but he confirmed it. He would have to sell their wedding rings to buy more food.

Something about that just broke me. I couldn’t stop crying. For a whole day, I went to Christmas parties with my friends and shopping in the local stores all in a fog thinking about him. All the hustle and bustle of Christmas felt meaningless in the light of real suffering and loss on the other side of the world.

E never asks me for money. He blesses me and thanks me for my heart. Talking to me gives him a glimmer of hope in humanity. Talking to him reminds me why this blog exists.

Why The Bohemian Princess Journal Exists

There is beauty in multi-cultural awareness. God did not create us to live in silos or see the world through our own narrow set of lenses. There is so much more color in the world.

Like Jason Aaron’s version of O Come, O Come Emmanuel, there is greater richness and understanding of the heart of God when we embrace other cultures in love. Embracing cultures–trying different foods and traditions not other religions–is at the heart of what Jesus Christ did when he walked the Earth. He loved on people in tangible ways and called people out on their faults when it was necessary. We need to do that too. Loving like Jesus opens the door for conversations that will lead to change, but it all has to start with that intentional hand reaching down to the drowning Peter and helping him up.

What would it look like if all the world were your oyster not your cage?

What could you do for Christ if you thought about life with a Kingdom mindset on a global scale?

For me, those answers became my writing business and the heart of this blog. I chose to become more intentional in my writing and use this platform to make a difference and inspire change. So far, we have been able to reach into over 30 countries with our message, and we look forward to God using us to inspire others for many more years to come.

Plenty of Fish (POF) is Full of Nothing but Catfish and Sharks!

Updated January 7, 2022

POF is not a Christian Dating App

The longest relationship I have ever had started online through the dating app, Plenty of Fish (POF). Back then, the app was still new and lots of people I knew were meeting on it. The fact that the app referenced a fish (a known symbol of Christianity) made many of us think it was a Christian app. That Christian connection made you feel safe–even when it was the farthest thing from the truth.

Simple and Free Isn’t

POF started as a free app, and you could communicate with matches without payment. When this review was updated in 2022, many users claimed that you could not move forward with communication without paying for a membership.

Questionable Matches

My profile got a lot of attention. At first, it was intoxicating and self-affirming because I was no longer invisible and guys were messaging me from all over. What started as one nice digital complement, however, turned ugly. A few nude pictures and inappropriate invitations down the road, I was ready to leave the app. The same was true for the man that would become my boyfriend, but even he had enough problems that we couldn’t last long term.

Trying Again on POF

Five years down the road from my first experience with the app, I went back in for a new connection and had a totally different experience. Within 24 hours of going back to POF, I had over 50 guys messaging me, and the caliber of these matches was significantly upgraded. Most were men with good character, strong jobs, and handsome, athletic bodies.

There were still plenty of matches just looking for hookups, but they were outnumbered by the good fish claiming to want women with good hearts (not gym rats).

Setting Filters

I was overwhelmed with options, so I decided to establish filters for the matches I talked to. First, I asked all the tough questions about core values in the app itself. It was easy to say goodbye quickly and safely if we wanted different things; there would be no hard feelings. Next, I listened to what the matches chose to talk about. What a person treasures is revealed through how they talk. This filtering process helped me narrow down from 50+ matches to three.

Money Requests Change Connections

One day, one of the guys I had narrowed downed to asked me if I had a credit card. I freaked out, thought he wanted money, and told one of the other guys about it. That guy–who was overseas at the time–went out of his way to find a way to video chat with me from overseas.

I needed to video chat with my matches to see they were who they said they were. The fact that this one match was willing to do so while also on the front lines of military service made him quickly rise to the head of my pack. With more conversation, I was ignoring everyone else but him. I didn’t expect everything about him was a lie.

Reporting Liars is Not Supported

When Chris was a lie, I went back to POF to report him, but he was already gone. I tried to report the guy who asked for a credit card, and he was gone as well.

Angry about being lied to, I decided to stay on the app and see who would reach out again. I felt like bait tangling in a shark tank, but if I could snag a few bad fish and report them, I thought it would be worth it.

One day, I got a nibble. The next, a juicy bite. In a few short questions, I was identifying 5-7 catfishers and liars per day.

What Is A Catfisher?

Catfishers are people who take pictures of real people (often from their social media accounts) and pretend to be someone they are not online in order to create emotional bonds they can exploit for money. Sometimes they even promise to not ask for money, but that is a tactic used to build trust and make you offer it later.

Catfishers will say whatever you want to hear and be whomever you want them to be, but their conversations poke holes in their stories. First, they write in broken English. Then, the details don’t add up. One minute they are a saxophone player, the next a guitarist. They claim to be from a particular area but can’t accurately report the time and weather there.

Every word from a catfisher is a lie—sometimes plagiarized word for word from online—so do your research! Google what they tell you to see if it makes sense. If they claim to be military, make friends with some real military folks and ask questions.

Catfishers often claim to be victims of multiple tragedies. One guy told me his wife cheated on him with his best friend and got pregnant with him then she took his kid and left. He also claimed he lost his only brother and father in (military) service. That’s a lot of tragedy for one man to endure. True or not, tragedy inspires sympathy, and sympathy opens wallets. Be wary.

There are different levels of proficiency in the art of scamming. In my experience, novice scammers show their cards early; experienced ones are in it for the long game. They do their research and back up their lies with believable truths. They get you so convinced that you still have feelings for them long after you know they were a lie. This is how so many women across the world are hurt today thinking a service member wronged them (stolen valor).

What is a Shark?

Sharks are people that lie to you for non-monetary reasons. Most of the time these are the ones that send sleazy pictures and pick up lines late at night to try to get a quick booty call. Other times, these are the fish that lie about their relationship status or even their gender. They get a thrill out of baiting people. In the mildest of cases, it is someone pretending to be single when they are not. In the worst, it can be an entirely false persona.

One guy told me he was single when he was actually engaged. I contacted the woman supposed to be his ex and showed her screenshots of what he said. It’s up to her to decide what she will do with him, but I hope she values herself enough to not marry him. He was definitely a shark.

Another scenario I read about was even scarier. A guy was a big fan of a serial killer series, and he posed as a woman online to meet guys. When the guys went to where they were supposed to meet “her” in real life, the poser attacked and tried to kill them.

Resources to Help You Fact-Check

Use third-party websites to verify pictures, phone numbers, addresses, and more. I used at least three different websites to help identify catfishers and scammers and a fourth to report them. Some services are free, but most require payment. If you don’t want to invest in a service like this, at least Google search the name and personal information you are given.

https://socialcatfish.com/

https://www.truthfinder.com/

https://www.beenverified.com/

https://romancescamsnow.com

You should become layered in your online presence and vigilant about protecting your identity. To learn more about that and why it is important, read my article about how to protect yourself from catfishers on social media.

Leaving the Fish Tank For Good

When I went to POF the second time around, I had high hopes of finding love. Several catfish and shark later, I felt jaded. I couldn’t trust anyone. It got to a point that I didn’t even trust my eyes were looking at pictures of the same person I was talking to. My trust in people in general was bruised too.

I left POF for good. I haven’t looked back–not even to update this article.

As I was leaving, I was asked to complete an exit survey. The results of that said I was too “narrow-minded” especially in my “religious” desire to not have sex until I was married. If I had any doubts, that confirmed it: POF is not a Christian site. They went on to suggest that I needed to lower my standards if I wanted to find a match.

I went on other dating sites after POF, and they all have problems. That is a story for another day….

Stay safe out there!