웃 T h e . S t i g m a . A r o u n d . O n l i n e . D a t i n g 웃

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I think many people these days are actually more open to the idea of online dating. But I wanted to share my thoughts anyway because I think there still are some negative attitudes surrounding this method of finding love that don’t really have much reason to back them.

I’m sure you’ve encountered it at one point or other, but there’s this view some seem to hold that online dating is something people turn to when they’ve run out of options in the “real world” or when they are in the older age range with fewer singles available to date. A lot of the time those who criticize are people who have been lucky enough to find their partners without having had to look far. To them, looking for love on the Internet may seem impersonal and strange.

Online dating doesn’t always translate to Long-distance relationship. That’s a whole other kind of experience. What I’m referring to here is finding people online that live close to your area, then asking them out and meeting in real life to begin a relationship shortly afterwards.

There are many reasons why a person would not only use this method, but would prefer it over more traditional ones, including many young people.

Here are some reasons why I believe people may look online for love:

  • Social Anxiety: Some people just don’t have an abundance of social skills that would allow them to flirt freely with potential partners face-to-face in their day to day lives. If they struggle with social anxiety, they would be experiencing a difficult enough time just making friends.Getting out of their shell to look for something more than friendship may be an agonizing process. Looking online would allow them to communicate with far less anxiety and thus be better prepared for the eventual face-to-face meeting. If you’re looking into online dating for this reason, chances are you’ll find others like yourself with whom you’d feel more comfortable interacting, since they too might know what it feels like to be shy.
  • No one around is compatible with you:
  • A person may join a dating site because they cannot find someone in their immediate surroundings that they feel they are compatible with. This person may have little-to-no social anxiety issues. If they don’t, chances are they’ve already tried and possibly exhausted the traditional methods of looking for love (e.g. meeting at an event and giving someone a number, going on blind dates, getting to know someone through mutual friends, etc).
  • These people may be criticized for turning to online dating because they don’t seem like the ‘type’ of person typically associated with online dating. You might’ve had that one friend who is attractive and sociable with many admirers buzzing around them, and been shocked to hear that not only were they still single, but that they had joined an online dating site… If social skills come easy to them, people might wonder what might be wrong with them (do they think no one is good enough for them? Do they have other personality issues that make them undesirable to their existing admirers?) Why else would a ‘social butterfly’ need to turn to cyberspace to find someone?
  • One possibility, however, could be that they’ve tried other avenues already, and that the ‘old fashioned’ ways just haven’t worked out for them… Usually because the people they’ve met in “real life” weren’t right for them.
  • Many people would agree that compatibility is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship. So if you can’t find it with the people around you, what’s wrong with looking online?
  • No time for looking around: If you’ve got an inflexible and loaded work schedule, you probably wouldn’t have spare time to attend events or go to clubs or participate in any other social event that is likely to find you a catch. In this scenario too, online dating would make a great alternative – both convenient and far less stressful. You could always go online for short spurts of time at the end of a long work day, and continue your search without additional strain on your energy. It would take less time to date the right person once you find them than it might to physically go out looking for them in a chance encounter.

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  • You’re Gay! (or Trans or Bi):
  • This is not the least of the reasons why some would turn to online dating, especially young people. It can be a pain to always wonder who’s straight and who’s gay if you’re looking for a same-sex partner, or who would accept your Trans or genderqueer identity. Although Pride Parade time would offer its own abundance of opportunities, for the rest of the year, online dating sites could provide a much easier method of discovering a match without having to investigate who’s gay or lesbian or bi or trans, because it’ll be right there on their profiles.
    • And for you, I recommend: Plenty of Fish, now called http://www.pof.com/  <-this is a free and great site, especially for LGBTQ-identified people! For some reason, there’s a lot of them on there… If it’s still the way it was 3 years ago when I first came across it, it would be a good start for anyone who wants to try finding a date online. You should be able to indicate your sexual orientation on your profile, as well as what kind of relationship you’re looking for (serious, casual, long-term, monogamous, etc). This site is also more active than many others and the profiles on it are more up-to-date.
    • Also check out this article that gives a brief overview of The Best Online Dating Websites for Gay Men. Some of the sites require paid memberships to use, but others are either free or offer a free account with limits.
  • You have unusual or very specific sexual preferences: And by unusual, I just mean…different. e.g. You may want to look for people that are into bdsm, or interracial relationships, or someone sharing an interest in a kind of lifestyle that you don’t feel comfortable talking about with just anyone. An online platform would allow you to be open about it, without the awkwardness of having to tell everyone you know what you’re into.

These are just a few among many reasons people may choose to use online dating sites. Depending on your circumstances and preferences, Online Dating can be a more practical and effective method of finding love than traditional ones.

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QUOTES From Other Sources

“The way a dating site works ensures [you] get access to the kind of information that probably wouldn’t be discussed on a first date – like whether they want a family, their religion and so on […]” (Quote From This Article)

“The growing number of marriages and long-term relationships formed as a result of single people using online dating sites is a modern day phenomena.” (Quote From This Article)

“One interviewee felt online dating sites helped him to break out of close-knit social or sexual circles to find new people. Others from smaller urban centres felt online sites helped them to find inroads into the gay community in a larger city that might otherwise seem daunting.” (Quote From Gay Men’s Health Article)

“No matter what dating website or service you try, you should always exercise caution. Don’t give out personal details until you know the other person. If and when you arrange to meet an online match, pick a busy, public place.” (Quote From Article: Why Do People Use Internet Dating?)

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And finally, it’s ALL Real Life! The Internet just offers an extra set of options you may not have in your immediate surroundings. People that never would’ve met the usual way could end up meeting online.

I’m definitely a believer in the usefulness of online dating since I met my girlfriend of 3 years through plentyoffish.com. I am an extremely picky person, and if I hadn’t tried online dating and found this specific girl, I’m sure I’d still be single right now… And I know an interracial, straight couple who also met on that same site around same time as me and my partner (they’re still together, and very much in love).

I think a lot of the stigma around online dating also comes from a general mistrust of the Internet. If you don’t personally want to use it, that’s one thing. But please don’t judge those who do. As I’ve outlined above, they have their reasons.

Online dating is not an alternative to ‘reality’. It works like a bridge to extend the boundaries of your reality. In the end, any date you find online is still very much a person – not a bunch of pixels on a screen or an imaginary lover.

If you’re looking to try out an online dating site, this article might me of some use to you:

Making Online Dating More Effective With Good Communication.

 

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