Internet dating is going from strength to strength as more people are turning to the internet to increase their chances of finding love. Previously, meeting your partner online was considered a very strange thing to do; people would have wondered what was wrong with you and what sort of weirdo you had plucked from the internet, but nowadays people are seeing the benefits of online dating. Here we go through some of the pros and cons.
Life can be busy. We don’t all have the time to go out every night, drape ourselves seductively over the bar and wait for a handsome man to come and sweep us off our feet. No, work commitments mean we get precious little time to socialise in the evenings. By the time we’ve finished our working day we’re often too tired to do anything except heat up last night’s leftovers and relax in front of some mindless TV. The weekends aren’t much better: we need to catch up with the housework and sleep not to mention the weekly shop and the meals we need to prepare for the week ahead. Where are we supposed to find the time for meeting new men? Internet dating allows you to browse through thousands of men from the comfort of your own living room. This gives you the opportunity to chat with loads of guys you otherwise wouldn’t have and is a very efficient way of dating. If you decide that you don’t fancy the guy after a few weeks of chatting then you can just move on to the next, happy in the knowledge that you haven’t had to waste time going on several real dates before realising this.
Perfect first impression
Imagine you do miraculously happen to bump into a handsome, single man in the supermarket on one of your few trips out of the house. Chances are that he’ll be presented with a stressed looking woman with bags under her eyes and unwashed hair scraped back in a ponytail and he’ll probably run a mile never to know what a funny, charming girl you actually are. With your internet dating profile you can choose a killer photo of you in your favourite dress and spend hours perfecting your “About Me” paragraph to make you sound smart, witty, fun and interesting. It’s not about lying about who you are: it’s about showing your best side and your best side often isn’t on show when you’re on a mad dash around Tesco.
Lots of choice
Everyone remembers how easy it was in college or university. Thousands of like-minded people of the same age and lots of different social events made dating pretty easy. Now that you’ve got a job the pool of choice has been reduced greatly. Online, however, there are thousands of men your age and, best of all, they’re all* single so you can jump right in.
* see last headline in Cons.
Most people are used to the subtle rules of dating in the real world and have learnt how to work with them. With online dating, however, a whole new type of etiquette is opened up. When is the correct time to take down your online dating profile, for example? If you take yours down before his then he could think you’re desperate, that he’s fallen for your bait and now he’s trapped in your relationship trap. On the other hand, if he takes his down first then it might seem like you’re not into the relationship as much as he is. You effectively still have a sign saying “I’m single and actively looking for a man”. The problem here is that in real life you don’t have a neon sign above your head declaring your single status so when you do start dating someone you don’t have to worry about turning it off.
Your online profile is just a list of various likes and dislikes, a short paragraph about you and your picture. This is the only information men will use to judge you. Dating online can, therefore, be very superficial. In the real world many people are still judged by their appearance, however, you don’t normally introduce yourself to a guy along with a list of food you dislike only for the man to walk away in disgust after finding out that you hate brie but he loves it. These things don’t matter in serious relationships but online they are the things that are being judged.
Too much choice
Ever seen a kid in a sweetshop faced with the task of picking just one sweet to buy? You will see the child pick up one sweet only for another, shinier one to catch his eye. You can see that agony on his face as he tries to choose the best sweet in the shop, desperately trying to avoid the disappointment of settling for an imperfect sweet. This is essentially how an adult feels when browsing through the thousands of profiles on an online dating website. With the seemingly endless amount of matches it can be hard to settle on just one. “Sure I liked him and had a really great time but I didn’t go weak at the knees every time he smiled. I’ll keep looking”. The problem with too much choice is that you spend so much time worrying over the options that you never get to actually enjoy what you’ve got. Like with the kid scoffing his sweet whilst looking enviously at the choice his sister made, you too cannot enjoy the great man you met if you’re constantly looking enviously through the endless other options available to you online.
The struggle to get noticed
With so little space to sell yourself on your profile everyone on dating sites end up sounding the same; everyone enjoys cuddling up on the sofa with a bottle of red wine. These generic interests don’t actually tell you anything about the person so finding love on the internet becomes just as random as bumping into Mr. Right on the street. In order to stand out from the crowd you need to write something eye-catching. Writing your profile starts to become more like writing a CV, and we all know how much we exaggerate on those! So, basically, most profiles sound the same and if they don’t then they’re probably wildly exaggerated anyway.
The internet is a wonderful place, not least because it allows you to escape into your own world and live a new identity for just a few hours. Unfortunately, the anonymity that can be so freeing to some people can also be used to trick and fool by others. Studies have shown that 1 in 10 profiles on dating sites are a scam, 1 in 10 sex offenders use online dating to meet people and 1 in 3 men with profiles are married. That’s a high percentage of untrustworthy profiles. Suddenly internet dating doesn’t seem so straightforward as you have to negotiate your way through a minefield of insincere profiles before you can find your perfect match. It makes you wonder whether internet dating actually does save you time and effort!