by Suzanne James
The online community does offer some advantages. The most valuable lets people chat and get to know each other before meeting. This lets people ask some serious questions before any emotions or attraction sets in and clouds your judgement. It also lets you ‘block’ those people who are pursuing you, but you do not find them suitable.
There is a wider range of people to view in an online website. While most profile view the person in their best light, as they see themselves, the way they answer questions and whether there is a sense of continuity on the site will let you judge whether they are trustworthy or not.
Your personal contact information is kept private. There is no reason to give out contact information until you trust the person. There are several horror stories of women who thought they were chatting with someone from across the country. They gave out email addresses, phone numbers, or even IM contact only to find the person lived close and ‘appeared’ without warning. This is usually a situation where it is better to be safe than sorry.
One of the advantages is that it gives you time to think about the other person, talk with them, and ask questions before starting a serious relationship. Do not give this gift up. Time can save you from meeting a lot of men who appear to be a prince, but turn out to be a frog. The experiences of online dating will cause you to reflect on what you want in a relationship. Take your time. There is no reason to rush.
Online dating gives you the chance to set your boundaries before you meet someone. It is easier to take a stand on your core beliefs, moral view, family issues, and share your history before you meet someone. There is one degree of separation in an online community. This reduces the chance of a confrontation and hurt feelings.
Expect to change your profile. You’ll grow as a single. The person you are now will not be the person you are a year from now. I encourage people to review their profile every couple of months, but keep copies of your old profile. This will let you see how you grow as a person. There is nothing like the single life to give a person the tools needed to reflect on who they are, what they want, and what they will and will not tolerate.
There is always another chance. Some people have very active profiles. Others receive a contact every few months. The important thing to remember is that there will always be another contact. Never fear that you are getting too old. Never fear that you are abandoning your last chance at love. Instead, look at this time as your personal time. You have all the personal space you need to rediscover who you are and what will make you happy.
There are usually chat rooms and forums. Do not be discouraged if the chat room looks empty. The chat rooms fill and empty through the day. At ChristianCafe the chat room is full from 7:30 to midnight many nights – but empty through the day. You’ll make good friends, share experiences, and ask advice. Chat rooms are a great way to learn more about yourself and make friends. I’ve had several friends move from a dating site to facebook. I’ve even visited some girlfriends in my area.
The last advantage is that online dating sites are just fun. Where else can you safely explore all your possibilities? You can expand your vision of what a good man/woman is. Many people cheat themselves by only viewing profiles. Explore the whole site. There is as much fun in the journey as there is in the relationships.