As many of you know, the online world has evolved into much more than trolls and the endless meme’s that are accessible in a few clicks. For a long time now, the same has been with love. Dating websites have evolved, for now, they have gone alongside the television commercials and pop ups for websites. This isn’t about whether or not one should avoid and/or abolish them, however you should know the corruption that lies within these sites. Match.com has given its fair share of commercials that I could recite if given the time. One commercial, however, gives us twenty-six long and agonizing seconds of people saying “I met someone” and then the narrator says that you can meet someone on match.com and if you start “now” you can do so for free. This all sounds well and good until you realize that they said you can meet someone, no mention of how many people meet and stay together on match or if you will find “the one” on their site. I could walk into the hall right now, stop a passerby and talk to them while avoiding all of the hassles that online dating arouses and turn to a camera and say I met someone. There are so many aspects of online dating that these websites don’t tell you in their commercials or advertisements that it’s about time someone shed light on them.
As many would assume when going on a dating website one would have to go on dates. The thing about going on dates (and especially first dates) is that they are already pretty awkward and you both can be pretty nervous. When going online for your relationship whether you swipe left or right or you get a matching formula that gives you potential spouses you need to look at their profiles. This shows you main things about them that they deem important and what you should know. The profile of a person on a dating websites intended purpose is “easily digestible chunks of information so you don’t need to ask tedius information” [sic] (Reed), this includes: your age, if you have kids, some interests, occupation, if you smoke, your faith and many more questions that are at your disposal for conversation when on the date, or that’s what people think. The information you see on their profile takes away from the first date making it actually harder to determine if they could be “the one”. The whole point of the first date is less about what you talk about and more on body language, visible signals, manners, and ticks (Reed). All of those “boring cliche questions” are actually really important because they are basic things someone should know about and you get to see how they respond to said questions. When a website takes away nice and simple questions you are left with deeper questions like politics (which is a bad decision on the first date), their ex’s and most importantly money. It’s all about how someone answers questions and how they act in certain situations. Now some would argue that having all of this information is good so that we can skip the awkward stage and we won’t be thrown in the date blind, which would make sense, but Martin Graff a Head of Research in Psychology at the University of South Wales informs us that “We form impressions of others based on their general demeanor and other subtle behavioral characteristics” (Graff), for example when I get really nervous or am hiding something my tell is I rub my chin with my left hand, and you wouldn’t know that from my profile, you would have to deduce that from basic questions and analyzing my body language while answering the questions. The first date is such a vital part in starting a relationship because a person’s body language and ticks (like twitching under pressure or having an obsessive compulsion disorder) can tell you more about a person than what their profile could.
Another problem with online dating would definitely be all of the choices. The problem is that you get so much information that could derail your #CoupleGoals because we have “zero tolerance and begin tossing out contenders as the slightest provocation”. (Binazir) You like the Panthers? Ew. You watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians? Spare me. You have a weekly dungeons and dragons get-together? Nerd-alert! All jokes aside, if you get these high standards you could be swiping away from a girl that will scream at the tv when watching football with you, or the guy who will buy that extra gallon of ice cream because he knows it’s been a rough week at work and would be an A+ dad. You would miss out on this all because you have irrelevant information and hit the prejudice button (Binazir).
Now many would argue that the more choices would lead to a higher chance of finding love, which is a logical decision…until you have a bunch of choices are thrown at you and the natural thing that subconsciously happens is that we get overwhelmed. Many people when going online for love will sign up to at least two sites so that they can get more choices, which leads to a larger pool of potential spouses, but the problem is that they are presented differently (Graff). In the real world you’ll probably meet this really nice guy/girl and a few weeks later you might see some person that sparks your interest. The point is, you get some time between each person, unlike online dating where they are all thrown at you at once. When getting lots of choices it can be very overwhelming which can cause people to pick someone and rush into a relationship because some sites will make you pay and if you are paying every month to find love and haven’t found someone it would make sense for people to rush and try to love someone they don’t really know much about and then after time and realization hits, they waste their time and end up broken hearted. (Graff) For example, we go to the store and go in the snack aisle and there are three types of chips; Lay’s, Doritos and Utz. Picking one of three types of chips is pretty easy since there aren’t many choices to compare with. (Binazir) What if we went and we had forty-three options? You would get overwhelmed because there are so many choices you can choose from, and think that some chips are almost the same but they have a slight difference, wouldn’t you second guess yourself wondering what the other bag has to offer? (Binazir) The same idea is with people on dating sites. If you have three guys to pick from you can easily decide what you like and don’t like from them because you only have three options. Another quote from Martin Graff states “When faced with making decisions about which item to choose from a large number, we are more prone to make erroneous decisions. This is because we invoke different and sometimes less cognitively taxing decisions making strategies when choosing from a large array then when we choose on a basis in real life.” which only backs up that when deciding with many choices and outcomes it can be very tricky, especially when you are in a vulnerable state because you want to find love and going online is like a last resort for some people. Choosing things in life is hard and when these websites continuously badger us with “I found someone online” get people desperate for love which in reality is false hope which isn’t fair for them.
