Call Me Old-Fashioned: Why I’ll Never Understand Online Dating

We’ve all heard of the “hookup” culture and the phenomenon that is “friends with benefits.” When it comes to online dating, it seems to be more about the idea of a relationship without the benefit of actually spending time with the person. While this may sound harsh, I can’t help but wonder how people can say they are with someone without first meeting them in person. Before going further, I would like to add a disclaimer: I am in no way trying to judge here, I am just trying to put my thought process out there because I am having a hard time understanding what the deal is with online dating. Call me old fashion, but I think it’s important to know someone in person before you can call it a relationship.

Obviously, physical appearance is not the be all and end all of a relationship, but there is no way to know for certain what the person actually looks like. You wouldn’t want to be chatting with someone online for months, only to find out they actually look like your Uncle Jim-Bob (talk about awkward). The beauty of online is that you can add filters to make yourself look a certain way. I’m not saying everyone does this, nor do I think anyone should – own what you’ve got – but I assume this does happen in the online dating sphere. Putting the physical aspect aside, I am troubled with online dating because I can’t grasp how a meaningful and intimate connection can be formed through a computer screen.

Relationships are all about connection right? It’s about the butterflies you get when you see Prince Charming for the first time. It’s about the way he makes you feel just by holding your hand on the first date. It’s about laughing your ass off for no reason and seeing his smile in return. That’s what dating should be. In the online world, all you get is the disconnection that comes from hiding behind a screen. The other person can say “LOL” but there is no way to know if they’re really laughing out loud. You can receive a ‘wink face’ emoji, when really they may not know a thing about flirting. The internet is a powerful tool; it has the ability to turn you into anyone you want without having to leave your house, which is why it attracts a lot of people.

I think that online dating has a lot to do with confidence. Dating can be awkward and uncomfortable, and a lot of us have been on some pretty bad first dates. With online dating, all of that uneasiness goes away because you have the freedom to type things you may not have been able to say face to face. Actually, this sounds pretty good, but ultimately the best relationships are based on being comfortable with one another. The only way to do that would be to not beat around the bush and meet each other face to face right away.

Physically being with someone is the premise of a relationship, and being comfortable in your own skin around that person is the first step to a real connection. My Facebook profile shows a made up version of myself, but I want to feel confident without wearing make up around him. I want to have an evening out on the town and then be okay with going home and lounging in sweatpants.  Online dating just doesn’t have that comfort factor. To me it is a world of uncertainty and I can’t imagine really feeling confident with just talking to someone online.

People interacting face to face are able to embrace all the quirky and unique features that everyone has. Being with someone online does not allow that. Simply talking to someone online for months is not going to prepare anyone for the actuality of being in a relationship when they meet in person. People can type things all they want, but genuine love and personality comes from the way people act when they turn off the screens. Like I said, I am not judging, I just am trying to consider all the great things that come with being in a relationship and this online dating culture confuses me. Then again, as I said before, maybe I am just old-fashioned.

Featured Image Via Caroline Collett

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