What is bad about internet dating Online Dating: Good Thing or Bad Thing?

Thanks to Max K. from Brooklyn, NY for suggesting this week’s topic: 

Am i dating a sociopath testOnline dating, once a fringe and stigmatized activity, is now over a American idol 2015 dating dancing with the stars. Over Ashlyn harris and ali krieger dating Americans have given online dating a try, and over Aunties phone numbers for dating classifieds in hyderabadBest indian dating site in india free of the American couples married between 2005 and 2012 met online.

The first prominent online dating site was Match.com, which launched in 1995. eHarmony started in 2000, OkCupid in 2004, and more recently, a wave of mobile people-swiping apps, like Tinder and Hinge, have become wildly popular.

But is this a positive development or something to be concerned about? Is online dating making the world better and dating more effective, or is something important being lost or sacrificed as a result? The way the current trend is heading, what will dating be like in 2030, and will that be a better or worse time to be on the dating market than 1995? Ideally, what would dating look like in 2030?


Tim’s Answer: I think this is a no-brainer positive development. The key thing is that it’s not online dating—it’s online meeting people followed by in-person dating. I think the term “online dating” is part of the problem and makes people who don’t know much about it think it refers to people forming entire relationships online and only meeting in person much later.

Simply considered as online meeting people, it makes a ton of sense. I’ve already expressed my argument for why in two posts: Christian dentists dating belfast northern ireland free on how critical it is to find the right life partner and how seriously we should take that quest, and Create a free online dating sites canada on why going to bars is a terrible life experience. The first step in ending up with the right person is meeting the right person, and for something so important in our lives, we’ve had no real system for doing it efficiently and intelligently. For socially weird or anxious or shy people, trying to meet a stranger in public is a nightmare, and even for someone charming and outgoing, it’s a grueling task that requires a lot of luck. The alternative that often happens is meeting someone through friends, which can work, but it’s limiting yourself to single people your closest friends and family happen to know.

Effective dating definitely needs to take place in person, the same way your grandfather did it, but I see no good reason why meeting people to date in the first place can’t be systematic and efficient. Yes, there’s something special about the romance of meeting someone in public and hitting it off right away, but that rarely happens—and for the most important mission in most of our lives, it makes no sense to crush your ability to meet great people to try a first date with because it’s not as good a story to have met them online. I have a friend that goes on two or three first dates every week with people he already knows are potentially good personality and physical matches for him—that’s how you find the right person, and good luck keeping up with him meeting people the old-fashioned way. And for people who have no interest in serious dating and just want to find people to hook up with? Online is a much better way to accomplish that too.

As for the current online dating options—they strike me as a good first crack at this by humanity, but the kind of thing we’ll significantly improve on to the point where the way it was done in 2014 will seem highly outdated in not too many years. Now that the stigma has diminished, you know this industry is going to race ahead because there’s so much money to be made by whoever can be innovative. So in 2030, I think we’ll be somewhere very different, and I think today’s nine-year-olds will have really incredible ways of finding love when they’re 25. Maybe I’m a future stubborn old man about dating being in-person, but I believe that needs to stay that way and the innovation in this industry should hone in more and more on optimizing the process of getting the exact right people on first dates with each other—that’s its job.

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  • Gokhan Arslan

    Online dating enables a significantly larger pool of life partner candidates, thus more meetings with them. Just like the way a bubble sort algorithm works, in every meeting one person seeks to find his/her perfect match.

    On the other hand, we are not objects, we have emotions. Every meeting which makes its way to a relationship, tends to involve feelings. One way or another, hearts get broken. A person who “tried” 100 candidates gets his heart broken, let’s say, half the time which is 50. High number of candidates doesn’t always mean it is good for us.

    Another thing is, the awareness that there are a lot of fish in the pool makes us ungrateful and dissatisfying. I can have a dinner with a 9 and seek to meet other women with an unrealistic expectation to find a 10.

    Since this marriage thing is not measured by numbers I don’t think that we can ever be 100% sure that we made the most accurate decision. We all are gonna end up lying in bed next to X, thinking “what if I ended up with Y?” It’s not supposed to be perfect because we are teenie tiny creatures (Not even type 1) in the universe. Just marry the woman your mama finds, whatever.

    • Jen

      So you think that the ability to meet a greater number of people provided by online dating might actually be a bad thing because meeting/dating more people results in more heartbreaks…?

      • Gokhan Arslan

        Not necessarily. I just want to point out that a linear increase in chance of finding the “perfect person” is not achieved by dating more people, but there are adverse effects.

        However, if you can manage to erase a person completely from your life when your dating/relationship ends with him, then this doesn’t apply to you.

        It increases your chances mathematically, granted, but in the meantime it makes you indecisive, builds you up in a way to make you hesitate, if you encounter your “the one”. Littlest flaws are going to irritate you even if he is completely perfect in every other ways (to vague I know) but you are going to take him granted and dump him to try new ones.

        • DeeDee Massey

          You make a solid point about the potential for an overwhelming volume of interactions.

          The long-standing joke about bisexuals is that they have “double the chance for a date on Saturday night,” to which I counter, “Yeah, but also twice the chance for rejection.”

          • Gokhan Arslan

            Lol I don’t know about that but it must be twice the fun!

            • DeeDee Massey

              I don’t know about that because I’m usually not that smooth.

  • Loreta Wilson

    Met my current husband on match….. 8 years ago! We have been married 7 1/2 years and he is my best friend. I’m an introvert – good at people watching, poor at people interactions. I had my list of what I wanted, and stuck to that list. Took a few non-matching first dates until I met the right person. I don’t go to bars or belong to a church. Mid-age, work FT, with 2 teenagers. Online dating is effective in helping to meet people, but it’s up to you to say yay or nay if that person is who you are looking for. Stick to the general rules – meet in public, know what you want, and stick with your list!

  • Seth

    Haha, I met my wife in 2012 via Match.com. Tim, I couldn’t agree more that what we call “Online dating” should really be called “Online meeting people.”
    The real benefit of it is that your pool of potential mates is expanded massively. Even though my wife and I lived only about a mile away from each other, the chances of us A. Being in the same place at the same time and B. Having that be a situation where we could realistically meet and make a connection was essentially zero. But on Match, that connection could happen.
    Stay open to meeting people in more “traditional” ways, but realize that online dating is a great chance to meet a fling, a girlfriend/boyfriend, or a future spouse.

  • Cyanmoon1

    I absolutely don’t judge people who do it… but I’ve never had any interest. My only experience involved getting coerced by a well-meaning friend into setting up a profile on a mainstream website- my first (and last) message was from a man using the oh-so-clever screen name ‘Cunny Funt.’ I quit the site immediately.

    • Lee

      What is it that deters your interest in online dating over the more traditional type of dating though? They’re are crass people out in the real word, in bars and stuff too, right?

      • Cyanmoon1

        Mostly I guess I really hate that small-talk-getting-to-know-each-other stage… I’m a pretty hardcore introvert. If I’m going to meet someone I’d prefer it be someone I meet in my environment and get to know over time with no preconceived hopes or expectations. I’m aware I’m limiting myself that way, but I’m not that pushed to meet someone. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t I’m ok with that, too.

    • I’m not saying that you should try again or not… But I would venture to say you may have gotten a tainted sample of what online dating is like!

      • Cyanmoon1

        I can accept the idea that I was just extremely unlucky on that occasion… but it did reinforce my feeling that I don’t have the time or bandwidth just now to weed out the Cunny Funts of the world.

    • marisheba

      You do have to be prepared to have your creep-a-zoid filters on–at least if you are looking to date men (I’m sure women present their own pitfalls though). I just read right past the annoying ones so they never bothered me. Delete. Delete. Delete. And I always left my chat settings turned to “off.” BUT, I can see that wading through that muck might not be for everyone.

  • bookeater

    I believe that in theory, online dating is great, but as a (now married) woman and also a writer: I wouldn’t dip my pinkie toe into that pool. I’ve seen more than a few freelance opportunities for ghostwriting online dating ads and managing the accounts’ messages. Things along the lines of, “I have about 300 women a month I need you to try to romance, and tweak this or that about my profile just a few degrees closer to successful.” People want to find someone and try to shape their image and identity in all sorts of anxiety-inducing ways for all parties involved. I imagine desperate men and women trying to perfect their digital images, advertising themselves and then going out on dates and trying to personify whatever they crafted that sparked interest from a stranger. With all that noise in their heads, how can they get over themselves and relax enough to make any sort of reality-based decision? The best way to find a partner, in my opinion, is to be present. Out in the open. Cultivating presence in some part of society or your community. Go to a bookstore or a museum or take a class. Let yourself observe people and be observed, and pay attention. No matter what’s on these dating platforms, I don’t think it could hold a candle to unrehearsed, unpredictable human behavior. Besides, some of the embarrassing little slips of tongue and clumsiness that tend to color first meeting a potential partner are incredibly sweet, insightful, and reveal instantly how a person relates to you when you behave imperfectly or show vulnerability. Can’t get a first impression with that kind of depth from a web page.

    • There aren’t fake people in bookstores and museums? I’ve been hanging out in the wrong places!!

      • bookeater

        I think it’s more difficult to fake a mutual interest in many subjects than it is to fake being a different person or to fake being interested in a person. if you met someone who faked being interested in something you genuinely enjoy, wouldn’t the glaring proof be in the pudding?

        • I agree that it is probably easier to fake interests or fake being a different person altogether online. Although I do think that if you approach online dating as most would if they are taking it seriously (i.e. meeting someone in person after being, in a sense, introduced online) it would all funnel into a “proof in the pudding” situation.

    • Hagbard Celine

      There are a few online dating coaches that you can pay to give you advice on how/what to fill out I your profile.

    • marisheba

      Meh, I think that goes into the category of price-of-entry. It’s like Tim says–online dating is about MEETING people–generally lots of them–and each person is a cipher that more or less fits your on-paper parameters, you really have no idea if you’ll like them until you meet them, and generally for online dating to work well, the plan should be to meet many people.

      Sure, there are douchebags out there, and the occasional creep will slip through the sensors and make it to a meet-up…where they will completely crash and burn. So you don’s see them again. (And if you’re smart, you go into every first date with a backup escape plan in case they are actually unpleasant–though most people are quite nice even if you’re not interested in them).

      And all of that spontaneity and awkwardness that you talk about is just as likely to happen with someone you’ve met online as it is with someone you’ve met anywhere else. Or at least that’s been my experience. It’s why you don’t waste time corresponding online beyond establishing a mutual interest in meeting up–just go meet them already!

    • marisheba

      Meh, I think that goes into the category of price-of-entry. It’s like Tim says–online dating is about MEETING people–generally lots of them–and each person is a cipher that more or less fits your on-paper parameters, you really have no idea if you’ll like them until you meet them, and generally for online dating to work well, the plan should be to meet many people.

      Sure, there are douchebags out there, and the occasional creep will slip through the sensors and make it to a meet-up…where they will completely crash and burn. So you don’s see them again. (And if you’re smart, you go into every first date with a backup escape plan in case they are actually unpleasant–though most people are quite nice even if you’re not interested in them).

      And all of that spontaneity and awkwardness that you talk about is just as likely to happen with someone you’ve met online as it is with someone you’ve met anywhere else. Or at least that’s been my experience. It’s why you don’t waste time corresponding online beyond establishing a mutual interest in meeting up–just go meet them already!

  • d

    I think it’s a good thing, but also believe it should be re-framed to be thought of as Online Meeting People. I’ve tried it a few times (in so much as I made an online profile and exchanged a few messages) but the pressure to make it into something more as soon as possible was just too much for me. I need a LOOOOONG time before I can feel comfortable with someone to consider anything physical and as far as I can tell people want to either go straight to physical or are obsessed with long term relationship/marriage so they want to progress the getting to know you stage really fast.

    Also, I hope the future matching algorithms will be a lot more sophisticated and therefore make meeting the right person that much easier. Perhaps some sort of gentle counselling along the way wouldn’t go amiss. Like so many people I found myself being drawn to profiles of people who were way out of my league. That’s really disheartening. Maybe the future matching software will simply not even show us those people who wouldn’t even consider us in the first place, therefore saving everyone a lot of hurt feelings.

  • BillToronto

    I think MeetUp is the way to go. You start out with a common interest in a place that is usually not a bar or a church. Go from there. You can still have a dating profile and exchange that info if you want to use their algorithms to confirm or dispute your gut feelings about someone. The profiles are also good for getting a lot of difficult topics out in the open. But starting with the in person bit is key, I think.

  • Sarah

    I disagree with you all! Because I’m not sure that looking for a life partner is the best way to find one, or that we should feel there’s something missing in our lives if we don’t have a partner. The whole beauty of romance is it grows when you don’t expect it. Like friendship, of which it is but an extension, it should blossom spontaneously and naturally. If you want to meet new people, get on Twitter. I’ve met loads of new friends that way and I know people who’ve met their partners, but it happened naturally.

    • This is looking at a major part of life very passively. It would be great if everyone were just spontaneously romanced one day, but the reality of the situation is that some people would end up literally waiting an entire lifetime.

  • Pam Collins

    I think its a very good thing – but I am biased because its how I met the love of my life. He contacted me after I had almost given up looking (a year and a half of mis-matched/bad dates can take its toll), proposed to me a month after we met, and we have been happily married going on 11 years now. My advise to anyone dating online would be to meet the person as soon as possible – don’t drag it out online.

  • Dragos Alin Rotaru

    I think the truth is that we don’t know what qualities to look for in a romantic partner. Eli J. Finkel have some interest findings to support this.[1]
    One way to make matching more efficient could be by “taming the mammoth” and start interacting more with people everyday.


