6 Reasons Why Looking for a Relationship Online Is a Bad Idea
Pick up any book on relationships and you can bet it will have a section on online dating, whether it was written by Dr. Phil or the neighbour next door. This chapter on online dating is usually included to give people another avenue to pursue if they're failing to get a date the old fashioned way.
If these so-called relationship guru's had actually tried to find Mr. or Ms. Right online, they would have realized what a bad idea it was and never suggested it in the first place. Just because everyone else out there is doing it, doesn't make it a good idea.
This article is based on my experiences in the online dating world, experiences that stretch out for several years. I'm not suggesting that it's impossible to find someone online. Lightning has been known to strike. I just happen to believe that online dating has been over-hyped and is probably one of the worst places to find someone to have a relationship with.
Reason #1: Relationship? I Thought You Said Sex!
This is by far the biggest pitfall of online dating. Especially if you're interacting with men within a 50-mile radius or more of where you live.
It makes no difference what category you put your profile, you could put it in "frigid prudes from hell" and men will still assume you must want to hook up. It's quite astounding.
I remember meeting a guy I had chatted with online for several days prior and he told me half-way through our coffee date that he was looking forward to spending the night with me. Come again? He kindly informed me that he would not be returning to his apartment that night, but would be having a sleepover at my place instead. Needless to say, he did not get his wish.
Seems that there are a lot of men out there that assume the date is just something to get through to get to the sex after. This can happen on any date, regardless if you met online or not. However, this happened to me so often that I began suspecting that meeting a guy online sent the subliminal message that I was looking for sex even though it was never discussed and my profile was in the serious relationship category.
I suspect that the actual number of people using online dating sites that are really looking for a relationship instead of a good time is fairly small.
Reason #2: Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire?
Let's face it, people can say anything they want about themselves online. They're a brain surgeon, a model, or even a pro-hockey player (that one was rather comical). Studies have already proven that both men and women lie about different things on their profile. Women tend to lie about their weight and men tend to lie about their height and salary.
Men have complained to me time and time again that when they finally met a woman they had been chatting with online, she turned out to be at least 50 lbs heavier than she stated on her profile. Women counter that they hope a guy likes them enough after getting to know them online that their looks/weight won't matter to a guy. Sadly, it's not the weight that bothers a guy so much as the lying about it!
Some people don't even use their own pictures! What a fantastic way to start a relationship!! Nothing builds love and trust like lying.
People lie about whether they're even single, if they have kids, their job, their looks, you name it. But how are you supposed to know if they're the real deal? It's different when you know them from work or your friends. You can always do a little investigating about whether they are in fact single, what they do for a living and so on. That's very hard to do online. You have no choice but take their word for it, at least for the time being.
Reason #3: Long Distance Dating Doesn't Always Work
I have a girlfriend that met a guy online and then proceeded to try and have a long-distance relationship with him. It never worked out. I also tried the same thing, many years ago and that didn't work out any better. The truth of the matter is, it doesn't work out for too many other people either.
There is a difference between meeting someone, dating for at least 6 months and then due to uncontrollable circumstances ie., deployment to Afghanistan, job relocation, etc., the couple is forced to do the long distance thing vs trying to get to know someone online that lives on the other side of the country.
The best way to get to know someone is not by listening to everything they have to say about themselves and then reciprocating your life's story. As Jesus said so succinctly in John 5:31, "If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true." Darn right! The best way to judge some one's character (or their fruits, if you want to stay on the Biblical theme) is by seeing them interact with other people and in different circumstances. This is hard to do online and especially if that online relationship is long distance. It's not like you're able to have dinner or go for coffee anytime soon.
You have no idea if anything that person has said about themselves or in their profile is accurate, ie., "loves children" and you also don't know if that person isn't having a long distance relationship with someone else or several other people for that matter.
Reason #4: I Say Hello, You Say Good-Bye
I don't think there is anything more devastating to a person's fragile ego than working up the courage to meet someone they like only to have that person take one look at them and say, "Oh crap! I forgot, I'm supposed to be somewhere right now! Gotta run!" (Someone actually said this me, I kid you not).
