Online dating has become a huge phenomenon over the last decade with huge increases in the numbers of people using this method of finding a partner. According to figures based on the Digital Market Outlook, taking it’s figures from key digital markets in over 150 regions, it is estimated that this year there will be almost 220 million registered users of online dating sites and apps and this figure is predicted to increase year-on-year by 10% [figures sourced from leading digital analysts Statista]. Considering this doesn’t take into account casual, unregistered users, the true figure is likely to be much higher. Whatever those figures are, it’s fairly common for all of us to at least now someone who uses online dating services, even if we haven’t done so ourselves.
Many users say that they find this is an easy and efficient way to search for a partner in the hectic world we live in. While there is no doubting that this trend is sure to increase, all is not perfect with online dating. We are going to take a look at some of the major problems that exist with it.
Dishonest profile information
This is perhaps the most obvious problem with online dating and it’s also the most common one we hear about. Many of has have probably heard someone recounting the story of how they turned-up for a first date only to meet someone who was nothing like the person they expected to be meeting, either in personality, life-facts or looks – perhaps all three. This has even become prime comedy material, often reflected in movies, T.V. shows and stand-up routines.
According to studies conducted by one global research company involving around one million respondents in the States and the UK, 53% of Americans and 44% of Brits admitted to being not quite accurate in the information they gave on their profiles. These inaccuracies included a range of incorrect facts, from age and body related stuff to job titles and personal wealth.
While it’s perhaps understandable that people want to make themselves appear to be a little younger or less bulky (let’s put it down to exaggeration!), telling ‘major lies’ seems to be a little more baffling: maybe it can help people to get that first date but if people are looking for more long-term relationships, the real facts are sure to come out sooner or later – usually sooner. It certainly doesn’t set a good precedent for developing a trusting relationship if lies are being told from the beginning.
The results of this kind of behaviour can be extremely annoying and time-wasting. Don’t even get us started on posting misleading images! We recommend honesty and clarity when creating your online profile for the sake of everyone involved.
Another major negative part of online dating is the use of language when communicating on dating apps. On a less serious note, this could just be weak and unclear responses when messaging a potential date. Examples of this could include being vague and non-committal when responding to questions and suggestions. This can be frustrating when one party is generally interested in the other and wanting to find out more. It can also be annoying when trying to make arrangements to set up a date.
On a more serious note, there is the problem of people sending explicit messages and images of a sexual nature when you have only just started to communicate for the first time. Vulgar suggestions and pictures of genitalia are usually a major turn-off in the early stages of the interaction and can even be quite offensive and upsetting. From our experience, men are usually the guilty parties in this, but by no means exclusively.
The height of this bad behaviour is when communication becomes abusive and/or threatening. This often occurs when some form of rejection or perceived slight has taken place and can lead to campaigns of harassment and stalking. Totally unacceptable.
Taking the sex thing for granted
While it can often be true that the ultimate goal of online dating, and then developing a relationship, is to have sex, it is wrong to take it for granted that this will occur straight away – if at all. We have often heard stories of people going on first dates and being expected to have sex straight away, the logic being that, by the nature of coming on a date with a stranger, they ‘must be up for it.’
This can be a very demeaning and upsetting experience when this is absolutely not the case for one of the partners involved in the date. Unfortunately, it is men again here who are the prime offenders from our experience of the dating world. If you are both really ‘hot to trot’ from the off, find out subtly and with respect without the need to be insistent.
Things often don’t last
It seems from our professional experience of being involved with online dating that it often takes quite a lot more effort than people realise to actually get to go on a first date. In fact, according to the Pew Research website, a third of people using online dating sites and apps have never actually met a potential partner in real life.
If things do then proceed to actual dating, there is obviously no guarantee that the relationship will last, though to be fair this is the same for any other kind of dating, regardless of where and how couples met. While it’s hard to put a number on how many first dates progress to a second date, it seems from looking at various forums that over 80% probably do not. For the longer-term, statistics in America from the same Pew Research studies suggest that only 5% of married couples report that they had met their partners online.
While there are obviously lots of statistics out there that give different figures, and also different ways results can be interpreted, it does seem that online dating is far from being an easy and perfect way to find a partner to build a long-term relationship with. Again, this can also be said for other forms of dating but, nonetheless, it can be frustrating if people are relying on online dating to be the answer to their romantic dreams.
Perhaps the most serious problem related to online dating is that of fraud. This is related to the issue known as ‘catfishing’ where people use stolen pictures and personal information to set up fake online profiles. These are used to build up online relationships for various reasons and with various motives. It could be to get some kind of revenge on another person or even because of a bizarre desire to represent themselves as someone else to see how it feels. However, it is often done with the intention to take money from that person by tricking them into believing they are entering into a long-lasting romantic relationship.
Stories about these kinds of scams often appear in newspapers and in documentary programs on television and are unfortunately becoming more common. The BBC in the UK recently ran a Panorama story about this and reported that Action Fraud, which is the UK’s national fraud reporting service received up to 10 reports of online romance scams per day! They found that most of these originated from online dating platforms and that fraudsters met their victims on these before quickly moving them away to different platforms on which to build up relationships carefully and intricately. This culminates in them managing to separate the victims from their money, often in large amounts.
It’s easy to think that anyone falling for these types of scams must be somewhat stupid to do so. However, these kinds of scammers use pictures of attractive people and give out intimate information to quickly seduce victims into thinking they are getting into a loving relationship. Then comes the hard luck story, such as a sick family member or a slow business deal which is the catalyst for asking for the victim to send them money. The victims are often cleverly selected as being somewhat vulnerable, though often very intelligent people. The criminals are masters at using human psychology to manipulate their victims into sending them money before disappearing. It’s worth noting that men seem as likely to be the victims as women.
Don’t throw caution to the wind
While these uglier sides to online dating should serve as food for thought, they are far from being unavoidable. As with many aspects of life, being cautious and using common sense while not letting the heart completely rule the head can help you to avoid these kinds of problems. Have a look at our article about taking some safety precautions when using online dating services here for more advice.
We also recommend that you choose your online dating service carefully and our current top two sites have some very good safety features built in to them. Take a look at Flirtila and Sexymeets Club for more information.
Wishing you a safe and happy online dating experience from all at Latest Dating Reviews.
Relationship expert. I like to write articles that helps people get back on the horse and start dating again. I have been writing for blogs since 2003