Thursday, 21 August 2008

The pros and cons of online dating

Gone are the days when using a dating service carried a huge stigma. In the world of the twenty-first century where using the Internet for anything and everything has become the norm, online dating has become accepted and much used. While there are a number of disadvantages associated with online dating, there are many advantages.

One of the great advantages of online dating is that it provides a relatively safe platform to meet prospective partners. For those that shy away from meeting in bars and clubs it provides an environment where you can gain some knowledge of prospective dates before actually meeting ace to face.

A typical online dating site requires members to capture their profile. Your physical attributes, beliefs, education, occupation and cultural characteristics and of course a recent photograph. If you want you can meet or at least communicate with people from all around the world. In addition, you may capture the characteristics of the person that you would like to meet.

Based on what you have captured, the site calculates a percentage match. This provides a guideline as to whether the person that you would like to meet fills some or all of your requirements.

Online dating provides the opportunity to meet. Members begin by viewing profiles of prospective dates followed by an email. Contact details need to be exchanged until both parties are happy to meet. The ability to vet prospective dates before meeting provides and element of protection.

Many people have managed to find partners through this medium.

But there are some pitfalls to be aware of when joining an online dating site. The online environment provides the ability for those with dishonourable intentions to hide their true selves. People are able to adapt an online personality that bears little resemblance to their true selves.

Some people deliberately misrepresent themselves on dating sites. They post photographs that were taken many years ago. Sometimes they even post photos of celebrities. There is an element of risk in moving from the email communication to meeting. The actual meeting can turn out to be a total shock. A stunning twenty year old blonde turns out to be an obese alcoholic of forty plus.

Then there are those that use the dating sites as a base for their scams. They join the sites for financial gain. The person represented in the profile doesn't really exist. Instead it is a criminal organisation scamming lonely and vulnerable people by posting false profiles and mailing lonely people which become the victims. They operate from far away countries such as Russia and Ghana. They would like to meet with the prospect of marriage but don't have the money to travel. Once the victim transfers the funds the object of their desire disappears.

The online dating sites do vet the profiles to try to eliminate scammers and people that use celebrity photos as their own. But some inevitably slip through the net.

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Used with an awareness of the dangers, online dating is a very useful way of meeting prospective partners. Avoid the pitfalls and never send money for someone to travel to meet you. If your date turns out to be a different person from the one on the site, then leave immediately. Many people manage to form lasting relationships from online dating, so the pros must outweigh the cons.

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