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“Dating can be painful, can be great, can be confusing, can be weird, but I don’t do it online because I’m not really an online person.”~ Jonathan Groff
Life can get really busy when you “officially” become an adult. And, if you add college, a post-graduate job, and staying connected with friends and family, there’s very little time for yourself, let alone dating.
However, at the end of the day, it sure would be nice to have someone to talk to about your day and snuggle with in bed. Sadly, you barely have enough time as it is – how can you possibly add dating to the mix?
The good news: it is possible
But it won’t be as you envisioned. It’s called online dating and it involves dating sites (Hint, try eHarmony for one of the best!). The best thing about these sites is you don’t even have to leave your home to engage in them. And, in some cases, you don’t have to spend a dime. As a matter of fact, you can literally be your “overly picky self” if you want because you have plenty of time to make your “date selections.”
You also get to choose what type of “experience” you want, from friendships to hookups, casual dates to full-fledged, committed relationships – all from your bed…or couch.
The downside to dating sites
Sounds pretty amazing, huh? Sorry to burst that bubble, but there are some downsides to dating sites like catfishing and online stalkers. Yikes! However, with the right precautions and for the right person, online dating can be a Godsend.
How do you know if dating apps are right for you?
The truth is, online dating and dating sites are wildly popular in the US and abroad. In fact, the US boasts approximately 2,500 dating sites with 1,000 new ones added each year. There are also nearly 8,000 dating sites globally.
And, guess what? Almost 50 million Americans have tried dating sites.
So, now that we’ve established that dating sites are extremely trendy and convenient, is it something that could or would be worthwhile for you? Possibly.
If you think that online dating is your “cup of tea” but have been wary of actually committing to it because of tv shows like Catfish and online stalker scenarios, this may be the time to see what all the hoopla is about (with the proper precautions, of course).
Dating sites are teeming with people – young, middle-age, older, rich, poor, and middle-class, educated and uneducated, homosexual, bisexual, transsexual, and heterosexual, African, African-American, Caucasian, Asian, Middle Eastern, Hispanic, and Native American. Other groups include introverts, extroverts, “nerds,” “social butterflies,” and everything else under the sun.
There is literally a rainbow of people from all different walks of life on dating sites, with someone for everyone. It just depends on what you’re looking for. It’s an exciting way to meet new people from your city or halfway around the world. The best part? You can log in anywhere – i.e. on your way to class or work, on the bus, in your car, while grocery shopping…you get the idea.
Precautions to take
As I mentioned above, online dating isn’t always a bag of roses. If you engage in this type of “unconventional dating,” you’ll need to take proper precautions to avoid anger or mere annoyance.
What kind of precautions?
For instance, not giving an online suitor your full name, address, and phone number 20 minutes after meeting him or her. And not getting too invested until you have “FaceTimed” with your online Juliet or Romeo (cough…cough…your suitor may be a catfish). You also do not want to meet an online suitor in a secluded place like his or her home.
When you decide to meet up, you’ll want to tell your friends and family where you’re going and with whom. Taking these easy precautions will allow you to enjoy dating sites without fear of things getting out of control. If the “traditional ways of dating” haven’t yielded you much, online dating is also a great way to make a new friend or find a short-term or long-term companion.
Remember, only you can determine if online dating is right for you. Check out the steps below.
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Do your research
There are tons of dating sites available. Some are primarily computer-based, some are smartphone and tablet-based and some are offered on both platforms.
A few of the more popular dating sites are: eHarmony, Zoosk, Match.com, Hinge, OkCupid, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Coffee Meets Bagel, and University Love Connection. Some are theme-based like ChristianMingle.com, InterracialPeopleMeet.com, EliteSingles.com, and BlackPeopleMeet.com – to name a few.
You’ll need to do your research to determine which one(s) are right for you.
If you are introverted, shy, or simply prefer to be alone most of the time
Dating sites are beneficial for people who are introverted, shy, or simply prefer to be alone (most of the time). These individuals typically prefer to spend time alone or with a small close-knit group of friends. Because socializing with large groups of random people is excruciating for them, they typically don’t have much luck in the dating department.
With the invention of online dating and dating sites, introverts also have a chance to showcase their charm, wit, and what makes them special. And, they get to do all of this on their time and where they feel most comfortable. No pressure at all. As a matter of fact, for these individuals, dating sites can be a blessing.
Despite this, if you’re more the extrovert who loves meeting new people and mingling, dating sites may not be the right thing for you. I’d reckon to say that these individuals would probably get bored with these sites pretty quickly. So, they should probably stick to more “traditional” forms of dating.
Your bank account is running low
Dating can be expensive, especially when in your early-to-mid-twenties. You just got out of high school not too long ago and now you’re either still in college or working – or maybe you’re doing both. Either way, you probably don’t have tons of money lying around.
Unfortunately, because you don’t go out, you also don’t meet people (because you’re in the house every night), which means you don’t date. Sigh. You try dating sites but they just don’t give you the same feel as mingling and meeting someone in-person. On the other hand, if you hate socializing and spending money like it grows on trees, dating sites are perfect for you.
You are incredibly busy
You’re young and fun but you just don’t have time to go out and meet new people. What is your alternative? Online dating. You don’t need a lot of time to do this type of dating and you can be super picky if you want.
Online dating is very convenient because you can log on early in the morning or late at night. You can even log on while studying or on lunch break. It really is love on the go! What could be better? If this sounds like you then a dating site can be like a miracle.
You are intrigued by the results
Researchers suggest that approximately 20% of relationships and 17% of marriages began with online dating. If, however, if you are still leery about signing up on a dating site, you may want to wait until you are more comfortable with it.
About the Author
Dr. R. Y. Langham
Ph.D. in Family Psychology
Ree has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology. She spent over ten years counseling families, couples, individuals, and children on adjustment issues such as blended families, same-sex couples, dysfunctional family relationships, relationship issues, etc. Now she writes for famous health organizations and is a published author.
Full Bio | LinkedIn
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