When the internet first started taking off a couple of decades ago, nobody was even thinking about using it as a means of finding their significant half. Nowadays, dating sites have practically skyrocketed in both number and guarantees of matching your profile up with the ideal soulmate. On the other hand, many still see this type of romantic encounter as a taboo or something downright crazy. Online dating: pros and cons – this is the ultimate question in terms of knowing whether your potential partner or spouse is out there somewhere or, on the contrary, on the other side of a screen.
As with any ‘controversial’ issue of present times, you will find people defending and subsequently condemning this sort of approach to romantic encounters. While some argue that they have managed to come across their lifetime partner through online sites and applications, others will tell you that these devices are only used by perverts or those looking for casual hook-ups and nothing more. In the end, who is right and who is wrong? Can you really find your significant other through a screen? Is virtual love real love? To help you get a clearer picture of this contemporary phenomenon, here are just a few advantages and disadvantages of online dating:
Pros of online dating
- Easy to select or reject – whether you are scrolling down Facebook or through any dating app of your choice, you can really narrow down your romantic field of ‘subjects’ by simply deciding if you like what their profile picture and description promise. If so, then you can send them a message to start talking and get to know each other better. If not, you are free to keep scrolling down or simply ignore them. In this way, you are more likely to save time on incompatible partners and focus your attention on those who have that ‘the one’ potential.
- Forming deeper connections – despite popular opinion, getting to know somebody via the online medium is a great way of finding out how compatible you really are with that person. Why? Well, because you spend so much time talking and going through each other’s most intimate facets, you are thus more likely to form meaningful connections. In addition, the virtual environment offers you the possibility of being more open and sincere than you would be face to face, which is a great way of establishing whether you and the other person ‘click’ when it comes to moral convictions, religious outlook or family matters, for instance.
- Time is on your side – if actual dating requires a lot of planning and scheduling arrangements, the online world makes time your friend instead of your enemy. For example, if the other person is not available at that moment, you could just leave them an offline message and wait for them to respond, thus not missing out on any opportunity of telling or showing them something. Moreover, you can choose to schedule Skype dates or do some late night texting when you feel like it, without even leaving your home or spending insane amounts of money on fancy dinners.
- What space barriers? – if you believe in soulmates, then you more than likely freaked out once or twice in your lifetime thinking ‘what if he/she doesn’t live in the same town as me?’ or ‘what if I’ll never find my significant other in a place like this?’. With online dating, you can be sure you are ‘maximizing’ your chances of encountering ‘the one’ for you – whether it was ‘destined to be’ or a good match on your common dating app, you can rest assured that global interconnectivity will always work to your advantage in this particular case.
- Staying safe – there are a lot of crazy people out there on both the internet and in real life, which is why it is better to have less public information available in most cases, but particularly on dating sites. In a sense, you are a lot safer when talking to a person online than when going on a date with a complete stranger without talking beforehand – again, as long as you don’t disclose where you live or other such intimate information too soon to the wrong person. Even so, when your discussions have been numerous and substantial enough for you to feel you can trust the other individual, then you can proceed to set out a face-to-face encounter and take it further on from there.
- Less painful rejections – let’s face it: not all internet relations go as planned, with many factors being able to get in the way of a ‘fairytale ending’. Nevertheless, being rejected online is almost always less painful than being told so in person, mostly because you can better control your reactions and responses. This doesn’t meant that, for certain people, it isn’t as painful as a ‘real’ breakup, but, in general, these situations occur early on when establishing a link with someone via the internet, so it is all a part of the natural online ‘triage’ at the end of the day.
- Making it your choice entirely – with today’s modern technology at anybody’s disposal, you won’t have to rely on your friends and family to set you up on disastrous dates anymore. By creating an accurate dating profile on any of the thousands of such applications and sites available today, you are basically allowing yourself to be paired with the most compatible people from all around the world in terms of looks, personality, manner of thinking, etc. Hence, you can choose which ones to be put in contact with and whom to ignore, making dating a very conscious and precise enterprise, instead of a ‘leave it up to chance’ encounter.
- Awesome first dates – if you have already found an online partner, then actually getting to meet them will not mean being all nervous and awkward during the first date, but getting excited about finally getting to see them in person. You might still get ‘butterflies’ in your stomach, but they will be the good type of butterflies, since the both of you have already gotten to know each other. If you manage pass this ‘reality’ test, then you can be sure you have made a right choice in pursuing this relationship.
