What are the Facts About Online Dating?

By: Chris Anderson Psy.D.

Interestingly, the number one place to find a date, as reported by singles, is online dating with 45% of people saying this is a good place to meet someone. Second to that is connecting through a friend or family member with about 33% saying that is a good place to meet someone. The next most common question to cross people’s mind is the success of online dating. The numbers continue to hold, with 54% of online daters achieving success, which is reportedly on par with in-person meetings.  Turns out 61% of people aged 30-49 use online dating as a source of seeking new relationships. Over half of the people surveyed feel online dating is a safe method and venue for meeting people.

What are the Benefits of Online Dating?

Probably the greatest benefit of online dating is the ease and convenience of it. People don’t have to get dressed up, drive out to a venue, and hope they might meet someone and spend a lot of time trying to learn some stuff about the person, in many instances, only to discover there is not much connection. Dating profiles allow users to peruse images, interests, and a fair amount of details about a person anonymously so they can surmise if they think there is some possible compatibility before making a contact.

Once contact has been initiated, the user has the ability to control the flow and development of things. They can space out interactions, take time to reflect, and keep the initial connection on the dating platform to get to know a person before meeting in person.

For those with some social anxiety, shyness, introverted tendencies, or general insecurities, online dating presents countless benefits. People can keep communicating through the platform for as long as they prefer. As they become more familiar with their prospect, anxieties typically begin to dissipate naturally setting the stage for phone conversations and eventually in-person meetings. Safety is a concern for many women, and online dating allows time to get to know someone before meeting them in person to establish some trust and comfort before a live meeting, which can also reduce the risk of finding yourself in risky or uncomfortable situations that bars or clubs can create, especially when drinking is involved.

What are the Risks of Online Dating?

Nothing is perfect, and online dating also comes with some potential risks. Knowing these risks and how to mitigate them can reduce your chances of getting played or taken advantage of. Probably the biggest risk is catfishing and romance scammers. The predator creates a false profile and posts pictures of highly attractive people used to lure people in, thinking they have found a perfect match or great catch. They spend some time getting to know you, lowering your suspicions, and in short order they begin asking for favors, loans, gift cards, or other financial benefits intended to swindle you. Be suspicious of extremely attractive images, a limited number of pictures, or no recent photos, “broken” webcams, and the like.

Other unscrupulous types use phishing techniques to extract personal information about you, which can often lead to identity theft. Gaining your trust over time, they often get people to reveal sensitive information that can be used to access bank accounts, open loans in your name, and the like. Be wary of people seeking and requesting such information.

Some overzealous people may end up sending seductive and erotic photos, which are then used to threaten and ransom people. If they don’t pay the con person, they threaten to share your racy pictures with friends, family, and coworkers. Other victims are used for money laundering. The person they are talking to sends them money and asks them to buy gift cards or cryptocurrency for them, which is less traceable. Some people are unknowingly complicit in such scams but are still at risk of legal charges if caught. Steer clear of sending risky pictures and anything involving money this early on in a relationship, especially if you haven’t even met in person.

If you want to meet with a therapist to explore relationship concerns, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule an appointment with one of our psychiatric providers for a more thorough assessment.  Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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