I am willing to bet that every person reading this page knows someone great who found a relationship through an online dating site. These days, it’s not only a viable way to find a partner, it’s one of the most popular. Over 40 million Americans, close to half of the single population, subscribe to online dating sites and hundreds of new sites are popping up every year. In 2010, 1 in 5 people who married credited an online dating service for the introduction.
Gone are the days in which people who made a connection online have to invent a story that their friend “errr…Jay” (Date) set them up, or pretend that they met their significant other in the ‘real world’. Here’s the thing: Online dating is the real world. If you’re single and looking and not looking online, you’re missing out.
For those of you who haven’t tapped the worldwide web for love, the key is to remember that while it’s one fantastic way to get dates, it’s certainly not the only way. Don’t have an all-or-nothing mentality about online dating or you’ll burn out fast. Online dating can be exhausting because of the seemingly endless array of options, emails, exchanges, weird dates and missed appointments. Is it creepy to have an online dating spreadsheet to keep track of your potential matches? Perhaps. But it’s also efficient.
I do believe that everything in life is about managing expectations; so while you should keep an open mind, you should also keep your sense of humor and perspective. You’ll meet some wonderful people through these channels, but also expect to meet freak-show Bob (or Barb) when you venture into the online dating world. As my friend Janna said after meeting the love of her life online, “I’m lucky to have met my husband Mike on Eharmony. It was between him and a toothless man from Saskatoon…”
Online dating is like the popular New York discount department store, Century 21. You’ll have to sift through some junk and have patience to find the gems; but finding those gems (whether they turn into a romantic relationship, a friendship or a new business contact), makes the whole experience worthwhile. With so many millions using it, you’re bound to find a little of everything.
In the next installment, I’ll share an updated list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to consider as you’re cyberdating. (Hint: Start by tossing out of the term ‘cyberdating’….unless you want your date to think you last logged online for love in the late ’90s).