Dating Online: Spooked or In for a Treat?

Are you scared to meet someone online? For many, online dating seems to be a safe and efficient way to meet someone. You can scroll through profiles, connect with those you like, and put forth your best image of yourself without spending much time or effort. With social distancing practices this year, online dating has been a way to continue to meet other singles without leaving home. Virtual dating can be a tricky way to build quality relationships, but for some, it can be the treat of meeting the love of their life.

There is next to no obligation involved with meeting someone online. Very little time is needed to prep for an online date. All a person needs to do is find a location with good lighting and a background for a video meeting and schedule a time for a virtual meeting. Conversations start with initial emails and continue to a “virtual date”. Virtual dates, which have become popular, are held remotely through live video meetings and consist of chatting with one another or doing an event together separately such as eating, cooking, art, or watching a movie. Virtual dates have become even more popular with COVID-19. Even groups of singles who typically would enjoy meeting at a restaurant or pub are hosting video events online. Members are invited to bring their meal or drink to enjoy virtually and engage in discussions remotely. Screening potential matches online saves money for those on a budget. As a low risk option to meeting someone, online dating gives parties involved the chance to get to know each other without spending much money or feeling any sexual expectation that might be assumed in person. The ability to engage remotely without these expectations helps screen through people to find a better match while first building a friendship. Couples can enter into conversations on issues that may be deal breakers, before getting more seriously involved, lessening the chance for needless heartaches and wasted time.

Striking a match for one person may fizzle out for the other if the person misrepresents him or herself online. Likewise, a potential relationship can never truly grow if it doesn’t eventually move offline. Anyone can look boo-tiful online and there are plenty of spooks out there who can be hard to identify. Profiles can be setup using fake names, pictures and information. A person can connect with another person and share many details of their life, without the person actually being in the market to date but online for other reasons. For someone who feels they have found a confidant online it may be hard for them to identify deception in the other person, a fake profile, or someone who is online only for entertainment. The online space makes it easy for shy people to reveal information perceiving it to be a safer environment “behind the screen”. It can be easy to misconstrue a remote or online relationship with reality. An in-person meeting between two people needs to happen relatively quickly after initially starting to converse. A person could end up confiding their life through e-mails and chat sessions to someone who just disappears with all of the recorded information. Meeting someone in-person is invaluable to getting to know the other person. Until a meeting is set, there is a greater chance of making assumptions about a person’s personality, features, and the meaning behind what is said. Unless a relationship is substantiated with a physical presence, the relationship can never truly blossom and it is likely it will never go anywhere or become destructive because one person saw it as potential and the other a time filler.

Consideration needs to be given as to how much of a relationship is sacrificed by spending time remotely. We are not androids after all but human people who need to express ourselves in person and have tactical touch. As humans we are composed of spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional parts to our existence. Online dating caters to the emotional and mental aspects of the human condition, but it doesn’t do much for the physical and spiritual sides. While humans may share information visually of their physical and spiritual characteristics, these facets are better learned about and experienced in person. When any of these areas are withheld in a relationship, the relationship is hindered. For a relationship to grow, especially in a romantic relationship, a person needs to bring all of these to a relationship to be learned about. This is something that a strictly online relationship cannot offer. Likewise, a person who knows everything they can find about someone, without actually knowing them in person, also strips the person of their human value. The two parties need to be on equal ground, open to sharing in these areas, and grow the relationship offline, in-person. Without this, in one person’s mind there is potential for a relationship, and in the other person’s mind as entertainment at the expense of another with no intent. People who meet online need to have the goal of taking the relationship offline after an initial screening or else keep searching.  

With virtual dating becoming more popular, one has to wonder how mainstream this will become as a way to develop relationships. As a supplement to a relationship, it can be beneficial in certain situations. If a date in-person is set and a person became sick, the other person might still be able to keep the date virtually. The same thoughtfulness of wanting to be there can apply to other unexpected situations which come up. However, when two people make virtual dating the central way of spending time, time spent in person will lack in all areas until they become accustomed to spending time together. The physical presence is a necessary component of any relationship.

If you are screaming because another year is getting ready to end, and you are looking for a match for the holidays or something more long-term—just remember that online dating could be an option for you. Several online dating websites have affordable memberships and many are catered to specific interests such as religion, politics, or locations. Once a member, profiles can be filtered through by age, hobbies, occupation, and other demographics. Online services such as Facebook also offers free dating sections to their website. Meetup.com offers speed dating events which are currently online due to COVID-19. Facetime, Messenger, Zoom, Skype are also good services to use for video meetings. There are many ways to meet people the trick is to find the one you want to treat and come to their door. No costume required, just be your genuine self!


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