Myth – Online Dating Carries an Embarrassing Stigma

In 1982, Chris Dunn met Pam Jensen on a CompuServe CB Simulator program that linked computer users nationwide in an early version of online dating in a chat room. They hadn’t planned on finding love online, but after a few months of virtual chatting, Chris booked a flight from New York to Chicago where he and Pam met face-to-face. One year later, to the day, they were married (1).

Their newsworthy courtship and wedding were featured on numerous television programs and newspaper articles, including a Chicago Tribune story titled “Cupid and Computers Conquer All.” But not everybody accepted their relationship with an open mind – many people said a relationship based on online dating wouldn’t last, even Chris’s father. This was the one of the first examples of the stigma of online dating, and it was met with a great deal of suspicion.

These days, of course, a couple finding love online is hardly newsworthy. But Pam and Chris were charting new territory. “At the time,” Pam recalls, “computers weren’t as pervasive in our homes and our daily life. To a lot of people, especially my parents’ generation and their friends, online dating seemed very alien, a very suspicious concept to even be communicating like that. There was definitely a stigma with online dating.”

That was about thirty years ago and Chris and Pam are still in love and happily married, and live on the North Side of Chicago. “If it weren’t for the way we met, with online dating, I think we could be any other married couple,” said Chris. “I’ve always adored her. She adores me. It’s very easy to love my wife (2).” That part may be easy, but from the start, Chris and Pam had to put up with a great deal of critique from others who hold onto a stigma about online dating. And so have a lot of other singles currently finding love online, and couples who have sometimes felt compelled to hide the fact that they met through an online dating site.

It’s Called Stigma

During a Sunday school function, a group of newlywed wives were each asked, “How did you two meet?” Going around the circle, each woman took a moment to tell her romantic story. Then it was time for Tracy to speak up: “We met over the Internet.”

A moment of silence hovered over the group. “Online Dating? Really!” the teacher said. “Why would an attractive, outgoing girl like you need to resort to such drastic measures?”

That’s called “stigma” – a socially discrediting means of classifying others as going against the norm. It’s an undesirable stereotype and it conjures up disapproval, disgrace and shame. And the stigma of online dating associated with finding love online is based on uninformed impressions.

This Sunday school teacher is a perfect example of someone perpetuating an uneducated social stigma of online dating and using the Internet for finding love. Online dating has turned a corner over the past several years, and truth be told, this was an exchange that took place more than a decade ago. Today, these misinformed impressions about online dating are few and far between.

So if you’re embarrassed by an out-of-date stigma of online dating, you’ve somehow become stuck in a fleeting notion that died out years ago. Yes, it used to be that finding love online was looked at with suspicion. So was nearly everything about the internet. Most people scoffed at the visionary idea of using our computers to buy shoes, download music, or book a hotel room. So why in the world would you be interested in finding love online?

Of course, that was then, and this is now. And today the stigma of online dating has all but vanished. Practically everyone knows someone who has found the love of their life with online dating. Even well known celebrities talk about using matching sites to find love. We do enough marriage seminars in churches around the country to know that in every congregation there are couples who proudly identify themselves as being matched online. Sure, there are still some uninformed holdouts that perpetuate the stigma of online dating and finding love online, but their numbers are dwindling quickly.

Your Grandmother’s Internet?

If you’re looking for evidence that the stigma of online dating has shaken off its remnants, you need look no farther than your grandparents’ generation. You may think that they rarely even turn on a computer, but you’d be wrong. Are you ready for this? Of course, we all know how popular finding love online is for younger generations, but the fastest growing area for online dating sites is with single seniors (3).

70-year-old Hilda Gottlieb decided to try online dating after her husband passed away in 2004 (4). “I was 64 when my husband died, and I knew I was not going to be alone for the rest of my life,” Gottlieb told the Palm Beach Post.

Gottlieb ignored the stigma of online dating, found the dating profile of then-72-year-old Marv Cohen, and decided to contact him. That email led to an in-person meeting and an eventual romantic relationship. They have been married ever since (5).

The point is that online dating these days is viewed as socially acceptable even among many of the people who were perhaps the most suspicious of finding love online a few short years ago.

Online Dating is now Hyper-Mainstream

“The stigma of online dating has definitely dropped because people are advocating for it, talking with their friends about it, and sharing stories with families,” says Lija Jarvis, director of a large survey study on Internet dating (6). Another study, conducted by the research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, shows how quickly Internet dating — in existence for less than two decades — has revolutionized the way people find and pursue potential mates and approach finding love online.

“It does seem to have displaced all other forms of dating,” says Susan Frohlick, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Manitoba who has studied online dating. “I would say that it’s been in the last five years that it’s become hyper-mainstream (7).”

So if you are embarrassed by a pass prejudice against finding love online, do your best to move beyond it. Swallow your irrational pride, and the outdated stigma you’re holding onto will disappear.

Works Cited

1. Stevens, H. “Chicago Couple blazed the trail for Internet love.” Chicago Tribune. May 18, 2008
2. Stevens, H. “Chicago Couple blazed the trail for Internet love.” Chicago Tribune. May 18, 2008
3. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
4. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
5. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
6. Toy, Mary-Anne. “One in four adults finds mate online.” Sydney Morning Herald. April 17, 2010
7. Ellen Mc Carthy, “marriage-minded do better online than at bars, survey claims.” Washington Post, Sunday, April 25, 2010.

