In the past several years, the dating scene has changed considerably. People are busier, careers sometimes move to the top of our priority list, and dating has had to evolve as a result.
Online dating has transformed the way adults can meet their next date, expanding your options far beyond who you can meet at the local watering hole. Pick-up lines have been replaced with profiles, and the online dating scene has opened up a whole new world of possibilities when it comes to relationships and dating.
Online dating is a more organized, thorough approach to meeting someone. People who sign on to online dating sites usually provide basic information about themselves, such as their name, age and where they live. Pictures and personal tastes, such as favorite types of music and movies, as well as general interests can also usually be added to a user profile.
Some dating websites also allow users to indicate the type of person they are looking for, and in some cases matches can be made for you. Part of the process is deciding which type of online dating site you prefer and which one(s) use a method that works for you.
Some of the most popular online dating sites include:
eHarmony - eHarmony has a compatibility matching system that uses 29 personality variables to determine who you are most suited to. It will only allow you to contact people that the matching system determines you may be highly compatible with.
Match.com - With 15 years of experience, Match.com is ranked as one of the largest dating sites in the world.
Okcupid - This is a free dating site that allows you to contact anyone you like on the system. They can also provide matches for you and also allow users to create and complete fun quizzes to help you meet like-minded singles.
Lavalife - Some users will find a bit of versatility with this site, where members can select from a variety of options that include dating, but allow for other choices such as: relationships, intimate encounters, and so on.
Chemistry.com - Uses research from world-renowned biological anthropologist, Dr. Helen Fisher, to make predictions about who best matches your chemistry profile.
Advantages to Online Dating
There are a number of advantages to online dating. One of them is that with millions of people participating, you practically have the pick of the litter. Online dating has also become an increasingly popular way of meeting others without resorting to bars or trying to pick someone up in a book store, which means online daters can look for their next date from the comfort of their living room.
Many online dating services also offer special features that will get you that much closer to meeting someone special. With profiles, pre-screening, personality tests, and other functions, you stand a pretty good chance at finding the perfect date or future mate - depending on the service you choose.
Another advantage to online dating is the sense of control it offers. When you set up a profile, you can choose how much information to share. You are also able to specify the type of person you want to meet. Since there is no requirement that you meet anyone in person, you get to decide if you want to give someone your phone number or meet up at a physical location. You can take your time interacting with and getting to know someone online before you make the decision to actually go on a date.
Honesty is an issue that you will have to consider. You are never guaranteed that someone you meet online is being honest. Yet the same can be said for meeting someone face-to-face. Most online communications involve a great deal of frankness. In these discussions you can get right to the point.
This may eliminate many of the emotional risks that are otherwise involved in dating. Plus, if you decide you are no longer interested in communicating with someone, it's much easier to stop responding to them online than awkwardly leave a restaurant or have to wait for a horrible date to end.
There is also a lot of flexibility with online dating. Whenever you want, you can log on and chat, check profiles, or see who has contacted you. No matter what time of the day it is, or what day of the week, the world of online dating is at your fingertips.
Disadvantages to Online Dating
Naturally, there are some disadvantages to online dating. Just as having an opportunity to be really honest can be an advantage; there is the potential that what someone says online is not entirely-or even partially-true.
It is impossible to know if a profile or photo is completely truthful, so there is always some risk involved that the person who shows up to your first date is very different than the person you thought you met online.
You also have no guarantees of what will happen once you meet face-to-face. Online it might seem like you are a perfect fit. However, once you meet in person, if the chemistry isn't there or there are some things about the other person that were never disclosed (physically or otherwise), your date might not end up being the right fit. All the time spent nurturing and building a virtual relationship could come up empty-handed once you actually meet the person.
Another disadvantage is distance - especially if you meet someone who lives far away. While the Internet is great at bringing us closer together, trying to date someone across the country can be extremely difficult, especially with someone you may have never even met in person. Unless, of course, you are ready and willing to possibly begin your life somewhere new.
Finally, there is a cost to joining many online dating services. Most charge some type of fee, such as a monthly membership; however, other sites may charge extra fees for features like messaging, contacting another member or setting up a more advanced profile. It's important to find out what the fees are going to be ahead of time and get a good feel for the online dating service. You don't want to pay for months of service only to find out after a week that this site is just not for you.
There are advantages and disadvantages to online dating, so weigh them carefully before you jump in with both feet. Having a clear understanding of what you are getting into will make the experience more successful. Be realistic about your expectations and what you hope to gain from it. Spending time researching the different online dating services will also help you find the best fit.
In addition to the popular online dating services listed in this article, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others designed for almost everyone. Some online dating services are set up based on specific hobbies, lifestyles, interests, and relationship types. By doing a little research you can find an online dating site (or several) that offer exactly what you are looking for in a dating service-and a mate!
Life is busy and sometimes it's hard to find the time to get out there and meet someone, particularly if you are sick and tired of the single's bar scene. If you are looking for true love or just a friend, then online dating could be just the answer for you.