Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Dating

By Ellen Goodlett

Millions of people nowadays are using the Internet to find a significant other. Dating websites such as Match.com and eHarmony.com boast of strong success in matching couples via personality tests and similarity of interests, rather than by visual appeal. However, there can be a good side and a bad side to seeking your soul mate online.

Personality-Based Matches

Dating someone based on similar interests or personality types can be result in a more compatible relationship than, say, dating someone who looks cute in a bar or who asks you to dance in a club. When you date online, you have the chance to get to know someone's opinions and interests first, before you make a snap decision based on looks or a cute smile.

Untruths

Dating online can make it much easier for people to lie about themselves. The nice guy you've been matched with through a dating site is probably not a serial killer, but he also might not be a 6-foot-2, 25-year-old underwear model either. You should always be cautious on a first date, but you have to take extra care with someone you only know online.Always meet someone for the first date in a public place. Let a friend know where you will be, and plan to check in with her a couple of hours after your date begins--even if it's just a quick text to let her know everything is going great. As with any first date, be aware of your surroundings. If your date pressures you to go somewhere more secluded than you're comfortable with, cut the night short. Don't put yourself in danger just to be polite.

Shyness

If you are not a naturally outgoing person, meeting new people can be hard. That's where dating online can help you--with a protective computer screen between you and the girl you're chatting to, it's much easier to open up without feeling nervous the way you might in person. Plus, if she does not return your interest, there's no need for a face-to-face confrontation about it; you can just say "Thanks anyway" and log off.

Distance

You might find a great match online, someone who really enjoys your company, and who you love talking to. But what if they don't live in your area? It can be a real pain to determine whether or not a long-distance relationship is worth the hassle when you haven't even met the guy or girl in person before. Meeting for the first time can be difficult, too, if it will cost a lot of money to visit each other.

Variety

When dating online, you'll be exposed to a wide variety of people and personality types--the kind of people you might never have the opportunity to interact with in person. Who knows, you may discover that a fun-loving skydiver who scuba dives for a living is more your type than the young successful accountants you were trying to date before. Online dating gives you the chance to talk to both types of people.

Incompatibility

It's hard to determine if someone you've only spoken to online will be a good match. A marine biologist may sound really interesting online, and he might have a lot of fun ocean-faring stories to share with you, but in reality his fish-scented clothes and aquarium-filled house might not be so attractive.

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