Commentary

Online Dating...I just don't get it.

  • by , November 30, 2007

I have been seeing a lot of statistics lately related to online dating and how popular it is. The common statistic was that last year, 1 out of 8 people married someone they met online.

Now, I spend a great deal of time in front of my computer (some would call it excessive) but regardless of how much time I spend shopping, paying bills, emailing, working, and keeping in touch with friends and family online, I really don't see myself ever venturing into the cyber world of dating.

Well, I know those of you who support online dating and have personally experienced its benefits are thinking, "Don't knock it, until you try it," but I don't know, maybe some of you can convince me otherwise, but until then, here are my reasons as to why I am on the fence about it.

First of all, we know dating can be dreadful, and coming from a single gal like myself, I know it's definitely not a walk in the park so I can see how online dating would eliminate some of those nervous thoughts, but is it the best alternative? We have already moved into a time where people break up via text messaging or they rely on having an entire conversation through email...what happened to calling someone? I mean c'mon, we already have a cell phone attached to our hip 24/7, why don't we just make the call? Or even better, talk to someone in person. Again, sure it can be scary, but regardless of how socially awkward we are, we all have to be able to communicate with someone in person at some point- it's vital to our existence.

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Second, messages delivered online are at risk of being misrepresented and misunderstood. I can be sarcastic with my friends in person, but will they understand my sarcasm in a text message? Probably not. That's where I find online dating to be troublesome. I think both parties would have to be excellent communicators and extremely good at expressing themselves via technology and I doubt that's the case every time.

Like I said, this is all speculation and frankly, I don't know how I feel about it all. I am not completely against it, I just wonder if people who enjoy online dating use its features because it's convenient or is it meant for people who are afraid of person to person interaction...I don't know. I'm curious to know what you think.

5 comments about "Online Dating...I just don't get it.".
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  1. Dean Collins, December 3, 2007 at 9:29 a.m.

    ahhh finally proof that it is true in cyberspace no one can hear your soul quietly breaking on another friday night stuck at home.

    Is this really the forum for working out your inhibitions? (cyber or otherwise).

    If you aren't going to pick up the phone and ask a guy out (or Gal - you never expressed your preference), then it's true cyber dating wont solve that problem either.

    Cheers,
    Dean

  2. Joel Shumate from Imavex, December 3, 2007 at 10:05 a.m.

    The best advice I can give is to try and meet someone compatible for initial purposes other than dating. I met my future wife online through a Yahoo group while we were both in other relationships. We established a great friendship and intellectual connection over the course of 5 months online. I was in the process of moving to her area to be closer to family. When we finally met in person we remained friends for another two months before dating. We've been together for 5 years now. If one or both persons are online for the sole purpose of dating or finding a spouse, they might not act as they normally would. They might rush into opening up without thinking first, or try and force something that isn't there. By building a solid foundation of trust and friendship on which to base a closer relationship you can avoid most of the pitfalls associated with meeting someone online.

  3. Joel Shumate from Imavex, December 3, 2007 at 10:08 a.m.

    PS. We live in Indiana and my wife got her master's in mental health counseling at Ball State.

  4. Lisa Gansky, December 3, 2007 at 11:51 a.m.

    You are right in some regards; I think a lot of times people might sound different in writing/texting/emails than they do in real life; however, like Joel points out in his reply, not everyone intentionally decides to date online. I'm an avid video game player, and I've seen several people get together from playing World of Warcraft. And, it's not all text either. People can communicate via Ventrilo or Skype, which is essentially like talking on the phone.

  5. Sandy Soto, December 3, 2007 at 12:16 p.m.

    My 2 cents, based on my personal experiences with online dating, as well as some experiences of a couple of my friends.

    You meet someone you *THINK* you like online, develop a rapport, maybe even feel some sparks. Lots of emails/IMs/text messages and maybe some phone calls later, you decide to meet in person. Now you're sitting at an Indian restaurant or Starbucks in front of this total stranger who, just 12 hours ago, you FELT you knew because of all the communication that had gone back and forth. But the person sitting in front of you is totally different IN PERSON--leaving you to wonder, do I have the right person?? The sparks you felt when sending emails back and forth have suddenly been extinguished. pfffsssstttt. And mind you, he may very well look just like the pictures he sent (provided you haven't ended up with the girl/guy that sent you a 10-year-old-30lb-lighter photo). It's just that communication is 90% non-verbal - and chemistry lives in the person's energy, which is hard to send via http. So at the end of your date, you politely say the usual "let's just be friends." Then you are left with a sense of loss, even though nothing came of it, but only because you've been ferociously emailing this person for a week straight and suddenly they are no more. Next.

    Then again, I do have some friends who have ended up in relationships with people they met online. Go figure. I myself have been married for two years to a man whom I met in real life and I prefer to meet people this way.

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