  • Zach

    And my age precludes me from participating in this discussion well. Darn

  • ClauBau

    It cannot be entirely good or bad, just like all those other online tools we’re using in our every day lives. And it should be regarded as nothing more than a tool to get you nose out in the open world of dating. It has its limits and I am glad I see a lot of people around me that are aware of those limitations. It can never replace meeting people in person.

    The tricky part of meeting people online is that it only broadens the pool of people to chose from but does not help too much with the actual choosing phase, or any other phase of builing a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the offline world cannot be deceiving, but I am rather certain that it will never be as deceiving as the online one is. What bothers me sometimes is the superficiality of our lives and online dating tends to encourage illusions. Nothing tears a heart apart worse than illusions.

    I have seen happy couples that met online and have several years of marriage/relationship already. It can work out pretty well, I’m sure. However, my point is, it can be really fun, nice to try out, once in a while, but it should definitely not be taken as an only option.

    One definitely needs to work on having a pretty good idea of what he/she is looking for before starting dating. Ideally, at least. Once you know, you’ll know where to look as well 🙂

  • Felipe

    I find that overall it’s a good thing. But I’d argue against sites like match.com simply because the premise is wrong. In my opinion love should happen organically, evolving from a friendship between two people that enjoy the other’s company. It shouldn’t be forced.

    Online meeting of people can happen in many ways (i.e Online Gaming, I’ve met many good friends and a couple of partners that way). I think that this way of doing it is far better for the relationship, since a life partner should also be your friend.

    I’m not saying anything against powerful bonds made through dating sites, but I do think that going into the site actively looking for a partner is not the best way to do it.

    • Greg

      How else would you approach online dating if you’re not doing onto the site actively looking for a partner?

  • Sheila

    I see it as another nail in the coffin of having social skills. People used to have a social life and were good at making new acquaintances in person. They often use the excuse “I’m too busy to meet people” but have copious amounts of time to browse profiles or play video games.

    On the other hand, as a midlife single mother, I’ve had three tries at online dating and each was a similar experience (and why I finally decided to delete my profile again). The men my age are more likely to try for younger women without children and the younger men pursued me for flings. Thanks, but I’m not desperate so online dating was a bust for me. Your chances are better if you’re young, attractive and don’t have “baggage.”

    • SaraNoH

      I wish guys my age would see that a woman his age is a good thing and not a bad one. I hope you find your perfect match, Sheila!

      • Jeremiah Stanley

        Speaking for myself, I don’t pay attention to age. I’m 35 and I find it hard to relate to people a decade younger so I have set my “search” accordingly. I have never felt more judged than when meeting women from around 35-43. Is this due to the “maturity gap” between men and women? I dunno. I do know that younger women tend to not have as many preconceived notions that I can trigger and wind up having a lame evening out. This is anecdotal at best I know – just wanted to say that not everybody is biased this way.

        • SaraNoH

          That’s refreshing, Jeremiah! I guess I can understand that a younger lady may less judgy. I think a single lady in her thirties is less likely to put up with something she doesn’t want than one in her twenties. We know ourselves better and know that we’re unlikely to change now.

          • Jeremiah Stanley

            I like Dan Savage’s advice in the matter: “There is no settling down without settling for.” As well as his corollary, “Not putting the lid back on the mayonnaise is the ‘price of admission’ to all the great parts about this person.” The idea that one person meets all of your needs is perhaps foolhardy. In my 20s I definitely tried hard to find that “magic person”. In my 30s, I want somebody who gives me the space to be me and uses their space in a way that I find welcoming. Adults date much differently than kids.

          • Marie

            When I was younger I would agree with everything just to be polite – now (34) I’m more likely to be myself and disagree rather than pretending to be something I’m not.

        • Maren

          So you’re saying that you don’t pay attention to age, but yet, you’re making a blanket statement about older women being more judgmental…? Why would that be the case?

  • SaraNoH

    I’m a 33 year old single woman (which seems to be the least appealing thing to a 33 year old man). I’ve been on eHarmony, Match, and even Christian Mingle and had pretty much the same results in each experience. Men 40 years and up are all over me. Men my age are seeking “22-28” girls. The age thing bugs me.

    Online sites are useful to find someone with similar interests and values who lives nearby. But it’s not at all useful to gauge chemistry. The last guy I dated turned out to be not The One. But by the time we’d actually met, we’d had weeks of online chatting and phone conversation and it felt like throwing something away to just quit after the first date revealed to me that I was not attracted to him. Our personalities clashed and he genuinely annoyed me. But I went out with him for two months because I’m old and our profiles were a really strong match.

    I think what needs to happen is that we see the person online, note some type of attraction, and then immediately meet to see if there’s chemistry. At least that’s what I’m doing next.

    • I think that’s the best thing to do! The profiles and online chemistry are never going to be able to match the subtleties of what make people a real match.

      • Hagbard Celine

        Very true, I’ve found a quick meeting for coffee preferable to weeks of emailing and calling.

    • Mya P.

      I disagree with the ‘immediately’ meeting someone from the internet. Really bad advice, especially for a woman. Take your time. Trust your gut. If at some point you feel a strong interest/compatibility and the person seems honest and real, then yes, arrange a meet. It doesn’t have to take weeks, and if it does that’s ok too.
      Why would you continue dating someone who you knew you were not attracted to and genuinely annoyed you? It shows you are willing to ignore your instincts, and that can lead to all kinds of drama.

      • SaraNoH

        Thanks for the encouragement.

      • Beckie Moriello

        People “from the internet” are no more likely to be dangerous than people “from the coffee shop”.

        • Mya P.

          People on the internet can easily be deceived and those looking to deceive take advantage of that. People sitting around at a coffee shop are usually there to have some coffee or do their homework. People on dating sites generally have different reasons for being there and many aren’t good.

      • Seth

        Mya, I’m interested in why you think a quick meetup is such a bad thing. I’m talking meeting someone for coffee or a quick happy hour drink, not an expensive dinner or other big production (which in my opinion puts too much pressure on a 1st date, especially one from the internet where you have no previous in-person contact). In my experience, there’s no way to tell whether you and your date have chemistry unless you meet in person, so why draw that process out? Meet up with them quickly and either you like each other (yay!) or you don’t and then you move on.

        • Mya P.

          @ Seth – I’m not talking about some big production, just meeting over coffee. And of course you can tell quite a bit about someone before meeting. Sometimes the first email, or phone call is all that is needed to know it’s not going to go further. I don’t need to meet them to know that. I don’t want to go meet some guy who ends up talking about himself the whole time, who never asks about me, or may end up just wanting to jump in bed and/or won’t take no for an answer. Dating sites are full of men who have less than good intentions and they hope to find people like SaraNoH up there who ignores common sense because she may be a bit desperate.

          You can find out quite a bit about someone by a combination of their profile, emails and phone conversations, at least enough to know if there is a reason to take it further. Other than the compatibility issue, there is the safety issue, especially for women. You are a guy, yes? Online dating is very different for women vs men. Women are much more at risk than a man for sexual violence especially meeting strangers from the internet. Then there’s the men who are married and lying about it – happens more often than you may realize.

          I’ve met a lot of people through dating sites over the years and have learned quite a bit about the process. I know what to look for and won’t waste my time or put myself in harms way just because someone isn’t willing to spend a little time beforehand. Oh, and never have alcohol when meeting a guy for the first time.

          There’s no rush. Take your time. Know what you want, listen and don’t settle.

          • Adam

            Mya, I’m interested to know how that’s worked for you, because I tried both approaches when I first started online dating. I found that talking for a long time online with someone built an idea in my head about who they were that just was not accurate when I met them in person. On the other side, when I would arrange to meet up with someone after one or two emails, my preconceived notions of who they were had not yet been formed, and it was easier to learn who they were. I also found that I got along much better with people I would meet up with soon after “meeting online” than people I had long drawn out exchanges with first. In fact, the only truly bad dates I ever had were with people that I had drawn out interactions with, to the point where if they insisted on that l would just file them under “not my type” and move on. Meeting in a public place for drinks never made any of my dates feel in danger, either. You have to approach this in a way you feel comfortable with, but because of my experiences and my friends experiences, I would not recommend trying to cultivate a relationship online first, but that’s why I wanted to know if this approach had been successful for you.

            • Mya P.

              @ Adam – Meeting someone after a couple emails, especially for a woman is not wise. I would never meet anyone before speaking on the phone first and I won’t rush to call them either. If there is a good vibe, a sense of honesty, compatibility and no major red flags, then yes, the next step would be a phone call, if that goes well, arrange a meeting.

              You said you formed an idea about who someone was based on extensive
              emails and were disappointed that they were not what you expected when you met. I’m
              not surprised since you only went by text on a screen. Words on a screen mean nothing without a live person to back them up. You have absolutely no idea who you are exchanging emails with. None. And again, being a guy, assuming you are, it’s a very different experience than for a woman. Women are bombarded with creeps online. Some are more upfront about their creepiness than others so you have to know what to look for. It’s not only about creeps, it’s interest. For instance, one guy I had an online conversation with seemed interesting, real and compatible and I wanted to know more, so I called him. He spoke for a solid hour about himself without barely taking a breath, never once asking about me. I felt like I should have sent him a bill at the end. That was enough for me to know I did not want to take it further. I called another guy who I was interested in after some emails, (he was in a rush to meet and said he’d rather not waste time on the phone) and he had to whisper the whole conversation because his girlfriend was in the other room. No thanks. Another guy who I was exchanging emails with and was getting close to calling, ended up having a wife he forgot to mention in our back and forths. I found out by his wife emailing me. She had logged onto his account and saw our exchanges. Another bullet dodged. Should I instead have just met these guys after a couple email exchanges? No. Have I had any good experiences? Yes, many. But only because I used common sense. You don’t have to ‘cultivate a relationship online’ before meeting. But using common sense and taking certain steps prevents a lot of unnecessary drama.

              Even if you’ve established someone is good, interesting and possibly a good match via emails, phone calls and/or video-chats, you really can’t get the full picture of who they are or how well you
              get along until you meet. You have to stay open and see where it goes. You have to
              consider there is the chance they will not be what you expect, sometimes
              they are better.

    • DeeDee Massey

      The age parameter thing bugs me too. This is not my optimal range, but just for example, what if I specify 35-55 and the person of my dreams is 34.267134658 years old? And they probably specified an age range that doesn’t include me, so if I were to initiate contact, they’d be like “Whatever.” Funny thing is, I tend to get approached in-person by people in a much younger (legal) age range.

  • Luis Cavaco

    I really don´t know much about online dating, but i think that people should be very sad and lonely to use that kind of services. I like this video about it:
    Lily and jackson dating in real life

    • SaraNoH

      So they should just stay sad and lonely?

    • The talk you’re linking to is very interesting, but I have to say that I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion you came to about it. I think it’s a little drastic to say that people who use these services are “very sad and lonely.” Like you see in the talk, online dating is just a much more data and logic driven approach to something that is usually seen through the rose colored glasses of romance and serendipity. I guess that may be very sad to some 🙂

    • Mya P.

      It’s just another tool for meeting people and very useful. You clearly don’t know much about it.

  • Danielle

    I think it is a great idea, for those who have patience on finding someone special. I dont like online dating options such as tinder – it basically give you a picture of someone that you find phisically attractive, and then you chat with this person, who lives a few miles away – Thats not the right way. But websites like eharmony were a good thing! (were, because at least here in Brazil, eharmony is offline)

    I remember that I was complaining about being single and my friend (who was making fun of my single-ness) asked me ‘well if you cant find anyone in real life, why dont you just join those dating-websites?’ – by that time she was making fun of me, but it was a rainy sunday and I thought: well, why not? – then I joined eharmony. I remember spending a REALLY LONG TIME to fill all those questions and etc that they ask you in the beggining, so they could find someone with the same interests and match you with this person, then you decide wether you talk to them or not.

    Lucky or not, in the first 24 hours, i met at least 6 nice guys, but one in special caught my attention: he happens to be someone i’ve been living with or almost a year now! I assume I entered the website with really low expectations, just to see how it would turn out, and it turned out that I’ve found someone really special, in less than a day! ha! how lucky!!

    As for him, he’s been using online dating for a while, like, he dated a lot of girls online and he was very dissapointed lots and lots of times. But he was persistent, then he’s happy with me now (at least he says so hahaha). Well, I believe that hanging out in bars never helped anyone. Most people ar drunk or interested in one-night-stand or some hottie and stuff. I believe online dating kinda “filter” those people. It actually matches you with people who actually have the same interests – of course sometimes the chemistry doesnt happen – but sometimes is does!! It gets much more easier when you already have lots of things in common!!

  • marisheba

    I have long thought of online dating as the fully-adult equivalent of meeting people at college parties.

    The online part, when you’re looking around at all of the profiles, messaging each other, and deciding who to actually meet? That’s like scanning the room at the party to see if anyone looks interesting.*

    The first meetup in online dating (I hesitate to call the first time a date) is like when you walk up to that interesting person and strike up a conversation. You’re basically testing for chemistry, both in terms of attraction, but also conversation and personality.

    If the chemistry is mutual, you’ll probably find some way or other to continue the acquaintance and see where it goes from there. At this point, online dating syncs up completely with real-world dating, except that it is WAY LESS AWKWARD. When you have mutual chemistry in real life, you have to negotiate figuring out if you’re both single and looking, and there’s this whole dance where you have to both indicate your interest and someone has to be brave and make a move. In online dating, none of this is necessary! You’ve both put out there more or less what you’re looking for. So if the chemistry’s there, continuing the acquaintance is the easiest thing ever. If there’s not, no biggie. If there is but it’s only one-way, that sucks and there’s a bit of awkwardness and rejection involved, but everyone deals with it and moves on quickly to the next person.

