10 Pros & Cons Of Online Dating

10 Pros & Cons Of Online Dating [EXPERT]

There is no doubt that the advances in technology in the last 20 years have changed society and culture. We live in a world today that would have been impossible to foresee less than a half century ago, and many of these changes have been wrought by computers and connectivity.

One of the areas of our lives where these technological transformations have been especially striking is in the dating scene. Use of the Internet has changed the way we date, offering both positive and negative consequences.

1. PRO: No more bars. One of the best changes is in the way that potential daters meet each other — you don't have to go out to the bar scene unless you really want to. By using online dating services and perusing profiles, you can read about a person, see them in photos and videos, hear their voices and make a judgement based on all of that information. Having this knowledge is far superior to meeting someone in a bar or any other random location for that matter because you know from the start what you're getting into.

2. PRO: Lots to choose from. Using dating services online and forums like chat room and so on, you have a plethora of opportunities and a wide range of choices when it comes to finding a partner. Potential dates used to be a real crap-shoot and chances weren't always good that you would roll a winner. Having a guaranteed variety of choices is a wonderful change from the old days of dating when it used to be hard just to meet people in general let alone to meet potential partners.

3. PRO: First dates are great. With the Internet and all of the information it can provide, those so-called "first date jitters" will be no more. OK, you still may be nervous, but after getting to know a person online or talking to them on the phone, your in person first date should be a welcome event. No more drinking too much to get rid of nerves and no more wondering what terrible situation you have gotten yourself in to.

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4. PRO: No guesswork. That is the really great thing about dating in these times — there doesn't have to be any guessing about the person you will be dating. With an online service you can be very specific about your needs and wants and your own process of screening will get you past the guessing stage. If you have any doubts about someone before the first date, you can clear it up easily — it's a win-win situation.

5. Pro: Google and Facebook. Social media is an incredible source of information about people. You can find out just about anything you want to know these days by using a combination of online profiles, Google searches and social media.

Does that sound like stalking? Possibly, but no more so than what we used to do — ask friends and co-workers what they knew about this person before going too far and agreeing to a date. Now it's all under your control and at your fingertips.

6. CON: No surprises. On the downside of online dating, you can lose the element of surprise by making use of all of these dating tools. It may seem like something is missing when you find that you already know someone before even meeting in person.  If every date is planned and scanned, where is the random surprise aspect that bring strangers together? There's something romantic about a chance meeting that could turn into a relationship after all.

7. CON: No excitement. The feeling that you have when you are meeting someone new and unknown for the first time, or those "first date jitters", can really be seen as a good thing. Being a bit nervous and feeling the tingle of anticipation may be something we've lost in our technological approach to dating. That excitement can only come from an unorchestrated, probabilistic meeting, not from a calculated and planned one.

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8. CON: Not for real. There is a chance that even with all of the careful screening and research you've put into a potential date, the real thing may not be a good match. An intense sense of disappointment and wasted time and money is possible if the profile is inaccurate or information is withheld. If the buildup happens and you think this could be the one, your expectations may be too high.

9. CON: The mystery is history. On the other hand, an online dating profile may be so complete, honest and detailed that there is no mystery left. It is possible for a person to give away too much in a profile and then you feel like you already know him or her.  In this case, when the first date actually happens in the flesh, the spark that might have be kindled by the unknown is never lit.

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10. CON: Too much information. Having access to all of that knowledge about someone will not only eliminate mystery, but it can backfire if there is too much information. After all, we all make mistakes, make enemies and make wrong turns here and there.

If we find out too much about a person before meeting them we may make a judgement based on incomplete or inaccurate knowledge — something we all know can happen on the Internet. So don't be too hasty to find out everything — a computerized background check probably isn't a good idea — at least until the second date.