O N L I N E D A T I N G… two tainted words once kept a closely guarded secret but now commonly uttered in passing conversation! Far from being the stigmatised activity that it once was, online dating is now socially accepted.
In fact, according to a study by Finkel et al. (2012) online dating is now the second most common form of meeting, second only to being introduced via friends!
So if you are searching for Prince Charming, perhaps it’s time to forget hitting the town in your lucky little black dress and log on to online dating instead..?
Online dating has many advantages including the ability to browse a previously unimaginable selection of potential dates. Where else will you find hundreds of thousands of potential partners who are all single? – Hopefully! (Although not in the case of websites such as heatedaffairs.com but lets not go down that sordid path!)
Online dating also allows you to find out information about a potential date, for example their hobbies and interests. No more going on a date just to find out that he loves getting down and dirty on the farm whilst you are more of a ‘Sex in the City’ cosmopolitan type of gal (or vice versa, let’s not be sexist!)
There’s another advantage… you can search for Mr Right whilst chilling in your PJs, no makeup on, hair scrapped up, scoffing a calorific tub of icecream… you couldn’t do that in the offline dating world… well you could, but I’m not sure it would make the best first impression!
Enough of the positives. Surely there must be some negatives too?
Some individuals may not like the way online dating ‘works’. They may feel that reducing ‘first encounters’ to a computer screen is unromantic and picking your ‘favourite’ from a group of other ‘potentials’ based upon a 2D profile photo and a list of hobbies is a tab too… clinical? They have a point. It is a different method of dating and it’s not for everyone. Although it is worth noting that online dating does not have to be unromantic. In many senses, it is exactly the same as meeting offline. Even though first contact is made through a dating website, there is still the excitement of the first date and a period of finding out about the other person (Beware of sharing your entire life story on your profile – a little bit of mystery is still a good thing!).
The cynical may also feel that online daters are making themselves too ‘available’ by openly advertising to potential dates that they are single and looking for luuurrvvve… well, yes it may make initially playing hard to get a teensy bit more difficult but just because you agreed to go on a date with someone does not mean that you will necessarily like them ‘in the flesh’ or will feel any chemistry. So it’s certainly not a ‘done deal’ and any dates who appear to think otherwise should be promptly shown the door!
Perhaps those with reservations should give it a go and try not to get so hung up on the online label. It’s not as if you are going to go on your dates through SecondLife (well…. you could, but that’s a whole other blog post!).
Of course, if you are going to try online dating – be sensible about it! Tell trusted friends and family before you go on a date. Always arrange to meet in a public place for the first few dates, and arrange for a friend or family member to phone you at least once during the first date to check that you are okay (Agree a ‘code’ with the caller, e.g., they ask “where did you put the TV remote?” and you say “in the hallway” if all is ok or “in the kitchen” if you need out of there quick!). Clearly, this is not online specific, the same guidelines would apply if you were going on a first date with someone you had met in a bar, just use common sense and have fun!
How about you, what are your thoughts?
- Are you an online dater?
- Did you meet your partner through online dating?
- Or do you hate the idea?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences 🙂