Is Online Dating Worth a Shot?
Sybil from Bossier City, Louisiana asks:
What do you think of online dating as far as getting to know a person vs. dating in real time getting to know them? Is their an advantage to either?
Greetings, Sybil, and thanks so much for writing. Your question is a good one. Personally, I see pros and cons to both sides of the issue. There are more than a few happy, long-term relationships thriving away out there that began online, just as there are more than a few horror stories. As with anything else involving people, there are no general rules, and every situation will be unique. It is always wise to approach things from the standpoint of what is right for “you” rather than making any kind of blanket assumption. Our world is altering around us at lightning speed thanks to the hyper-evolution of our technologies
. And although we apes remain fairly rudimentary creatures en masse, our social game is terribly complicated.
It seems to me that the people who have a better chance for success in the online dating arena are folks with more of a creative mentality and less moral restriction. In fact, those involved in alternative sex communities often flourish in the digital situation because they find it easier to accept and understand that online, what you are dealing with is a “projection” of the person typing the words. In fact, in some cases the person on the other end of the IM chat or email is an entirely constructed persona. People can express aspects of their personality over the Internet that they could not or would not express in person. Now, before you label this as “deceptive,” let me say that this projection can in many cases actually be more honest than the person would be in a supposedly “real life,” face-to-face meeting. The woman who works at the bank, goes to church on Sunday and leads a girl scout troop might also be conducting a ribald master/slave relationship with a brazen lesbian lover. So, which version of this woman is real? Which role is fake? My point is, it’s not up to us to say. It’s up to the woman to let us see which side of her she chooses at any given moment, and an online relationship can provide her with a venue for her pent-up expressions.
However, for people who are more restrictive, less creative and more practical, online dating can be a disappointing venture, especially if they are limiting themselves to meeting other “conventional” people with the intention of finding old-fashioned, boy-meets-girl love. That sort of thing doesn’t usually flow well in an online environment, and these people are often disappointed at the “reality” of the situation once the face-to-face dating starts. Conventional sorts tend to put their best foot forward online, creating idealized versions of themselves that are presented as absolutely true and real while omitting a helluva a lot of other stuff, like hidden marriages, massive debts and substance addictions. And, of course, a lot of so-called “conventional” guys out to meet “nice” girls are actually creeps on the make, pretending to be men of old fashioned values or religious beliefs in order to con some lonely woman out of her life savings or long-held virginity. No matter what path you pick, always remember, if he sounds too good to be true… he is.
In the end, it all depends on your mindset. What can you accept and tolerate? If you’re someone who’s adept at altering your perceptions, if you can see personality as a verb and not a noun, then online dating can be a grand way to experience romance and prospect for material encounters. However, if you tend to be a materialist or an adherent to notions of objective reality, then I say be wary of online stuff. Old fashioned sorts are better off at ice cream socials. Those things do still go on nowadays, you know. Thanks again and be well.
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