In my previous article, “Expect what you Will Accept,” I described the dysfunction that exists in relationships due to the distorted norms of what constitutes a healthy relationship in our society today. Not only do many individuals fail to maintain a functional relationship, many people are struggling to find their soul mate. With technology replacing almost all forms of communication, business deals, shopping, and bill paying it’s of no wonder that the internet is becoming more and more commonly the source people are turning to for dating. Eharmony.com set the tone for now the mass amounts of online dating services throughout the country. Local Louisville databases such as Mojo.com and Justlunch.com make meeting someone more comfortable and convenient by offering nearby locations and automatically linking others to singles within our community.
Being a social butterfly I have always met others with ease and have never been faced with the issue of not being able to find a date but have spent a lot of time contemplating the good, the bad, and the ugly of online dating and have had numerous friends and family members explore this option of dating. As someone who has been strongly against the idea of meeting strangers over the internet, I have had to really step out of my own worldview and look at the perceptions and successes of others close to me who have found love on the web.
Overall, what has made me most resilient to the notion of meeting others over the internet has been the issue of safety. People can be deceiving, and anyone having the flexibility to present any information or any picture of themselves can be dangerous if one chooses to not meet someone in a public setting. A girlfriend of mine has been recently dating others online and chose for her first date with someone to meet at the guy’s house. It ended up being a horrific experience, and to say the least this 28 year old male had his entire house decorated with cartoon figurines in which he has been collecting throughout his lifetime if that tells you anything about his character. Another friend of mine chose to meet a guy she had met via messaging over Myspace at his house at midnight! Under no circumstance, no matter what someone has written about themselves or how much you may think you already “like” this person, that person is still essentially a stranger. It is never safe to go into the home of someone you don’t know more than the bum standing on the street. Keeping meetings public is the only safe way to protect oneself from impersonators or people with malicious intents.
The positive side of online dating is that it is bringing people together who might not have ever met otherwise and has successfully aided some in finding their soul mates. My cousin, who is a very dedicated Christian woman, found love on Eharmony.com with an amazing man who shares her same spiritual passion. She and her husband have been happily married for 11 years now. For those that use it honestly, it can be an excellent tool for introverts or for individuals who are seeking convenience in dating. The automated option of being directly linked with others that share similar interests and personality dynamics provides the simplicity of avoiding some of the “getting to know you” hoopla by learning so much about a person by merely viewing their profile.
Without having a large network of friends or engaging in a lot of social activities, meeting others at later stages in life can be difficult. I suggest readers exploring new environments, such as a coffee shop they’ve never tried, a bookstore, or a new class at the gym. Putting yourself out there isn’t always easy, and striking up a conversation can be difficult but it could be worth you meeting that certain someone. If you feel as though you’ve exhausted your options and want to explore the world of online dating, please keep it honest, meet in public, and avoid placing yourself in vulnerable situations to your safety.