May 4, 2011
Understanding the Online Dating Scene
Written under: Internet, Lifestyle, Pop Culture
The Internet changed first dates forever.
Before online dating emerged, couples would have established a face-to-face rapport that led to a first date. Or the two would take the chance on a blind date, having never seen or met each other. Online dating opened the door to an odd gray area where a couple may never talk in person yet learn intimate details about one another prior to the first date.
Even if you’re using one of the best dating sites on the Web, a first date is still a first date and your approach should be what it once was: be yourself, look sharp and woo your love interest. Chances are you’ve spent time perusing your counterpart’s profile and asked questions.
As strange as it sounds, the online dating market exploded onto the Internet and the dating scene. Worldwide, the industry is worth more than $4 billion. A 2010 survey conducted by Match.com found that 17 percent of couples married in the U.S. between 2007 and 2010 met online. Although 17 percent isn’t staggering, consider that it was closer to 0 percent about a decade ago.
There’s a reason for online dating’s popularity. Because of compatibility results on the dating site of your choice, you know none of those immediate turnoffs will rear their ugly head, forcing you to take a call from a friend because it’s an “emergency.” Both of you know that you share common interests, activities and maybe even values.
At the same time, online dating is a gamble. Night after night, you and your love interest could spend hours chatting online to find out if you click. This simply cannot replace the je ne sais quoi, the chemistry that happy couples struggle to define. However, about 20 percent of adults have gone on a date with somebody they met online. Similarly, 20 percent of respondents to Match.com’s survey are in a new, committed relationship with somebody they met online.
So to ensure that you plan a first date at the right time, ask for one early on. Don’t dawdle online trying to look up pictures and get every detail about your pal’s romantic history. But those impersonal forms of communication – such as chatting or texting – hardly compare to interacting with somebody in person. Instead of researching to the point where you feel a bit stalker-like, go for the date shortly after initiating communication online.
Every day, almost 240 people in the U.S. get married after they’ve met on eHarmony, the biggest dating site in the U.S. The lesson to be learned is that you should not expect a first date to be flop simply because you connected online. Yes, it could fall flat in no time, but it could go better than you dreamed. As hard as it is, avoid getting overly excited before the date or cynical about the outcome. Be happy that you’re doing something new that will, at the very least, result in a good story.