Online dating allows you to sit in your pajamas, drink a cup of coffee and peruse the dating site of your choice in hopes of finding the prince charming or princess of your dreams. From the privacy of your own home, you have the opportunity to meet individuals you might never encounter out and about with the typical dating scene. However, despite the convenience of online dating, there is a flip side that you should consider as you attempt to meet people via this medium.
Finding Your Perfect Match
Dating sites require a person to sign up for its service and provide personal information and often photographs via an online profile. Because the site's algorithm is programed to connect you with people of similar interests, if you buy into a theory like "opposites attract," you might very well miss out on your perfect mate. In addition, it may be difficult for you to find a dating site in your area that meets your personal criteria. Some may be too expensive or, if the site is free, does not have enough members for you to choose from in your small town. While special interest dating sites like FarmersOnly.com may exist, there may not be one that caters to professionals in your specific field. Regardless of your preferences, don't give in and settle.
Because online dating is easily accessible, anyone can use the forum to be whomever they want to be. Most online dating sites do not require proof of information and if they do, it might be limited to very basic facts. As a result, the person who interests you may be falsifying information such physical attributes, relationship status or job status on his profile, according to Catalina Toma and her colleagues at Cornell University in their article "Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles" published on the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Keep this in mind as you consider potential mates you meet on online dating sites.
Online dating doesn't allow you to talk with your potential date on the phone or in person. When you are able to do this in more traditional dating settings, you can often immediately determine if you have a personal connection with this individual. Email or texting isn't the same as hearing and seeing the individual on a first date. To combat this, consider meeting someone in a public location, but avoid this until you have communicated with that person long enough to feel comfortable with that individual.
If you are an older adult, you may be at a unique disadvantage in the world of online dating. Older adults seeking online relationships, especially women, may be at a disadvantage because of competition with younger women that may not exist outside the setting of online dating, reports Summer McWilliams and Anne E. Barrett in their article "Online Dating in Middle and Later Life Gendered Expectations and Experiences." If you are older, don't lie about your age in hopes to avoid this disadvantage.
Safety must be at the forefront of your mind, both when giving personal information to individuals you don't know and if you choose to meet a potential mate in person. Never give out information over the internet that you wouldn't give to someone on a first date, such as financial information or your address. If you choose to meet a date out in public, always tell someone who you are with, where you are going and what time you expect to be home.
- Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin: Separating Fact From Fiction: An Examination of Deceptive Self-Presentation in Online Dating Profiles
- Journal of Family Issues: Online Dating in Middle and Later Life Gendered Expectations and Experiences
- Psychology Today: 8 Essential Rules for Online Dating
- Psychology Today: Connecting Through Online Dating