Even if you post real pictures of yourself in your profile, people can look different in person. The trouble with online dating is that when you do finally decide to meet, there can be so much emphasis on the whole looks thing. People seem to think that if there's no chemistry in the first few seconds of seeing someone in the flesh, that there can be no hope of any romance in the future. How sad.
I think the reason the meet-up tends to fall apart is because we as humans tend to have certain expectations and when those expectations are not met, we feel very disappointed. It's so easy to build up someone in your mind, especially if all you have to go on is their online profile and what they've told you about themselves. You bring your own expectations to the table, hoping this potential Mr. or Ms. Right will meet your criteria, but in reality, meeting all of your expectations is impossible to do.
Reason #5: Online Dating Teaches Us That Being Yourself Isn't Good Enough
This has to be one of the best reasons why online dating can actually be hazardous to your health.
I realize that when we go out on a date we don't show up in sweat pants with our hair unwashed. We usually try to make a good impression. But there is a difference between looking your best and trying to be something your not. The online dating world sends the message to people that you're not good enough the way you are.
The so-called online dating experts instruct us on what to say and what not to say about ourselves in our profiles. "Don't say ________ or you'll come across as desperate!" They entice us with columns like, "Be exactly the woman every guy wants." Sure, if you're into polygamy. Why not be the woman that will attract they guy you want? Over and over again we get the message that you need to improve yourself or else Mr. or Ms. Right will never come your way.
Then there's the pressure message that goes something like this: "If you don't take the initiative and message guys that you're interested in you will end up dying alone!" (ok, that's a bit exaggerated, but not far from the truth). Gee, maybe taking the initiative isn't her style. See? Why be you when you could be someone else!
Maybe we need to stop being afraid of being alone like it's the worst thing in the world that could happen to us.
Reason #6: Looks Shall Always Triumph Over Personality
Online dating tends to favour people who are attractive even if they have very little to offer in the way of personality or character. Having a sense of humor pales in comparison to six-pack abs and a great tan.
Online dating seems to be more about meeting someone to go out and have fun with vs finding someone to have a serious relationship with. It's very discouraging for men and women with amazing characteristics such as a love for kids, patience, and honesty to compete with men who's hobbies include working out, going to the club and surfing on the weekends or women who resemble Scarlett Johanson and like puppies, shopping and going to the tanning salon.
They place a tremendous amount of importance on how someone looks instead of who a person is. It's difficult to truly get to know a person's characteristics other than sense of humour over the internet. Being honest or being respectful towards women is demonstrated better in person than online.
For women who are not super models it can get downright discouraging to post the real you online only to have maybe one response. Change your picture to include yourself in a provocative position, cleavage, or more skin overall and I'll bet you all the money in the bank you will definitely get more responses from men. Yes, men are visual, but women who are serious about finding Mr. Right or having a serious relationship want a guy to be interested in more than her bra size.
Have You Ever Visited an Online Dating Website?
Moral of the Story
Alright so I have probably depressed the heck out of you by this point but it's far better that you know what you're up against out there in the online dating world than to get your hopes up only to have them smashed to pieces. Like it's not hard enough being single but then add having to deal with rejection after rejection by complete strangers!
I'm not saying that love and serious relationships can never happen online, what I am saying is that your chances are slim, whether you are male or female. For all my bad experiences and friend's bad experiences, I do know one or two cases where it did work out all sunshine and roses. People win the lottery, don't they? So there you go. Go forth and profile all you want, wink to your heart's content but please, do not dismiss the old fashioned way of getting to know someone at the office, school, local watering hole—you get it.
Questions & Answers
Should I give up online dating?
You don't have to give up, but just be aware that people online may not always be who they say they are, or want the same things as you.Helpful 46
If looking for a relationship online is a bad idea, what's the alternative?
The alternative is to date in person, the old-fashioned way.Helpful 45
I have a friend who wants me to date him, but I don't have feelings for him. He can't even help me with money because he wants me to be his girlfriend first. What should I do?
If you need money, perhaps you should look for a second job or find another means of making extra money. Dating a guy for money when you don't have feelings for him doesn't usually work out well in the long run.Helpful 32
© 2010 Carolyn Dahl