For a time now people who go online to look for love have inevitably had to pay for something. Dating sites such as Match.com, eHarmony, and Christian Mingle are all dating sites that you need to pay for. If you pay the money (eHarmony is up to $60) (Reed)that means you would be committed, which isn’t quite fair since not everyone can throw money at a dating site, which leaves them to go on free sites which are even worse since that is where you see more of the predators so that they can’t be tracked as easily. A good point to add is that why would sites that make you pay want you to find love if every month they get forty bucks? If the longer you don’t find love means the longer they get money (and they have millions of people doing this might I add) then why would these sites even try to help you find love?
If we step away from what the sites do and see what the people do you would have to wonder who is at fault; the people or the idea. Brando Gonzalez had said, “Online dating is dangerous because anyone can create a false profile that makes other people believe they are real but then lead to let downs, predators and criminals use these sites to find victims.” [sic] (Gonzalez). In this case, we should talk about the predators that lurk on these sites. One case involved a rapper of the name Tim Dog from the 90’s. He convinced a woman to gather $32,000 in credit card debt for a comeback album. He had been on a dating website with the intent of tricking someone into giving money (Horowitz). Another case and more recent, Wade Ridley had the intentions to kill a woman but failed to do so. He had also admitted having killed a woman of the name Anne Simenson. This was in 2011, and you can only imagine how many people still lurk on these sites with plots more gruesome than the next. Just think, when you go online you can have all of these specifications that you fill out to find the perfect victim. You want a girl 34-48 with dark brown hair and green eyes with pale skin who works as a product manager? Done. Seek and ye shall find because they have a victim pool at their disposal. So wouldn’t it be a bit scary to think that you find the guy of your dreams and then as the date closes and you end up in a ditch dead? Imagine how many are lurking, now imagine that someone has put in their little preferences and then bingo there is your face as they do as much as they can to lure you in.
Keeping up with the theme of people being bad, let us move right over to catfishing. It’s the act of something that most people do subconsciously. You don’t even need to know you are catfishing to catfish (Reed). Now if someone were to fabricate themselves into the perfect person and seem more desirable, what are some things that they could alter? Well some of the basics on the beauty that evolution has engineered us to -basically- look for in a partner is clear skin, good posture, sonorous voice, articulate speech, appearance, height, weight, nice scent, (Binazir) but the list could go on forever. The problem is that evolution has engineered us to recognize the signals of health, fertility, strength and intelligence when we meet someone in person (Binazir). You can’t truly see these aspects of a person on a screen because people misrepresent these characteristics. Statistics show 13% of men and 6.7% of women chose to fabricate themselves to make themselves more appealing in the eyes of others (Graff). People use pictures that can easily lie about age, complexion, and physique (Binazir). When going online, instead you have a picture that is small and blurry which cannot be heard, smelt, felt, and you can’t see that movements or personal ticks (Binazir). For the people that are interested in psychology and logic, if you go online looking for love, would you put a picture you don’t think looks good? No matter your intentions or what you say, you will always pick a picture you feel is more appealing, and that’s okay because it’s human nature, but as soon as we get people photoshopping themselves with the intent of making themselves go Crispy Hexagons ™ to Crispix ™ then we have a problem here.
