There shouldn’t really be any myths about online dating. Just ask the customers already hooked on seeking romantic attachments via the convenience of computers or hand-held devices. You’d better believe the sheer volume of customers hooked on this exciting way of meeting up. A recent study of the top online dating platforms revealed the most frequently visited site commands worldwide client figures of almost 40 million. So if these matchmaking ventures are so hugely popular, what are the most enduring myths? And why do people still believe them?
Perhaps the single biggest misconception about internet daters is that they are somehow lonely or desperate. The notion persists that online dating is for people lacking the confidence to approach potential partners in the real world; that it represents the last resort for individuals who’ve exhausted all other avenues of ‘conventional dating.’ The reality of the situation couldn’t be more different.
There is nothing desperate about a desire to get into this type of dating. Let’s be honest. The traditional method for getting acquainted with someone who has caught your eye will involve summoning up the courage to strike up a conversation. But for many people, approaching a complete stranger can be a daunting prospect, no matter how positive the signals they think they’ve been receiving. Situations can easily be misinterpreted. If you don’t know the person’s backstory, how do you know if they’re telling the truth about themselves, or if they’d even be compatible? There might even be a jealous ex lurking in the background, still hovering around, waiting to pounce and cause a scene.
Online dating puts the power into your hands. At the touch of a button you have complete control about deciding who to arrange to meet. Dating sites are all about introducing people via the age-old laws of physical attraction, but they are also dedicated to finding out more about their members’ personalities, honing their profiles and preferences so that you will have a much higher likelihood of meeting someone you are compatible with than just having to rely on chance (and often alcohol-fuelled) encounters in social situations.
Another myth that people still believe is that internet dating is purely about casual sex. Of course, the choice is there, and some people do still enter the online relationship scene with one thing on their mind. Many more know they can find something far more meaningful. The difference with getting to know people virtually before any face-to-face encounter is that you get a chance to build a rapport. What could be a more relaxed way of getting acquainted with someone than a series of messages flying backwards and forwards, where you can manage how subtle you want to keep those innuendos, how much flirting to engage in, when to take things up a notch, and when to dare to become more suggestive? In this way the chemistry can develop naturally, nurtured within the intimacy of your respective browsers, with none of the mind games or defensiveness that can mar encounters in bars or clubs.
There’s another misconception that the people trawling these sites are somehow behaving in a shallow way. The image might be of members scrolling through profiles like kids with their faces pressed expectantly against a sweetshop window as they drool over a succession of gorgeous, sexy-looking subjects. First of all, you don’t have to be shallow to have a healthy interest in hooking up with someone you are sexually attracted to. Looking through profile after profile of subjects smiling suggestively – real people at the other end of the internet connection looking right back at you – sounds like a perfectly natural activity that has nothing to do with shallowness or superficiality. For the majority of customers, choosing to submit their profile and declaring that they are willing to embrace this thrilling diversion isn’t shallow at all – it’s downright courageous. At the end of the day, online dating sites do what they say on the tin – they harness technology to arrange dates in a way previous generations could only dream of. Casual encounters or deeper relationships, the degree to which anyone is upforit is down to personal choice.
On that point, another myth is that online dating is somehow a generic term. But there are as many different sites as there are other types of dating. Those catering for people searching for long-term relationships might match people up on the basis of professional backgrounds, or according to age ranges, or hobbies. There are many specific or niche markets, such as cougar women looking for younger guys. Others will certainly appeal to those clients who are interested in sex rather than love.
When you sign-up with a dating agency, you may well have to pay a fee up front. But once you are a member of this exclusive club you are entitled to take full advantage of the services offered. For all the serious business about submitting a suitably eye-catching photograph or personal profile, the main emphasis is on fun. You can feel free to feast your eyes on the diverse array of members who have signed up on exactly the same terms and are enthusiastically browsing through profiles in the hope of connecting with – who knows, someone exactly like yourself.
What about those fakers masking their real identity behind a photo they’ve uploaded from some model agency, together with a profile stretching the truth longer than Pinocchio’s nose? Although people believe the myth that this is widespread, the truth is less melodramatic. Signing up to online dating represents a commitment, and most people are savvy enough to realize they’re not going to get far if they appear to be lying about themselves. For those daters only in it for casual sex, perhaps a backstory about being a part-time lion tamer can simply be set aside. But the fact is most people are using online dating as a way of finding someone with shared interests. In the search for long-term partners, the truth will out.
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