A Comment About the Bad Rap Online Dating Gets

You get out what you put in.

Posted Dec 17, 2018

There are pros and cons to everything and online dating is no exception. But because this vehicle dominates present-day dating, and will most likely do so in the future, we better get used to it. And getting used to it means coping with the hard work that it takes to succeed in this process. I use the words “hard work” because most of the people I have encountered seem to have reasonably high expectations of the online dating process, but not of themselves. For example, in my clinical practice, I have found two predominant points of view: First, those who specifically state that online dating is too much work. A female client complained that she was too exhausted from life to spend hours sifting through dating profiles. Others have contended that the process is expensive and often entails time-consuming travel. Another female client claimed that she was tired of keeping up appearances: “I am more relaxed now that I have pulled out of the online dating circus. I come home from work, put my bathrobe and slippers on, and put on a good movie. I get lonely, but at least I do not feel obligated to look my best all the time, especially for strangers.”

Second, there are those who believe that the process does not work; that it is a waste of time. These individuals claim that in online dating, the odds are stacked against them. Several people have said that it is like “trying to find a needle in a haystack.” A male client commented: “The only people on these sites are those with disturbed pasts.” He has been online dating for several years and was clearly frustrated with the process.

I realize that online dating is not easy, but neither is hitting the bars every weekend or waiting for your friends to fix you up with someone. Regarding the latter, several clients have claimed that they feel more pressure to make a relationship work that they otherwise would not have. Others report that their friends have backed away from the matchmaking process for fear of being blamed for a relationship gone wrong. This can be especially rough for the divorced who are sometimes treated by friends as burdens or threats.

In contrast, having the opportunity to date at your fingertips is a plus, as is the enormous pool of people to choose from. For those who are shy, online dating also offers an edge because first and foremost you are selling your picture—just about anyone can come up with a decent picture of themselves. You are also selling your resume which will help to get your foot in the door; in the bar scene if you cannot pass the physical attraction test you may fail no matter how accomplished or interesting you are.

I now reiterate my subtitle: “You get out what you put in.” That is, online dating must be treated as if it “is worth it” in order to be successful. You must consider that what you are chasing is extremely important to you: a lifelong friend, lover, and partner; somebody who could possibly help to change your life for the better. If you value finding the right person, you will take your time and put in the required work to do so. Lower your expectations of the online dating process and raise your expectations of yourself. There is no reason to think that this should be an easy process. Considering the value of such an accomplishment, the workload should be comparable. The last I checked, it takes years as an apprentice to master a craft, learn how to competently play a musical instrument, or to earn a Ph.D. Why should you expect it to take a few weeks or months to find your soulmate?