Online Dating (and the psycho-social centrifuge it spins us through)
Everyone wants to feel loved, right? We all want meaningful relationships in our lives. We want to be happy, feel fulfilled, etc. It’s even medically proven that being in a loving relationship throughout our lives will help us live longer. So how does one find that one special person? What steps does a person take to ensure or at least have the odds on their side that the will not only meet someone, but that that someone will be perfectly compatible for them?
In the good old days people relied on their friends who displayed certain levels of uncomfortable gittyness or annoyance and tried to set you up on a blind date. Friends tried to sell you on the notion that they suddenly had this “outside friend” for years that you’ve never met or heard of that would be perfect for you. All of the sudden they’re the best real estate agent in the world, only the “real estate” is this mystery person. Now depending on your mood, personality type, or level of desperation, you succumb to your friend’s flattery and before you know it you’re sitting in an overpriced restaurant with a stranger constantly checking that the fire exits haven’t been relocated since you last checked twelve seconds before. That’s all changed now…
Instead of friends with the legal human-trafficking complex, there’s online dating and the sales pitch to ensure us that online dating is now something that is sophisticated and isn’t used only by pedophiles and weirdos is that 1 in 5 relationships now begin with online dating. (Thank you match.com for that bit of information.) But why do people do it? Why use online dating? It’s a slippery slope because at first glance you might think, “Is this person so pathetic that he doesn’t have friends to set him up with someone?” Or “Is this person so socially awkward that he relies on a computer to give him a false temporary sense of intimacy and companionship?” To that I say… it’s true, some people on these sites are like that. But if you’re honest with yourself and with whoever it is that checks out your profile and start a correspondence with, it can be satisfying.
There are so many dating sites to choose from nowadays and if you’re new to the whole online dating scene, it may be a little overwhelming and you wouldn’t be sure where to start. Some are free and some you pay for and some you overpay for. And price isn’t the only thing that separates them. Take the paying ones first. Match.com and e-Harmony are among the most popular. Match.com has an affordable rate of $35 a month and e-Harmony has a rate of $60 a month. Also on Match.com, you’re free to explore the sites of other members and contact them on your own. On e-Harmony you can’t; you’re forced to depend on the site itself to set you up with someone that it thinks is the compatible match for you.
Most of the free websites work exactly the same as Match.com. You create your own profile and you can be as persistant as you want in seeing other people’s profiles, contacting them, and they can see your page. Now the way all these sites actually determine who you might be interested in dating is by answering questions about yourself, taking personality tests, and putting together your personal profile that puts your best foot forward. Online dating isn’t for everyone but if you’re honest with yourself and put your best foot forward, it could be very rewarding. It’s very high risk/high reward.
I’ve been doing online dating for quite some time and I’ve had my share of successes and failures from it. I’ve attempted the long-distance thing and the local thing. And without getting into details of placing blame on myself or others for the relationships that didn’t work out, I’ve had lots of shall-we-say “interesting encounters.” But like all other experiences in life, there are good memories and there are bad ones. Just take it all in stride.