Online dating: Pros and Cons
Almost half of Americans are single and looking for a partner, so it is no surprise that online dating is on a rise.
Popular dating sites, like Zoosk, Match, or E-Harmony, have millions of subscribers all over the world. The demand is so high there are hundreds of niche sites for all kinds: seniors, Christians, dog and cat lovers etc. EHarmony claims that it is accountable for almost 5% of wedding that happened in the US during 2008-2010. The industry revenue from membership and advertisement is around 4 billions a year.
The pros of online dating
The idea is great. You don’t have to fear anymore to enter the world of singles. No need to buy new outfits or even put make-up, go to the bars or singles’ gatherings, put up with the frustrating blind dates. You can have a thousand suitors just a click away at the comfort of your home. Dating websites promise you to find an exact match that will suit your personality. Online dating also erases geographical barriers, so if you always dreamed about a romance with a hot Italian guy, hey, it can happen. You can “parallel” date through e-mail, messaging, video chats etc, until you find your ideal match and so on.
The cons of online dating
Unfortunately, online dating also has a lot of dangers if you are not careful. Most of dating websites don’t protect their members from fraudsters, scammers, or sexual predators.
Online dating is a magnet for sexual predators. They can learn everything they need to know about their potential prey: habits, address, surroundings. You should be really careful not to give any personal details until you know a person.
Single person, while looking for a relationship, is especially vulnerable for scammers. There are hundreds of schemes and you can find more information about them on www.scambusters.org. Most famous scheme is known as Nigerian scam, when a potential match, often pretending to be in a military, asks for money. The reasons can be different: he was paid by money orders and he needs you to cash it; he got unexpected medical bills; he got robbed etc. This scheme is old as the world, but people still get scammed. Scammers invest a lot of time into it; they can court you for months before they ask for money, so you feel like you really know the person and don’t suspect that you are getting duped.
A lot of people misrepresent themselves online. Women lie about their age, men lie about their income, and both lie about their weight and height.
Dishonest site operators sometimes staff their database with thousands of fake profiles to attract new subscribers. They also pay people to write false testimonials. Usually these are the same websites that make it very difficult to unsubscribe from their services, so you’ll end up paying month after month, until your close your bank account or cancel your credit card.
The rules for successful online dating
So, should you give online dating a try? Absolutely. Millions of people are looking for their match online and one of them is probably perfect for you. After all you just need one, right? But try follow these rules to save yourself from disappointment:
For finding perfect match:
- Be honest. Post a recent photo and honest description of yourself. If you are looking for long-term relationship, you shouldn’t start it with deception. Choose the photo where you are alone and your face is visible.
- Try to escape corny expressions, like “ I like long walks on a beach” or “I am looking for the girl I can introduce to my mom.” Also, everybody knows that “voluptuous” or “cuddly” means “fat”.
- Talk about things that you are really passionate about. Everybody likes movies and eating out, but if you specifically like brothers Coen and Korean kimchi, it would be easier for your ideal match to find you. Don’t get into too many specifics though, save some for later.
- Don’t forget to check your spelling.
- Be positive. Instead of writing what you don’t like, write about things you enjoy.
- Don’t focus on your work and money. While it is important to know that you are employed and independent, too much information can be annoying.
- Don’t choose your match based on photos alone.
- Take it slow. Go from e-mails to phone conversations, from phone conversations to Skype video chats, from video chats to having a coffee, before you go on a real date.
To be safe:
- Check the website’s reputation before you subscribe. Check how easy it would be to cancel the subscription, what the website’s policy about fraudsters and scammers. Remember that a dating website can be a scammer itself.
- Never share personal information: your last name, e-mail, home address, place of work.
- Stop all communication if person asks you for personal information or money. Remember that scammers can invest months before they ask you for money.
- Stop all communication if a person tries to sell you anything.
- Beware if person tells you that you are match made in heaven, but you actually never met.
- While meeting in person:
- Meet in public place. Use your transportation.
- Tell a friend or a relative where you are going. Schedule a phone call through the date to let them know you are ok.
- Don’t drink.
- Don’t leave your personal belongings unattended.
- If you feel that is something wrong, don’t feel embarrassed to interrupt the date. If you want to leave, leave.