Never have we been more bombarded by online dating than now. With commercials from various companies stating things like “1 in 5 marriages today start with online dating” slapping us in the face, it’s easy for those tired of regular dating to cave in and give it a try.
By now it’s not a new concept like it was 10 years ago when couples would be too embarrassed to admit they met online. Today you hear it from everyone, friends and family members who try and try again, and some who succeed in finding that special someone out there on the Internet.
It’s even surprisingly popular up here in the North. I suppose when I first moved here I didn’t expect that for some reason, but when I went on Plenty of Fish I was shocked by how many people in the Peace Region were using it, quite actively, and seeing what’s out there.
Like most people my age, I have tried (and re-tried) online dating. In fact, I met an ex that way when I lived in Victoria. That relationship lasted for almost four years, so I figured it’s not a bad way to meet people if you can get a few years out of it.
There are, without a doubt, pros and cons to online dating, and some major red flags that you might not pick up on if you’re new to the whole thing.
Here are some points, good and bad, about online dating:
What I’ve found after trying online dating for nine years now is that you actually get what you pay for. If you pay nothing, the odds are that a number of people using free online dating services aren’t that devoted to finding The One. After all, it’s free – how serious can they be about a long-lasting relationship?
While that doesn’t stand for all people, of course, it’s just one of the risks you take when joining a free service. Just like in the real dating world, there’s the saying that you have to sift through a lot of trash to find the treasure. For free dating services, the trash seems to be piled much higher because a lot of people (sadly mostly men) are on there to get laid, not to change their Facebook statuses to “in a relationship.”
I’ve heard many horror stories of girls who meet someone online, have a really fantastic date with a guy who says all the right things, buys them a couple drinks, gets them into bed then never calls the girl again. Sure you could say, “That’s because she slept with him on the first date and he doesn’t respect her,” but I say that’s bull. It should be no surprise that men and women are likely to use the site to find a partner for the night, as they are to find a partner for the rest of their life.
However, many people hold out the promise of forever to build enough trust for a roll in the hay.
And if you don’t believe me, I’ve had a number of guys admit to me that getting sex is why they look for people online, so consider yourself warned, and if you do proceed to use free sites, be wary and keep your eyes open. Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve because there are people out there looking for partners to take advantage of.
Sites that charge you to use their online dating services have a much higher rate of relationship success because their users are actually investing money, and therefore must be more serious about finding someone than the average person on a free site. It’s these sites that can boast of high marriage rates. Sure you might think $30 a month is too much, but the product is much better quality and the people on there are as determined as you to find someone. Isn’t that what you want?
One of my favourite things about the sites that charge you money are in-depth personality tests that can match you up with someone similar to you in terms of interests, values, goals and standards. The more work you put into your profile means the more accurate they can show you people you are compatible with.
That in itself is a blessing compared to regular dating, when you have to go on at least a couple of dates to determine those factors in another person.
Basically online dating quickly filters out people you have nothing in common with while giving you the advantage of seeing if you’re physically attractive to them as well. While that might come across as shallow, we all know you often have to be attracted to somebody to start out a new relationship.
It’s also great for busy people, or people who don’t have time to go out to meet potential dates. It also gives you the opportunity to email back and forth and see if you can carry out a decent conversation before meeting, again filtering out potential dates.
Like with anything in life, online dating has its risks and rewards. All you have to do is be smart, safe and patient about using these services. If you’ve never tried it, it can be overwhelming at first, even a little scary, but once you get used to it will you quickly figure out who’s legitimately out there looking for love and who’s out there looking to get lucky.
In that regard, online dating is kind of like going to a bar, but unlike at the bar you have the option to “delete” the idiots.