The ConsAn article in GlobalPost revealed that the biggest risk you take when dating on the web is coming into contact with someone who is less than upfront about themselves. If you're not meeting through a mutual acquaintance, you probably won't be able to confirm things about them, such as their age, job, and other details. Instead you're left to take their word for it until you get to know them better.
Additionally, unless you're using a communication method like Skype or Facetime, chances are you won't have more than a picture to go off to know how the person looks. While looks should never deter you from getting to know a person, some people might still try and pass themselves off as looking differently using an old photo, or even the photo of an entirely different person. Usually it isn't what the person ends up looking like that ruins the interaction, it's their blatant choice to be dishonest from the get go.
Lying about something that can so easily be proven wrong not only makes the person seem as though they can't be trusted, but it also shows their lack of long-term thinking, and lack of consideration for the other person's feelings. When they end up meeting someone who looks nothing like their picture, they feel betrayed and as if they've been made a fool. It's also a little more difficult understanding what another person's personality will be like while interacting in public. You don't know how they're going to treat the wait staff, if they have a strong moral stance against deodorant, or if they like to bring their cat with them everywhere in a baby carriage.
Granted, these are some things that you wouldn't be able to anticipate until most first dates no matter how you meet. However, chances are if you've decided to take the relationship from talking online and over the phone, you've already grown a little attached to the person. It can be more than disappointing if they don't turn out to be the person you thought that they were.
Online dating can also create what psychologists call the "shopping" mindset. A post on CNN notes that the shopping mindset can occur because, the sheer amount of available profiles makes some users pickier, and more judgmental. They also say that "the ease with which people can sift through profiles—and click on to the next one—may lead them to 'objectify' potential partners and compare them like so many pairs of shoes."
The ProsThere are a lot more benefits to online dating than there are negatives. First, online dating provides you with a the ability to get to know someone before you have to meet them face-to-face. This is great for people that get nervous when meeting new people. Communicating over email or text first gives people the opportunity to compose their thoughts in the best way possible. The pressure of talking with someone over the phone or in person can make some feel frazzled, hindering them from giving the best impression possible.
Online dating can also produce a better long-term relationships. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published a study evaluating the marital satisfaction of over 19,000 participants that were married between 2005 and 2012. Of the test group, slightly over one third of the participants met their partners online. Those that had met their partner online reported slightly higher marital satisfaction, as well as a lower divorce rate compare to those who met their partners through other means. Another benefit is that online dating allows you to reach out to a wider group of people that you would never have the opportunity of meeting in your everyday life.
You can even use sites that cater to your specific interests. Adam and Eve stated that the use of niche dating sites is on the rise in an article that centers on getting your profile just right (something else you should consider). There are dating sites for hardcore fans of a specific sports team, sites dedicated to those in your same career field, and sites dedicated to owners of particular pets, and hundreds of others. The benefits of online dating are pretty clear, however, for some that doesn't completely negate the cons. But if you are interested in giving online dating a try, remember, the cons depend on the person, and the people that would try and trick you, or be dishonest about themselves are few and far between. Chances are, you'll find that the majority of the people searching for love online are a lot like you, just waiting to make that amazing connection with another person.
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