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5 Problems With Internet Dating

Updated on March 29, 2011

Internet dating is probably more common than traditional dating these days, but don't make the mistake of thinking they work on the same principles. They're very, very different mediums, and each has its own set of pros and cons. I've done both extensively and I want to take a moment to mention my list of the 5 Problems With Internet Dating. (Yes there are pros as well, but I'm saving them for another article.) I say these things as objectively as possible, and I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from either one -- but there are some facets that you ought to consider when dating someone you've met online.

Inhibition is greatly reduced.

This may sound like a pro, but it's actually a con and a very big one, at that. When you get to know someone over internet messenger services or via email, you're more likely to reveal information of a personal nature far more quickly than you would in person. Personal things which you might otherwise keep to yourself until you've had enough to time to determine whether or not you felt the new person in your life should be told about them. In other words, things you might regret sharing with someone you've only just met. You're less inhibited because part of thinks you'll never meet that person in reality, and there's no one staring you in the face to judge what's being said to them. This means you get very close emotionally very quickly, before you've had a chance to really get to know that person -- and you never really know a person until you've spent time with them in person.

It's impossible to know whether or not you're going to be physically attracted to each other.

It doesn't matter if your guy or girl looks like a supermodel in pictures. No one looks exactly like they do in the photo they've stuck in their profile. And even if they do, this is no guarantee that you're going to find them irresistibly sexy in person. I cannot tell you how many times I have been emailed studly pics that looked nothing like the bloke in question. But even if you're someone who truly cares not at all about physical appearances, you still need physical chemistry to move from the computer to the bedroom. It's a sad truth that while you can have oodles of flirty chemistry online, it's just as possible to have none when you finally meet. And nothing is more awkward than suddenly realizing that the guy you thought was hotter than Brad Pitt reminds of you Pee Wee Herman in person. This is something you can't know until you meet, and it can render weeks or months of online dating useless.

You're subject to very personal questions at a very early stage.

In addition to lowering inhibitions, online dating also makes people far bolder than they normally would be. Women who've been cheated on will not hesitate to ask a potential date embarrassing questions that, had they just met at a bar, would really be none of her business just yet. But because she has to make a decision to take a chance and meet you in person, she will be more likely to feel entitled to certain bits of information way in advance. In some ways this is good -- people are more likely to discuss STD testing in this manner, for example -- but in others it can make you feel like you've just met someone from the Spanish Inquisition. 

It's easier to hide crazy over the internet than in person.

A nutter can do a much better job of concealing their craziness while chatting you up online than when chatting you up face to face. Ticks, tempers and other unflattering characteristics can be pushed under the carpet during an instant messenger chat. But a red faced, foot stomping temper tantrum is going to be harder to hide in person. By the time you get around to meeting someone in person, you may have already convinced yourself that you've fallen for them -- which could make you feel obligated to accept a temper you would otherwise go out of your way to avoid.

A lot of married men build their egos up via fake internet dating.

There are a lot of married or otherwise involved men out there with bruised egos. Some of them will create secret online dating accounts and chat up women under the guise of being single, caring, respectable men. These guys will tell a woman whatever they think she wants to hear to keep her chasing that carrot -- but they never intend to let her catch it. I cannot tell you how many men have played the jerk this way; nor how many women have wasted months pursuing a man they had no idea was married. And, of course, in some cases these men will actually have the nerve to go on a few dates with these women, and lead them on even further. Obviously, you can encounter this via traditional dating as well, but internet dating makes it so much easier for them, as they don't have to leave their home to have their egos fluffed.


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