Another dangerous part would be the online chat that can misrepresent a person since they are just texting, no physical talks needed. Martin Graff suggested that “online communication can be hyperpersonal which means they are more likely to disclose information about themselves and do so more quickly/effectively online.” (Graff). The fact of the matter is that if both parties disclose information that could change the relationship, the expectations are raised and when meeting face to face we will be disappointed (Graff). When online dating you don’t know their intentions, they could be married and looking for a hookup or an affair, they could be a serial killer looking for their first victim. When online you can be anyone you want and no one knows until the moment you meet them. Something to think about is who writes these profiles? Obviously not the sites, it’s the people who are looking for…something. Forget the love part of this equation, it’s basically self-advertising at it’s finest. The word advertised though, it’s pretty interesting to think about it that way. When you are online, and especially online dating you are advertising yourself, so what do you do when you are the human embodiment of the snuggie? You embellish and like a telemarketer you try to convince and scam people to want you or the person you are posing as because you think it’s more appealing to be someone you are not (Binazir). For example you go online to find love and you see this amazing guy who is astounding on paper (or in this case on screen), his face is amazing, he has a well written and interesting bio and his interests are exotic and you like some of them, but then after days of angst with you building him up to be this type of God on Earth, he is just boring, and nothing like you thought he’d be, plus his picture was like a different person! Against common belief, this happens more times than most.
You will hear “Online dating works because more marriages started online” is not true, in reality, that phrase just means it’s a growing number not the dominant percentage of marriages (Reed). An important thing to think about is that if you meet someone on one site and think he is “the one” think again. Dating websites will show a person in a different way than another site because they all focus on different aspects of a relationship. I could fall in love with someone on match.com but if I saw them on eHarmony I could completely ignore them because of the way they are presented. Some websites will cater to the universal idea of “opposites attract” which in truth doesn’t always work. You are actually more likely to be attracted to someone who you share the same interests with, which is why dating websites cater to specific groups now such as Christian Mingle, SeniorMatch.com, and Adam4Adam.com. Sadly though, no one knows if the “matching formula” works, so really websites are just throwing people at you in hope you find someone, but also in hope you don’t so that they can get more money (Graff). Some studies, however, have been done to measure where marriages started to inflate (eHarmony online dating says it’s 1 in 3 but it’s closer to 1 in 5) but they don’t account for everywhere else on the internet (Reed). Ali Reed and five others had wrote that “people join a site such as Tumblr to find and share their feelings because they feel more comfortable with strangers knowing than people who could use those feelings against them in real life.” which only makes sense since places like Tumblr and blog sites are about anonymity and sharing your feelings about certain topics that interest you, so wouldn’t it make sense for you to find someone who shares similar interests with you on a free site that doesn’t focus on love but on you sharing feelings? The love part is up to you and you don’t need to feel pressured (Reed).
The theme of this is that online dating is a corrupt and dangerous way to find something pure and beautiful. We just need to go outside and put ourselves out there like the people before us. You can find love online, this is not saying it’s impossible but Yoda once said “You will only find what you bring in.” and that can be interpreted in many ways, and in this case you can only find love if you bring it in, you can’t find all the answers online.
(My citations if anyone actually cares, but yes I did research)
Graff, Martin. “7 Research-Based Reasons Internet Dating Doesn’t Work.”Psychology Today, Psychology Today, 23 Apr. 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/love-digitally/201504/7-research-based-reasons-internet-dating-doesnt-work.
Reed, Allie et al. “6 Reasons Online Dating Will Never Lead To Love.” cracked.com, Thalia Jane, 4 June 2015, www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-online-dating-will-never-lead-to-love/.
Binazir, Ali. “Six Dangers of Online Dating.” BlogHer, 26 Sept. 2011, www.blogher.com/six-reasons-why-online-dating-sucks.
Horowitz, Steven. “Tim Dog’s Grand Larceny Investigation To Be Featured On ‘Dateline NBC.’” HipHopDX, HipHopDX, 12 June 2012, hiphopdx.com/news/id.16876/title.tim-dogs-grand-larceny-investigation-to-be-featured-on-dateline-nbc
Renegadetory. “6 Reasons Why Looking for a Relationship Online Is a Bad Idea.”PairedLife, PairedLife, 22 Dec. 2016, pairedlife.com/dating/6-Reasons-Why-Looking-for-a-Relationship-Online-Bad-Idea.
Neuman, Fredric. “An Argument for Internet Dating.” Psychology Today, Psychology Today, 14 Jan. 2013, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/fighting-fear/201301/argument-internet-dating.
Knowles, David. “Stabbing Victim Sues Match.com for $10 Million.” NY Daily News, Daily News, 25 Jan. 2013, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/stabbing-victim-sues-match-10-million-article-1.1247969.