Online dating has steadily grown in popularity. As a result, it doesn’t have the same stigma it used to, and more long-lasting companionships have been formed.
However, though online dating has proved itself to be a viable option for finding a partner, it isn’t without its disadvantages; but, before we get to them, let’s first explore the many advantages of dating online.
The Advantages of Online Dating
1. Dating online allows you to meet a greater scope of people
When you date traditionally, you are typically limited to the people in your immediate area. If you live in a location with fewer people or less diversity, your dating options can feel restricted. Dating online resolves this issue.
While long-distance dating isn’t for everyone, those who can handle this unique type of relationship appreciates the reach that online dating can provide.
There are many cultures, languages, and lifestyles to explore, and if you’re interested in stepping outside your comfort zone and getting to know someone whose daily surroundings and life experiences differ from your own, dating online affords you that opportunity.
Meeting people within your country is also aided by online dating for those who aren’t willing to have an international partner. According to a survey of American residents conducted by OnePoll, 11% of respondents answered that they’d never left the state they were born in.
For those of you who may fall into this category, choosing to date online can be a great way for you to get to know someone you otherwise would have never met, and if things work out, your relationship can act as a great catalyst for you to finally travel beyond your state’s borders.
2. Dating online narrows down your options by cutting out those with dissimilar lifestyles, core values, beliefs, or preferences.
Dating websites make money the more people use them, and this only happens as successful matchups are formed and word-of-mouth about these relationships spread. In other words, the success of you meeting someone you really like is directly tied to the success of online dating websites.
For this reason, many dating websites use quizzes to help them find potential partners for you. As your goal and their goal is the same, many of today’s most popular online dating websites have spent a lot of money trying to perfect their matching systems.
PhDs and professionals in relationships, psychology, and anthropology have all been tapped to help increase the accuracy of today’s online match-making questionnaires and quizzes, and these updated tools are then used by online dating sites to help you narrow down the possible from the improbable.
Whereas with traditional dating you could potentially waste your time getting to know someone who doesn’t share the same beliefs, behaviors, or interests as you, with online dating, you can quickly be matched with people who meet and share your preferences.
Also, since some online dating sites come with a price, you can date freely knowing that the people you are speaking with are as invested in creating something serious as you are. Otherwise, why waste their money? Dating traditionally can open you up to potentially giving your all to someone with no intentions of taking things seriously.
Of course, if you just want something casual, there is plenty of space in the online dating market for that too, but a useful element of online dating is that those seeking to make it down the aisle can more easily find a greater variety of people wanting to do the same.
3. Online dating can help break down your barriers
There is a reason many people who are introverted or shy tend to date online, and it’s because online dating allows you to hide behind your computer screen. Many shy or introverted people can find it difficult to open up with others in person, but feel a sense of relief or connectedness when they open up to others online.
When online dating, your computer monitor can act as a protective barrier between you and your partner that allows you to share information that you could have otherwise been too afraid to say.
Sometimes, there are words left unsaid in traditional relationships that should have been shared; and because they weren’t, things did not progress the way they could have.
Dating online can help you avoid this drawback to traditional dating by helping you feel more safe, protected, and comfortable to communicate more freely with your partner.
Now that we’ve explored some of the advantages of online dating, let’s now explore its disadvantages.
The Disadvantages of Online Dating
1. Online dating makes it easy to lie
One of the greatest advantages of online dating is also one of its most acknowledged drawbacks: anonymity.
Just like you can use the protectiveness of your computer monitor to connect with others if you’re more shy or introverted, other people can and have used this unique feature of online dating to lie to and deceive their various pursuers.
You can be anyone you want on the internet, and unfortunately some people use this truth for ill-intentions. That’s not to say that everyone who lies on dating sites does so for nefarious means, but it must be noted that some do.
That said, however, the overwhelming majority of people who lie on their dating profiles tell lies regarding their age, weight, or body build, in the case of women, or lies regarding their age, height, or income, in the case of men.
People want to present their best self in their dating profile, and for some, that means presenting a younger, smaller, taller, or more conventionally attractive version of themself that either no longer exists or possibly never existed. We’ll go into how you can avoid falling for this deception when we cover tips on how to date online more successfully below.
2. Online dating can lead to grass is greener syndrome
Online dating can provide you with an abundance of options directly at your fingertips. Because of this, it’s easy to feel like there is always someone better.
