Online Dating vs. Traditional Term Paper

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Online Dating vs. Traditional Dating

The romantic landscape has in recent times undergone significant changes with online dating slowly taking the place of traditional dating or what is sometimes referred to as organic dating. For a variety of reasons, online dating is fast proving to be a better alternative to traditional dating.

In basic terms, online dating (in contrast to traditional dating) can be defined as the romantic interaction between two consenting adults via an online communication or interaction platform. According to Hammer (2009), dating was in the past largely limited to familiar settings such as the church, the workplace, and school. However, with the growing popularity of the Internet, dating has been taken to a whole new level. Indeed, in the words of Hammer (2009, p.238), "the Internet has dramatically expanded opportunities for people to meet and develop relationships through social networking services (MySpace, Friendster), online dating services, e-mail, chat rooms, and news groups." However, as the author further points out, not everybody is happy with the increasing popularity of online dating. For instance, there are those who are concerned that this new trend in relation to dating will lead to "the demise of face-to-face interactions, widespread loneliness and alienation, and millions being lured into dangerous liaisons by unscrupulous people" (Hammer, 2009, p.238). It is however important to note that based on the arguments I present in this text, the above fears are largely unfounded. Some of the most popular dating sites include but they are not limited to Match.com, eHarmony, and PositiveSingles.com (Gackenbach, 2007).

Satisfaction in Dating Using Online Means vs. Traditional Dating Methods

In some cases, finding love can turn out to be a frustrating and lonely experience. This is more so the case when individuals seeking love are faced with the prospect of rejection. Now, thanks to the Internet, individuals can approach their ideal soul mates in a friendlier (and perhaps more familiar) online environment. In such an environment, inhibitions and interruptions associated with traditional dating are conveniently nonexistent; meaning that even the most shy amongst us have an equal opportunity of finding love.

Next, it is also important to note that there is a need to accept life's changing realities. Unlike a couple of years ago, people are finding it difficult to engage in meaningful face-to-face interactions due to time limitations. Due to the need for career progression and other obligations of a familial or personal nature, people are no longer investing in meaningful interpersonal relations. Indeed, face-to-face interactions which would have ordinarily offered individuals a perfect opportunity to interact and build meaningful relationships are becoming a rarity. This should not however be seen as a reason to avoid dating. Given the convenience online dating provides, individuals who do not have much time on their hands to engage in traditional face-to-face interactions can still find their soul mates online. All that is needed to successfully date online is an Internet connection. Individuals in this case can therefore "link" late at night, in the early morning, or even during the lunch break. Such a level of convenience is not available in traditional dating. According to eHarmony, a popular online dating platform, online dating is best suited for those who claim to be too busy for traditional dating (eHarmony Staff, 2013). With online dating, even the busiest professionals can now date on their terms.

The availability of personalized profiles in online dating platforms is yet another factor that makes online dating even more interesting. In this case, individuals are provided with an opportunity to set up detailed personal profiles spelling out their likes, dislikes, location, profession, etc. Other pertinent information that can be derived from personal profiles includes the personal tastes of individuals ranging from hobbies to TV shows to favorite dishes. Unlike traditional dating, online dating takes romantic relations to another new level where interactions are not solely based on physical attraction. Indeed, thanks to online dating, individuals can now "vet" their prospective partners more vigorously before investing emotionally in a relationship. Online dating sites are also improving their ability to correctly match individuals (Joinson, 2007). Programs as Joinson (2007, p.41) further points out "have been written to assist the online dater in their quest to seek out the most appropriate partner." It would hence be reasonable to claim that online dating has made it possible (and easier) for individuals to find "custom-made" partners. This is a process that would not only be complicated but also erroneous in traditional dating.

It should also be noted that unlike traditional dating, online dating does not have numerous barriers in relation to the scope of people an individual can date. As McKenna and Bargh (as cited in Hammer, 2009) point out, thanks to the Internet, people's connections with each other are no longer separated by physical infirmity or even geography. Indeed, to some extent, online dating can be seen as an equalizer of sorts when it comes to dating. In some instances, common venues in which prospective soul mates meet are highly restrictive; that is, they largely limit the number of different kinds of people an individual can possibly meet. For instance, there is a limit as to the number of people an individual can meet in a church setting. Further, those in an individual's existing circles may not possess the ideal qualities the said individual craves for in a soul mate. This is a challenge that online dating has effectively overcome. Online dating has also brought down the geographical barriers to meaningful romantic relations or interactions. An individual from the UK can easily develop healthy relations with a soul mate from America and vice versa from the comfort of their homes. Indeed, with millions of people from across the globe interacting freely on the Internet, the possibilities are endless.

In a way, online dating is also safer than traditional face-to-face dating. When it comes to online dating, physical interactions can be avoided until an opportune time. In a traditional dating scenario, it would be difficult to get rid of an individual who refuses to take a no for a no. In such a case, any attempt to alienate an individual who earlier on saw him of herself as a prospective suitor could turn the said individual into a stalker. With online dating, one can be able to either totally or partially hide his or her identity so that should there be a need to exit a relationship, the other dating partner cannot resort to desperate theatrics. Those who want to try online dating have a wide range of tools to conceal their identities, including but not limited to anonymous emails. Further as Hammer (2009) points out, those of a different sexual orientation could find online dating safer than traditional dating due to the stigma attached to gay relationships in some parts of the world.

Dissenting Views

In an attempt to present a balanced argument in support of online dating, it would be prudent to also highlight some of the arguments that have been presented in the past against the same. To begin with, there are those who are concerned that when it comes to online dating, it is not easy to tell whether the information people give about themselves is truthful and accurate (Paludi, 2012). When it comes to online dating, individuals are required to develop their profiles which amongst other things contain their photographs, work situation, as well as physical descriptions of themselves (Joinson, 2007). Those in support of this claim point out that unscrupulous and deceptive people can easily set up profiles that are not a true representation of whom they are. According to a study done by Guadagno (2012), men who expect to meet their soul mates online are likely to lie about their emotional stability and attractiveness. Indeed, anybody can upload photos that are not theirs and post information that is either erroneous or outdated. In an online dating platform, an individual would find it much easier to fabricate information than he or she would in a traditional face-to-face setting. This should not however be taken to mean that people cannot lie about themselves in a face-to-face meeting. To rein in this problem, quite a number of professional dating sites have established systems and checks that seek to minimize instances of online deception. Further, by following a set of online dating does and don'ts, one should be safe. Steps individuals should take to make online dating a fruitful experience have been highlighted elsewhere in this text.

Next, in the words of Paludi (2012, p.68), "the searching and selection that occurs online prior to the formation of relationships has been described as a crass transaction, with each person possessing a market value and being reduced to commodities." Although this assertion by the author is largely factual, there is no significant difference between online dating and traditional dating when it comes to the attachment of a certain "value" to each suitor. Whether offline or online, individuals want to end up with the best suitor and it… [END OF PREVIEW]

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