First impressions matter, but what if they’re not accurate?
That’s what 30-year-old David Wheeler discovered after looking for dates on five websites.
“The biggest shock I had was, honestly, when I met a girl that had posted a picture when she was probably 18, and she was 30,” Wheeler of Waukesha, Wisconsin, told “Good Morning America.”
While dating sites like OkCupid, Match.com and others don’t advise users to exaggerate the truth, dating experts say it’s just our human nature to do so.
“One of the problems with online dating is it makes it so that you have so many options,” Laurel House, author of “Screwing the Rules: The No-Games Guide to Love,” explained. “You want to be able to shrink those options and really focus on the people who are right for you.”
In search of the truth, Wheeler recently launched Settle for Love, a free online dating site that encourages singles to get real. Instead of showing only their good side, be willing to admit to their flaws, too.
“I started posting a picture of myself balding, because I don’t want girls to think I’m ugly or looking different when I’m in person,” Wheeler said.
Some Settle for Love users believe online honesty will pay off.
“With other dating websites, people are afraid because they don’t want to be judged,” Ashley, 23, said in a video diary. “They don’t want to be rejected. This website encourages vulnerability and openness.”
House says Settle for Love helps speed up the dating dance.
“Instead of waiting three, four, five dates, one month, three months, 10 months, why don’t you show them right now?,” the relationship coach suggested.
Some of the site’s fans have been confident enough to offer the total truth, promoting their strengths while also admitting their weaknesses.
“I’m overweight, I’m unemployed, I can be really clingy and I can be very annoying,” Alice, 26, explained. “But I’m also wicked smart and creative and loyal and I like to think I’m funny.”
Wheeler believes that getting real doesn’t mean giving up.
“People think that, ‘Oh, this is all about settling. It’s a bunch of losers,’” he said. “That’s not what this is about. Our site’s all about just representing who you are.”
Wheeler, in his Wisconsin hometown, is searching for a business partner to grow his website, while still searching for a life partner.
“I do feel like I’ll be married sometime soon,” he said.