Your Ad Could Be Here
By August 30, 2011

Log on for a Cyberdate!


Whatever happened to REAL roses, romantic candlelight dinners, footsie under the table, and nose nuzzling? These days folks don’t date, don’t speak, and may not even see each other in person before deciding they are madly in love! Welcome to the world of Internet matchmaking, online dating and cyber romance. Over the last 15 years, Internet-based dating has gained in popularity as a medium to meet romantic partners. What’s behind the phenomenal growth of online love affairs?

Log on For a Cyberdate
©1999-2011 Deborrah Cooper and AskHeartBeat.Com. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the world of Internet matchmaking, online dating and cyber romance. Over the last five years, Internet-based dating has gained in popularity as a medium to meet romantic partners. What’s behind the phenomenal growth of online love affairs?

Only Desperate People Do It!?

Who uses the Internet as a tool for matchmaking? People of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds, although you can bet that most people with their own computers and Web access have higher-than-average income and education. Busy single professionals acknowledge having few opportunities to meet other available bachelors and bachelorettes outside the nightclub “meat market” environment.

A reader asks: “What are your thoughts on meeting someone you’ve been chatting with online? I’m a mature, intelligent woman in my 30s who is single and looking for new ways to meet single men. There are some guys I KNOW I would never meet or give my phone number to, but what about the ones that seem like decent men?”

Just about everyone seems decent on the other side of a keyboard! I believe the Internet, if used effectively, can be a great tool for screening out the freaks, weirdoes, neurotics and game players, and screening in people that live in your general vicinity that you might never otherwise meet.

A believer in online lover writes: “I found my soul mate online and am the happiest that I’ve ever been. I also have two friends that met online and they’ve found their true loves also. If you truly want joy and happiness, I suggest that from the beginning you be honest and open. That’s how I started and now I know that if I had not been as honest with myself and him, we would not have each other.”

The Down Side of Internet Matchmaking

One of the major concerns about the Internet is its integral anonymity and impersonality. A woman in New York City placing an ad on an Internet personals site for singles in her area must be prepared to inundated with generic responses such as “Your ad is great. I live in Montana and raise sheep. I am 36 years old, fit, single and very horny. I’ll love you right. How about meeting for a drink? I’ll pay all expenses. Write back if interested.”

In these instances, the parties have totally different goals and motivations for placing their ads. Some are more interested in quantity (how many ads they can respond to) rather than formulating sincere, quality responses. It’s important not to let your hunger to meet someone rush you into anything just because it looks good on screen though.

In the example given above, I’d think Mr. Montana used a mass mailer, or at least a cut and paste text file; but there are many women that would believe this man is sincerely interested in only them.

Let The Games Begin!

The door on Internet dating is wide open for deception and emotional distance. How easy it is to deceive someone about ourselves when we are safely tucked away hundreds or even thousands of miles away. It’s easy to hide our true selves behind the computer terminal and project ourselves to be whatever others want us to be.

“I’ve been talking to this guy online for two months; we finally decided to meet. The weekend was beautiful. And now he says he wants to end what we have. I don’t understand, he treated me like a queen! He always sent me poems, tapes of songs, and cards. And we did everything on my 3-day visit. Is he just another Internet Lover?”

See, there you are on the receiving end of the projection, infatuated or “in love” with someone that you’ve never seen, touched, kissed, argued with, and never heard say a word! You may believe you have a relationship when all you really have is a well-scripted seduction in HTML form.

Another difficulty with the Internet is that people feel free to play with different personas. Perhaps the shy guy who rarely dates plays out his fantasies of being a ladies’ man; the woman who never uses profanity and rarely speaks up for herself becomes an aggressive, streety smart-mouth while online. A female may pretend to be a male, straight people may pretend to be gay, and married folks may pretend to be single.

“I met this guy online; we’ve met two times for coffee. This relationship has never really gotten started because he’s very mysterious. All I know is his first name, his pager and cell phone number, and he refuses to tell me any more until I kiss him. As time goes by I find myself falling in love with him. He says he is married, then says he was just kidding. My mind says to let him go, but my heart says no.”

Others indulge in online flirtations, sometimes to the detriment of their marriage. “My wife has spent at least an hour every evening yakking it up in chat rooms with a bunch of complete strangers. Lately she has been ‘discussing issues’ with one guy in particular. She accuses me of being unreasonably jealous and insecure; I think she doesn’t need to be spending so much time ’discussing’ with this guy.”

Taking This Online Thing Offline

Assuming that your online pal is truly single and not a lunatic, are there “Miss Manners” etiquette rules for taking a friendly online relationship off-line into the real world? Not that I know of. If the curiosity is killing you and you just HAVE to meet your online pal in person, go on and suggest the two of you meet. But I suggest that you prepare yourself for possible rejection. Shy or heartbroken individuals may create Internet relationships because they aren’t comfortable with face-to-face intimacy and are there strictly for the entertainment value. Some actually PREFER the anonymity and fantasy of their computer-generated relationships to the real life responsibilities of dating, commitment and accountability.

Are there murderous psychopaths roaming the Information Superhighway? I admit that there are some VERY strange people with computer access. Who hasn’t gotten an IM or Email describing in graphic detail the exotic sexual pleasures that will be bestowed upon your body if only you reply? But hey, there are kooks at the corner store, at the job, one floor down in your apartment building, at every nightclub and party in the country!

Take the same safety precautions and use the same good common sense you would when meeting people off-line, exactly as you would in any other unfamiliar situation. Make arrangements to rendezvous briefly to check each other out face to face. Nothing beats looking someone in the eye as they speak. Talking on the phone is another hurdle which must be cleared. I’d say that if you’ve chatted online for awhile and feel comfortable with the honesty and level of knowledge you’ve gained about an individual, then give it a shot!

Logging Off

The Internet is a tool, but not a magic wand. Key to success in both online and off-line relationships is the courage to be yourself and the willingness for both parties to honestly communicate who and what they are.

The high-speed communications of the ‘Net provide the means for a relationship to go from first Email, mad love and heart-wrenching disappointment in a matter of weeks.

But hey, isn’t it better to have logged on and lost, than never to have logged on at all?

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