I Finally Signed Up for Online Dating – Now What?

After signing up with an online dating service your next step is to do what you’d normally do.

Well, you finally did it. You went online and created your profile on the free online dating site. Now what? Do you just wait for people to see your fabulous photo and start inviting you to connect? Do you check out hot profile pics and start sending out invitations to connect?

Online dating is fun and easy. It’s a great way to make new friends, connect with old ones as well as find your soul mate. Yet dating online is not a magical device that does everything for you. You have to participate and be involved consistently but at your convenience, of course. Just like when you’re actually dating. Online dating is dating via technology. Real people are really communicating and learning about you and sharing stuff about them. They’re there to connect and to get involved. You have to do the same. So your next step is just to be natural, be real and to do what you’d normally do when you’re dating in real life because online dating is actually dating.

An Internet dating site is another tool that can enhances your connections, friendships and relationships. It’s an amazing tool, that is! Technology and free Internet matching sites and online dating websites allow you to be a part of the kind of community that you want to belong to and to connect with those who have what you’re looking for – same interests, similar dislikes, favorite groups, fave music and similar careers, etc. Dating is much more fun and easier as technology allows for communicating when it’s convenient for you and messages get sent directly via e-mails, postings, message boards, forum, instant messaging, chats, video chats and more. What better way than all of these tactics to communicate and share? And of course, you can add phone calls and text messaging to communicate to those who you’ve connected online. This really enhances your online dating experience.

Now that you understand this, your next step is to make sure that you have a complete profile and post plenty of pics. (See our other blogs about tips on photos that you upload on your dating account.) Make sure you add enough content to tell others about you and what you do, what you’re looking for, etc. Think of it this way, ask yourself what you are looking for when browsing through other people’s profiles? Then do the same with yours. Not enough information on a profile most likely leads you to clicking past that profile and moving on to the next so if you don’t have enough info on yours, people will gloss over you just as well.

When online dating and adding info to your profile and wall, keep it real. You must be honest. Don’t mislead others on your attributes. Remember, if things work out you will be meeting and getting to know these people face to face in the near future. And they will be learning about you. If you stretch the truths they will see them and well, it doesn’t look flattering. Also you would want them to do the same for you. So be honest and keep it real. Keep your online presence as real as who you are in reality.

Just like meeting in person and going on a date in reality, remember that online dating is very similar to dating. You’ve got someone on the other end who you’re talking to and connecting with. Communicate effectively and once again, be honest and be you. Keep it real.

Pace yourself in the way that is comfortable for both parties just like dating face-to-face because if all things go well, you’ll be meeting them in person soon. The great thing about dating online is that you get to learn about the other person (or people) internally instead of externally first. You get to learn about how they think and all the great things that they love, hate, know, do and not just focusing on their external looks (although that’s very important too, if that’s a top priority to you.)

Now if you want to connect with people who you think are really hot and just want to hook up, you can let them know that also. Online dating is great as you can date how you wish. Just let the others know what you’re there for and what you want. That’s the great thing about it. A dating website allows you and others to find exactly what you’re looking for.

So what to do after signing up for a free online dating account? Just do what you’d normally do. Be you and keep it real.

Online Dating Tips – 3 Facts About Women Dating Online

If you really hope to date the woman of your dreams or at least get some women to respond to your dating profile, then I have some online dating tips for you in this article.

The truth is, if you have the right online dating tips about how most women approach dating on the internet, you increase your odds of attracting women.

So here are 3 facts about how most women approach internet dating. Keep these online dating tips close to you and you should have no problem attracting women to your profile.

Women Don’t Wish to Look Too Blunt Online

Before you go thinking that women like to reveal as little as possible about themselves online because they are too proud, it’s not true. They just don’t want to appear too blunt online. And that’s the first of the 3 online dating tips for you.

Women like to be approached, teased and flirted with before they decide to go on a date with someone. So while men will write what they want in their dream girls and what they can offer, women aren’t like that.

So how does this help you? It’s to let you know that you shouldn’t despair if women don’t respond to your dating profile. Instead, learn how to put up an attractive profile to lure them.

Another fact about women is this. Some won’t join a dating site until they browse through some profiles of men on that site. And when they do see a man they can potentially hook up with, only then will they be willing to join that site to make contact.

That gives you another reason to learn how to put up an attractive profile, doesn’t it?

Women Approach Men Who Stand Out

This second of the 3 online dating tips that I will reveal tells you that if you want women to respond to you, you must stand out from the other men.

So learn to write something different on your profile that will catch women’s attention.

Statements with the word “because” tend to stand out, so use it. Don’t just say you like something. Explain the reason behind it.

For example, you can say “I love magic tricks because they are always full of surprises and they spice up a boring day”. A woman reading it will know you love surprises that brighten up your day.

Not only does that give a woman the insight of how you are like, but also if you’re potentially someone whom she’ll want to date.

Women Approach Men Who Are Specific

Don’t leave women guessing, period! That’s the final of the 3 online dating tips you need to know. So besides writing about what you have to offer in your dating profile, don’t forget to include what you want in a woman you wish to date.

Women don’t like to waste their dates on men who will never spend more than 1 short date with them, so you need to help them weed out the men they don’t want to approach.

That creates a win-win situation because you won’t waste the time of the women who don’t suit you, and you don’t waste your time dating women who aren’t right for you.

With the right online dating tips, you can understand how women date online and how to take advantage of it to increase your odds of finding the right woman.