Editor's note: The Record and NorthJersey. The stories they told us range from the romantic to the rueful, from the sappy to the sinister.
Because of the nature of the topic, in some cases anonymity has been granted to those who spoke with us. Here are their stories:.
It lasted just a moment that April afternoon and then it was over. So instead of letting it go, she went for a long shot — an against-all-odds long shot.
As more and more people turn to more digital sites to meet a partner — or set up a fling — the possibilities for success multiply, but so do the possibilities for peril. From assault to scams, online daters must navigate a challenging landscape. But for many, the risks are worth the rewards. Connection gone wrong: A connection made online turned into a real-life nightmare. Lookin' for love: Bored at home, a New York executive looks for a connection online. Online dating tips: Some of the dos and don'ts. Missed Connections is a corner of the Craigslist.
And the site continues to draw thousands of people in North Jersey and beyond despite an explosion of alternative online dating sites. There are based on encounters in bars or restaurants, supermarkets or hardware stores, trains or buses, gyms or health clubs. Even moments when two people stop at a red light.
Almost 90 percent come from men, with about 30 percent posted by men who self-identify as gay or bisexual, according to an analysis by The Record of nearly 1, posted at various points this year. Only 10 percent are posted by women.
In a handful, married people profess to want discreet relationships, both gay and straight. Somewith varying levels of detail, seek sex and not much else. But most are from people looking to turn an ounce of fate into much more. The outcomes vary, with some making successful connections while many more never receive a reply.
After a few weeks of texting and ing, Sharon and Chris were dating, working around busy schedules as parents of teenage children. But it ended last month when Sharon said she discovered on Facebook that Chris was married Like others interviewed for this article, Sharon agreed to speak if only first names were used.
I deleted his texts. I deleted everything.
One Ocean County woman said in an interview that a man she found via Missed Connections in late sexually assaulted her. After they met twice for lunch, he came to her house and attacked her, she said. Too traumatized, and lacking enough information to identify the man, she never filed a police report, she said.
It is the kind of crime that social media experts and law enforcement agencies say can happen when people know too little about someone or take too few precautions before meeting. Those measures include getting full names and having friends or relatives check in via phone or text during initial dates.
The potential for something better emerged in other interviews with people who said their experiences ranged from brief flings to deeper relationships. Thousands of other options exist online for finding a partner. But social scientists and others who study how people interact online say Missed Connections offers a unique grasp at the notion that a passing moment can lead to lifelong love. You still have to get to know someone, just as if you met them at a bar.
The idea of using to follow up on random encounters dates to before the days of the Internet, when they appeared in the classifieds sections of pulp publications like the Village Voice in New York. But over the years, Missed Connections grew to the point where it became the subject of a romantic comedy of the same name.
The film featured work colleagues who unexpectedly fall in love after posting separate. The site attracts far less attention than dating sites that lure millions of viewers daily. No time has to be spent scrolling through digital profiles. And there is little emotional toll if no one responds to your ad, experts say. Men use it far more, likely for two reasons, experts said. They are programmed by society to be the relationship starter. And women are generally more cautious about approaching men.
Gay men use it in disproportionate s studies say between 2 and 10 percent of men are gay because it gives them a chance to feel out the idea of a relationship from a distance, experts and users said. That avoids the potentially awkward, or dangerous, prospect of flirting with a straight man in a social situation. In the past year, the idea has generated some competition in the form of services provided by Match.
The man - who has thinning, combed-back hair, runs a marketing business, loves to travel, ski and scuba dive - readily admits to be more than a little picky about whom he dates.
He took his lone shot in early trying to find an attractive blond whose eyes caught his one night at a Fair Lawn business networking event. But the opposite happened for a year-old married woman with two children from the Bronx who works as an executive for a nonprofit agency in New York City. Bored at home, but not interested in divorce, she said she posted an ad in April trying to reconnect with a man she had known via another section of Craigslist.
The woman, who requested anonymity because of the subject matter, said that ad and another led to romantic text, and phone relationships with two men in New Jersey that lasted for months. He posted an ad and got a response in several hours. The two still meet, discreetly, from time to time, when their girlfriends are out of town, he said.
Download our apps and get alerts for local news, weather, traffic and more. Facebook Twitter. Sex, love, danger: Missed Connections offers a long shot at love online. Dave Sheingold NorthJersey. Show Caption.
Hide Caption. Why people use Missed Connections, and dangers.
Ridgewood-based matchmaker Arlene Vasquez Washburn discusses the appeal of Craiglists's Missed Connections section, and its potential dangers. Don't miss a thing Download our apps and get alerts for local news, weather, traffic and more. Missed Connections. Fraught with peril, dating site offers long shots at romance for the ever-hopeful. Share your feedback to help improve our site! ZIP: