Social media opens the world to individuals who are worlds apart from each other in geographical terms. What they share, however, might seem to outweigh cultural differences and overcome great distance. In other words, two people could decide to date online or just use the internet as their launch pad to real dating. Is online dating a safe or viable way to pursue a relationship? Can two people fall in love over the internet and create sturdy foundations for a marriage?
What is Online Dating?
Firstly, how would online dating even look? Consider the traditional date where two people share a meal, go to the movies, or take a walk in the park. What things can a pair share online if they can’t be together?
They might take part in a forum regarding a shared topic of interest. Perhaps they meet while participating in a self-help forum for recovering addicts. Their interests could be cooking, movies, or politics. With text, email, Facebook, Twitter, and other opportunities, these conversations can take place in real time or over many days and weeks. After a while they learn many important things about each other.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Online Conversations
It’s possible to take time over what one writes in an email. Taking time over a conversation face-to-face is much harder. Many people have a hard time with silence and want to fill it so they talk before they are ready or try to rush each other. With text and email there’s no rush.
On the other hand, emboldened by anonymity, it’s too easy to write something and press “send” when cool reasoning would have caused you to be more cautious in person. Once messages are out in the virtual world, they cannot be retrieved, including images.
Dangers of Online Dating
News reports highlight many ways online predators take advantage of naïve individuals by wearing virtual disguises. Men and women have been lured into dangerous and even fatal engagements this way.
On a less extreme note, communication is not just expressed via words. Body language and tone of voice contribute to meaning. How does one determine if a person listens well, is comfortable with silence, or becomes distracted while talking to another individual if every conversation is conducted online? Two people can only communicate in a limited way using the internet as their conduit. Even letter writing is more expressive since much can be determined by handwriting, choice of paper, and even the color of pen a person writes with.
Advantages of Online Dating
Maybe this is only the start; a place for two very shy people to take a step into the scary world of dating. They might not have done it otherwise, but thanks to the internet there is a chance to meet someone and never be lonely again. If seen as a beginning only, online dating has the potential to initiate a fulfilling relationship. Moreover, if two people have established a relationship face to face but are separated by work, that healthy beginning can be furthered for a period of time with the help of virtual communication.