Personals for married couples? Make any sense?

The other day, I got an email from Susan Mernit (an AOL alumnus, now at Yahoo! Personals), that really got me thinking. I’m a firm believer that the best products are created by people who create them for themselves, to scratch an itch they have. Of course, this isn’t the only way to create great products, but I suspect it helps a great deal.

I’m married and have children. Online match-making sites don’t exactly cater to folks who aren’t looking to, well, find a romantic match. There’s a wellspring of social networking sites (MySpace, etc.) that purport to connect people, but there’s such a large population of singles out there that it seems most people you meet online are looking to find dates and/or hook up. Some online dating sites have gone as far as explicitly excluding married folks from even participating. Others imply that married folks are there to cheat on their spouses, or are looking to swing. What ever happened to, well, friendship? You know, the platonic kind? Are we really that sex-driven as a society and culture?

Of course, you have companies like eHarmony that boast extensive self-service tests that can be used to match you up with someone who is statistically compatible with you. For a long time, I’ve wondered: if my wife and I had both completed our profiles at eHarmony, would their system have matched us up? It seems that someone over there had a similar thought and they now have a service for married couples: eHarmony Marriage. This is great and I’m going to try and convince my wife to try it out with me. I’ve just registered and sent her an invite.

But, this still leaves a gap that I’m still looking to fill: finding friends. eHarmony could fill the gap by using their profiles to connect people who are looking to just make new friends. Not having used their service, I don’t know if they already do this, but all the promotional materials seem to heavily imply that successful use of their products results in marriages. There must be a sizable audience of married couples who are still interested in meeting new people who are likely to be compatible, but aren’t looking for a romantic relationship? Am I really that strange? Is the notion of a platonic match-making service so crazy? Personals for married couples, to meet other married couples and/or singles who want to make new friends?

Tags:
,
,
,
,

Comments

  1. It makes sense, but I’m wondering how many married couples are as motivated to meet other couples as single people are to find the following three very essential things:

    1. Intimacy
    2. Companionship
    3. Sex

    Speaking for myself, those three needs are for the most part well met in my marriage, but every now and then we get a little bored with each other. Sometimes you get to a point where there’s not much you can share with the other that’s new or that interesting, and you both just want to hang out with people who can inject something new and interesting into your lives.

    1 out of 3 isn’t bad. I’d assume most married couples would like some extra companionship (when they can make time for it, etc.), but aren’t nearly as motivated towards getting as single people.

    I’ve always wondered if things like speed dating, or meetups would work for married couples. I would imagine quickly interviewing a half-dozen potential couple friends would at the least be entertaining. I know my wife and I would enjoy talking about the different crazy and sane couples.

  2. “I’ve always wondered if things like speed dating, or meetups would work for married couples.”

    Ah, speed friending for married couples. Could be a lot of fun to do! Think it’s worth trying to start one up in northern NJ?

  3. Speed Friending for Married Couples. I think it could work in the city. Probably too niche and obscure for Northern, NJ.

    I know my wife wouldn’t be into it.

    BTW, I know this weekend is no good, but I’ve been meaning to make some plans with you and Samantha some time. We could always grab a bite to eat and go back and barcode your movie collection while our wives chat. 🙂

  4. “[…] go back and barcode your movie collection while our wives chat. :)”

    You know my wife would love that. We could finally replace the pile of little Post-It sticky notes that she uses to manage her lending system (who she’s loaned stuff out to).

    This weekend we’re not doing anything in particular. We’ll be around the house, grilling food and if the weather improves, swimming in the pool … it’s remained a solid 82F-86F with the solar cover on. If you don’t have plans, maybe you could come join us.

  5. I’ve noticed that friendship is usually built around something, especially for those *hooked up* or uh married. This is usually around hobbies (ie. climbing, hiking) or interests (ie. church). I think that it’s strange just to say hey I’m looking for friends. And, I believe those couples who do have kids, do they have the time to look for friends or go on couple dates??

  6. “[…] believe those couples who do have kids, do they have the time to look for friends or go on couple dates??”

    Holly, you have to make time … you still have to manage the relationship you have with your spouse. Parents are grown-ups and need to also have grown-up activities. If you only do things with your kids, it could lead to resentment … things like “I gave up my life for you ungrateful kids” (think: teenage years).

    We do find friends through our activities, but that can be hit-or-miss. The idea was to use deeper personality profiling to find people who share common interests AND would be compatible, personality-wise.

  7. Hi there. My wife sent me a link to your blog, because she thought I might be interested in this conversation. I hope you don’t mind of I put my two cents in.

