Online Dating and Romance Novels

by Olga Kwak, Harlequin Blog Editor

Last Friday, a girlfriend and I met for drinks. It was a beautiful early spring evening and we were both eager for a pint and a plate of nachos. We settled into Sneaky Dees, a legendary Toronto bar where you can find hipsters, uni students, old time rock-and-rollers and young single professional gals like us diving into cheap drinks and grub.

This particular girlfriend of mine has been a friend since the tender age of twelve. We inevitably parted ways for high school and university. Through the magic of Facebook we found ourselves reconnected. And not just reconnected in the sense where we creeped each other’s photos on our news feed; we actually decided to become friends again. A tentative coffee (actually, a pint on West Queen West) and it was like we’d never lost any time. We don’t get to see each other frequently—once every few months—but it’s the perfect amount of time. We have plenty of things to talk about.

As always, after awhile our conversation turned towards men. We’re both single and well, I suppose you could say we’re looking. Our means of meeting men are quite different. I’m of the wait-and-see mindset while my girlfriend is 21-century dating. She’s meeting men online.

Now I have some issues with online dating. When I think about meetiing men online, what comes to mind is a last resort. The day I begin to date online is the day that I’ve decided alright, it’s time to settle down and find a husband. I can’t keep doing this on my own any longer. I NEED TO LOOK FOR A MATE.

Scream

Not exactly a winning testimony for online dating, is it? That’s the stigma that online dating still has (mostly perpetuated by women like me who refuse to dip their toe.) But I know it’s a wrong one. You can meet a man anywhere these days. Why do I still carry this judgment about online dating? I’m thinking about giving it a go, but I need to get my head wrapped around the idea. So, what am I going to do? Well, I’ve compiled a list of Harlequin novels to give me some inspiration. After all, I can’t go in blind. I’ve done a wee bit of online dating (two dates), so I’d like to read a few happily ever afters before I give it a real go.

Here is Olga’s Top Four Romance Novels to Inspire an Online Love Affair

long-slow-burn-isabel-sharpe1. LONG SLOW BURN by Isabel Sharpe (Harlequin Blaze)
Synopsis: Kim Horton is turning the Big 3-0 and needs to get her life together. Hopefully, eDating will cut through the chaff and find her the reasonable man of her reasonable dreams. Because lately, she’s been distracted by her sexy roommate…and that’s just trouble! Nathan Alexander has something of a reputation for beer, girls and late, late nights. The funny thing is, he’s been into his roommate Kim for years. Now he’ll have to get Kim’s attention, and keep it—one hot, burning night at a time…

Reason: Uh, hello? It’s a Harlequin Blaze, with a great punny title! It’s right up my alley. Plus, bonus points for using the term “eDating” (with capitalization!)

dream-date-with-the-millionaire-melissa-mcclone2. DREAM DATE WITH THE MILLIONAIRE by Melissa McClone (Harlequin Romance)
Synopsis: Dani Bennett isn’t looking for a man, but her new job requires her to sign up to blinddatebrides.com. The last thing Dani expects is to be paired with a devastatingly attractive millionaire! Her poor background and blonde-bombshell looks mean she expects Bryce Delaney to take one look and judge her-like all other men. But Bryce isn’t just any man….

Reason: Hey, I don’t have to sign up for online dating because I edit the Harlequin Blog, but I do feel a bit of a kinship with Dani. Question is, will I find my Bryce, though?

his-email-order-bride-krista-gold3. HIS E-MAIL ORDER WIFE by Kristi Gold (Silhouette Desire)
Synopsis: Workaholic exec Drew Connelly returned from his business trip–dog tired, happy to see his daughter and…engaged? Before he could question how, his “fiancée” moved in for their “trial marriage”! What kind of woman could his six-year-old daughter–and her octogenarian grandma–have found on the Internet? Kristina Simmons seemed…enchanting. The virgin bride-to-be was looking for a fresh start–any start, actually. But marriage was not on Drew’s To Do list. He’d let Kristina down gently, make her see he was not husband material. But then he made a tactical error: he kissed her….

