Online Dating – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Swipe right and find love.
Yea…dating sites and apps are meant to make that process super easy.
The online dating industry rakes in about $2 Billion dollars a year in the US alone.

It is growing in revenue but also growing in questions about it.
Should I be meeting people online? Is it safe, physically? emotionally? Does it increase the chances of marriage or does it work against it? Can I truly meet someone special online? and for believers, how do I get confirmation? Where does God fit in this?

I have gotten quite a number of questions …really good questions about this and so I have decided to address it a bit so…lets walk around the issue together.

Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when considering online dating.

THE GOOD

1) It has worked for many people: This is a fact. I personally know several couples that met online that are doing better than couples who met offline. Meeting online is no longer a weird thing. It is a real game changer for a lot of people.

2) More control: People actually feel they are now able to take a bit more control of their dating lives by having the plethora of options to pick from. This has been the problem for a lot of people who feel they didn’t have good options where they are

3) Before you judge me: Many people feel that the profile they create online gives them a better opportunity to tell people about themselves before people write them off. This is a big one for many people who may not necessarily be great at approaching the opposite sex or who may not feel as secure when approached by the opposite sex.
Online dating allows you to say more about yourself before people write you off or “swipe left”

4)More help with compatibility: Many say that they like the idea of being able to set the parameters for the kind of person they like: This is said to increase the chances of compatibility.

5)Full disclosure: It helps you give full disclosure without feeling weird about it. “casual dater” “nothing too serious” OR “want to get married by end of the year”. It allows you to put that stuff out there without feeling awkward saying it in person.

6) Cheaper: It costs less time and money to learn a bit about people. You know…all those basic “first date” questions are mostly answered in the profile so there is a lot of information to help make at least an initial connection.

7) Both ready to mingle: It does make a huge difference when they do meet when both people know that they are both available and are both at least somewhat interesting in “something”

THE BAD AND THE UGLY

1) You Don’t Always Get What You Pay For: There is a perceived notion that people who pay for the services take relationships more seriously. It is true for some. But it is completely untrue for others. In fact…online dating is much cheaper both monetarily and emotionally for people who have no interest at all in commitment

2) You Want What? The very parameters you set can work against you because the system is based on the assumption that you know what you want and that what you want is right for you.

3) But You Said You Loved Hiking! People have too much time and too much control on ensuring that they look like what you want to see. That perfect profile can be a blessing and a curse. While on one hand, you get to learn about someone before maybe writing them off, you also get to learn ONLY what they want you to learn, and they only get to show the absolute best side of themselves before you are able to observe them in their natural habitat.

4)False Hope: Without some SERIOUS maturity and self-control, online dating can give a false sense of hope in two dangerous ways:
a) It can make you feel you are solving “the ONE” problem you’ve had with finding “the one” (the problem of OPTIONS) when in actuality there is still a bigger and worse problem that online dating cannot fix: The problem of YOU
b) It can make you find temporary relief from the problem of having to try so hard and be rejected (since you connect with people with clicks and swipes) HOWEVER, since online dating cannot fix the problem of YOU and nor can it fix the problem of the “quality” of people (cos more options doesn’t mean better quality), it is still relatively easy (if not more likely) to find yourself dealing with even deeper feelings of rejection than you faced offline.

Let me expand on this a bit more.

—Offline (face to face): The options seem fewer and the emotional investment/energy needed to make a connection is higher, so the frustration comes from dealing with direct or indirect rejection by the already few options.

—Online: The options are much larger and the emotional investment/energy needed to make a connection is significantly lower, BUT if things don’t go right, the frustration is higher and the rejection is worse when all that is needed is for someone to click or swipe to connect with you and they don’t even do that.

5) Addiction Lurks: Without some SERIOUS maturity and self-control, online dating can be seriously addictive.
Why?
a)Because it gives such instant gratification. Looking for a date? a few clicks and swipes…a few adjustments to your profile …a few adjustments to the algorithm and boom…you might be connected in seconds.
b) —This is so important—Dating apps and sites subliminally not only make you feel that the grass is greener on the other side, but that it is so easy to get there. In other words, it gives you the feeling that “with just one swipe or click, I could find/be found by someone who is better than who I have/am talking to right now”

That addition is dangerous because it can start to make you less interested, less patient and even less capable of building connections face to face and spontaneously

6) Invitation to the Players Club? With online dating, it is very hard for people to commit to the process of getting to know someone and working through the quirks. Why? Because people don’t really have to…I perceive that many will feel that the next option is just one swipe away

IN FACT….it could be an unofficial invite to the players club:

Think about it. If you were “talking” to 5 people at the same time in your church, school, job, or city face to face, you might be instantly labeled a player or at least feel like one. But online…in secret…you could be talking to 10 people and not feel a pinch of guilt about it.

