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Last updated on July 15, 2013 | by Aet Suvari


Pros and cons of online dating

We all know how popular online dating is in this day and age – there are rough estimates that around 10 per cent of the western population has at one point used an online dating site.

Their huge popularity means many people are experiencing good results, yet at the same time some of the old stigmas still persist in people’s minds where online dating is concerned.

So let’s take a brief look at the main points to consider before you decide to try online dating.

Pro: The sheer number of single people in one place

Can there be a better reason to sign up?

All these millions of dating sites members are out there with the same aim that’s brought you to the dating website: to find a partner (for the short or long term). It’s much easier to look from a pool of eligible people than to trust random luck that you happen to be in the right place at the right time to run into the right person – and then actually say the right thing.

Con: Cost is burning holes into our wallets

Online dating isn’t just a leisure activity to help you find a date. It’s also a huge and growing business sector – the whole industry is allegedly worth £0.8 billion and it keeps growing too. And of course, it’s growing at our expense.

The best, effective dating sites that are trustworthy and have a respectable number of users don’t come free – check cost and eHarmony cost for the prices of the two most popular dating sites in the UK, and eHarmony. While there are some free dating sites out there, the best paid ones actually rate higher and offer a better service and experience, not to mention their more reliable and trustworthy member base.

Still, online dating isn’t cheap so we recommend you do some research before deciding to sign up to make sure your money isn’t gong to waste.

Pro: Great, if have problems meeting people in real life

Online dating really works well for those of us who for some reason or another have trouble striking up a flirty conversation in real life or meeting the right people. There could be simple statistical reasons why the market for potential partners is smaller – for minority groups, older people, busy office people who don’t have time to hang out in bars, people who work from home or single parents might who might not get to meet many new people either.

It can work well if you’re shy and makes it easier to make that first step. Of course you’ll still have to meet up in the real world at some point but online dating can at least make that initial approach a bit easier.

Heck, there are even specific sites for married folk looking for a bit of out-of-wedlock relations. Whatever the reason, it facilitates the process.

Con: Some people consider it inferior to ‘real dating’

Even with these huge numbers, there are still those who don’t consider online dating to be very hip – they think it’s mainly for sad, old or unpopular people. They are, of course, wrong because millions of regular people use it every day, it’s no longer a geeky, niche activity for people hidden away in their bedrooms.

But we do understand that sometimes you just don’t want to go bragging to your friends that you’re an online dating aficionado. We get it. However, don’t let that discourage you. One day on one of those sites you might stumble upon the kind of person you’ve always been waiting for and who is also cool, funny and sexy. Who’s laughing now?

Pro: You actually might get to know yourself better

A lot of dating sites have some kind of a compatibility testing system or algorithm that trys to pair you up with a similar person. We agree that these tests are not always accurate nor are the psychological profiles often very deep and spot-on. But in the process of filling in your profile and browsing around, chatting to people, going on dates, failing, trying again, maybe even failing again but bravely doing it again you might find out something invaluable about yourself and the man or a woman you’re looking for. This is something you can’t discover just sitting on a couch and stuffing your face with biscuits.

Con: Liars, cheats, fakes, con-artists, frauds

Yes, they ALL do exist on dating sites (though the best sites do their best to remove them). They’re lurking there, looking for their next victim and you’re lucky if the worst you’ve ever experienced is exchanging emails with a Ryan Gosling-lookalike (guys, replace with Eva Mendes) only for them to turn out to be about two feet shorter and twenty pounds heavier. It’s so easy to lie about who you are and what you look like that we’re all tempted to round things up a bit.

There are married people there who claim to be single. There are those who never show up on a date. And there are real scammers out there too who are just after your money. So stay safe, be aware and never-ever share any of your personal details until you’re as sure you can be that you know WHO you’re really dealing with.

Pro: You could still have fun

Even if you don’t end up happily ever after on a dating site – who’s to say you’re not allowed to have some fun while you’re there? We encourage you to embrace the situation whole-heartedly. Talk to people, chat, flirt, go out on a few dates. Try different sites, different experience. Enjoy yourself! If you don’t find the love of your life, you might still make a friend or two. Maybe even a best friend, if you’re as lucky as we were.

Pro: Never a boring moment

If you truly take advantage of all the numerous features the sites have to offer, you won’t have too many boring moments when online. Not just browsing and searching, there are all these different, funny, quirky, stupid extra features from lovebombs to wheels of date and icebreaker questionnaires to video chatrooms. A human being is the most interesting pool of information with endless resources to tap. There’s so much you can discover out there about your fellow inhabitants of the planet Earth.

Pro: You might actually find what you’re looking for

Last but most certainly not the least – there is actually a fair chance that a good match is out there looking for you too at this very moment. So give him/her a chance to find you. It’s really the ultimate reason why you should defy the cons we’ve mentioned – the cost, the cheats, the snotty friends turning up their noses. Don’t let these trivial reasons stop you from finding what you’re really looking for.

If you need some advice about what dating site suits best for your needs, take a look at our best dating sites article or read our dating site reviews.

Have fun out there – whether you follow the pros or cons of online dating!

About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+

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