Reason: Because I need to learn how to deal with the situation just in case I find that the devastatingly handsome millionaire that I’m conversing with online is in fact his young daughter or–perhaps worse–his 80 year-old mother. Flirting’s hard enough online.

molly-coopers-dream-date-barbara-hannay4. MOLLY COOPER’S DREAM DATE by Barbara Hannay (Harlequin Romance)
Synopsis: Pacific islander Molly Cooper has house-swapped her way into London’s exclusive Chelsea. It’s her dream to explore Britain…and meet a perfect English gentleman! Patrick Knight is finding Molly’s chatty emails strangely compelling. The onetime city banker thought swapping his London pad for Molly’s idyllic cottage would help him write his first novel—but it’s not quite working out… What do you do when you realize the one you want is half a world away, living in your home, sleeping in your bed…?

Reason: Ah, an unconventional online love story! You truly never know where you might meet the man of your dreams. You might be looking in that ocean of fish (I hear there’s plenty) but all you really need to do is splash up a different creek.

So there you have it, my list of inspiring romance novels to get me on those sites. I’m a bit nervous. I’m half-convinced that I’ll just post this and never mention it again, so I’ll need encouragement. What do you think about online dating? Got any tips for a newbie to the game?

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Comments ( 12 )
  1. AmyW
    April 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm
    Reply

    “Because I need to learn how to deal with the situation just in case I find that the devastatingly handsome millionaire that I’m conversing with online is in fact his young daughter or–perhaps worse–his 80 year-old mother. Flirting’s hard enough online.”

    Hate it when that happens! 😉

  2. Marcie
    April 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm
    Reply

    I met my husband through an online dating site (at the time, I also lived in Toronto). I worked a lot and didn’t want to date people I worked with so I gave it a try. My future husband was the third guy I met in person. We’ve been happily married for nearly eight years now.

    My tips:
    (1) Be honest. This isn’t a competition for most number of people interested in your profile, lying only makes the process harder.

    (2) Don’t meet him at a bar. Your first date or two should be public and alcohol free so you can better gauge intentsions

    (3) Have your friend call you mid-way through your date to check on you. I’m sure you’re familiar with the purpose of this call. Just make sure it’s a real person and not a smart-phone app.

  3. ioanna
    April 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm
    Reply

    I adore Barbara Hannay’s cover. She is right: “London is the most romantic city in the world.”

  4. Versie
    April 18, 2011 at 6:50 am
    Reply

    Great tips Marcie and I’m glad that you found the right person for you. I had a question though. Did you meet him on a free dating website or a paid membership one. I get the impression people on the free ones are just there for the “fun” and not meaningful relationships. I’d be ok with paying because most have special offers that give a month free or so like these ones. So yea, paid seems like the people that are there would be more serious about long relationships instead of just messing around.

  5. Olga
    April 18, 2011 at 9:31 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the tips and encouragement everyone. I haven’t signed up yet for anything, but I’m looking into paid vs. unpaid. 🙂

  6. Sascha Illyvich
    April 20, 2011 at 2:13 pm
    Reply

    Glad to see powerful stories from Isabelle Sharpe 🙂 Been a fan of hers since I started reading Harlequin. And an aside, I met my GF online. Not through a dating site though. we were both writing smut at the time, turns out I continued. She’s now a food writer!

  7. marcus
    July 31, 2011 at 8:22 pm
    Reply

    Hi thanks very much for this great info that’s what I was looking for.

  8. Martin Ryan
    February 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm
    Reply

    Lot of advice and good stories goin’ on. Just want to can I advertise with you and fi so what kinda price are you talking about for 300 x 250 banner ad?

    Thanks,

    Martin

  9. Chloe
    May 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm
    Reply

    im doing an essay about why you should not online date and i was wondering if there was romance novels that had online dating in it and now i see there are! Long SLow Burn and his EMail Order WIfe sound very good i wanna read em!! ps i love Harlequin and Love Inspired 😀

  10. Susan Galbraith
    January 6, 2015 at 8:45 am
    Reply

    My husband and I met online in 2000 and are still nauseatingly cute after 14 years. At first, I lurked and responded to men’s online posted profiles. I met Dan when I stuck my neck out and posted my own profile (he was lurking too; if I had not posted a profile we would never have met).
    Give it a try. It’s a good way to expand your pool of dating options.

  11. Jayden
    May 13, 2015 at 1:36 pm
    Reply

    I just love ROMANCE books because they make you feel that you are wanted!!

  12. Nison Yakupov
    June 27, 2018 at 3:57 am
    Reply

    I have the same thoughts on much of this material. I am glad I’m not the only person who thinks this way. You have really written an excellent quality article here. Thank you very much.

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