When someone hears the word love, images flood the mind of Shakespearian tragic tales, star crossed lovers; from moments of happy little accidents and fate, to first kisses and fairy-tale princess endings. Never until now, have we thought to add swiping left or right, ticking ‘yes’ or ‘no’, entering one’s requirements as a means to finding your true love. It sounds as much of a paradox as arranged marriages. Internet dating to me to seems to be unsafe, unproductive and just not how the ways of love work. Call me a romantic, but there is a part of me that holds onto the belief of fate and destiny; that for every one person, there is one true love and the love and loss and hurt and heartache are all, just a matter of process in our pursuit of finding our one.
Living in our generation, I am the first to understand that dating has changed since its creation. It once consisted of first date proposals and fathers making deals with other fathers about whom their daughters will marry. One has to ask why this, if it were so simple, if love could be so easily achieved in this way, why do these practices not still take place?
To understand dating, one has to understand courtship. Yes, it is a process. It takes time, effort, quite a lot of vulnerability, often many tears and commitment. Falling in love means we have to expose our feelings and share our very flaws with someone else. It is risky. If I could find a way that would mean I could shortcut that process, protect myself from any rejection and hurt, find someone who liked what I liked – wouldn’t that be the way to go? I can see the appeal and so the very process of dating began transforming.
In a world where single people often have little time to socialize and find it hard to meet like-minded people, the Internet has provided a link to the world of dating and romance. Technology has attempted to make dating easier. It is my opinion that online dating has only proved to be more unsafe, and that all of the really hard emotional ‘trauma’ that dating brings, will inevitably eventually happen when the time comes to meet that ideal online match.
We live in a dangerous world and online dating has become is a goldmine for predators where people try to lure you in and take advantage of you. The online term is ‘catfish’, which means a person who lures someone into a relationship by creating and pretending to be someone or something that they are not.
Imagine dating or talking to someone who can look completely different to their online picture. There is no normal face to face ‘first date’ where you meet and get a feel or instinct about the person. Often online dating means you ‘date’ for months before even suggesting to meet. There is no way to monitor this as it is purely down to human judgment and experience. These lies could be as innocent as adding one or 2 inches to their height. On the other hand, they could be as dangerous as lying about their relationship status. Greg Hodge, CEO of Huffost reveals that approximately 53% of dating profiles are exaggerated in one form or another.
Internet dating can provide individuals with access to many more potential partners than they often find in their daily lives. This is especially true for individuals interested in partners of a particular type, orientation, lifestyle, or in isolated areas. It is increasingly hard to find ‘safe opportunities’ to connect socially. Especially for the mid 20’s upwards when going to clubs and parties is no longer their lifestyle.
Many online dating sites offer various types of personality testing and matching. Such matching can help guide individuals toward dating partners who may be more compatible. Matching is a difficult process and testing may not be accurate for everyone. In addition, people may present differently in person or change over time. So, matching may overlook potentially good partners in the process.
It is sadly so unproductive and removed from the original intention to use technology to find the perfect one in that there are now dating sites developed for married men and women who wish to cheat. The dating website called Ashley Madison is for married couples wanting to date other people. An even more alarming fact is that according to a report from Phactual, 10% of online dating users are sex offenders. Even more surprising is that approximately 25% of rapists are currently finding their victims on online dating websites. Every year there are approximately 100 murders and 16,000 abductions by online predators. I think it holds true for the saying that, if someone sounds too good to be true, they usually are.
For me, a real soulmate is about so much more than just liking the same things or doing the same things; being tall or short, an extrovert or an introvert- true love speaks about compromise. It is about being different and appreciating those differences for they make you who you are. It’s more about being imperfect than about being perfect. Technology can never replace the human touch, the glance from across a crowded room. The butterflies you feel when you see that person, and you can feel their love. Given all of the above, I therefore believe that Internet dating is unsafe and productive, and in some aspects even harmful.