Mandy Kloppers

The pitfalls of online dating

The pitfalls of online dating are many. In fact, many people that I speak to complain of ‘online dating fatigue’. They complain that they have met a wide variety of people yet haven’t found “the one” or “that spark” . It’s never been so easy to date but it’s also never been harder. Here’s why:

People are more picky and have higher expectations

There are different expectations when you meet someone through a friend or when you are out and about compared to meeting someone through an online dating site. When you meet someone through an online dating site, you have a checklist in your mind as if pre-ordering something off Amazon. We forget about the person and look at potential dates as a commodity.

Are they tall enough? Are they polite? Do I fancy them? It’s an interview of sorts for the position of boyfriend or girlfriend. When we meet someone through work or through a friend, our expectations aren’t there as we don’t see this person as a potential partner. We are able to get to know someone without all the pressure of deciding within the first date whether our date is worth investigating more.

It’s far more natural meeting someone away from the online dating scene and online dating has created a population of people who see online dating as shopping for a partner. It’s never that simple though. There are those that get lucky and find someone they connect with but they are in the minority. I can identify with the change in attitude when online dating. A few years back I was obsessed with online dating. I was convinced I would meet the man of my dreams online and naively went about looking for him. I met a lovely man but he had been doing the online dating thing a lot longer and the restless fickleness had taken hold of him. He was indecisive and wasn’t sure as there were ‘so many other potential women’ for him. We stayed friends but he never stopped dating.

I remember becoming the same, the restless online dating ‘bug’ got to me too and I was ignoring some men on account of their star sign! Sounds crazy I know but online dating twists your perceptions and expectations and it’s not a good thing!

You are subjected to a virtual checklist

You are judged very harshly on a date with someone you have met online, you just aren’t fully aware of it. They are comparing you to their imaginary check list. Are you good looking enough? What emotional baggage have you got? Do you have a difficult ex or young children that might curb a free lifestyle? The requirements are endless. I have spoken to many people who date online and many tell me that they have been on more than 40 dates and they are still looking. So what’s going on?

Many people are using online dating for an ego boost

People get stuck into online dating for a whole host of reasons. They may genuinely be looking for a partner. Then again they may just be looking for an ego boost. It’s quite addictive when you see people ‘liking’ your profile and writing to you. It makes you feel good about yourself. But the dating trenches are not to be sniffed at…it can feel like a war when you have been doing it for a while. It’s exhausting and can leave you feeling even more empty and lonely than before. If you see many people and still don;t find a decent partner it can lead to self doubt and questions about whether you will ever be in a loving relationship again. How can there be so much choice yet so little at the same time?

Many like the idea of being in a relationship but will not have the social skills to maintain one

Like I said before, everyone gets into online dating for different reasons. Some are just looking for casual encounters. There is also the problem of geographical location. If you don’t live near each other or share friends, it can be tricky to integrate lives and if one or neither of you are really committed, the relationship can die out after you’ve slept together. Some people online have experienced trauma from previous relationships and may be looking for a rebound. Halve the amount of people chasing you and you will have a truer representation of those that will be emotionally ready for a full commitment. Possibly halve that again on an sceptical day!

People will disappear without warning

It’s called “ghosting”. There one minute, gone the next. That’s probably because they are chatting to more than just one person. This is what normally happens though. You can estimate that a person you are talking to online is also talking to at least two or three others as well and so should you be.

You have to have a thick skin for online dating and don’t allow yourself to get attached to meeting someone ever. Only after two to three dates should you begin to consider this may have some mileage in it.

Many will exaggerate the truth

Almost everyone says they go to the gym. BORING. I’d much rather chat to someone who says they wake up late and enjoy junk food now and then. People will be on best behaviour and they can hide behind great photos and a catchy strap line. Take it with a pinch of salt.

Online dating is great in that you can meet people you would never normally cross paths with. Go along to meet someone with no expectations. See it as a night out where you get to learn about someone new and find out their life story but apart from that, stay open minded.

Online dating absolutely and unequivocally changes your attitude to love and commitment and generally, it’s NOT for the better.

Mandy X