In that regard, there is nothing sinister or unusual in the way the online dating platform is structured.
Online dating does indeed have its own pitfalls. As a matter of fact, no approach to dating can be regarded absolutely safe or trouble free. Traditional dating also has its own unique challenges (Paludi, 2012). However, based on the arguments presented in this text, the benefits online dating presents cannot be overstated. As it turns out, most of those who fear trying out online dating simply succumb to myths peddled around in an attempt to discredit online dating. Others resort to giving weak excuses in an attempt to avoid trying out online dating. Some of these excuses have been explored in detail by eHarmony. For instance, the dating site encourages those who would rather meet their significant halves organically to embrace new approaches in their search for love (eHarmony Staff, 2013). Further, those who are fearful of disclosing their personal information to all and sundry are advised to opt for paid accounts which are less likely to make use of public profiles (eHarmony, 2013).
Measures Individuals Should Take to Make Online Dating Fruitful
It is important to note that just like is the case with traditional dating, individuals must exercise a certain level of caution when it comes to online dating. Indeed, many of the measures I spell out in this case also apply to organic or traditional dating. To begin with, individuals must exercise caution when revealing personal information on Internet dating sites (Hammer, 2009). This would help protect against instances of identity theft. Next, an individual should only agree to face-to-face meetings after being convinced of the character and personality of their preferred soul mates. Just like is the case with traditional dating, initial face-to-face meetings should ideally be held in a public place. Ideal public meeting points include but that are not limited to restaurants, public parks, movie theatres, etc. Information availed by people via their online profiles should also not be taken at face value. One should attempt to verify such information by amongst other things asking the profile owners indirect but deliberate questions in relation to the info they have on their profiles. As Guadagno (2012) points out, it helps for an individual to look for inconsistencies in his or her prospective partner's communications. In the final analysis, it only takes a minimal level of caution to make online dating work out. It is only then that its full benefits over traditional dating can be fully realized. Indeed, as Carter and Snow (as cited in Gackenbach, 2007, p.129) point out, "research conducted by eHarmony indicates that marriages that resulted from matches made there had higher scores on marital satisfaction than comparison couples who had met elsewhere." The public perception of online dating is also slowly changing. As Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis, and Sprecher (2012) observe, the stigma once attached to online dating is slowly fading away. In the words of Paumgarten (as cited in Finkel, Eastwick, Karney, Reis, and Sprecher, 2012), "people no longer think of online dating as a last resort for desperadoes and creeps."
In conclusion, as I have already pointed out elsewhere in this text, every approach to dating - traditional or online - has its own pitfalls. However, with the prerequisite caution, online dating remains the best alternative for not only those who are busy but also those ready to try out something new and exciting. Going forward, the popularity of online dating is likely to increase as individuals realize its benefits in relation to those of traditional dating. This is more so the case given that there are testimonies indicating that a good number of relationships initiated online have developed into fulfilling offline intimate relationships.
eHarmony Staff. (2013). Challenging the Ten Biggest Excuses to Not Try Online Dating. Retrieved May 1, 2013, from: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/debunking-the-ten-biggest-excuses-not-to-try-online-dating/#.UYQa9nfQTD6
Finkel, E.J., Eastwick, P.W., Karney, B.R., Reis, H.T. & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online Dating: A Critical Analysis from the Perspective of Psychological Science. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 12(1), 3-66.
Gackenbach, J. (2007). Psychology and the Internet: Intrapersonal, Interpersonal, and Transpersonal Implications (2nd ed.). Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press.
Guadagno, R. (2012, June 19). Why People Click: Social Interaction and Influence Online. Retrieved May 1, 2013, from: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/why-people-click/201206/online-dating
Hammer, E.Y. (2009). Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century (9th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Joinson, A. (Ed.). (2007). Oxford Handbook of Internet Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.