    All of this means that one of the really big keys to online dating is not wasting a lot of time in the online part. You really know basically nothing about the person until you meet them in person, not even if you’ll find them attractive, let alone have chemistry; so don’t give your brain a chance to fill in the blanks with a fantasy person. If someone looks interesting, go meet them right away if they’re up for it.

    The only downside of online dating in my mind (as long as you follow the advice in the above paragraph) is that it takes a lot of social energy to meet people. It’s not something I can do all of the time. And the last two relationships I’ve been in have started when I’ve met real world people while in a phase where I didn’t have the energy for online dating, so go figure. But when I’ve been up for online dating, it’s been great.

    *At this stage you’re really just guessing, but it’s educated guessing.
    And you’re most likely ruling out most people you see based on what you
    find attractive and your people-reading abilities. As a bonus, in online
    dating, it’s as if for every person that looks interesting, you’ve got a
    friend who kind of knows them a little bit, and can tell you things
    about them that will confirm the interest, or let you know you should
    skip this one. But no matter how interesting someone looks from afar,
    and no matter how interesting their biography, you’re still going to
    want to meet them before you decide anything else.

  • Douglas

    I don’t mind people who use it but I honestly dont think its a good thing. I think a relationship should start by person to person, face to face, in real life. This way we can develope a more deep relationship in which we can understand the other side better, In my opinion online dating seems like a shallow way to actually find a partner since we can only communicate with a computer screen instead of a more personal setting like real life. Also in my views online dating seems like a “I’m gonna look at this persons face and if they are not attractive enough its a pass” type system. Either way I don’t mind online dating becoming popular, Its just that I’m not going to use it.

  • Geertje89

    I met my partner of 4 years on OkCupid. We sent messages back and forth for quite some time before actually meeting in person. I like to get to know someone well before I open up to them, whether that is by talking in person or online. What I like about online dating, is that most people you find on dating sites are actually looking for a relationship (or you can filter the rest out quite easily based on their profiles – or by what you put on your own profile). Also, you have access to more people than you would meet in real life, so also more people you share interests and values with.

    I am an introverted person, and in real life it is harder for me to start a conversation with someone I might be interested in than it is online. When I decided I wanted to start dating I roughly imagined what kind of person I was looking for, and where I would be most likely to find that person. That place was online, because I was looking for someone who, like me, did not feel the need to be involved in social activities much outside work, someone who’s hobbies would include reading and gaming. Without OkCupid, by partner and I would probably never have met. Today, it is not important at all anymore to us how we met, what counts is that we’re together now.

    The things about online dating that I dislike, are things that happen offline as well: people judging solely based on appearance, people having ridiculously long lists of demands for potential lovers, et cetera.

  • Pepperice

    I think it’s positive. But I also think there are far too many hurdles in the way for it to work properly at the moment, which is why so many people have bad experiences (especially women, it seems – anecdata not hard evidence here). Here’s why:

    1. Firstly, just like in the article “How to pick your life partner”, people are generally bad at knowing what they want from relationships. Online dating currently hasn’t done a lot to address this. Profiles still have spaces for the superficial things. Height. Eye colour. Job. Music taste, movies, hobbies in general. Those things are useful to know, but they’re misleading in terms of how compatible you are with someone. What OLD should really establish is the kind of dealbreaking stuff: Do you want children, are you a cat or dog person, a late or early person, tidy or messy, loud or quiet, which condiments are appropriate to keep in the fridge? (And obviously the more serious stuff like political views, etc, but I’m being serious about the condiments.) Some of them are trying to address things like this, I think this is what OK Cupid tried to do with their quiz format, although letting people add their own quizzes just sort of degenerated until every quiz seems to be about some aspect of sexual preference or bigotry, which is nice. Anyway, rambling.

    2. (The big issue.) There is another billion-dollar industry which totally conflicts with the idea of finding your perfect match, which is the general spectrum I will call “rules for dating”. Whether this manifests itself in pick-up artists like Julien Blanc, books like “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” and “The Rules”, Cosmo et al’s articles of “10 worst things to do on a first date” or basically anything which professes to increase confidence in speaking to the opposite sex, translating the “language” of the opposite sex (hint: You’re speaking the same language. HTH.) or making your dates more successful. Just… stop! All of these things are terrible and destructive to actual relationship building. Why? Because they make massive assumptions. All of these guides make the assumption that women are after marriage, children, commitment and lots of fluffy shows of “romance”. Whereas all men are after sex. Cheap sex, quick sex, lots of sex. Bam. And a sammich. Not only is it heteronormative, gender constricting crap, it encourages terrible dating behaviour. Women who want marriage and babies are advised to wait and wait and wait and wait and wheedle forever because men “don’t mature” until later, no man ever admits that he wants marriage or children. Which just blatantly isn’t true. If you want marriage and children, be upfront about that. Surprisingly, some men even want this too, being individuals and all that. Likewise, men who want casual sex are advised that women don’t want casual sex ever, and so it must be tricked out of them with declarations of love, romantic gestures and promises of longevity that they don’t intend to fulfil. Conversely, if you’re a woman after casual sex? Nope, can’t do that, he’ll think you’re a slut and be disgusted by you. Man after babies and children? Don’t be upfront about that because she’ll think you’re creepy, and run away screaming. And of course the fact that most people have extremely varied interests and preferences and are dating for reasons other than and/or in addition to wanting marriage or sex.

    These kind of manuals (and the general principles which sneak into general consciousness and provide common ideas about dating) promise that you will get what you want if you behave in a certain way, look a certain way, say certain things. They warn that being yourself is a terrible idea which will just put the prospective partner off you. (Gee, thanks!) The result is that people hold back and try to behave in this “perfect” way when on dates. They avoid certain topics of conversation, believing that part of themselves to be so unattractive that it might put the person off. People conduct entire relationships based on these kinds of lies or falsities. Of course, once you’re relaxed in the relationship itself, this all falls apart, because you can’t keep up that kind of pretence for long. So the relationship ends and people conclude that it’s because they’re terrible at relationships. That’s not necessarily the case, but you’re looking at the wrong things. If I went into a shop and looked at food processors, and the salesperson told me about all of the features that I want, the right blades, the right size dish, easy to clean, a nice colour in my kitchen etc, it’s all perfect. I buy it and get it home and open the box and put it in my kitchen. I put some food into it and it mangles it all up and makes a cacaphonous sound. I look at the box again and I realise that I haven’t bought a food processor at all, I’ve bought a stereo. It has good sound quality and takes all kinds of media input and outputs to anything you want, but I didn’t want a stereo, I wanted a food processor (let’s just pretend this is massively in the future and the design of the two things is really similar or something.) Relationships played to any set of so-called universal rules are like this, except the person keeps trying to convince you that they are a food processor and keeps trying to turn your food into music rather than just saying “Maybe we’re not so well suited, I’d rather find someone with some MP3s and a large CD collection.” while you starve to death because you keep jamming your food into a tape deck. (Fool.)

    All of the things which we think are unattractive will have some kind of counterpart to them somewhere. Maybe you’re always late – well, another person who is late might appreciate that because you don’t expect them to always be on time. Or you clip your toenails and leave them on the floor. One person might not mind that because they vacuum daily anyway and anyway it means you can’t complain about them using a new cup every time they get another drink. Being interested in something “lame” like online video games, or stamp collecting = a great way to get to know someone who happens to share your interest, or a guaranteed period of time regularly where they get to indulge their own solitary and not-interesting-to-anyone-else hobby. You feel insecure and appreciate regular text messages? Find someone who likes to text constantly. Feel suffocated by too much contact when you’re apart? Find someone who also likes their independence.

    I can see why the idea of set “rules” for dating might have been useful in the past, when people were forced to only date people they had accidentally met in person, because they make relationships appear more harmonious than they actually are, at least until you’re married (and in the old days, then it was too late). But this is the kind of thing that OLD was (should have been!) made to avoid, IMO.

    3. So. You get a bunch of people who are following the “rules for dating”, throwing at you everything they think you want to hear, and sometimes that rings true. You’re not really aware of red/green flags for what a good potential relationship looks like, mostly because in general people haven’t been doing that for long enough to figure out mostly accepted rules, and have those assimilated into general knowledge like “rules for dating” are currently. The people who might have been a good match for you are also being played by these games and/or playing them themselves, presenting some kind of stereo-perfect version of themselves when really you want a food processor. You can’t see who is a stereo and who is a food processor because their profile is full of irrelevant details like what voltage they are and what different colours you can order the faceplate in. Likewise, you haven’t put on your profile that you’re looking for someone who can mince up your food on X, Y and Z setting but just that you want something which matches your kitchen and something that has several speeds. It’s a total mess, currently.

    4. If people started being honest it would mean you could have totally separate dating sites for those looking for potential long term relationships and those looking for casual hook ups. This split is starting a bit, but it’s not completely happened yet, mainly because of those pervasive “rules for dating” kind of myths. So dating sites are riddled with men saying they are looking for long term relationships when really they want a casual hook up and they will drop you like a rock when they’ve got it. (Again, it does seem to be worse for women in this respect but that’s anecdotal.) Dating sites are also not very good at having policies which address this meaning that the same bloke can stick around on a long term dating site, showing all the right things and convincing women in succession that he’s definitely interested in a relationship and then jumping right back on the site when he gets bored. That’s a bit of an idealogical argument there, and of course you couldn’t judge every separate user by strict criteria, but there should be a higher bar for pisstakers, perhaps. (This is a bit moot because I have no idea how you’d go about policing it, TBH.)

    In conclusion, I think OLD is great but at the moment it’s not being used in the most effective way, but it could be quite easily, and I’ll be interested to see how it evolves.

    • marisheba

      I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said, and I know plenty of people who have had bad experiences with online dating for some of the reasons you suggest.

      But I’ve had good experiences (only tried OK Cupid), and I think it’s because I’m as much myself online as I am in person. I put myself out there in a limited but sincere way, and don’t curate my profile for what I think “they” are looking for, and so the people that respond are people that resonates with. For example, my profile was really long, and my friends would advise me to make it short and punchy. I was like, well, I talk a lot, and I’m sure some people will be fine with a long profile–and plenty of people were. And sorting the people with genuine interest from the people playing a numbers game to try to get laid as quickly as possible was also really easy.

      Granted it’s been a few years since I’ve used it, so maybe I got in before the quizzes and matching part went downhill, but I think the problems you suggest are real, but it’s relatively easy to avoid them as well.

    • wobster109

      You’re a brilliant writer! This was such a pleasure to read.

      • Pepperice

        Ha! *deep blush* thanks 🙂

  • LC

    After meeting a series of very strange individuals online, I was all but ready to give up on it. I had been posted overseas for a three month work contract and was just about to fly home when a boy I had “matched up” with previously, posted selfie on Tinder that I felt the need to comment on. We began talking online and quickly connected. We met up fleetingly, the day before I flew out. I admittedly didn’t think much of it at the time, plus in my head I saw it as a dead end scenario as I was leaving the country.

    Tinder in particular I find to be particularly flippant. I suppose because the whole act of matching up with people on it is such a casual business that people seem to treat any sort of relationship that is formed on it as disposable. I had regularly gone out with boys I’d met through it, had a great time and then never heard from them again. Yet it didn’t bother me as much as it would if I were to encounter the same scenario with someone I had met in the flesh. It struck me as yet another game-based app you could download onto your phone. I never expected something tangible to come out of it.

    In this particular circumstance, the boy and I kept talking, despite the fact I had left the country with no plans to come back. I met him back in mid-August and we have messaged each other pretty much every day since. I completely adore him and as frustrating as our long-distance relationship can be, it’s comforting to know he is only a text message or Skype call away.

    It scares me how close I came to not meeting him, because I used to follow a stupid rule of not being the first to talk to people online. I agree with Tim; if you want to find the right life partner, you need to explore all your options and keep an open mind. Even if my current scenario never eventuates into anything, I got to meet someone completely awesome, who I know without any doubt likes me for my personality and that’s worth everything in itself.

    Whoever thought you could be grateful to Tinder?! But, there you go!

  • Gary Hewitt

    I think the “the 19,000 marriages between 2005 and 2012” should be “a sample of 19,000 marriages between 2005 and 2012” –

  • DailySuicide

    When there is a paradox of choice and an ability to hyper-optimize meet a large problem emerges: It seems we do not know ourselves quite as well as we think we do. The evasive cliche is true, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

  • maxkubert

    I think there are two questions: 1, is “online dating” a good thing or a bad thing specifically for the individual doing it? And 2, is online dating a good thing or a bad thing for us all as a whole, whether you’re doing it or not?

    For #2, I think you need to consider whether online dating–or even technology in general–is changing the way we think about/approach/regard dating and love? Not to be corny, but is online dating making it so easy to meet new people that the old school idea of dating is going away and becoming less subtle/exciting/curious?

    For example, if you have the slightest doubt about someone, you can easily just end the date, go home, log in and find someone else. Is that a good thing, or is it degrading the dating scene? (could be different between age groups, or cities vs. towns, or gay vs. straight)

    • Hagbard Celine

      I think you are very right, I think online dating tends to make people more shallow.

  • Jay Kay

    well, hmm. My answer is I have none… I wanted a partner who likes to ski, race cars, and hike, just not all at the same time. So going to these types of events with groups (ski clubs, sierra club, PCA, BWMCCA…) exposed me to people who liked to do it… from there it was as easy (or nerve-racking) as asking out the pretty girl from one of those events.

    Old-fashioned, maybe. Still effective.
    I meet my wife on a ski trip. Got married on a ski lift in Telluride. Our first date was hiking (I was on state-paid vacation between jobs for a month at that point) and our second date was a track event.

    Do you need a computer to match you up?
    Well, maybe. Or you can just do the things you like with a group of strangers and try to find someone along the way.

    Your choice.