As a result, you can end up not feeling fully satisfied with whichever option you choose, even if they are a quality match, because you’re concerned with the idea that you could pair up with someone better.
While it’s important to have standards and want better for yourself, it’s also necessary to nurture relationships and see worthwhile matches through to the end, and this can be difficult to do when you’re constantly bombarded with a seemingly endless supply of potentially good partners.
Additionally, just like you may be supplied with numerous choices to date, so too may the people you come to favor.
If they are unable to fight against the temptation of having so many options directly available to them, you could find it hard to get someone willing to commit as they themselves could be facing the grass is greener syndrome.
That being said, however, falling victim to grass is greener syndrome is not unique to online dating. It can be just as much an issue with traditional dating, and that fact shouldn’t be overlooked.
3. Online dating can lead to falling for your idealization of a person rather than the individual they really are
Because online daters want to present their best self to matches, not only may they lie about their external attributes but also they may leave gaps of information in stories regarding their character, history, or past and present behavior.
As an example, a match could share with you details of their new promotion.
While you’re picturing them as someone who is hardworking and worthy of receiving respect at their job, due to information they have left out, you could be creating the wrong image of them in your head and heart.
Instead, the full truth could be that they harassed or manipulated their way to that position by blackmailing or exploiting others, and since your means of communication is via messages or phone calls, you may miss out on some of the markers that you’re being sold an under-developed story.
The majority of communication is had nonverbally via our body-language, so once that aspect is removed, it can be easier to fool and be fooled. Additionally, a lot of what contributes to our intuition or capability to read someone is our ability to take in and feel their energy.
Unfortunately, a lot of our energy does not translate through typed words, our voice, or a computer screen alone. This is where online dating can lose out to the conventional method of meeting someone face-to-face as it is much easier to pick up on those “bad vibes,” for example, in person rather than through text or a face on a computer screen.
If your primary or only means of communicating with a match is via a screen, you could end up filling in many gaps with good traits they do not have while missing out on knowing bad traits they do possess.
Then, when you finally do meet them in person and try to make things work, you could be faced with the realization that the person in front of you is practically a stranger and that the person you’ve grown to care for, or maybe even love, is little more than a figment of your imagination, and they never actually existed.
In the end, you could feel like you’ve waited your time.
Again, it is important to note that this isn’t only an issue with online dating, but that this unique means of connecting with a partner could lead to this situation more routinely than with traditional dating methods.
There are some ways you can minimize your chances of falling victim to this scenario which is discussed in the tips down below.
4. Online dating can connect you to trolls
Trolls and the internet seem to go hand-in-hand, and on dating websites it is not an exception.
It’s likely you’ve read or heard some of the horror stories of when a troll and someone trying to seriously date online meet. Often, the troll is only concerned with one thing: getting a reaction, and they don’t care about how they go about achieving that.
Their means is typically by saying or doing something offensive, and in many cases a “selfie” is involved. There isn’t much need to go any deeper into their methods because what’s most important is understanding them and knowing how to avoid matching with trolls altogether.
Continue reading for more information on how you can date online and potentially avoid the annoyance of coming cross a troll.
5. Some relationships never leave the screen
A big consequence online daters face is that many of their connections never make it off-screen and into the physical world. In a Pew study, one third of all online dating users stated that they’d never met an online partner face-to-face.
In other words, the time they spent talking and connecting to these people didn’t amount to much of anything and they’d wasted their time, efforts, and in some cases, financial resources.
Also, while talking to people online, real-life relationships that could be formed and go the distance are ignored or dismissed due to a misplaced sense of loyalty to an online partner or relationship that exists more in fantasy than reality.
Tips on How to Successfully Date Online
It may seem like online dating isn’t worthwhile due to the disadvantages listed above, but many have managed to form strong relationships and even marriages from this means of dating.
For every disadvantage to dating online, there is one for dating conventionally too, and some disadvantages are even shared. No one method for dating is perfect, and it basically boils down to doing whichever one is best for you.
Online dating doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and you don’t have to fall victim to some of the situations listed above or shared in twitter threads or forum pages. Like in the case with most things, luck is involved but so too is common sense.
Here are 8 tips to help you successfully date online.