7) The Illusion: While online dating is said to increase the chances of compatibility, it is important to know that compatibility will be an illusion if:
a)You don’t know who you REALLY are
b)People lie about who they REALLY are
c)The software/app/website makes any recommendations for you based on the information derived from either a or b above

PARTING THOUGHTS

If I absolutely had to give my personal take on dating apps and sites, I’d say don’t use them. Maybe I am just a traditional guy like that. That said, I understand that they are actually helpful to tons of people. So if you are going to use it, keep these in mind:

A)Meeting online is not necessarily the problem: That is IF you are able to overcome or work past the bad and ugly part. The problem grows exponentially though when you meet online and also proceed to date mostly online. So my advice is that if you meet online, do your best not to keep the relationship online

B) Use interest groups/meetups instead: My suggestion is to find groups or meetups online that are based on your interests, values or hobbies. Then from there, you can form connections knowing that the people you meet actually share similar interests and values. You’d still be meeting more people online but at least you’re able to maintain a certain emotional pace and you’ll have an opportunity to grow it naturally.

C) Quickly verify the profile: Don’t put your hopes in having or finding someone with the perfect profile. Your job is to QUICKLY determine if what is in their profile, looks like the reality of their lives. The harder you have to look to see it, the faster you should be running. Away.

D) As a believer: For single Christians who are wondering about this, the internet is not evil and neither are dating sites. What you need to remember though, is that:
-You need to be alert and ensure that this doesn’t work against your faith and dependence on God
-When you do meet someone, the same process should take place like it would if you met in church
-Stay prayed up!

Remember that these websites and apps are not your matchmakers. They are simply places. The compatibility tests don’t mean anything unless both people are willing to work
on the relationship.

E) Online Dating takes a LOT of maturity: Don’t live there. Beware of that moment when you realize that you are less interested, less patient and even less capable of building connections face to face and spontaneously. That is the time to get offline at least for a while.

That’s it! Hope this helps.

So… have you tried it? do you know people who have? what do you think of online dating? Comment Below!

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  • Deborah Reece

    Online dating was a nightmare for me the times I tried it and would never do it again. Told God to bring me someone I can meet in person! The aggravation and scams weren’t worth it.

    • Hey Deborah. Thanks for sharing. I didn’t even think of that (scams) …interesting stuff.

      • Deborah Reece

        There are tons of scammers from other countries on there and most men on there are just looking for sex. Totally not worth it. The men are usually ugly losers in the over 40 range who are so disgusting it’s not hard to see why they are divorced. They are ugly places, I would rather be by myself.

        EHarmony seems to have the most scammers and the men are the bottom of the barrel on most of those sites, but I find that most men in our current society are basically losers anyway, to be honest.

        If you are a serious Christian I think its REALLY hard to meet quality Christian men anywhere in this day and age unless you want to compromise and settle.

        I think it ‘s better to pray God brings someone into your path.

        • Hello Deborah. Great stuff. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It was clearly not a great experience for you as the case for many people.
          I can also see that your experience with men in general has not been very good and I am sorry to hear that. It is true. There are many many many broken men out there. But the other side of the coin is that there are many many many broken women out there as well. It is just that because God expects certain standards from us men, our flaws are always more glaring especially when it comes to the issue of relationships! Youre right….God REALLY has to help our men to deal with their issues and be the men God called them to be. Thanks again for sharing these thoughts!

  • Amy Bredemeyer

    I think online dating is great if you’re interested in playing games and messing with someone psyche, but not so much for finding substance or Christian behavior. I have had an album’s worth of naked photos sent to my phone after thinking that I had ‘made a connection’ with someone. And then there are the profiles that are deactivated by the individual or the Administrator ‘after’ a message has been sent to you, which leaves you wondering what happened to that person. I haven’t found a dating site yet that has earned the designation of Christ-centered or is respectful of the profilers.

    • Hi Amy! Wowza. Lol. So I am assuming that the experience wasn’t much different for “Christian dating sites”? or you haven’t tried those?

      • Deborah Reece

        Christian dating sites are the worst. Seriously you don’t seem to know anything about dating sites based on your article.

        • Hey Deborah I simply was asking for “her” perspective on the matter without making any assumptions based on my knowledge on these sites. I wanted to see if she had a perspective different from mine. I agree with you that most “Christian dating sites” are terrible representations of what dating should be in the body of Christ. This article actually has deeper perspective and balance of thought than most articles on online dating especially for single believers. I think (respectfully) that what you are trying to say is that people’s negative experiences may be even worse than I have written about. But you have to keep in mind that this article was not written necessarily “against” online dating. It was written to give a balanced perspective so that people are able to make decisions on their own because it has actually worked for some people.
          I love your honesty and your courage to share your experiences here. I have no doubt it will help people. Thanks Deborah!

          • Deborah Reece

            Nobody is perfect. I just want a man who outs God first and seeks God and values me and isn’t going to screw around.

            I don’t know about other women I just know I take my relationship with God very seriously and I want a man who does the same. There are a lot of Christians in name only but they are not serious about it.

          • Yup. And that is honestly not too much to ask for. I pray that you find this man and that he surpasses your expectations in Jesus’ name

          • Deborah Reece

            Thank you. I am very inspired by the marriage and romance of Devon Franklin and Megan Good and praying for something like that. I think we are in the end times and people are just generally very screwed up, even Christians are caught up in the world.