  • Valley Guy

    In the “good old days” when people were born, grew up, and lived their lives in the same town or city surrounded by friends and family, there were lots of opportunities to meet people (including the ones your mother and your aunts found for you). The people you went to school with, your neighbors, the members of your church or synagogue or whatever, friends of friends and coworkers were large overlapping pools of potential mates. But now we move as kids and as adults and we lose easy access to such pools — and the pools shrink as those “fish” swim away, too.
    Our son met and married a wonderful woman through an on-line service, so sometimes it works.

  • DeeDee Massey

    My full response would be too lengthy and is best expressed in a venture I currently have underway with a business partner. We’ve assembled a business plan for an introduction service which we hope will avoid the down-side of current “online dating” systems and pick up where they fail in relationship cultivation. I’m not going to push my business here, of course, but as always I will find everyone’s input very interesting for business development as well as my personal edification.

    My pie slice response: I prefer to meet people while doing the things I love, busy being the kind of awesome person I’d like to attract. If we become aware of each other digitally, fine, but I’m not going to submit my entire physical and psychological profile into a database, nor am I interested in inputting some idealized parameters into it and hope it returns the data set that includes the right person for me to find after hours of scouring through profiles.

    I understand other’s reasons for using relationship-focused websites, but in their current design those systems are not for me. That is why I would like to be a part of the evolution of technology-enabled relationship-building.

    • Tam

      I’m not sure I understand the distinction–what’s the difference between relationship-focused websites and technology-enabled relationship building?

      • DeeDee Massey

        I used the terms “relationship-focused” just to avoid the repetition of “online dating” websites, as they are popularly known. Technically, Tim’s right that current “dating” doesn’t actually occur on “online dating” websites, but that’s what the industry is called. My business partner and I like to refer to our business as “technology-enabled relationship building.” The future of the relationship industry, and what I hope our business will excel in, is helping people to build their relationships on- and off-line. Technology will enable a lot of it, but no “dating” will occur online. I can’t go into many details about our business model yet, but no introductions will happen online either. For the most part people will still “meet” and “date” in person.

  • Michael

    I want to like online dating because I agree with all of you about the possibility of decision making being more rational, but there needs to be a way for it to feel less like job hunting. Creating an online profile designed to highlight your appealing qualities is not all that different from creating a resume designed to highlight your skills and experience, when you think about it. It’s all superficial, artificial, and no fun. And the time spent on online dating takes away from the time you could spend pursuing a hobby and thus making yourself a more interesting person, who is more worth dating. And you can meet people with similar interests in the process of pursuing those hobbies!

    • grooks

      Even if people are trying to represent themselves honestly, they must understand how futile the endeavor really is. It’s much easier to allow it to happen in real time. I understand that these services do produce functional and fulfilling relationships, but who clicks through faces on a screen, stops on one, reads a short blurb and gets that funny feeling all of a sudden?

      • DeeDee Massey

        The so-called “love at first site” phenomenon can emerge from the intrigue generated by an electronic persona, just like it does in person. But when the bulk of a couple’s interaction is through the filter of a computer screen, their negative sides and their lack of compatibility are obscured. They “fall in love” with an image, or the idea of the person even more “blindly” than love tends to be. Although more and more people are meeting online (which doesn’t just include online dating sites, but social media and game forums, etc.), the failure rate is higher for relationships initiated via online dating sites than through other means. The statistics vary depending on the data sources, but in general I’ve found it challenging to come by solid statistics and metrics in that industry.

        • grooks

          That a projected, polished image of a person can easily captivate another more honest person isn’t something we should cultivate or profit from in our culture. On that note, I wouldn’t equate your words, “love at first sight,” with my phrase, “that funny feeling.” As misleading as either intuition can be, they are still important indicators for mindful, earnest people just trying to find someone to love. In any case, “that funny feeling” is not a powerful instant attraction, but more a gut-wrenching presence to be reckoned with. Or, to paraphrase Rilke, “the beginning of love is terror.”

        • grooks

          That a projected, polished image of a person can easily captivate another more honest person isn’t something we should cultivate or profit from in our culture. On that note, I wouldn’t equate your words, “love at first sight,” with my phrase, “that funny feeling.” As misleading as either intuition can be, they are still important indicators for mindful, earnest people just trying to find someone to love. In any case, “that funny feeling” is not a powerful instant attraction, but more a gut-wrenching presence to be reckoned with. Or, to paraphrase Rilke, “the beginning of love is terror.”

    • Rodrigo Gomes

      Agree with the “profile-selling” stuff. People these days are experts in crafting their own image and look like super-wonderful-peope-with-awesome-lives, then the dating sites become a competition of who has the greatest profile to show. Therefore, someone who is only trying to be him(her)self cannot keep up with the others and may become invisible.

      But… even with this major flaw, meeting people online is not a tool to be discarded. It is some kind of necessary evil.

      You talk about meeting people while practising hobbies, but not all hobbies enable you to meet people… some of them are lonely hobbies, other are cultivated by most people of a single gender, or simply you go to a place where there is no one with a compatible profile.

  • M

    The biggest obstacle to online dating’s success, in my opinion, is definitely stigma. While I personally don’t feel ashamed about exploring my options using these tools, I do wonder about the types of people online dating attracts and if I’m choosing from a decent pool. Maybe quality mates don’t have to ‘resort’ to looking online.

    I hope someday it will be normalized enough so I won’t have to worry that the only people who use it are a bunch of weirdos. I’ve already seen a shift with swiping apps such as Tinder, as most of my single mid-twenties friends have tried it at least once. Swiping apps seem to carry less stigma, for a few reasons. Creating a profile requires minimal effort, scanning through each profile takes less than a second, linking to Facebook profiles makes the people seem more legitimate, etc, which have increased the proportion of singletons using the app, thus normalizing it somewhat.

  • SiliconScribe

    I met my, now ex, wife using on line dating and despite the “ex” part. I would say it was a very positive experience… and we have a bat-shit-crazy story behind it. Even today we love to tell this story. I just graduated college and didn’t have much luck dating at University so I thought I would give on-line it a try. (this was in 1989, don’t recall the site). So I set up my profile, as you do, stating all these qualities I knew I wanted in a partner and was specific that I wanted to meet someone within 30 miles of where I was living (then Tempe, AZ). The very FIRST response I got was from my future wife… Only, she was British and currently living in ENGLAND! – We both chatted though ICQ (remember that?) and thought it funny how poorly the matching was, but there was a spark between us so we agreed to continue to “chat” – A month later the “chats” become phone calls, and the phone calls became daily and then one day she said “I booked a flight to come to America.” – She flew out and never went home. We were married 9 months after our first ICQ chat.

    We now have 2 lovely children, we traveled the world, lived in both our home countries and still generally like each other. A few years back we agreed that our marriage just wasn’t working out and that spark from 12 years ago was no longer there. We tried to make things work for a year but in the end, we felt it better to have a good divorce verses a bad marriage and thus parted as best we could. We have our children as a reminder of the best part of our marriage and honor them and that.

    I will be trying on-line dating again and I will leave myself open to the possibilities. However, my marriage did teach me that there will be some “deal breakers” this time and this is based on things I know just didn’t work between my ex and I. Fitness and Family. Looks over all don’t bother me that much but “heavy” does and I want to share my love of outside fitness activities with my partner. Running, Hiking, Skiing, Swimming, adventure vacations etc… The less physically active and fit someone is the less this is possible. And family, I need someone who believes my family is JUST as important as hers. (you pretty much know what I mean).

  • KarmaBum

    I’ve dabbled in it, and I have to say, I REALLY love the data provided by sites like OKCupid. I’m an analytical person at heart, and it is great to be able to see where people stand on certain important topics and how their opinions/habits differ from my own. Obviously, the real KEY here is to meet someone in person, but it is great to be able to weed out some of the “mismatches” before even getting to that level… and it is especially great for an introvert like myself.

  • Both thumbs (or flippers) up to the first two responses I read. 100% agreed, Tim and SaraNoH.

    As far as I can tell, online dating is the best way to look at a very large pond, to find a fish worth meeting. A couple of email exchanges, telephone conversations and that all-important meeting, when put together right, are really a quick, easy and relatively painless way for both of you to find out whether you’re, together, a spectacular school in the making or simply a couple of cold fish.

    Honestly, if the world weren’t so full of fish in the sea, there’d be absolutely no reason for it, there’d be no reason to teleport ourselves electronically into the various seaweed patches dotting our ponds…

    But the world is full of fish, and love wouldn’t be nearly so precious if it could just “happen” with anyone. I like the fact that my odds are so horrible…finding one’s ideal swimming partner should be a seriously serious sort of thing…and I’ll take all the help I can get.

  • Tracey G.

    Hmmm…I’m of two minds, here. On the one hand, I do think that online dating has provided a great platform to meet people who may not otherwise cross your path. It has provided a wider pool of potential mates, and I think it’s a great medium through which to step outside one’s comfort zone to explore compatibility from much broader angles in a less emotionally risky way. On the other hand, I think online dating has also made people less satisfied with what they have or could have with a partner. There is an endless supply of virtual options available across the many dating sites available online. I think this constant supply–a buffet of options, if you will–has led to exhaustive browsing by many who use these services. If those who use the service are genuine about their desire to actually meet someone and not just meet anyone, I do think that online dating can provide a solid pool, but I also think it comes with a ‘user-beware’ caveat.

  • Andy C

    I think online dating is a great thing, but not necessarily for the normal reasons. A little history: I met my previous girlfriend online and have gone on about 10-15 dates via online dating (mostly OK Cupid and Tinder). As someone who grew up a bit more on the shy and nerdy end of the spectrum (math team member), it was great to have a no pressure situation to try out conversation openers, small talk, and learn how to talk about myself without boring or coming across as arrogant and that was before even leaving the safety of online chatting. Tinder was especially good for trying out approaches and lines without the awkwardness of something falling flat in person.

    My comfort level with women in a dating and social situation was through the roof after meeting girls in a very low pressure situation. The odds of me seeing any of these girls again by chance was slim to none. I can safety say I would not be dating my current girlfriend without the confidence I gained on my online dating, even though I met through a completely random “organic” situation.

  • Joshua Warhurst

    When people criticize online dating*, I often feel as if most of the criticisms apply to in-person dating as well. Many people decide to act differently than they are. People choose others based on looks and other “superficial” criteria. Some people are really weird. Some people make incredibly inappropriate comments. The only real difference between the two is that in online dating, you’re sure people are looking for someone to date.

    Online dating is part of the continuous human movement of making things easier and more connected. Now if you live in the middle of nowhere, and the next town is 30 minutes away (yours truly), it’s still possible to find if people in nearby towns are looking to date. Or, if you’re a foreigner in a country, and you’re looking to date others in that country that come from your culture, you’re in luck. Or, if you’re gay, or any other group where finding partners can be tough. Online dating widens the pool and makes the initial interactions less awkward since you know the other person is looking for some level of companionship from the get-go.

    Thankfully, online dating now is less stigmatized than it used to be. I imagine, as everyone else, that this stigma will continue to disappear.

    Anyways, it’s just an option. Nobody’s forced to do it. Nor is anyone forced to only do it. Why not look for people both online and offline (aside from the fact it takes effort)?

    *meeting people on an internet dating website

  • I met with my boyfriend online, about 2,5 years ago and we just got partnered. 🙂 We are moving together in a few months and I am the happiest man in the world.

    I have also met my ex online, which lasted for 6 years. We have a lot of good memories, but it just didn’t go on forever. This has nothing to do with the fact that we met online.

    With the people I met offline in between I just had one nighters.

  • James Noyes

    There are 3 very different types of online dating that warrant separate discussion.

    1. Traditional online dating, in the match.com/eharmony/okcupid sense of meeting someone to date for the long term. I think this is extremely positive for society.

    It seems insane that love is something you are just supposed to “happen upon” as if it were destiny, and that any amount of planning or strategy in the process of falling in love is counter to the point. It just doesn’t make sense. My anecdotal experience supports this: almost everyone I’ve met who has gotten married from someone they met through an online dating site is happier and less divorced than those who did it “the old fashioned way.” Online dating helps you cut through the bullshit and maximize your chances of finding someone who is genuinely a great match for you.

    2. Online hook-up services, ala Tinder. I am undecided on these.

    It is totally fine for people to want have an easy, no-strings-attached hook-up. Therefore I should, in principal, have no problem with something like Tinder. In practice, I worry about it overly-emphasizing instant sexual gratification over the building of meaningful relationships in our society. The potential negative consequences are

    A) Traditional dating relationships, and the emotional support they provide, becoming less common.

    B) Even more increased exposure to STDs than we already have.

    C) Increase in sexual assaults as a result of one user thinking they are entitled to have sex with the people they meet through the service.

    But, there are valid arguments for why services like Tinder have the opposite effect of these potential consequences, which is why I am undecided.

    3. Online adultery services like Ashley Madison. I am fully against Ashley Madison as I see it having a purely negative effect on society.

    When people log into Ashley Madison they should be given a list of recommended marriage counselors in the area and sites on what to do if you are unsatisfied with your spouse. But Ashley Madison instead enables adultery, which is not only a very dishonest act in and of itself, but has destructive consequences on the family members (and possibly close friends) of the adulterers.

  • BeSeven

    I met my husband in a Yahoo group in 2001. We married that same year. At the time, I lived in Philadelphia and he lived in Dallas. I don’t think we would ever have met were it not for the Internet. We’ve been very happy for 13 years, and there is one pretty awesome kid who would not exist without the Internet.

  • Marie

    I think it’s a good idea that has a long way to go – I didn’t enjoy feeling like I was auditioning for a role or trying to sell a property. But maybe I will give it another go.

