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.

6 Online Dating Tips for Guys That Actually Work

1. Choose the Right Site, Even if You Have to Pay For It

Never choose a dating site because that’s the one everyone else uses. The most popular sites have the most competition, not a good idea if you want to meet someone quickly. There are dozens of dating sites online. There are religious based sites, fetish based sites, sites based on sexual preference, online dating for seniors, there are race-based sites and many more.

Even if you have to pay a monthly fee, consider that fee an investment into your future. If you are lonely now, wouldn’t you pay $20 or less a month if you were told you could meet the woman of your dreams? Of course you would. You probably spend that on leisurely activities right now that don’t bring you near as much pleasure as a dream matchup would bring you.

There are free sites, low paid sites and expensive ones. Don’t just discount a site because it charges and never discount a free site because you think it’s too cheap and saturated. Choose a site based on your preference, your budget and the number of available matches there are in the dating pool. And don’t be afraid to try several at once. The more sites you put profiles on, the more likely you are to find a match.

2. Search Like You’re a Woman To Beat Your Competition

The hardest part about online dating for men is the filling out of the profile. Most men have absolutely no idea how to present themselves in order to maximize their dating chances. To make matters worse, most online dating help for men fails to touch the process of filling out the profile. Most articles and videos online tell men to be honest and let the woman know what you want. If you want to create a profile that gets results, you must study the competition. Who are you up against? This is going to require you to search the online dating site you’re on as if you were a woman.

It is going to feel strange looking through a bunch of guys’ online dating photos, but this is a necessary step if you want the greatest edge.

If you can take what’s working and make it better, you will succeed at online dating faster than any of the other guys in your dating pool. This is one of those free online dating tips that you rarely read online and yet it’s so effective at putting you on top of whatever dating site you choose.

Pay attention to the photos men are using, the language they’re using, their headlines and anything else that stands out. Take plenty of notes and then write your profile. When you have a page full of profile tidbits, headline ideas and other crucial elements, you won’t find yourself staring at a blinking cursor when you’re asked to fill out your About Me, Ideal Date and any other sections you are required to fill out.

In other words, cheat. Online dating for men doesn’t have to be so difficult if you know the easy ways to do things.

3. Be Honest With Your Date and Yourself

One of the biggest complaints most women have about online dating is the fact that men tend to lie. One recent dater recounted a story where she met a man in real life and she said that his age, height and weight were all different than he implied them to be via their online communications.

She said that he was two inches shorter, twenty years older and at least twenty pounds heavier. His response to being caught in a blatant lie, or three of them for that matter? He shrugged, smiled and said, “Everyone lies on the Internet.”

That is not the way to begin any type of relationship. Out of all the online dating tips for guys you will hear in your lifetime, heed this one first and foremost. Be honest about who you are and what your motivations are. Don’t lie about your age, weight, height, job, income or anything else. You will be found out eventually, especially if the date ever progresses to an offline setting.

Creating an online dating profile can cause you to really take a look at yourself. Don’t lie to make yourself feel better or to entice more dates to contact you. It’s not worth it and it will only deter possible matches in the future.

4. Dig Deep to Find Ice-Breakers

This is another bit of online dating advice guys never hear. When a woman fills out an online dating profile, that is all the information she wants you to know about her. The problem for her is, the Internet is vast and probably holds much more information than what she’s offering. In fact, there is probably information online that she’d rather you not know. Use this free online dating tip with caution. You can find out a lot more about your date by Internet-stalking her, so to speak, but you might not be able to erase any bad press you find from your mind. That can be a problem if you end up really liking the person.

If you don’t mind digging up a little dirt on your potential date-to-be, start Googling the person’s name, headline or anything else. People tend to use the same usernames across multiple platforms, headlines and other elements. Some people even put their Facebook profile links on their page. Use any and all information you find to your advantage.

Your goal isn’t to open a file on them or stalk them (looking someone up online is only called cyber stalking), rather it is to gather info that can be used to break the ice with that person.

You are looking for common ground, something that you both can talk and have a conversation about. This should really only be used if you can’t find anything in the person’s profile. These days you might uncover DUI arrest records, mugshots, divorce records and a lot more on Google and the other engines. Be careful what you search for.

5. Be Intriguing, Even if Your Life is Boring

Even if you live in a nondescript house and you work as an accountant, you can still make your life sound exciting. Get creative with it and pretend you’re writing a mystery novel. You don’t have to get too crazy with it, but try to be mysterious, intriguing and try to keep her guessing as to what you do or what you’re into. The more fun you have with it, the more you’ll stand out from other guys on the dating site you’re on and the more success you’ll have overall.

The dating advice guys need the most is the ability to leave the woman guessing. Leave some information for the first date. Nobody says you have to spill the beans in your profile. Leave her guessing, imply more than tell and you’ll get better results.

6. Get on the Phone or Cam Quickly

In the cult film Napoleon Dynamite, the main character’s brother, Kip, meets a girl online and is telling his brother about it across a table at a restaurant. Kip says that they’ve been chatting for two hours every night and, with a nod, says, “I guess it’s getting pretty serious.”

To make a true match with someone, you have to form an emotional connection. It is possible to form an emotional connection via chat. Kip is one example. However, you will build an emotional connection faster and with more impact if you can get the woman on the phone or Skype or other cam-based chat.

Once you form an emotional connect, the rest is fun and games. The endorphins will take over and you’ll be on that love rollercoaster that most people spend most of their lives reminiscing about and chasing. Get the digits or the Skype address and take your chat to the phone or cam for a much faster connection.

Once you get on the phone or cam, the next step is to recommend an offline date. Follow these six free online dating tips for guys and you will enjoy better dates more often, guaranteed.

Starting With Online Dating

Online dating might be the answer to many that are dating. It might be easier for them to find someone special, but it might just be a way to date without a time constraint. From speed dating to online dating options are varied with a myriad of contacting individuals from all walks of life. The concept of online dating has caught up and with a host of dating sites, it is easy to register and start dating online.

If you are thinking about getting started with online dating there are some things you need to consider. Being prepared and starting on the right foot will help you have a great online dating experience. Once you have decided to date online you need to find a site. There are many dating sites online. This could be overwhelming and make you wonder how in the world you will find the best site for your preferences. Basically you want a website that will focus on the elements you find interesting in a date or a mate. Look at it this way – you have plenty of choices allowing you a chance to find exactly what is right for you.

Make a list of your preferences or elements that you find most important. For example an older person that is dating might want to go to a website that works with older people. If you are interested in finding someone with the same religion as you practice, select the dating site that focuses on that and you may want to hold a membership. There are many choices and it is up to you to find your favorite spot. There are numerous people with the same interests and choices as you have, connecting with them has become easier.

Another thing that you might want to know is if the site offers online dating services for free or is a paid service. You probably would love to save money. Nevertheless, the effectiveness of free online dating sites is still debatable for most. This means looking into paid online dating membership which at least has a some security measures and selection is more effective. You need to realize that you need to join the online dating site that has the most number of registered individuals. People are finding this useful when they are dedicated to finding love or a date. When you have more people on the site, you have more opportunity to finding what you seek.

When on an online dating site you need to have a profile. Put interesting elements about yourself in the profile that will appeal to a potential date. Just be sure to be truthful. Also add a photo because they appeal most when people are searching through profiles or looking to approve of a profile for contacting. Additional it is best to put in all the interests and information about the potential date that you are looking for. This helps to attract the right people to your profile and helps to get the person you have always wanted to date.