          • That’s very encouraging Deborah! Keep that up!

          • Deborah Reece

            Another thing about so called dating is if you do not sleep around, even as a Christian which I don’t, it is much harder to find a relationship. I really think to find the right person in this society and especially for women, you have to be willing to spend a lot if time alone and with God. A lot if women compromise because of fear of being alone. And some men well a lot just want sex.

          • Deborah Reece

            I spent a lot of my life being messed up, but what helped turn my life around was that I started listening to pastor Joseph Prince in 2010 and his teachings helped me to believe that God is for me not against me, and that He loves me. A lot of Christians are messed up because they refuse to take in the Word and focus on God, they are too caught up in the world and therefore their lives are not changed or healed. I think that’s why there is a SEVERE shortage of good men.

          • Deborah Reece

            I think MAYBE dating sites can work if you are in the 20’s range just because there are probably more available men on there. But my experience is the majority of men on there are just looking for sex partners. Men who REALLY have something going for them will probably be asking out women that they meet in real life.

      • Amy Bredemeyer

        The title, Christian, should be removed from dating sites, because they are just as bad. There was one site that I was on where the man used a full frontal nude photo as his primary profile picture and the administrators of the site did not remove his profile.

  • Callan Joshua

    I was totally opposed to online dating but eventually decided to give it a try, what could I lose? I registered on two sites, the one I actually paid a hefty fee for. I met what I thought was a really awesome guy on that site, but he was the ONLY decent guy I came across on there (warning sign). We exchanged numbers quite quickly and began chatting on whatsapp. The conversation always flowed and he was by far the most interesting person I’ve ever met. After 2 weeks of chatting we went on a date, he took me to breakfast. After the date I decided to do a bit of online “stalking”, it seemed weird to me that this guy was on a dating site but didn’t have any social media profiles. None-the-less I found enough info on him just by googling his name. I found something shocking on google however, reviews of restaurants and getaway spots where he mentioned his girlfriend, one site (quora) even had a pic of him and his girlfriend. What is a guy in a relationship doing on a dating site??? I immediately withdrew from him and he also went quiet for about a week, later using the excuse that he had been having family issues. I haven’t heard from him since but ge still checks out every whatsapp profile I upload (really don’t understand why). What I forgot to mention is that we were planning a second date. He asked me if I’d like to come over to his place for dinner. I was so offended by that, it made me think if that was the vibe I was actually giving off by being on a dating site. Friends had warned me that dating sites are often used for “hook-ups”. I later decided to delete my profiles on both dating sites and don’t have an intention of signing up on one again. I just had one bad experience so wouldn’t tell people to avoid online dating completely. Give it a try and see how it works for you. I feel the tips given above are great!

    • Callan! Thank you so much for sharing!!! This is really good perspective that may help someone.

      • Deborah Reece

        You have probably never been on a date site… I think you are married? When I was in my twenties a lot of men hit on me/asked me out but still I never thought they were right. When you get older you don’t even get asked out! Rarely! lol….I would rather be alone honestly than settle for a jerk! I think a lot of women who get married settle because they want to have kids and supposed security.

  • Kim M

    I totally agree with everything that has been said in this article. Please keep in mind just because people are paying for a service doesn’t mean they’re going to be any more genuine. Some people waste money and time everyday.

    • Well said Kim! “..just because people are paying for a service doesn’t mean they’re going to be any more genuine” Very true.

  • Wow Violet! Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing how easily our heart
    (in an attempt to soothe itself) can steer us away from Gods path! Thanks again

  • #Olamide

    Presently, I am trying my hand at online dating and while I haven’t found Mrs Right yet, it has been a rewarding experience. I have been able to meet very interesting people near me and have gone for a second date already!!!

    Online dating has definitely increased the pool and quality of potential Mrs Right but as you wrote in your article, it takes maturity and a ‘let’s see where it goes’ mentality.

    After an exchange of texts/chats, I usually initiate a date. On the first date, I usually subtly or directly try assess the intentions of the person and possible relationship goals and see if it aligns with mine. After the first date, I do a simple background check. So far, I have not had any shocks except one disappointment. (and I have received no explanations as to the reason).

    I do try to be careful in picking who I reach out to. I pay attention to the quality of what someone says on their profile than what the profile says.

    Oh. . .and i have had some ‘single responders’ too. Wonder why they have dating profiles in the first instance.

    • Hey Olamide! Thank you so so much for sharing. Its great to hear from a guys perspective. It seems that many of the ladies out there have not had a good experience at all. Yay to second dates! good luck with everything!

      • #Olamide

        Thank you, Tobi.

        In addition, i Will admit that there are many wolves out there (I mean online). The pressure, therefore, is on the ladies who have to be extra careful and picky else they will become ‘prey’. As a man irrespective of my intentions, all I need to put myself out there. If I get matched/picked/swiped, I am happy but the lady is almost usually sceptical until I pass all the various screenings she has to do on me (of course, I am not aware she is doing those. . .lol).

        I hope I have been able to shed light on a subtle ‘one-sidedness’ of online dating.

        • Indeed! Good stuff. Thanks a lot Olamide