  • Melisa

    I have met and dated guys on OkCupid, and even stayed with one for 2.5 years. I currently have friends who are using OkCupid and other similar sites, and their experiences vary from poor (a constant string of bad matches who ‘looked good on paper’) to great (happily married and no evidence of that ever changing). I’m also interested in dating at the moment, but not necessarily via an online site. This is because I noticed that meeting someone on OkCupid wasn’t really ‘me’ meeting ‘someone else’, but rather ‘my profile’ meeting ‘someone else’s profile’–which didn’t always seem fair. Sometimes someone wasn’t good at coming up with a stellar profile, and I’d pass up what might have been a good match based on a poorly written profile, or, on the other end of the spectrum, sometimes someone seemed like they were trying too hard, and I’d skip over them in favor of the many others who were more middle-of-the-road. (I would also systematically delete messages that consisted entirely of short, meaningless sentiments like ‘You’re hot.’) Though I found the in-between profiles to be the most attractive, I would meet the people behind them, and there wouldn’t be any spark. I started having a routine when I went on OkCupid dates–let the guy talk about himself, then talk about myself, then end the evening without making further plans; or if they tried to make further plans, explain to them that they seemed nice but I wasn’t feeling it (I would write them later to say this, if this wasn’t stated during our ‘date’). I wondered if I was being too picky, or if I was bad at filtering (I tended to meet up with any guy whose profile was not over-eager or under-written or gross, because I figured I should give anyone who was willing to take the step of asking a girl out, a chance). I ended up with something like ‘dating fatigue’, which felt counter-productive to wanting to simply hang out with someone cool, smart, and funny. Everyone wants to hang out with someone like that, right? Maybe that’s the problem–everyone wants everyone else to be that person, but isn’t that person themselves. Or at least, can’t be that person on a nervous first date. Or, maybe there IS something to be said for the elusive Spark. At any rate, I decided I preferred the idea of getting to know someone the old fashioned way–being out and about (not necessarily at a bar), noticing someone that seems interesting/attractive, and trying to strike up a conversation with them. It seems like a slower process, but then again it took me three months to meet a person on OkCupid whom I stayed with for 2.5 years. I wonder–if I actively tried to strike up conversations all over the city for 3 months (I live in one of the most populous cities in the U.S., so that factors in), would I end up meeting someone new that I could stay with for a while or forever?

    As for what dating sites of the future would look like, I think it would be great if they had well-done videos of each participant instead of (or in addition to) a written profile. Sure, they would still represent a ‘groomed’ version of the real person, but at least you’d stand a better chance of having people ‘show’ more of themselves rather then ‘tell.’ Maybe you’d have to pay a little more for the service, and maybe the dating site would have to do extra research into what puts people at ease and how to get people to reveal their best selves comfortably on camera, but it seems like a more efficient way to give a seeker a sense of someone before meeting up with them in person.

    • Lindsay Brownell

      I think your idea of videos is the most immediate and simplest way to make online dating much more authentic and worthwhile. Kudos!

    • DarkEnergy

      Would you mind checking out my profile? Rules for dating a car guy
      You don’t have to. I’d appreciate any constructive criticism. I’ve been online dating for a couple years now and haven’t had anything beyond a few short conversations. I wonder if I’m doing it wrong.

      • Melisa

        Sure. Though I have to admit, I hesitated because you asked outright with no prior explanation, and part of me was suspicious…. However, after glancing at your profile, I get the sense that you’re probably genuinely interested in what it might be saying about you. So here goes.

        The only things I would suggest (without knowing you) would be to take out the first sentence of the very first paragraph, and also the entire third paragraph. Reasons being: imagine if you read a girl’s profile that started off with “I’m not high-maintenance.” It might be true, but it subconsciously causes the reader to think that this person has had issues with this somehow, in some way, in the past. Put another way, why highlight this attribute right off the bat when most think of it as (or hope for it to be) a given? As for the third paragraph, presumably you are on the site because you want to talk to people, and those who will want to get in touch with you will do it without needing prompting. The rest of the profile seems to do a pretty decent job of summarizing what you’re like and what you enjoy doing.

        Hope that helps?

        • DarkEnergy

          Thanks. I took your advice and made some changes. The idea behind saying “Whoever’s reading this, I’d like to talk to you” is: maybe the person looking at my profile isn’t interested in dating me. Ok, maybe they wouldn’t mind sending me a quick message and we could have a pleasant short chat. I want to live in a world where strangers can simply be amicable to each other without having to make long term commitments (if they want).

  • Cara

    One problem is that online dating gives the impression of infinite options. It’s easy to reject someone for a benign reason (maybe they have a funny habit or wear t-shirts that are too big), because the enormity of selection makes it seem as though the options are limitless. Even with limitless options, no human is perfect, and no relationship without turmoil. Let’s not forget that this billion dollar industry thrives when people are actively dating. If they became *too* effective and allowed you to find your perfect match in a single day, they would quickly drive themselves out of business. They do best when you keep returning to the dating pool, when you keep asking, “what else is out there?”

    That point made, I am a big fan of “online meeting people,” I just wanted to chime in that, in my opinion, half of a relationship is finding the right person, the other half is dedication, loyalty, and commitment. Let’s not forgo the latter in favor of perfecting the former.

    • Rodrigo Gomes

      This is a good point I have not thought of. The seeimgly unlimited options can cause those effects: (1) The one you just described, which I would call “The Husband Store Effect” (Standard online dating site reviews 2015 uk), and (2): Someone that is formerly searching for a long-term relationship could change his mind like “Why stick with ONE person if there is this constant flow of brand new dates to enjoy without dealing with the complexities of a relationship?” – if that guy was a potential good match for someone, I am sorry, but he got lost in the dark forever 🙂

      • Pepperice

        For the second, I say meh. If they prefer that to a long term relationship then maybe that’s not a bad thing that they have the option? Dating can be fun rather than a means to an end. Clearly if that guy likes serial dating, then he wasn’t a good match for someone who wants a settled LTR anyway.

  • Carol T

    Maybe I’m too old fashioned, but the whole online meeting/dating thing scares the hell out of me. I need to physically look someone in the eye before I can give them the time of day. Pictures and profiles can’t tell you what someone’s eyes can.

    • Mya P.

      No it can’t and you are smart to be cautious.

  • Robin

    I worked in a relationship research lab for a bit, and I think both the work and the researchers in this field unanimously agree that online dating is a good thing because, as Tim said, it gives you the ability to meet more people who you can then later date “in real life.” The algorithms and other match indicators are effectively meaningless in terms of predicting chemistry/compatibility (though there is certainly new technology working to combat this deficiency), but online dating is very effective in expanding one’s dating pool. When online dates are approached with the same feelings and expectations as dates you meet in real life, it’s a really great *resource* to use in conjunction with the in-person dating you are already doing.

  • DeeDee Massey

    I think we should conduct a secondary poll and get a sub-pie on how many people logged on to their dating website to creep Tim after reading this topic.

  • nielmalan

    I don’t like online dating for the same reason I don’t like dating in real life: It’s an exercise in judging people.
    But I do think online dating makes this a much more efficient process.

  • Krattz

    In my opinion the problem with dating in general nowadays is people don’t seem to take time to make actual lasting connections before jumping into marriage. they have some minor thing in common and then try to base the whole relationship off that not realising that beyond it they are very different people (well, they realise *eventually* but by then its a much bigger deal than if they had just gone on two or three dates).

    I feel this problem is exacerbated by online dating since it makes this oversight easier to occur… that isn’t to say that online dating is inherently flawed, rather that too many people don’t know how to use properly because too many people don’t know how to get into relationships in general properly.

    Referring to Tim’s post about the 10 types of single 30 year old guys; the “normal guy who just hasn’t met the right girl yet and he really wishes people would stop looking at him with those pitying eyes” is the kind of person who can benefit *greatly* from internet dating because that kind of guy (and the female equivalent of course) is patient, knows what he/she really wants in a partner and has the self insight to appropriately invest themselves in the relationship (enough to foster a connection but not so much that its exhausting/smothering).

    Unfortunately as it stands now it seems that many people on dating sites are one of the other 9 types of single people (like the “guy who peaked too early” and the “total package”) who tend to rush into relationships, are unaware of other peoples (or their own) needs, have unrealistic expectations or a combination of those three. The other issue is that certain scurrilous people or groups use online dating for unethical means like tricking lonely people out of their money convincing married people to cheat on their spouses while the site’s owners make a tidy profit (*cough* ashley-madison.com *cough*)

    Basically I feel online dating is one of those innovations that is very helpful but only if it’s understood and used properly, much like FB or Twitter it can give more opportunities than you had before, but if you’re not careful with how you use it, it will come back to bite you…

    • DeeDee Massey

      Thank you for bringing up fake profiles. POF decommissioned its Intimate Encounters feature because they realized it hosted only 6000 some-odd female profiles that were mostly horny guys hiding behind fake cute female profiles and interacting with “real” horny guy profiles.

      • Krattz

        you’re welcome. Good on them for having a strong sense of social responsibility.

  • Guest

    Online dating sites can be a decent tool to meet strangers, but that is where its usefulness ends. Two people need to meet in three dimensions or the relationship will be built on fantasy.

  • Shannon Stoney

    I have met some scary people doing online dating. But maybe that’s because of where I live: the rural South. All the men my age seem to be gun-toting homophobes, and a lot of them think God is on their side. There are probably nice men out there too, but they are either married or scared of the “online dating” scene. Another problem with online dating is that you don’t meet people in a social context like you do in real life, through a friend of a friend, say. You know nothing about them, really. It’s easy for con men and psychopaths to fake a charming personality for a while, before the mask falls off.

  • RosieShine

    I met my husband on Match in 2007. Back then, meeting online still generally weird enough that we had a lame cover story about meeting in a bar. Close friends and family knew the truth, but acquaintance types did not. We emailed for about a week before meeting in person, started exclusively dating a month later, moved in together three years after that, and got married in 2013. We are compatible with each other in pretty much every way imaginable, which was evident within minutes of viewing each other’s profiles. Meeting each other that way took out so much of the initial legwork. That said, all relationships require real, person-to-person work, and ours is no exception. I’m sure it helps that we were both very honest with our profiles (or as honest as one can be in that medium) in terms of likes, dislikes, our purposes for being on the site, etc.

  • marisheba

    In terms of the Online Meeting People thing. Back when I did a pretty major stint of online dating, I was still relatively new to town. I had friends, but I still didn’t feel even close to settled into my city socially. One thought I kept overwhelmingly thinking was that I really wished I could use the same damn site (OKC) to check out the womens’ profiles on a purely friendly basis. I really did enjoy the process of getting to meet so many new people, and it was sort of a bummer that I couldn’t meet people–male or female–with just friendship in mind. There are a lot of reasons I can think of just off the top of my head why online-friend-meeting-people (individually, as opposed to meet-up groups) hasn’t and won’t take off, but I’m definitely not the only person I know who’s had that sentiment.

  • Erik

    I probably have a pretty unique take on this question. I’m the 100th commenter, and although I have not read the other 99, I’m willing to bet that I’m one of a max of 2 in my boat:

    – I got married towards the later end of the “considered normal” window (even in New York terms), at 35.
    – That means that I am old enough to have dated before online dating ever existed, but young enough and still dating when it was an option.
    – My wife and I met on Match.com.

    So, on the balance, I’d say it’s a good thing (I met my wife that way, after all). But a few observations to stich that together:

    1. It really is online “meeting” and plenty of people are weeded out before that first date, which does happen (usually) in the real world.

    2. It allows you to get “up the hill” in terms of understanding what you’re looking for in a life partner much faster than traditional dating. I had a serious girlfriend in college (~2.5 years). Then another after I graduated (1.5 year gap first, then 1 year). Then a few more years gap and then a third serious gf (2 years). In those “gaps” I was “dating” but in the earlier days I would maybe meet 2 girls a year out at a bar and get their number and actually go out with them and then choose to go out with them a second time because it wasn’t just stupid drunk decision-making. I also got set up (gf immediately after college was a blind date). But just before the third serious gf I started online dating and in those ~6 months went out on probably 20 decent dates and although this gf and I didn’t meet online it helped me understand that she was a good match. Still, that didn’t work out and I later started dating online gain and again had probably 20-30 good dates before meeting my wife. The important part isn’t have a lot of dates. It’s having a lot of GOOD dates. “Picked up at a bar” dates or blind dates or other setups are essentially random chance. The quantity of online dating can be high but more importantly the preselection process allows you to really go out with those with true potential, which you (should) learn to tweak over time. Having many GOOD dates means that you’re no longer choosing among bad options. VOLUME + QUALITY is the name of the game.

    3. The flip side of #2 is that some people allow volume to dramatically warp their definition of quality. Because there are so many fish immediately available, people run into “the Seinfeld problem”. I.e., “she eats her peas one at a time!” – no dice! Preference checklists become deal-breakers: at least 6 foot 1, athletic build, banker, full head of hair, etc. etc. Again, though, if you think of the while thing as a self-learning process, you should avoid this issue (at least on your own side, but you also learn to easily let go of people that you encounter that short-change you because they have it on their side).

    4. The process is not the same for men and women. A man can stay on a single dating site forever and have a ton of good dates and eventually meet someone. A woman needs to move around a lot because men are disgusting and eventually every creep will contact you and send you a picture of his junk. It happens. Depressingly a lot. Men can act like Colin Powell in the first Gulf War and just apply overwhelming force and numbers to the dating issue. Women must act like guerillas in hit and run missions. Be a new face, pick off the good candidates, get out of there!

    5. I think the quality of my marriage is much higher from us both having gone through online dating. There is a certain self-awareness and awareness of one’s desires that it brings. Of course this is also colored by the fact that I was simply older and more self-aware at the time. But as I said in #2 online dating can accelerate this process. I know a lot of people that married their college significant other. Sometimes it still works. Sometimes it’s obvious that if they met today, it would never happen. I would choose my way.

