Online dating…what gives?

No one ever said dating would be easy, but how come people never say that it would be this hard either? With all the new ways to find and meet new people – online, phone call-centers/dating lines, etc.  – Why is it that it is so hard to still find that special person that you have been searching for?

It seems almost an enigma of sorts that despite all these new ways to find and meet new people, we can still not find that one person that could end our search. It is as if technology has in fact hindered our ability to go out and be sociable and to interact with others, in life in general, but even more so in dating. I myself am not immune to the attraction that lies at the ease of clicking a button in search of someone special, yet I find myself wondering if this is really the easiest way.

For all those people who have found the love of their life through online dating, I applaud you and congratulate you on your achievement in life. For everyone else, such as myself, I wonder whether it is possible to ever reach that level of achievement in our search for love despite all the tools within our grasp.

I am not currently dating anyone that I have met online, the current man in my life and I have met through conventional means; however my previous boyfriend was someone I had met on a free dating site called plentyoffish.com. It’s a site that allows its users free access to all of its services such as general and advance searches in which you can tweak your setting to looks for exactly what you want – you know, that tall dark and handsome rich doctor who has just never had time to go out and meet people while doing his residency and specialized surgical rotation at the most prestigious hospital in the country? Yeah that guy. – as well as services such as listing people as your “favourites” or sending messages or even instant messages to other users. For all it offers its users, it’s surprising that this site is still available to free.

Back to my previous boyfriend. I happened to come upon his picture and thought he was really good looking and after reading through his profile, I decided I wanted to talk to him and went for it. I made the first move. I think that is one of the advantages of online dating for sure. It allows people who would normally be shy (not that I fall into that category at all) to push their boundaries and go out on a limb to try to make a connection with someone else. It still allows for some kind of anonymity so that there is no harm in reaching out. What’s the worst that can happen? Someone doesn’t read the email message you sent them? At least it wasn’t a face-to-face rejection and allows you to move on to the next potential love interest, and who knows, they might read what you wrote and actually want to talk some more.

When it comes to online dating, probably the most important thing to remember is that not everyone is looking for the same thing. Guys tend to be looking for “intimate encounters” more often than not, even if their profile says otherwise. Girls tend to be looking for actual relationships and someone to take home and cuddles up on the couch and watch movies with. Sometimes though, what a guy’s profile says is actually what he wants and that real connection can be made and flourish into something more substantial than a one-night-stand. In either case, it’s also important to remember that safety is an issue too.

More and more people are using the Internet and from all age groups. Most people you meet online, even if not in person, are genuine people and not creepy, malicious crazies, but there are still those out there who wish to prey on the insecurities and trust of others and so for all those people looking to meet people in person that they’ve talk to online. For those out there who wish to pursue this form of interaction, I have a few words of advice.

  1. Always meet in public first, second, third times. After the third date or so, make it a point to introduce them to your friends. We all know that we value our the opinions of our friends, but when it comes to online dating, seeing how they act around your friends and the people that you trust the most is important because they may be putting a front on for you and act differently when around others.
  2. Trust your gut. If something feels wrong, ask questions. Find out answers and never ever be afraid to stand up for yourself!
  3. Don’t let them pressure you into anything you don’t want to do. If it feels right, do whatever you want. If it doesn’t, then say good night and walk away.
  4. There was this one guy who turned out to be a total jerk, who I had met months before my last boyfriend, and who go physical with me in a bad way, something I am thankful that happened while I was with my friends. A huge reason why meeting your friends is truly important. With that being said, I don’t regret sleeping with any of the men I have met in the past because at the time things felt right. I don’t regret anything that happened between us. Stuff happens and you have to learn to deal with it, but unless something tragic or life altering takes place, such as injury, death, pregnancy, etc., don’t let things that you have done be regrets. Take them as lessons to be learned and remember and know better for the next time. Nothing in life should be truly regretted because there is always something to be learned from every experience. This is especially true when it comes to online dating. Don’t let one bad experience discourage you from finding one of the good guys.

So bring on the men and let all those women out there enjoy themselves and their freedom a little bit! Dating should not have to be this hard. No one said it would be easy, but give a gal a break once in a while and let something go in the right direction of meeting Mr. Right, if not at least Mr. Right-Now.

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