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On Line Dating, Advantages - Disadvantages

A number of my clients have asked me whether I would recommend online dating. Here are some of my thoughts about the advantages and disadvantages:



It’s less threatening, increases the probability of meeting and is time efficient -

Searching for a partner as a single person is a daunting task, to say the least. Being dependent on friends or family to help you find the right match, can leave you feeling helpless and disempowered. You are well aware of your community’s struggle to find that person or you are disappointed in who they find and fear that you will offend them by not accepting their choices. Going out to bars, singles' events, etc..can be anxiety provoking for many people. I have heard many singles say that when they put themselves “out there”, they feel emotionally exposed; like they are wearing a sign stating, “I am desperate! Please choose me!”  And even for those who are open to accepting the above opportunities, the chances of meeting that special person may be slim. Furthermore, committing to a search, using any of these methods, can also be overly time consuming for many hard-working singles who prefer to spend their downtime relaxing rather than “on the lookout”.

Online dating is a healthy alternative or addition to the above. You can now operate independently in your pursuit, you do not need to expose yourself in an uncomfortable social environment, you can be time efficient and now you have expanded your world and significantly increased your probability of meeting someone.



It’s all about the checklist –

Many of us have formed a mental checklist of what we want in a partner – intelligence, good-looks, solid wage earner, physically fit, love of the outdoors, etc.. These are the components of online profiles and can be labelled as “extrinsic traits”. Studies have shown that it is the “intrinsic traits” in a person that partners find most satisfying. These include kindness, reliability and generosity and are not reflected in online profiles. Furthermore, once you are present with that person, your organic connection often outweighs this list. You will get a sense of this when meeting a potential mate in person but certainly not through cyberspace. People may invest enormous time connecting with potential partners online, only to find out, once they meet, that the chemistry and emotional satisfaction is not there.


It’s like being in a candy shop –

Many people speak of feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices that present themselves online, and find themselves dating several people at once, without giving one person a real fighting chance for an authentic connection.


Can you trust what you see? -

As people design their profiles on online dating sights, it is a well known fact that some are not honest. It is so easy to depict oneself as a winner in every realm by the sheer use of cleaver and manipulative vocabulary. With modern technology, photographs can be easily altered or individuals can pose in such a way that all imperfections are hidden. How is one to know if “What you see is what you get”? And when you meet up with someone and find that you were duped, you may be tempted to give up on this method. Furthermore, if you already struggle with intimacy and your capacity to trust a partner, this vulnerability can be reinforced.


Would I recommend it?

Despite my analysis of the negative effects of online dating, I would still recommend it to most people. I know of numerous happy couples in long-term relationships who have met online. In addition, I know of others who were more interested in casual dating and were able to find partners as well. (Since profiles stipulate people’s interest in serious or casual relationships.)

If one decides to take on this method, I would recommend evaluating the online profiles you see with some skepticism, realizing that the ultimate test of the viability of a relationship will come once you meet that person outside of the virtual world. Invest a reasonable amount of time communicating online prior to meeting, but not an inordinate amount. Speak on the phone with your potential mate before meeting to hear what the person sounds like and to start to break the ice. When that first meeting occurs, arrange it in a safe public and informal space which will allow a quick get-away should the need arise. (Coffee shops are perfect.) Lastly, if you do have a choice in numbers, try to focus on one person at a time.

The bottom line is that the dating world is a frightening place for most people, regardless of the method with which we choose to meet. In order to pursue a meaningful intimate connection with another individual, one must be bold, willing and emotionally able to take on the risk of being disappointed and hurt. It’s all about persisting until you finally meet that special one.