    6. I’ve also done offline versions of online dating (e.g., speed dating). In my experience those interactions are much more superficial and shallow, simply because you have only a few minutes together and because you’re face-to-face physical attraction becomes even more of an anchor, That causes a lot of false positives (easily rationalized away until the third of fourth date when you realize that you can’t actually tolerate the person). It also lacks the pre-filter of online dating.

    7. When I went through the process online “non-dating” didn’t really exist. This was before things like Meetup and other such interest groups moved into the mainstream. It’s sure that you could meet the perfect person in a meetup or similar group from a common interest. However, two things: the self-selection process of being on a dating website (single and out there) saves a LOT of time. So make sure the meetup group is for singles looking to meet people. It’s no fun meeting the woman of your dreams in a meetup pottery group to spend 3 months pining for her only to learn that she takes her engagement ring off before class so it doesn’t get messed up.

  • Adam

    I did online dating off and on for 4 years, and even though I never actually ended up in a relationship with someone from that, it did help me learn what to look for in a match and how to date in the real world just by trial and error. I now understand what I really want from a relationship and how to spot if there’s a mutual attraction, even if that’s not what I set out to do in the first place. I met my current girlfriend through a friend, but those 4 years of online dating helped me spot that she was a good match and helped me keep the whole process of starting out and getting to know her fun and interesting for both of us, instead of awkward.

    Some have mentioned creeps or con artists being on these sites, and that will always be a problem, but you just have to keep your head on a swivel and use common sense and you’ll be OK.

  • zacharyRI

    My husband and I met through Yahoo’s online personal ads just over twelve years ago. We started dating immediately after responding to each other’s ads, and here we are married as of late 2013 (when same-sex marriage became legal in our state).

    Tim’s point about online dating versus online meeting people is a good one. Many people do have virtual-only relationships and are not necessarily aware they’re being taken for a ride. We’ve all read those stories. I have a dear friend who “met” someone online (through Match, I think) who was from another continent. He strung her along for several months, promising all kinds of things, including imminent visits to the States during “business trips” which never materialized. Keep in mind they emailed each other just about every day and talked on the phone at least once every week or two, if not more often. He charmed her, and she fell for both him and it (whatever “it” was–who knows who he really was or what he was up to). Eventually, she really challenged him on his non-forthcomingness and non-corporeality, and she never heard from him again.

    Despite that sad story, I’m all for making online connections. But I’m biased. It’s a little weird to say I owe my happy marriage to Yahoo, but it’s true.

  • Bill

    My wife and I met on OkCupid. My closest friend met his wife on LiveJournal. Another good friend reconnected with a girl he’d known in highschool via Facebook, and they married. Yet another friend met his wife on AOL.
    So… yup. It works.

  • Nelly

    I’m not sure the correct metrics are being used to measure the success of online dating. Some people get married for (in my opinion) the wrong reasons. The success of online dating shouldn’t be measured by the number of resulting marriages, but perhaps instead, the number of years continuously married. Perhaps even a divorce rate of those that met online compared to those that did not…? In short, I don’t think the act of marriage itself is very telling of the success of online dating. It merely points out that people who date online are more interested in getting married. That said, I wouldn’t call online dating a good or a bad thing; it’s just another modality that has its pros and cons.

    • DeeDee Massey

      Depending on who’s reporting the statistics, marriages of couples that met through a “dating” website have higher than normal divorce rates for various reasons. The telling metric is not so heavily weighted by whether the relationship advanced to marriage, or how long it lasted, but the level of fulfillment experienced by each partner.

  • Daniel

    Online dating is clearly a positive thing that has brought millions of people together who otherwise may never have had the opportunity to meet. Studies have shown that couples who meet online get married sooner and have more satisfying relationships. This shows that for those who are clear with their intentions and about they look for in a partner, online dating helps people do just that.

    But there are obviously numerous problems that lead to many people being very frustrated with the medium, and abandoning it entirely. The problems I see are:

    1. Time, effort and just not being fun. It can take hours to set up a profile you are comfortable sharing with the world. And the mental fortitude it takes to write out all the nuances about who we are, with just the right amount of humor, but also looking like we’re not trying too hard… is EXHAUSTING. Some people may not care for that level of detail, but for those who are at some sort of discriminatory disadvantage, which I’ll address later, are required to do so to have any sort of chance of getting a match. Dan Ariely mentions in some research that it takes an average of six hours of actively engaging with online dating sites and their members before you get a single date. People might argue that anything worth a damn in life requires effort, which I would agree. But the fact is, online dating feels like work. It feels like the complete opposite of fun. Going out with friends or doing other social activities where you may meet a potential mate are at least fun to do. Dating apps like Tinder seem to be trying to address this problem. But they open up a whole new set of problems…

    2. We become more superficial. Get on OKTrends for 10 minutes and see how much of an advantage attractive, young women and tall men get. For men who are more than an inch or two below average height, it is almost impossible to get matches. Why? Because when we have the opportunity to filter people by certain attributes, we will. We become way more superficial than we actually are. When we are supposed to enter in our age, all of a sudden that becomes a super important factor in determining someone’s perceived compatibility. Whereas in real life, when someone gives us butterflies, somehow we forget that they are outside of our arbitrarily chosen age range. We think we know want so we become unnecessarily rigid in our stated preferences without giving people a chance.

    3. Too many options. Studies show that big cities like New York City have the lowest rate of relationships forming. It’s because there are so many options. When we think there are endless options, we think we can hold out for that “perfect” person who will fit all of our misguided requirements. We dismiss people far too soon when there is the potential for a new date at the swipe of a finger.

    I think online dating is very important for our hyper-busy societies. Right now it feels like a lot of growing pains. I am moderately hopeful for how it will be like in 2030. It needs serious help from behavioral psychologists to address a lot of the frustrations people have with it. And the fact that the online dating companies have an incentive for its members to stay single and active on their platforms is also a tricky hurtle to overcome.

    • Mike


      I have to say I tried to get into online dating about three or four times and it never really worked. My impression is that a large share of people go to dating sites simply for the pleasure of feeling the attention of others. To stimulate that attention they post attractive pictures (sometimes their own, sometimes not), write lengthy self-descriptions and create the impression of being potentially accessible without the intention of ever initiating an actual relationship. Also, I found it incredibly frustrating to be rebuffed right away over and over and over again. So IMO at this point one is still better off joining a club of some sort, making sure they are exposed to a number of people of the appropriate age who share at least this one interest with you.

      P.S. Also, much depends on the country you’re located in and the degree of acceptance of online dating in said country.

  • zz

    I go online but never dating. i dont date in either virtual or real life. So maybe i should try then giving the opinion here.

  • I LOVE this topic! I have recently “given up” dating, so to speak, due to my most current experiences with online matchups. I wrote extensively about it here: Top 1free irish dating sites

  • meregoround

    I was on tinder for a couple of days earlier this year and then quickly unsubscribed when I realised my “swipe-right rules” where pretty exclusive and defeated the whole purpose anyway. You’re basing preferences on photos alone so I quickly started saying “no” if any of the following were in (or prominent in) their photos: guns, cars, trucks, excessive drinking, smoking, tattoos, nudity, boobs (yep, in guys profiles, their “friends” boobs were quite common) or general douchebaggery. Some many photos had all of these at once it was almost laughable. It made me a very content single. I was happily not associating with any of these douchebags, and would happily continue this way. It sounds judgmental but the whole concept is judgmental – photos alone can never describe someone. And people become more or less attractive to me based on their personality.

    In theory I agree that online dating is a good way to overcome being stuck in a rut of your friends, and friends of friends, but take up a new hobby or two and you’re guaranteed to meet new people you’ll at least somewhat get along with. And worst-case you end up with a new skill. Or suggest a beer with a workmate that you think you might have a spark.

    Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.

    • Ruth

      WOW! I have never heard it put into words but I know EXACTLy what you mean “people become more or less attractive to me based on their personality” I can NOT look at pic of guy and know if I’m attracted. Personality is everything.

      • M.B.

        Honestly, I believe this works for (nearly) all women – and before you girls start shouting at me and telling me not all women are the same, you’re right. Everyone has a different personality. BUT – I think if you take a look at evolution, the development of the male and female brains(psychologically), it actually really makes sense that women value personality a lot more than men tend to do. I’m not saying men don’t care about personality, however I think all men can agree that you are “ready to go” whenever they see a beautiful woman, and attraction is an important factor in a healthy (love) relationship. I could probably rant on about this for hours, but I’ll keep it short and come to the conclusion:

        Online Dating, in my opinion, is a great concept, and might actually work for many people, but the thing is – attraction, especially for women, isn’t just about looks. A man can be very handsome but still “not do it” for her because his behaviour is off putting. (arrogant, not manly, what ever reason). And since online dating, is at first based on looks, it’s an imperfect system but hey – I guess it filters out a lot of people for you and it might actually cause you to end up with someone great. Just don’t think that setting up a list of wishes/demands for you partner, and putting it through the dating website will deliver you the perfect partner. That’s just not how attraction/love works. It’s still a decent way to meet people though, but imo people are too obsessed with meeting someone perfect that they don’t really pay attention to what;s out there.

        • glenchild

          And since online dating, is at first based on looks,

          Hmm, see, I would disagree with that. Hook-up sites/apps typically focus more appearance, but other dating sites are more flexible – it’s all in your approach and mindset.

          For instance, I know I’m one of those females whose attraction is greatly affected by the person’s personality. In fact, it is probably the most important factor for me (no, seriously). Honestly? From a completely objective standpoint, I’ve felt pretty “meh” about the appearance of many of the men I’ve dated. On the other hand, I never felt like I was settling; I was with those men because I dating them was fun and fulfilling and made our lives better. And I enjoyed physical relationships with these men, no trouble.

          So, when I used online dating sites, I tried to be very self-aware. I didn’t discount profiles because I felt “meh” about the guy’s photographs. If a guy a had profile that was interesting to me – usually because of the way he expressed himself somehow resonated with me or sparked my interest – I gave him chance, regardless of the photo appeal. And there were plenty of guys with cute photos that I completely ignored simply because they had a lackluster profile.

          It worked well, for me. It wasn’t about meeting someone “perfect,” or who shared all my
          interests; it was about finding someone that had a similar/interesting
          point of view that I was curious to get to know. Of course, I’m a shy, socially anxious, nerdy type, so online dating was probably particularly well suited to my personality and interests. But I think it has potential for just about everyone, if they are smart about it and willing to invest some thought and time.

  • PinkTheBush

    I think in the end it comes down to you just focusing on how you’re meeting your own partner and don’t worry so much about how others are meeting theirs. If you don’t want to use internet social resources to meet people, then don’t.

  • wobster109

    Hard to say. In my experience I’ve had a hard time getting those unplanned, organic encounters that you mentioned in the friendships list. It makes it hard to bond with someone. To go in with the anticipation of a romance, for me it spoils the adventure of discovering someone, the strange glow and joy of gradually realizing you care for them, the haunting, hopeful mood of wondering why they frequent your thoughts and dreams. But then again I’m an unmarried mid-twenties so perhaps I have no perspective on the factors that make for a good mid-game or end-game.

  • Nick

    I’m single, straight and Belgian… 😉

  • I have experienced finding my life mate by chance of available single men(first time). It was a small rural community not many choices. That ended with 4 wonderful children but a bust on the mental health of two people.Second time met online. Had a lot in common and started a business together then decided to marry.We also spent a year going to a church that was teaching a lot about relationships. Been married eight years this month. Preferred the second way, less stress. the finding the right person was not just because I did it right. I believe there was a spiritual force cause I went through a lot of marginal connections at first. I approached my mate like looking for the perfect job.As an older person I was looking for less fireworks and practical life sharing qualities. I am a Nana, checkout my blog at nanaswordsofwisdom.com/blog.

  • Kannik

    Overall I’d rate it as a “good thing”: it has persistence, broadens your reach, and overall exposes you to a far broader range of people than might be possible with the traditional chance encounter. And the context is potentially better than the usual “get a date” hangout spots. That said, it is also a tool and like all tools needs to be used properly and we may still be getting used to how to use it — the same neuroses that show up on Facebook/etc can show up on a dating site (and potentially carry on when the people meet in person), there’s the anonymity and asshatery that comes with it, fake profiles and leading on, and definitively the need to meet up in person. One benefit could be that as sites have sprung up catering to hookups and casual encounters it separates those from the greater relationship-seeker pool.

  • acg_390

    I’ve had a lot of success with online dating. Met a few girls I genuinely connected with, and eventually, a girl I ended up dating for 2 years. Overall, it’s definitely a good thing.

    That said, it suffers from an overwhelming gender imbalance that causes frustration on both sides. I did a little pet research project on OKCupid and found that in any geographical area, there are between 2 and 3 men on the site for every woman (in other words, between 67% and 75% of the users in any given area are men). Furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that the men who use the site are much more serious about actually meeting someone. This imbalance wreaks havoc.

    If you ask a man about his experience online dating, he’ll almost always express frustration about how the girls hardly ever respond, how they’re much more picky/demanding than their attractiveness level merits (e.g. hideous/obese women writing that they want a guy who’s “tall and sexy” and “won’t settle”), how they flake out on dates constantly, how they put no effort into the whole process, etc.

    If you ask a woman what her experience has been like, she’ll express frustration about how she gets flooded with more messages than she can handle, how the guys seem overtly desperate and horny, how random guys become obsessed with her and message her over and over, how the guys are way too aggressive, etc.

    There is data to back up these observations. OKCupid assigns users one of three categories based upon how likely they are to respond to your message: “replies often,” “replies selectively,” or “replies very selectively.” Virtually every woman, no matter how unfortunate looking, is in the “replies very selectively” category, and virtually every man, no matter how handsome, is in the “replies often” category.

