The Unglamorous Side of Online Dating

Last week we started talking about the topic of online dating in my post “Have you tried an online dating site?” I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I honestly couldn’t believe how popular of a topic it was, with opinions ranging from “old school” daters who would never consider finding a date online to those who only date in the virtual world. The results of the poll, which asked the title question of the post, were also quite surprising to me. Out of 632 votes, 59% have tried an online dating site, while 41% have not. I had expected the poll to take a larger majority either way and was intrigued by the near middle split.

As I indicated in last week’s post, I do think there are a lot of pros to dating online, and many people added to the list of pros I had offered. However, I do think there are plenty of cons to consider before deciding to fill out that dating profile and put yourself out there for all of the world to see.

Here are some of the cons to online dating, with a few of those ever-popular online dating horror stories thrown in:

1. Using old, doctored, or just plain fake photos. I don’t really see dishonesty in one’s profile as a con of online dating because people can lie to you in the real world. The last guy I dated lied to me about pretty much everything — he ommitted the fact that he had a 2-year-old son until someone outed him, he lied about having gone to college, and he lied about his drinking problem until he got a DUI. What he couldn’t lie about was what he looked like. Even though it’s shady and stupid, online daters have the option of posting any photo they want, including ones that aren’t even them! During one of the first dates I went on with a guy I met online, the guy continually made comments about how I looked just like my pictures. I just remember hearing “no surprises” over and over again. He finally admitted he went on a date with a woman who had put on quite a bit of weight since her profile picture was taken, which he claims would not have made a difference to him if she had just been honest about it. I hear the weight story a lot, and it makes me wonder if these people honestly thought they were going to get away with being dishonest about their appearance. Okay, I totally get that we live in a shallow world, and they’re probably afraid less people will give them a chance, but isn’t it better to take the time to find someone who liked you for exactly who you really are? 

2. Despite the fact that there are niche sites for those just looking to get a little action, there are puh-lenty of people out there looking for a quick romp in the sheets with whomever is willing to dance, and they don’t care if their efforts are not appreciated on sites for people looking for committed relationships. A friend of mine went on a date with a guy he met online who ended up telling him he already had a boyfriend and was just looking for a little action on the side. Needless to say, when the guy offered to take my friend out for coffee and then head to the nearest hotel, where they could indulge in some “dominatrix-style punching-bag sex” (I’m seriously quoting here) — you know, if he was comfortable with that — he politely declined.

3. This con is courtesy of a comment from last week’s post and is one I definitely had not thought of before. Some people don’t actually leave the online dating world after they have found someone willing to be in a committed relationship with them. The commenter said she was dating a man who refused to delete his online dating profile and still signed into the dating site to correspond with other potential dates. Conversely, a friend of mine shared an interesting story with me about the pre-online dating days when newspaper personals were all the rage. He and his (now ex) wife met through a newspaper personal, but after they were married, she thought he was going to cheat on her every time he picked up the newspaper. The same principle can definitely apply to online dating — some people get edgy every time they see their partner boot up that computer, whether the feeling is valid or not.

4. This one pains me to write, but some people turn to online dating because their social skills are so atrocious, they don’t have any other option. A few of the people who commented on last week’s post advised that you should try to talk to potential dates on the phone as soon as possible, and I can really see the value in this because some people seem fantastic when you’re talking to them through email, but when you get them on the phone or meet them in person, it’s like a whole different person is standing in front of you. They obviously aren’t trying to be deceptive, and of course I believe they deserve love as much as the next person, but it’s definitely cause for some really, really awkward situations.

I could definitely go on with my list of cons to online dating, but I’d rather hear what you all have to say. What cons would you add to the list? Does anyone have any online dating horror stories they’d be willing to share?

Love and pepper spray,

Mika

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~ by Mika Doyle on July 30, 2010.

9 Responses to “The Unglamorous Side of Online Dating”

  1. You have done a wonderful job bringing about this wounderful discussion.

    • Thank you! It’s been such a great experience for me to hear so many different stories.

  2. My biggest issue with online dating was that I asked all sorts of questions in “get to know me” type emails – where are you from, tell me about your family, what do you like to do, etc. When I finally met the person, it was extremely awkward because we didn’t really know one another but we knew a whole lot about each other. The hard part was that all of those easy starter questions had already been discussed so we had no conversational jumping off points. It was kind of a nightmare….

    The other thing I struggled with was that the matching site had told me we were perfect for each other but I just didn’t see it. So, who was wrong?? The matching site or me?? Was I being too picky? Was this guy actually what I wanted? Should I just marry him now even though I just didn’t feel it? I started to question every little aspect because a machine had told me we would hit it off and frankly, we didn’t. Gladly, I walked away perfectly content to leave the virtual world behind for a bit and stick it out the traditional way… for now….

    -Caitlin

    • Those are pretty much my exact issues with online dating, too. And I’m starting to find that guys are getting lazy when it comes to courtship because of online dating — it just seems harder and harder to get them to ask you out on an actual date because they’re so content to keep emailing and texting. Personally, I’m a bit fed up and am letting my match account expire next month. If I try anything outside of traditional “old school” stuff, it’ll be those dating cards someone mentioned in the comments of my last post.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jayleen Hartman, Shannon Hernandez. Shannon Hernandez said: The Unglamorous Side of Online Dating « Inspire Rockford: Last week we started talking about the topic of online d… http://bit.ly/ccIhVt […]

  4. This is a great post!
    There are major downfalls of online dating but at the same time–back when arranged marriages were still inforced it wasn’t much different. You knew mostly rumors more then you knew the truth of things.

    I don’t know I’ve met a few friends over line but I would be worried to date someone from an online dating website.

    • Thanks! I’ve tried several online dating sites, and I am 99.9% I am DONE with them. I just don’t think that method is for me even though it’s hard for me to get out and meet people because I’m so busy all the time. I would really rather just meet someone organically.

  5. Online dating is hard, but so is meeting someone in real life. Tell me, when do any of us have the time? Where do we meet someone? Office? Can’t do that, too tricky. Frozen food aisle? Never happens! The bar? Well, after a few cocktails we want anyone, so this might not be the BEST answer. If we wait around hoping to be discovered, will we be? Atleast on line dating gives the perception of control over your destiny. Of being proactive. Even if MOST of the people out there are dBags. 😉

    Student Driver
    http://www.learningtodrivestick.com

  6. […] writing about the good, the bad, and the ugly-bits of online dating for the Love-Drunk or Hungover column, I have to say that my on-the-fence opinion […]

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