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Is online dating right for me?

A breakdown of the advantages and dis-advantages of online dating

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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What’s the deal with online dating?

Online dating and dating apps have become more and more popular over the past couple of years. It can take place via mobile phone apps or browser websites.

For some people, there are advantages to this kind of dating. More and more people are finding it to be a good way of meeting compatible people with similar interests. However, like any form of dating, it comes with its own specific set of risks that you need to bear in mind when you’re thinking of taking your first steps into the digital dating world.

What are the advantages of online dating?

  • The good thing about online dating, is that if you’re struggling to meet people with similar interests in your day-to-day life, it can be a great way to find people with similar interests to you.
  • For those of us who aren’t that confident with approaching new people, online dating is a great way to break the ice without breaking into a sweat.
  • It’s fast, easy and convenient. Online dating is a simple process, and it’s easy to fit around your schedule.

What about the disadvantages?

  • It's easy to pretend to be a different person online, and unfortunately, this happens on online dating sites quite often. You never know who is at the other end of a conversation, and it is important to remember this when getting to know a person online. So even if you’re having a great chat with someone online, always approach cautiously - they may not be who they say they are.
  • Furthermore, the anonymity involved in online dating, means that online dating apps can be used by sexual predators and other people with sinister motives.  It’s really important you are aware of this, and keep yourself away from any dangerous situations.
  • Because there are so many different potential partners on online dating apps, this can lead to a shopper mentality, in which users can move on very quickly. This can make it more difficult to start up a longer-lasting relationship.
  • Sometimes it can be difficult to really judge how compatible you are with someone without having interacted with them face to face. Even though you may have had some amazing conversations online, when you meet face to face, it could turn out to be a complete disaster, and you are much less compatible that it had seemed.

So is online dating right for me?

There is a huge range of experiences you can get from online dating.  It may turn out you’ll meet your soulmate on Tinder, or OkCupid may send you on the worst date of your life.  More than likely, something in between will happen.  And this is fine.  There is no harm in trying out one of these apps or websites, and it may even turn out to be a really positive thing for you.  But most importantly, if you do decide to enter the world of online dating, you must make sure you are safe, comfortable, and protecting yourself at all times.

Safety Advice

We know you’re probably sick of hearing this, but it is so important that you stay safe and protect yourself online. Online dating can be a great way to meet people, but you need to make sure everything stays safe. Just like you’d avoid dangerous situations in real life, you should avoid them online too. Here are some tips for looking after your safety when online dating:

  • Keep your personal information to yourself.  Never give out your address, where you work, or where you go to school.
  • Do not ever give out your financial information.
  • Use your first name, or a nickname.  Don’t give out your full name.
  • If you decide to meet, talk on the phone first; this will make it easier to determine that your date is the age and gender they say they are. Just be sure to be careful about giving out your phone number. Insist on calling the other person, and be sure to hide your number ahead of time. You could also consider doing a video call too. However, make sure not to behave sexually on the call, as this could be recorded without your knowledge or consent.
  • Let your friends and family know who you’re talking to online.  Online dating is very common now, and nothing to be ashamed of.  Open up and have conversations about it.
  • If you decide to meet, make sure you meet in a busy public place, like a cafe, restaurant or shopping centre.  You could even bring along a friend.
  • Always tell a friend or family member if you're going to meet them. Make sure you tell them who you’re meeting, and where you’re going.
  • Don't get into a car with someone you meet online. During your first few meetings, never get into a car with someone you met online. Remember to arrange your own transport in advance, so you know how your getting home.
  • Don't send intimate or sexual photosWe know you may be having great conversations with this person online, but you can never truly know or trust them until that relationship blossoms into a real-world one. Sending these kinds of photos can have serious consequences, so look after yourself.
  • Never feel under pressure to meet up or move too quickly with your relationship.  If the relationship is really worth pursuing, the other person will respect and understand your need to move at your own pace.
  • Watch for warning signs. If a person displays anger, tries to pressure you, gives inconsistent information about themselves, or refuses to speak to you on the phone, something isn't right. Move on.
  • Protect yourself. If you decide to meet someone, and el in any way unsafe, call a friend or family member and ask that person to come and meet you. If you need to, call the police. Don't be embarrassed. Be safe.
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Published September 26th, 2014
Last updated February 28th, 2018
Tags sexual health online dating
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