Cons of online dating
- Liars abound – although we don’t like to admit it most of the time, the internet is pretty much an infinite playground for pathologic liars, cheaters, and all sorts of perverts. As a result, you can seldom trust a picture or claim posted on the online environment – unless proven otherwise, of course. Thus, regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, the chances of encountering a ‘wrong’ person on a dating app has become higher than ever, which requires both more attention when sharing personal information and a certain dose of scepticism towards everything people claim virtually. As you can guess, these are very bad foundations for any relationship to actually work in the real world.
- Being made fun of – people might claim they are as open-minded as they can be, but you will not escape a few meaningful stares or even muffled laughs from your friends and family when you tell them about your internet relationship. Furthermore, if you still haven’t met the other individual in person by that point, then you might be told you are behaving ridiculously to your face. Whether they don’t understand or don’t approve of such a connection (considering it to be shallow, dangerous, meaningless, etc.), they might end up affecting your self-esteem and even your trust in the relationship itself.
- Distance as an enemy – say you meet your real-life soulmate through online dating: what do you do when he or she lives at the other corner of the world? Do you risk everything and move? Do you ask them to move and take the chance of not having the relationship work? Or do you just carry on dating online until you figure things out? These are very difficult questions that might not have that much hypothetical meaning, but are very difficult for those who have actually went through such a situation before. Not to mention that trying to maintain a geographically ‘unrealistic’ connection can really take its toll on both sides.
- Making it a bad habit – while you can’t expect to find an ideal compatibility from the first days of online dating, you can’t fall into the trap of spending all your time on these sites either. Moreover, stalking people on Facebook doesn’t amount to anything productive, which is why you should avoid concentrating all of your energy on such fruitless endeavours. If you start turning down actual dates to spend more time perfecting your dating profile or pursuing ‘dead end’ conversations online, then you might want to rethink your approach of virtual dating completely.
- Catastrophic disappointments – scenario: you meet someone online, you talk a lot and find that you ‘click’ in a lot of aspects, which is why you decide to set up a real date. Unfortunately, this doesn’t go at all well because you discover that you are more compatible virtually than you are face to face. After a couple of such experiences, not only do you become distrustful of any person you seem to get along with online, but you also begin to question your own ability to connect with people in real life, which can thus lead to a lot of emotional distress on the long run.
- More expensive than real dates – while many online platforms are free to access by anyone, more serious and systematic dating sites require membership fees from their users, which can sometimes amount to some pretty steep sums monthly. If you find a great partner fast and actually stick through after a few direct encounters, then you can truthfully consider those fees as money ‘well spent’. On the other hand, it might take months, even years before you find a compatible individual in that particular environment – that is, if you find him or her at all (everything considered).
- Losing the ‘real’ feeling of dating – as nerve-wracking as they are most of the time, traditional dates have a certain element of youth, adventure, and romanticism to them. Additionally, they become great sources of stories after your relationship takes off. Online dating, on the other hand, is less spectacular and easy to talk about, if not actually embarrassing at times. Less flowers and over the table hand holding and more emoticons, bad Skype connections, and the inevitable impediment of never knowing what the other one really means or is doing while you are chatting.
- Difficult to maintain – if you are separated by distance from your significant online other, then you will quickly find that virtual relationships are really hard to maintain. Though simpler and maybe more emotionally charged that classical partnerships, long-distance virtual connections often lack that convincing feeling of realness to them, which can make both partners frustrated at time and, in the end, lead to a definite rupture between them. Hence, not only do you lose contact with your potential soulmate, but you also quickly lose confidence in both traditional and online relationships, which can then make it extremely difficult to become emotionally intimate with others in the future.
While there cannot be a definite answer for the pros and cons of online dating, one thing is for sure – you are the only one to decide whether to embark on such a journey, how to approach it, and to define how valid this type of connection is for you. As can be seen from the above presented, there are both advantages and disadvantages to seeking love through the internet, with women and men around the world having stories of success and disappointment to share in equal parts.
So, regardless of whether you are new or a ‘veteran’ of online dating, take the above points into consideration when trying to find your significant other in the virtual world and see whether they can facilitate your experience in any way. Who knows? Your next click might bring you closer to love than ever before…