Online dating: risks and rewards

Dating. So many definitions surround the word. Many of us have had our fair share of meeting people and going out on the traditional date. For some, it ends after that first encounter, while for others a lifelong relationship is formed. For many others, though, trying to meet and go out with people the old-fashioned way isn’t as appealing.

As Americans have come into the Internet era, we have slowly begun to incorporate the Internet into every part of our lives—shopping, social life, e-cards, couponing, and yes, even dating. Online dating has become a world phenomenon. You have companies competing to have the best “success rates.” If you’re looking for a Christian relationship, don’t worry, online dating companies have that covered, too.

So what is it about these online dating sites that makes them attractive? Are they really worth it? What about old-fashioned dating?  People have been meeting, dating, and getting married for years without any help from the Internet.

Of course, that 50 percent divorce rate hasn’t been going down. So maybe the old-fashioned way of dating isn’t so solid. Online dating is all about finding the person you are most “compatible with.” Apparently, online dating sites believe they do a better job at finding compatibility than you do on your own.

No one can deny the fact that people can successfully meet through online dating sites and end up in a loving, Godly marriage. Everyone I know knows at least one person who is on an online dating site.

My brother is getting married this Friday, April 27, and met his fiancee on match.com. After years of trying to meet people through social events, work, mutual friends, etc., they both decided to give online dating a shot.

Now they, just like many others participating in online dating, went on dates with quite a few duds. But then they spotted each other’s profiles, did a little chatting via the website, and abra-kadabra, they were on their first date and the rest is history.

Online dating certainly has its pros. You can see the person before having to actually meet them and possibly avoid disappointment. You can read about their interests and activities and decide if you’d be bored to death or intrigued. You can do all these things without having to hold an actual conversation with the person.

Ok, but let’s not forget about the cons of online dating. Anyone can put his or her best foot forward on an online dating site. The guy who has a two year old picture on his profile turns out to be quite a few pounds heavier than he was two years ago. And his activities say he loves taking long walks through the woods and skiing, but he hasn’t done either of these since high school.

The point is that online dating can be a risk. Just like the Brad Paisley song, a guy who actually works at a pizza joint and drives an old Hundai can have an online dating profile that says he is a model for GQ and drives a Maserati. Nonetheless, online dating has its advantages. For those who are tired of the old-fashioned dating routine, they may be ready to step outside the box. As the old saying goes, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward.”

Story by Alex Lerner | Staff Writer | lernerak@grace.edu