    It’s very much like the current job market; think of the women as the employers and the men as the job-seekers. I realize that this dynamic is present somewhat even for “offline” dating, but it is especially pronounced online. This is the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed if online dating is to become more mainstream.

    • Mya P.

      Wow, a lot of sweeping generalizations and incorrect info there. No, not all women are in the ‘replies selectively’ nor every man ‘replies often’ category. That’s just plain wrong and over dramatizing. Yes, women tend to be bombarded with stupid messages that are from “Hi” and “how are you? and “ur hawt” to blatant sexual remarks. And considering 2/3 of the men on that site (and others) are seeking out women far younger than themselves and no older, there is a great imbalance.
      As far as men being more willing to meet vs women, you aren’t pointing out the fact that women have to be more cautious than men when meeting a stranger from the internet.

      • acg_390

        Do you know the difference between “all” and “virtually all”? I allowed for a few exceptions, but the rule still holds over 90% of the time; men reply often, women reply very selectively.

        I’ve experimented with fake female profiles enough to know that women are grossly exaggerating about the stupid one word messages and blatant sexual remarks. Don’t get me wrong, I found most of the guys’ messages to be pretty stupid and lame, but they tended to at least be polite and more than a sentence long. By contrast, the messages sent to my (real) male profile are almost never more in depth than “Hi” or Hey whats up.” Even when I send out a first message that’s articulately written and in reference to something in the girl’s profile, her response is usually only a couple words long and completely thoughtless. I promise women do not send out any higher quality messages than men on OKCupid.

        You’re right about men seeking out younger women; that only adds to an already overwhelming imbalance for those in their 20’s. That strengthens my argument. You say my post has a lot of incorrect info, but would you really deny the central thesis that there is an incredible gender imbalance that ruins the experience for everyone?

        • DeeDee Massey

          How do you account in your data analysis for fake profiles, such as the experimental one you set up? Did you adjust for some percentage of the male responses being from illegitimate profiles (other experimenters, stalkers, trolls, etc.)? The actual statistics on fake profiles would be interesting to see. POF decommissioned its Intimate Encounters feature because they found that the majority of the female profiles were set up by horny guys interacting with “real” horny guys. I share the perception with a lot of people that fake profiles and social experiments spoil the experience of using a dating site.

          • acg_390

            I don’t believe there are that many fake profiles on OKC. If I profile were fake, I would expect the following:

            1. Only one photo (hard to find multiple images of the same woman unless she’s a celeb)
            2. That photo to be of a hot girl (experimenters want to really witness the full brunt of what a female experiences)
            3. That photo to be of high quality (Google image search photos don’t typically look like random iPhone pics you took when you were drunk)
            4. Very little text in the profile (why put in the effort?)

            #4 I see all the time, but a combination of #1, 2, and 3 is very rare. Especially #2. So to answer your question, I assumed all profiles were real, but if a significant number are fake, then that only strengthens my point that there is a gender imbalance.

            • DeeDee Massey

              The latest statistic I’ve found is 1 in 10 OLD are fake, but other sites have been sued for much higher percentages. The fact that there are fake profiles at all is highly disturbing enough, but knowing that people such as yourself put up fake profiles to “conduct research” is appalling. A quick web search for “okcupid fake profiles” will result in 2 main types of posts: user complaints about fake profiles, and articles/blogs about the outcome of “research” or scamming someone did by setting up fake profiles. It would seem that whatever the actual number is, it’s enough to discourage people from using the site. I wonder if at some point most active profiles will consist of researchers and scammers interacting with other researchers and scammers.

              I don’t follow the logic behind the statement that a significant number of fake profiles supports the claim of gender imbalance. I wouldn’t argue that there is a gender imbalance. It wouldn’t surprise me if reliable data ever proved it exists, because it would reflect how the genders tend to behave in offline. It would make sense to me if data reflected that their online behavior was somewhat similar. But I don’t think the OLD industry has reliable data about anything, except maybe how much money they’re making.

            • acg_390

              ^Would you mind citing those statistics?

              Anyone who seriously doubts that online dating is horribly imbalanced in terms of gender, check this out:

              What turns guys off when dating

              It isn’t even close to debatable. There’s overwhelming evidence of the imbalance and no evidence otherwise. I’d sooner believe that the earth is flat than that online dating is a remotely similar experience for men and women.

            • DeeDee Massey

              1 in 10 is fake:
              When did sophia bush and chad michael murray start dating

              Complaints about fake profiles can be found on consumeraffairs.com.

            • glenchild

              I’d sooner believe that the earth is flat than that online dating is a remotely similar experience for men and women.

              I know I’m joining the conversation super late, but I found this comment interesting. Dating, period, is a different experience for men and women; although, it is possible that the difference is more extreme online.

              Huh. Now I have all sorts of questions running through my head about how real-life and online dating is experienced (what is similar and what is different) by men and women. I’m itching to do research.

              Either way, my gut instinct is that the online gender imbalance (to whatever degree it exists), will probably even out as online dating becomes more socially acceptable; i.e., more women of varying ages, attractiveness, intelligence, success, and other factors will begin to view it as a viable first choice, instead of a desperate last resort. I’m sure the experience will still be different for men and women, but hopefully the frustration you describe in your first post will decrease.

              In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a female that has used various online dating successfully a handful of times, both for flings and more serious relationships

            • Mya P.

              DD – Here is an extensive Okc Trends study
              Which is the best dating site in canada

            • DeeDee Massey

              Thanks for that link. Interesting.

              One note: the pattern on the Tides of Longing chart closely resemble the first chart, Distribution of Singles on OKCupid, By Age. More younger people use online sites, so wouldn’t that factor into why they’re more frequently be shown more interest or be perceived as more desirable?

              At any rate, the sentiment at the beginning of the post is not necessarily the real-life experience of most middle-aged single women I’ve known. They usually don’t approach younger people because they assume the younger people won’t consider the older gals in their range. Surprisingly, whether “sad sacks” or “cougars” they are more often than not the subject of approaches initiated by 20-somethings. No problem in getting dates, if they want them.

  • Sam Kozman

    I have only used online dating sites and apps such as tinder very infrequently, but I have gone on a couple of dates thanks to these sites, and I can say that a date with someone you met online and a date with someone you met, lets say, at the grocery store have a very different feel. The basic human skills you get from having a conversation with a stranger, such as eye movement, posture, vocal inflection, etc. is completely lost when meeting an individual via internet. Text on a screen can tell you people’s opinions, their favorite kinds of things, what their hopes and dreams are, but it cannot let you know if you will talk over each other in conversation, what they will sound like, or if you all will have any kind of chemistry that is found in a generic, cliche cart bump in the frozen food section.

    This leads to a lot of disappointing dates. I have yet to have a date be both fulfilling emotionally and physically. Sometimes one, usually neither. And some of you may say that this could be me being too picky, but from my experience, these always feel like trying to put on a glove that is just too small. You can pretend the glove is fitting, and you could probably get away with it for a little bit, but your hand will become uncomfortable after a little while.

    With that being said, I really enjoy the idea of meeting people who match what you want on paper. I do think online dating has its place, and apparently it works for a lot of people, and it opens you up to a sea of available people looking for the same thing you are, but something is lost when meeting people online. Maybe whatever it is can be gained back through something long term, but I have never made it that far. I guess you just have to keep trying.

    • Mya P.

      I agree text on a screen is very limiting and leaves out much of who someone is and how they behave. I wonder, of those dates you did have, did you speak on the phone with them first?

      You can tell a lot more about someone by speaking with them even if you can’t see them; such as the vocal inflection, what they sound like, how polite or perhaps even self-centered they may be. It doesn’t tell you everything of course, but certainly much more than just text on a screen.

      • Sam Kozman

        I did not speak with them on the phone. Typically, it would be casual messaging that would lead to texting, followed by the inevitable meet up. One thing I noticed is how nervous I was for the dates where I never actually “spoke” to them, which is odd because usually I feel excited for dates, not nervous.

        I feel like my case is more the rule than the exception as well, but maybe its not. If my way of going about it is not usual, then clearly I suck at communicating. But if the way mentioned above is typical for online dating, then I feel like everyone just sucks at communicating, which is probably more to the point.

    • DeeDee Massey

      Meeting someone in person and getting that initial impression of how well you interact and how much you’re genuinely attracted to them (and not just a picture) tends to make you more flexible to exciting differences between you that you might otherwise discount them for, like if you would have filtered them out of your online search criteria based on that one aspect. Matching algorithms based on likes and interests fail miserably in this way. Just because a person is a fellow MP&THG nerd does not mean we will get along swimmingly, and the fact that they are fanatical about NASCAR and I’m not doesn’t mean we won’t otherwise be great together. For the longest time, I was convinced that since I couldn’t define my “type” based on looks and interests, I must be a weirdo who didn’t have a “type.” I do indeed have a type. It just can’t be captured by an algorithm.

      • suzanna_dean

        Also … if you filter someone out based on a single facet… what might you miss? People change and grow, and the whole point of a relationship is to do it together. Based on the NASCAR example… you may very well find that you love NASCAR after experiencing it with that other person.
        Selecting a partner based only on similar likes seems to me a short term solution to happiness. In 15 years, what will have grown and changed between you? Could get quite boring.

    • Krattz

      I wonder… what if dating sites had a sort of Skype functionality added where you can video conference with your matches perhaps that would allow people to gauge those things you talked about. The obvious problem is how to prevent perverts from exploiting this system like what happens on Chatroulet (I think I spelt that wrong). maybe you can report your match for inappropriate conduct and if this happens to many times that person is locked out from the video conference function. Any thoughts?

      • Savannah

        I think this is an awesome idea. Probably not too far from happening either…

  • Chantal

    I married young, at 20. My first husband died of cancer when I was 27. During the next 10 years, I lived alone. In 1997, a new canadian online dating service arrived and I joined, thinking I could meet some new friends. I was then living on an isolated island, in the Gulf of St-Lawrence.

    I got a few messages from men, but none interested me, until I received an amusing note. This correspondent stated that he chose very carefully the traits he was looking for on the online form (used to match people with potential compatible persons) and that the only file that came up was mine. Even considering the few members at the time, it was still something to think about.

    Over two weeks, we exchanged 214 emails, followed with 2 weeks of long distance telephone talks, sometimes lasting up to three hours. Our phone bills were frightening.The dating service didn’t post pictures then, so we mailed each other a picture of ourselves. We decided to meet and he drove the 1800 kilometers that separated us on land. On the big day, I took the ferry from my small island and traveled to Prince Edward Island to meet him. I stayed on the ferry and waited for him to board the boat. The meeting was very romantic as we stayed on the boat deck and it was a beautiful summer day. There was no awkwardness and we talked the whole 5 hours of the trip back to the island.

    He stayed 10 days, then went back to his place to pack his things. He moved in with me and we married one year to the day after his first email.

    Our daughter was born one year later and we have been married for 16 years. I would never have met him without the online dating service.

    We were truthful in our exchanges before meeting and I think this was the key to the success of our matching. The abundant emails and phone talks before we met were also important, as it was essentially our dating period. The meeting served only to confirm what we already knew, that we were met for each other.

    • wobster109

      Loved the snail mail to send physical pictures 🙂

      • Chantal

        We had only dial-up connections then, at 54 cents a minute, so sending pictures via email was not really an option. We treasure the pictures we exchanged. I printed all the emails too and that,s a good thing because the internet server went out of business a few years later and my mail account was through them,

    • You should submit this into “Chicken Soup for the Hopeless Romantic’s Soul” or similar. I want my romance to be met like this. I enjoy writing handwritten letters and scenting them with my favorite cologne.

  • Clara

    My warning via experience would be to be very very careful about not letting an infatuation with someone’s online persona blind you to who they reveal themselves to be in person. It can be easy, especially if you tend to connect with people on an intellectual/conversational level, to be attracted to how someone makes conversation with you and then fill in the blanks of what you want them to be.

    Sadly, when I was a naive 19 year old, I started talking online to a young man who was smart, opinionated, and had a cute picture. It took a while before we were able to meet in person, and while we talked online, I became attracted to the one facet of his personality he was choosing to show me. By the time we met, I was convinced I really liked him. And that led me to brush off or not take seriously some very negative things that started coming out in person (anger, misogyny). When he sexually assaulted me, I was so surprised. But looking back, there were warning signs that were clear to see, I was just so convinced that I knew who he really was that I didn’t see them. Of course, we all know that it’s very possible to be assaulted by someone you meet in a bar or a class or anywhere else. But I am certain that if I met this guy in a bar and didn’t have a preconceived notion of how special he was, I would have picked up on the red flags more easily – they were not buried deeply. That’s not to say that everyone online is fake, but the persona that everyone including you has online is incomplete. Sometimes there’s a great person behind a great persona, but it’s not a guarantee.

    • Geist Arminius

      It was a game to get you to think that he’s the bright fish in the pond. But it’s your own fucking fault, because you couldn’t be satisfied with the hard-working, mild-mannered boy who had a crush on you and didnt make your Gina tingle.

      Also, the twist you probably haven’t even thought of: his anger and misogyny is due to the fact that he knew you’d shit on him if he didn’t play those fish games with you.

      Congratulations, you fail. But what are you complaining for? Someone turned you on for a while and all you had to do was lay back and get pleasured. What a fucking tragedy.

  • Squid

    I am introverted and experience social anxiety, which makes meeting someone in person excruciatingly uncomfortable. To further exacerbate the problem, I live in the largest town (population: approximately 2000) in a county with an incredibly low population (approximately 13,000 in 1400 square miles), where my “romantic options” are quite limited. In this area, we don’t have a great bar scene, and we don’t have much in the way of activities or events where meeting someone and forming a romantic relationship would be a realistic expectation. The pool of single people within even 10 years of my age is very, very small. Should someone like me be stuck hoping to meet someone in person when I’m “in the big city” doing my grocery shopping?

