Is Online Dating Really Worth it?
Updated: Feb 20
I think at this point, most of us have heard some stories about bad online dating experiences:
Whether it was the one where the person was much older than the picture on their profile, or the one where a different person showed up to the date entirely... Or, the story of the date with the really bizarre or bad manners... Or, the one where they got ghosted after a seemingly great date, and so on...
So, you might reasonably feel hesitant or approach the online dating with extreme caution. But just remember that as online dating comes with a slew of comical or annoying experiences, there are plenty of benefits and happy stories to online dating as well.
After a fairly long hiatus I had taken to heal from my divorce, I felt ready to put my toe into the dating pool again. However, since I was over the whole club and bar scene meetups, I decided I’d give online dating a try.
After wading through some of the usual suspects, as you can imagine, I started talking to a very interesting guy who seemed surprisingly humble and cool. He was tall, dark, and handsome and worked in Wall Street. So, naturally my friends and I referred to him as “Wall St. Tim.” After going on several dates with WST, I realized we were much better off as friends than romantic partners. But, missing the mark with WST didn’t stop me from continuing my on-line dating journey.
After a few months of online dating, and going on some nice, interesting and not so great dates, I was feeling like I was missing something... Then, it finally hit me. I finally realized what I should have done before I ever ventured into the online dating world… and that was to ask myself a very important question: What do I want?
Seriously, that was the game changer for me.
Once you ask yourself what you really want, AND what your deal breakers are, you will be able to be more relaxed and have fun with the online dating experience, because when you do meet people who are not a good fit for you, you will be able to dismiss it, at the least, as an interesting experience as oppose to getting upset about it.
So if you are ready to date and might be worried as to whether or not online dating is a good idea for you or just a waste of time, remember that like all matters of the heart it definitely has its pros and cons.
Let’s Get to the Online Dating Pros:
1-Access to people you wouldn’t be able to meet in person. For many reasons varying from divorce, retirement, relocation, a remote living situation, or physical limitations, your social network might be limited, have shrunken, or have become really difficult to meet new peeps in. So, on-line dating can be very useful and desirable in these situations because you get to choose a location radius that tells the platform how far you're willing to look for "love." In the same respect, this is also great for people who are not into the whole club/bar scene, or for people who are more reserved or shy about meeting new people.
2- Feeling of Control: Many find online dating sites gives them a sense of control making it easier to initiate contact. This is especially true for women. Many studies report that more than 20% of women initiate contact as a result of feeling that sense of control. Online sites also gives a sense of anonymity that takes away some of the feelings of nervousness or vulnerability that come along with initiating contact. And studies show the most favorable reason for online dating is because -it’s less pressure. The fact that people could respond if they wanted to, but did not have to, adds to their sense of control over their dating lives.
3-Safety – Because the interactions that take place on dating sites happens online, it makes some feel safer and more comfortable than meeting a stranger out at a bar for instance. And the fact that you can view profiles and get a general sense and understanding of who a person is before ever initiating contact, can also present a feeling of safety to potential daters. And these days, some people take further measures to feel safe on their dates, such as to “Google” their potential date or check their social media accounts before deciding whether or not they even want to initiate contact. Online platforms also come with a list of important safety reminders to follow, such as waiting to share personal information, blocking and reporting suspicious users, video chatting before meeting in person, and meeting in public places after you have informed a friend of your whereabouts. Now, of course, these are just some of the guidelines and you should read the full list on the platform you are thinking of using.
Now to the Top 3 Cons:
Misrepresentations. It is natural to want to appear as attractive as possible to up your chances of finding a dating partner; however, some go out of their way to use heavy face filters, older pictures, lie in areas such as age, weight, height, or just plain catfish you! If you are unaware of the term catfishing, it means when you start to speak to someone online and they end up not being the person you expected. (They have either used a made-up persona or use someone else’s picture, or both.) Any of these will lead to disappointing or uncomfortable meeting experiences. In the same respect, some people may exaggerate or completely misrepresent themselves in other areas such as social status, wealth, success, intelligence, etc. all to bolster one’s chances of finding a dating partner or to have different sexual partners, which again, will lead to bad outcomes once the truth is exposed.
Scammers. There are scammers who pose as on-line daters which mainly targets the elderly or disabled. These on-line scammers attempt to woo potential dating partners into relationships in order to persuade them into giving them money.
Perverts. These are the people who insist on sending unwanted sexual messages or sexting. These people will send sexual messages or nudy pics either without consent, or too soon before or after meeting someone, which makes the recipient feel very uneasy, uncomfortable or just disgusted.
So with all that in mind, do I think on-line dating is worth it? I would say yes.
As long as you are smart at your approach, honest about who you are and what you want, get to know the dating platform before signing up, follow all the safety protocols, and proceed with a lighthearted attitude, meaning date to have fun and see what is out there instead of examining each date as a potential husband or wife, I think the online dating pros outweigh the cons.
Online dating allows access to more people than your surrounding area, and it gives you a sense of control and safety. But of course, like dating in general, it does require some effort and patience.. -like occasionally putting up with people's harassment, and misrepresentations of themselves. And, you have to be willing to accept that you may face rejection, the risk of having some kind of negative dating experience, or not finding someone at all.
In this day in age, with all the new technologies, online dating does not seem to be going anywhere. In fact, studies show that it's likely to keep growing. But, at the end of the day it is up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it’s worth it for you or not. Because hey, like everything else, it may just not be your cup of tea. Some prefer organic dating and view online dating as impersonal and superficial, others feel it's fun and gives them more options, and many, after hearing several success stories, feel it gives them enough hope to give it a try.
And for me, having worked with many people who have found love online, including myself, I would say it is definitely worth a try.
At the end of the day - how will you know if it’s right for you unless you check it out for yourself, right?