1. Know what you want, and don’t surrender to the pressure to settle
Before you begin to date, it is vital that you first make a list of what you’re looking for. This list can include things such as the beliefs you want your future partner to have, the core values you want them to follow, and even the physical attributes you find attractive.
I also recommend your list includes how you want your partner to treat you and how you wish for them to make you feel.
Making this list may seem unnecessary, but taking this first step to decide your standards can go a long way to helping you stay on track to getting and keeping the partner you want, and it does this by helping you avoid or get rid of the people who aren’t needed as your partner.
The power of this list not only comes from helping you narrow down what you want, but also it acts as a visual aid and sort of checklist that you can use to objectively judge online matches.
We can often let our instincts and common sense get overrun by our hormones and interest in someone, and once that happens, all objectivity and mature decision making tends to go right out the proverbial window.
Having a checklist that you can use to score matches can help keep you grounded in reality and avoid unnecessary heartache or stress down the road.
2. Stay open-minded and narrow down your “type” to the things that really matter
Going along with our first tip, it’s important you don’t stick too closely to the idea of a “type,” particularly when it comes to those more superficial things on your list that you may find aren’t as “crucial-to-have” to you as you might have once thought.
Now, what you may find to be superficial and what other people may think is superficial may not line up. For example, many people feel height shouldn’t matter while others are strongly in the camp that it does.
It’s up to you to decide your deal-breakers and what can be compromised on. Just don’t get so stuck to your type that you miss out on someone who could really make you happy.
3. The one with the “normal” photo is likely better than that model with their professional headshots
One of the disadvantages to online dating listed above is that people can and often do lie about their appearance. Frequently this lie is told via photos rather than through words.
If torn between the match with the perfect glamour-shot photo or the average-looking guy or girl with the “normal” photo free of glitz or glam, go with the choice that doesn’t feel like an episode of “Catfish” in the making.
Chances are if the person’s photos seem too good to be true, it’s because they are.
Now, if you’re a risk-taker and you want to go for gold, by all means, engage with the model if you must, but be sure to communicate with them via video before taking steps beyond a basic “Hello.”
4. No one can waste your time but you, so don’t stay when you should go
Open communication is an absolute necessity with online or long-distance dating, so if you find your partner is being uncommunicative, run, not walk, away. Early signs of lack of communication is evidence of an issue that will only grow stronger as time and your lives go on.
If you are already having issues talking to your match before things even begin to get more complicated, it is best to cut your losses immediately than grow feelings deeper and have a headache on your hands as things progress and the stakes are higher.
Don’t waste your time chasing someone who is unwilling or unable to chase you back.
5. Don’t forget, you get what you pay for
Above we mentioned the issue of trolls, and this tip is one of the most effective ways to avoid them when online dating.
If you choose to date online, opt for websites that require a fee. Trolls run amok on dating apps and websites that are free because it costs them nothing but their time and energy.
Paid dating sites act as a barrier to trolls who aren’t willing to pay monetarily just to waste their and a random stranger’s time. Especially when they can easily do so and get the same results for free.
Another benefit to using dating sites that charge for memberships is that the users on them are typically as serious about finding a long-time partner as you are. If you’re looking to more than casually date, then you may need to be willing to pay.
6. Talk about the connections you make
We discussed above that you can fall for illusions when dating. One way that you can avoid this and ground your relationship in reality is by discussing it with someone.
Doing so can help you find the holes in the stories you’re told, and your friends or family can help provide feedback on any gaps they’ve noticed in your conversation.
Speaking from experience, I’ve had times where I’ve shared information told to me to friends who asked clarifying questions I failed to ask. When the person I was getting to know struggled to answer my friends’ questions, I was able to take the blinders off and see them more clearly.
7. Ask the questions with answers you really want to know in person
The final tip for successfully dating online is to ask the questions you really want to know the answers to in person rather than over the phone or online.
Questions in this category can include things like the important aspects of their history, their core values or beliefs, whether or not they are really serious about dating you, etc.
The reason I recommend you ask these types of questions in person is because doing so can help you better gage dishonesty or if they are holding back information. It can be harder to lie in person than online, so your chances of getting fooled can decrease.
If you meet an online date in person, be sure to do so in a comfortable public place and make sure to use separate transportation for increased safety.
Overall, online dating comes with its benefits and hardships. If it’s something you’re interested in trying, then I say give it a go.