    That being said, what is wrong with wanting to expand your pool of possible mates? The majority of the people here do not share my core beliefs or world views, to the extent that it would be a deal breaker. I simply cannot tolerate a bigot, much less form a meaningful relationship with one. Plus, what about the other introverts who are sitting at home, alone or with a tight-knit group of friends? I don’t want to miss out on the possibility of meeting all those people – I have things in common with them, but might never have the opportunity to meet them if I only date people I meet at bars (for example.) Online dating provides a more comfortable setting for introverts.

    I do not participate in online dating, as I am in a long-term relationship at the moment (with a friend of a friend). However, if we were to split up in the future, I would absolutely give online dating a try. Actually, I did meet two of my ex-boyfriends in online video games. I realize this is a little bit different than online dating in the “traditional” sense, but I have to imagine the experience was similar. We chatted online, took a particular liking one another, spoke to each other, exchanged photos, and eventually met in person.

    My favorite thing about meeting these people online was that we got to know each other relatively well, and liked one another, without being too concerned with vastly overrated external appearances. I find that if I care about someone, that person’s outward appearance becomes more attractive to me than it would have been if I ran into him by chance. Would I have gotten involved with either one of them if we had been at the same bar at the same time? Probably not. But I can say that I loved one of them more than I have ever loved another romantic partner. I would have hated to have missed out on our time together.

    Yes, meeting someone online has its downfalls, in that words are only one part of a conversation, and the attached body language and facial expressions are missed during the initial, online phase. But meeting someone in person is just as flawed. Generally, in an in-person meeting, we make a flash decision about someone based on his or her appearance. I think it is beautiful to avoid that flash judgment and really get down to who the person is before making a decision regarding your compatibility. Besides, either way, you eventually get to know the person for who he is, which is what you really need to do in order to pick a life partner, anyway. Why should anyone judge a couple in love by the way they first met one another? Both methods are flawed, but if the chemistry is there, the results are the same, so I see nothing wrong with widening your pool of potential mates through online dating.

    • Geist Arminius

      Social anxiety for women? Oh, boo hoo. It’s sooooo hard to stand there and just let yourself be talked to. Are you fucking kidding me? Try being a man and being insulted the moment you open your mouth, having people turn their back to you in mid sentence, point out your flaws or ask you stupid make-or-break questions just to see how quick and sharp you are and if you are even worthy of getting a non-fake number. Such a fucking joke. All you have to do is put on some eyeliner and not eat like a fucking pig so you stay under 180 lbs – and for a good number of women, apparently that’s even too much to ask for.

      • yikes

        I can’t begin to imagine why you’re still single.

        • Geist Arminius

          1) who said I was single?

          2) why would anyone like such an ignorant comment like yours? Oh, that’s right: Women who haven’t lived the experiences I talk about and have lost all inherent ability to feel empathy for others, even though that’s what women used to be good at. Feeling for others, sensing things, the mother instinct. All gone, replaced by your women-to-power sociopathy.

          3) I love how I’m criticized for sharing my story, like it’s too much to even insinuate that I have scars and women and their behavior is to blame. I’m a man though, I know. I’m supposed to be completely unfazed. Meanwhile you women run around complaining about men and expect some prince charming to climb your walls, qualm your hesitations and deal with your baggage without question. Sexist much?

          You want a country to live in where you don’t have to wear a veil and wind up in arranged marriages? Fuck you, here’s a gun. Go fight for it yourself, you fucking slag.

          • SandwichLady

            I’m a woman and I’m sick of many women for this reason. I know and hear the banter I choose not to be apart of: they a cruel creatures who laugh at men and abuse them as they think them “disposable.” These women are pathetic, and sadly enough there are too many of them out there.
            Now, that being said there are a fair share of Doucheous bagguses out there. Though, I do feel bad that men and boys alike have to succumb to a woman’s whim and have women be complete bitches as a result. These “modern” women you speak of may be shiny on the outside, but inside they are dull and lifeless….and lay there in bed doing nothing because they’re God’s gift. Pfff, please.

          • Truthsayer

            I think what was wrong about your comment was that you’re insinuating EVERY woman is out there without any problems, leading men on, and owning the world. Also, the way you stated your comment was degrading and insulting. Just with your first two sentences, you diminished the fact that mental illness is a serious situation and something both men and women are fighting every day. I have severe social anxiety, I’m too afraid to talk to the opposite sex or to start any type of conversation with anyone new because of multiple reasons- fear of rejection, fear of people thinking I’m stupid or my opinion doesn’t matter (which your whole post basically insinuates,”just put on some mascara and look pretty, no one cares for your opinion”), fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. Basically, the same thing both men and women feel, but in a way that it gets in the way of actually doing anything. I once had to reorder contacts from my eye doctor and ended up turning around because the receptionist was a very attractive man and I just got to anxious….and all I was doing was ordering contacts. I’m sorry that you have had situations where people have snubbed you in public,but keep in mind that as a women, I’ve had to deal with situations where I’ve had to be concerned for my safety. Multiple examples, 1. Running around my lake and a guy jogged next to me and we started talking- suddenly he kept asking for my address- I said I wasn’t comfortable giving out that information because I barely knew him, he then kept asking me every time we ran past a park, “Theres a restroom, wanna stop and rest in there?” and then kept asking for my number after repeatedly doing these things. It was clear, I was uncomfortable and I was half the size of this man. I called some friends to pick me up, because clearly, that wasn’t a good situation. 2. I was riding the city bus when a guy came and asked if I wanted a donut, I don’t like donuts in general so I said, “No, thank you.” He then started telling me, ” OOHH, you watching your figure? But you got those beautiful thick legs- why you white girls always wanna look stick skinny, us men like some meat on our girls…you single?” Excuse me, why should I continue that conversation? 3. I used to work at a beach nook and this guy came to talk, he asked me my name and we talked a bit, he then asked if I was a virgin. I refused to answer- and was getting very nervous and uncomfortable. He then asked if I was single- sorry, nope. He then asked if my sisters were virgins and when I was getting off work. I told him he needed to leave. These are just SOME of the shit I’ve had to go through. So yeah, maybe women do a little snubbing, but there are good reasons for it, maybe blame the people who ruin it for others than blaming ALL women. I work damn hard, focused on building a career, became a teacher, and am working to create equality. I don’t get things because I’m “pretty” and I don’t ever get things as privileges. But I do ask for respect. I respect everyone else. If you feel those things, so do women….because we are human. Peace out.

  • Instant gratification monkey

    This dinner table convinced me to give it a try. After having been spammed with dull messages, my take-away: If you are looking for someone nice with similar interests, online dating might be helpful.
    If you are onto that ‘finding a soulmate’ track, spending more time at places you enjoy, throwing away your checklist and I don’t know the third part seems more fun and more promising to me.

  • Mrs. jigg

    While online dating lets you meet more people, meeting more people is only beneficial up to a certain point before you begin experiencing diminishing returns. Online dating brings playing the numbers game to a different level, and it changes the way how people perceive dating. Before online dating, you are limited physically by the number of people you meet. This limitation forces you to 1) pick someone out of that pool to date and see where it goes or 2) not date. Option 1 gives you the opportunity to grow and evolve with the other person as the relationship progresses.

    With online dating (especially in NYC) the potential number of candidates seems endless. As a result, you’re likely to screen very heavily on the first date. Any candidate who doesn’t meet your criteria is crossed out, and you move on to the next person. You become less tolerant of other people’s “flaws” because of the perception that there’s always someone else. The sheer volume of potential candidates makes you less likely to invest in the other person. Instead you’re looking for someone who is already packaged with everything you want. For example, say that you love traveling. If you meet someone who hasn’t traveled before – you’re more likely to pass this person up before getting to really know him/her and look for someone who already acquired a taste for traveling.

    • Anja

      On the other hand you have the chance to chat with someone online and get to like the ‘tone’. The first meeting may will be a shock – the person looks way diffrent than you imagined. But you give it a try because you liked the person online (looked already behind the mask). So – in other ways it can make you more tolerant to others.

    • marisheba

      I’ve found almost the opposite. I get bummed out going on so many first dates without feeling much in the way of connection (and this, I think, is a downside of dating strangers, met online or in a bar or wherever – those first few dates are pretty artificial situations, and I think it’s harder to make connections when you’re not meeting in your natural environments). So then when I DO connect with someone at all, I tend to get pretty excited about it; even when it’s really not a great connection compared to many of the ones I’ve made in real life.

  • Dock Miles

    I think the many tens of thousands of pitiful, rag-covered couples who start families in the titanic garbage heaps of the mid-western United States in 20 years will treasure their precious electronic courtships as the gold of their sad lives.

    • Geist Arminius

      My ancestors met on a boat coming to the U.S. and worked hard together. Small wonder her man loved her his whole life, he wasn’t a victim of an industry that likens itself to a woman’s opportunity to go dress shopping every other day. This cuntry treats men like garbage.

  • Starla

    My husband and I met online and have been married for 11 years with a beautiful kid and I can’t imagine life without them. Back in 2003 when we met, online dating was not as well known and there were misconceptions and I had friends tell me “only weirdos” were online. Because of that many friends and even family members have no idea how we met because when we did tell people on the beginning we got some odd looks and rude comments. It’s only been the last few years that I have actually told people the truth! I am glad some misconceptions are going away.

    Online dating isn’t for everyone, and yes there are “weirdos” on there, but there are plenty of weirdos everywhere!

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  • Karel Šťastný

    Please note that I have almost none experience regarding online dating so take my post with a grain of salt.

    I would say that because online dating allows us to select from many more people than in-person, we have a greater chance of finding someone we like and who would be ideal for us. But the sheer number of options also brings its own problems – how do we select from all those people? How can we know that this guy/girl is The One and not the next one? So we might end up choosing and choosing and choosing…
    Greater number of options also raises a bar, which might be a good thing (if you’re attractive) or bad (if you’re not or you’re not wiling to work on yourself).

    One other thing that comes to my mind because Tim raised up the economy question – we will probably see some other specialized services related to the dating sites. For example I’m envisioning some kind of “dating profile grooming” service that helps you create the most attractive and catchy profile, will take professional photos of you doing fun stuff etc.

  • Emily

    I’m a twenty-year-old woman who’s been using OKC and more recently, Tinder, since about a year and a half ago — overall, my experience has been positive on those platforms (haven’t met my life partner yet, but I’m in no rush).

    However, I think that sites/apps like OKC and Tinder, especially the “swiping” phenomenon, fosters a surface-level “people supermarket” like atmosphere. Meeting people online can be a psychologically exhausting process (and especially for women, there’s also an element of danger involved), if date after date doesn’t lead to anything. That’s why I’m encouraged by innovations in online dating such as Coffee Meets Bagel (where you get paired with one person a day only), HowAboutWe (which focuses on the experience of going on dates, as opposed to “finding your life partner”–reminds me of WBW’s “laying brick” anti-procrastination paradigm), and Siren (Seattle-based app that’s been dubbed “anti-Tinder,” because women get to control their visibility to men–and men know that if a woman makes herself visible to him, that’s a sign of interest).

    • Geist Arminius

      We should archive everyone you left and right swipe now and see updates to those profiles twenty years from now. Most of what you make invisible to you by swiping left will be right, and what your ‘Gina tingle logic said to swipe right for will be left. I’m starting to understand why arranged marriages were once the norm and why foreign cultures scoff at giving you more freedom. not only are the intelligent being bred out by brain dead bold swag thanks to your awarded right to choose, but the intelligent can’t find anything in this dating world you rule and are disconnecting themselves, falling into depression and suffering from decades of isolation. Small surprise nobody invents anything anymore or yearns to contribute to society if they ever do get past their mental funk and succeed in spite of the odds. It’s your society, after all. It’s built around you: the bar scene caters to you, the gender quotas in the schools and job world cater to you, the dating scene caters to you and the subscription policies to even meet people in the first place cater to you. These people live as ghosts while you run around in your fantasyland playground thinking only about how great it would be to have more with teethy smile, tattoo and tall guy filters. fuck you, and fuck your society.

      • Tac

        someones mad….

        if you don’t like it don’t take part. simple

  • Cathrn

    I met my person online over 10 years ago on, ahem, Adult Friend Finder. Granted, long-term relationships were not my goal at the time, but I guess it proves you really can meet your person anywhere.

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  • Guest

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  • Lara Kate

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  • Sonali Chandna

    Online dating I believe is all about requirement. Think about these simple facts, if one has been single for some time, or been through a break up and wants to feel good by contacting some future prospects, what is the option that they have, that can give some instant results, the answer is simply the , one can login, and get going with the already available singles around their city.

    It is creating opportunities for people who really require it.

  • Sonali Chandna

    Online dating works for those who are ready to try it sincerely, it may take time but it gives results for sure, try out that way it will be easy to get in contact with more number of options, leading to quick results. Sometimes a quick return message can lead to more belief in the entire concept.

  • Sonali Chandna

    Just like there can be a number of stores where to buy stuff from, similarly there are number of dating sites, it is great to be single in the age of dating websites and apps, just think how easy it is these days to use , with such variety of sites to choose from, one has no reason to be single, finding love and a partner has never been easier.

  • Sonali Chandna

    Online dating is no doubt a good thing, especially if you are done waiting, mingle with people who are not your kind, and the like, it gives a good platform to then say that you want to meet someone, and at the same time you can look around through , easy to meet like minded people in these places. If you are an avid smartphone user then using it to browse dating sites on the go is also a good idea.

  • Real People Dating

    I think online dating is good as long as people are being honest about their identity and the overall environment is safe. Unfortunately, many dating sites do not require user verification and users have been taking advantage of this. The world’s first online dating website that requires 100% user verification is launching this June and should be a huge success for the online dating community. The website can be found here: bit.ly/1GJog01