    I think matchmaking for couples is a great idea in theory, but wouldn’t really work in practice. Several years ago I started an online matchmaking service called Romantic Planet. Romantic Planet did (does) allow you to say you’re just looking for friendship. In fact our original vision emphasized friendship as much as it did romantic relationships (we originally were going to call it “The People Connection,” and offer matches for romance, friendship, business, shared interests, etc.).

    In addition to having menu options like “looking for friends,” we put a lot of effort into building a community area where people could share ideas and interests, and also a double dating section where friends could accompany each other on dates for mutual support. The features were barely used. In fact, despite a lot of marketing efforts and a lot of people giving us positive verbal feedback, the double dating feature was used so little that we evetually dropped it entirely.

    What we discovered was that, regardless of what everyone will tell you in surveys, 1) people, in general, won’t pay a membership fee to meet friends online, and 2) a matchmaking site that emphasizes friendship too much will have trouble drawing people who want romance (and who do pay).

    Another issue that you have to deal with, to offer this kind of service, is that people look for different things in a romantic match versus a friendship match. Romantic Planet has this complex system for matching you with people by weighting your smoking and drinking preferences, pets, interests, etc. But, say you’re allergic to cats. If a potential date has a cat that will probably be a deal killer. On the other hand, you can have lots of friends with cats; you just won’t go to their houses to hang out. So a system which truly matches for both dating and friendship will have to store different data, and have different questionnaires, for romantic vs. friendship matches. That’s a lot of extra work to put in for a feature that, again, people won’t generally pay for.

    In the offline world, friendships tend to grow out of shared interests, shared experiences, or shared friends. So really, I think the best way to meet friends online is through a shared interest group, like Yahoo Groups, a journaling community (aka bulletin board) like Let’s Just Talk, or a friends network like MySpace or Friendster. But even Friendster, the original “meet friends online” service, has turned more or less into a “romantic personals” site. That says it all.

  8. Nicole Lockard says:

    Even sites that are supposed to cater to people with shared interests in, say for instance, history and politics, end up dominated by people wanting to “hook up”
    as you say. I’m not married, but just want to meet new friends, however strange that seems to whomever. I still have relationships, to a degree, with the couples friends I shared with my ex, but I want some new friends of my own now.

  9. There is already a site for couples that want to find other couples for friendship. My wife and I started it. You can find it at http://www.hangbase.com/. I thought you’d be interested.

  10. For your information there is another site called
    http://www.couplesworldwide.com/. It is for couples to meet in their local area and also when they travel as couples are joining from all over the world.

  11. Jay Chalnick says:

    And yet another, http://www.Couplets.com, one of the first sites designed exclusively for couples interested in meeting like-minded couples with shared interests. You’re not crazy! 🙂

  12. There is also another couple website that i like more than any of the above mentioned websites for couples, which is Free and much easier to use. http://www.livedatelove.com/
    Its very new and has alot of members on it already already, that are actually active..I’ve tried these other websites, there are people there but nobody ever goes on, so it makes it impossible to meet anyone http://www.livedatelove.com/ is different from them, try it

  13. I can’t believe I came across this website just by googling “married and want to make friends”. I’ve been married for a little over 15 years, have 4 boys and don’t plan on cheating on my husband. BUT, my husband isn’t much of a talker or joker or movie watcher (unless it has to do with the mob). He’s completely absorbed in sports (Go Mets!), which is good. He’s not out there cheating on me when he’s stuck in front of the TV. Not gonna complain about my husband…uh uh. I just want to be able to turn on my computer, log into a “friend” site and connect with people on a regular basis. Share ideas, tell stories, laugh, laugh, laugh and then laugh some more. I have two really good friends in my life and all we talk about is the crap that pisses us off and how one day we’ll all look back and laugh. I wanna laugh NOW. Am I rambling..don’t answer that. I’ll share one of my most secret fantasies with you….Ready? Here goes. I walk into this stand-up comic place/hotel, looking fierce as hell, watch each and every one of the comics perform, then the manager comes over to me and says….”Tonight, you can pick one of my comics to go back to your hotel room with you. You choose whomever you want and they will do whatever you ask”. Well, I’m delirious with excitement so I go up to my room slip into my Flannels, fuzzy bunny slippers and wait patiently for my guy to show up. Finally he arrives and asks “What would you like me to do for you?” and I say, “MAKE ME LAUGH”. That’s it. No sex, no foreplay, no dirty conversations. I just want him to make me laugh. Is that cheating? Am I rambling…don’t answer that.

Speak Your Mind

*