I met my fiancee on Match.com. It’s got a huge membership, so chances of meeting someone are improved. And if you let the other members contact you first, then it won’t cost you a dime.
Drawbacks aren’t unusual for a dating site: there’s a wide variety of reasons for using the service, some just want dates, others just sex, and yet others are looking for long-term relationships. And there’s little screening… ladybug has a long list of horror stories about people she met on the service before finding me.
I was only using the service for about two months before I took my profile down. And it didn’t take me very long before realizing there’s two rules you should never break:
1 - Insist on a picture. Don’t put it off.
2 - Talk to the person on the phone before meeting them in person.
Other advice that serves well: If you meet the person and find out that they have downright lied about something basic, like their marital status, or profession, or provided you with a photo of someone else, break it off right away. No second chances.
(I’m not talking about slightly understating their weight, or overstating their fitness, but something important, like claiming they’re 5’2" and 102 lb when they’re really 5’8" and 200 lb, or that they’re single or divorced when they’re actually married. One girl provided me with a 10 year old photo, but she looked basically the same, just a little heavier… but I forgave that.)
Also, set up a yahoo or hotmail account for email correspondance. Don’t use your ISP account’s email, in case you find yourself needing to avoid someone. That way, you can just change your email address, and pass on the new address to the folks you want to keep in touch with.