Online Dating

I know it works for some, but it would never work for me.

It seems as each year passes, the phenomenon of online dating becomes more and more prevalent. While statistics support this by the sheer amount of people who sign up for online dating, the trend might be even a little more magnified for someone like me who is now in his mid-twenties. It seems that at about the time a person hits twenty-two or  twenty-three, different measures are taken to find “the one.” Of course, one of these measures is online dating.

I know many people who rely heavily on online dating. I know many people who have found great success with it and I know many people who have had catastrophic mishaps with it. When I ask people why they resort to online dating I hear many of the same reasons: Not enough time to actively seek someone out traditionally, only losers live in my town, specific needs need to be met, more comfortable over a computer medium. While I understand these reasons, I can’t change my mind that online dating is just not the natural way to go.
First things first, online dating is based on lies. You know how easy it is to lie on a first date when you first meet someone? Well, it is 1,000x easier to do so over the internet. Miles away from the person and in front of your computer screen makes it very conducive to build yourself up a little bit, to stretch the truth so to speak. I am a person who needs to examine the eyes, facial expressions, and voice of anyone when they tell me something, so talking to a stranger online doesn’t really get me or the other person anywhere. Everyone talks about horror stories on how they met a person online for the first time and that person had zero resemblance to their profile picture or listed physical characteristics. But what do you expect? It is very easy for someone to put their best foot forward in cyberspace esthetically but when it comes down to a face-to-face date, there is no hiding. But it is not the physical that bothers me as much as the opportunity to lie about personality, experiences, education, etc. People out there can say whatever they want to say to make them sound like a rock star online with very little consequences.
Online dating to me is just too easy. Yes, I understand that one of the reasons people participate in OD is to save time but if you want to start a relationship based on convenience it is probably doomed from the start. In my opinion, dating is about putting yourself out there and taking risks. Not to sound cliché or anything, but dating is a game. You got to make moves and when it comes down to it, you got to make decisions that will either take you to the next level with someone or sink you. This whole process is cheapened when it takes place over the internet. When you date you should feel some adrenaline, experience some stress, and get some butterflies. You don’t get this experience over a computer. All of the natural instincts and gripping emotions that come from live dating are numbed down because you have a computer screen protecting you as you veg out on the couch while  eating ice cream. There is no risk involved.
I also have a problem with online dating because, I hate to say it, it makes the people involved look desperate. No matter how popular online dating becomes, it will always be a second-tier alternative to meeting someone initially in person. To me, meeting singles online is analogous to holding up a white flag and giving up. You are conceding that you need the aid of a third party (and by this I mean the internet, not a friend) to find you a soul mate. Keep putting yourself out there, don’t disappear behind a screen.
Finally, I think online dating just carries with it a bad enough reputation that will forever turn me off from ever trying it. Sorry, but who wants to be the couple that when asked how they met, they have to respond that they connected totally randomly over eHarmony? It sounds sketchy, and right or wrong, people make judgments off of it right away. It would be tough for me to carry that story with me.
I am not trying to infringe on anyone who has found happiness over online dating. Good for you, you are further along than me as I continue to trek down Single Avenue. I can’t even say that I am totally absolved from using the internet as a means to make and build relationships. I have met several people off of Twitter and have jump started a solid friendship over Facebook. Although a far cry from registering onto an online dating website, I do admit that I use the internet as a way to enhance my dating life.
I also have to concede that I am in a fortunate spot at this stage in my life so it makes it easier for me to look down on online dating. I live in a city, Missoula, that is incredibly easy to meet people in. I have three roommates who are my age who continually expose me to their network of friends. I also have a job that enables me to meet many interesting and fun people. I am also twenty-five. While I do bitch all the time about being old, I do realize that I am still relatively young in the dating circle (Now only if I was good looking and charming!). Point here is that I know I am playing with a pretty good hand right now but check with me in ten years when I am living by myself in a less social city with a more mundane job and I might be an online dating king.

In the end, we have to do what is going to make us happy. If it means meeting people online, then so be it. I just caution about opting for convenience rather than working hard for that ideal person who you see every day at the gym, in the espresso stand, or living down the street. No one said finding that special someone was easy. Do what you gotta do. Don’t Blink.

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