Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Online Dating--Better for Flings or Relationships?

According to an article in this new online magazine called Shebrew, online dating, while good for casual hooking up, is no place to meet anyone for a long-term relationship. Now, we all know people who have met and married through online dating. But the question is, does the culture of online dating in general create an atmosphere of burning hot and fast, eventually burning out entirely, or does it actually serve as an important foundation on which to build a future?
The anonymity of the internet created a strangely depraved atmosphere. I was suddenly some kind of Jewish Casanova. I developed a system, documenting names and contact information as if I were running a business. It was fun, I cannot deny. But there was a surprisingly sleazy and sordid side to this dating site, and eventually the novelty was lost. I had signed up looking for a relationship, not a series of meaningless hookups. The promise of endless encounters with new women kept me ensnared for a while, with, but for me, the setup was too contrived to breed the emotional climate necessary for a real relationship.
Do we agree? Disagree? Discuss...


Simcha said...

We agree with the "strangely depraved part". If you're strangely depraved to begin with, as this writer may possibly be, online dating may bring that out. Or it may not.

My cousin Morris married a great girl he met on AOL. But he was like 29 and really, REALLY wanted to move the hell out of his parents' house, and was not the type to live on his own. People who get married are those who decide they must. For the vast majority of online daters, marriage is an option, not a necessity, so they stay single.

Shebrew did teach me this:

Love is in the air! Or is it?

By Sara-Rivka Davidson

Let’s get technical: Valentine’s Day is a Roman, Christian holiday. St. Valentine was a priest in fourth-century Rome that secretly married couples so men could avoid the Roman army. The Emperor, Claudius II, did not like this, because he banned marriage so young men could join his army. Valentine was arrested, and beheaded on February 14th."

The things one learns on JDA! Simcha

Anonymous said...

I have had some memorable dates with people I've met online, but no relationships ever developed from anyone I have met online. Currently, I am dating someone and we met through mutual friends. In my opinion, I think it's better that way. You already know you have something in common, if you have the same friends in common, how bad can he/she be?

Ro said...

Everyone has a "cousin Morris" who married someone they met online. hehe

Really I think it's a matter of the person. luck, and timming weather you meet someone online. That is in the serious relationship sense of the word.

I tend to agree your more likely to have flings than rather get involved in a serious relationship online. Online dating just breeds that kind of behavor.

ptwelve said...

I suspect it's the endless choice that fosters this kind of flingy behavior. No matter how many dates you go on, there is always someone else, someone better. Because after all, there are 1.3 million desirable singles online now, all waiting to meet you and make your life fulfilling. As we know, the tyranny of choice is so oppressive that is it impossible to choose one, so you don't choose any.

Also, you are meeting people with zero context. You know nothing about them that's independently verifiable. You don't know how to reach them if they change their number. You don't have friends in common or run in the same social circles. You don't know if they have given you their real name. These are hardly optimal conditions for fostering stability.

So you have a wider pool of people available to meet than under normal circumstances, but they are the wrong people and there are too many of them.

Jonathan said...

I dunno, I mean this guy's experiences might or might not reflect others', as he so ambiguously states in his own article. I've had a couple of Jdates recently and neither the brush-offs nor the insta-hookups ring true -- blame Canada! -- he raises the question but doesn't really say anything about it, which btw is a huge issue I have with publications like Heeb (http://heebmagazine.com) and other, less uber-hip Jewish-affiliated mags.
[end digression (HTML ed. won't let me use the slash or chevrons!)]

I think we have to accept, not just as young daters but as young Jewish daters (i.e. we tend to want something more specific than Joe Lavalife), that Internet dating is now one viable option for meeting the fabled basheret. Obviously we've done that to some extent if we're here/on JDate. Of course nobosy's ruling out the setup-via-friends any more than they are exclusively choosing potential mates from an online pool like Jdate (and what trubulent waters those can be -- or bland as a dead lake).

Bottom line: you could find a great partner, be rejected or instantly make booty-call arrangements from any number of connections. JDate is one of them.

Anonymous said...

Both happen. If you are looking to casually date, and just casually date, you are going to have just that - a casual dating experience. And that is easy being that the choice is almost limitless. If you are looking to settle down and view each date as a potential, then you are likely to settle down through on online site. I know plenty of people who got married through JDate and other sites, and plenty of people who used it for a good time only. In short, you can get whatever you want out of it - no different than ordinary blind dates from friends, mixers, parties, etc, -- it depends on what you want.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what has already been said. Jdate ... or any other way of meeting people ... is what you make of it. If you are younger and don't have settling down as a goal, then you are more inclined to use jdate to create a harem. If you are older and looking for something else, you can easily use it for that. Other than the sheer volume of people that are "instantly" made available to you via online dating ... I see nothing about the medium or culture that inherently makes for flings as opposed to relationships.

As I have said in the past, my issue with online dating is the way that people use it as a screening mechanism to actually reduce the number of candidates they will consider than to expand the possibilities ... i.e. it becomes a way for all of us to become more picky.

Blogger S.

Anonymous said...

I know most online dating seems very impersonal but I found a site the solves that problem. It's matchmakingmoms.com, matchmakingfriends.com and matchmakingkids.com. These sites allow your parents, friends or children to fix you up. Who better to find the right person for you than the one's who love you the most. They search and screen through people who they believe will be your lost love. Check it out.

Mike said...

I didn't find anyone on jdate, but I thought the dates I had wre close and definitely going in that direction, utnil I met someone through a mutual friend. Anyway, the one striking thing about this article is that it shows yo0u can have amazingly different expereinces on jdate if you're the same person in the same place, but just go at it with a different attitude and perspective.

The First Date Chick said...

I definitely agree that it is better for flings or non-committed relationships. I found that the men I have met online like to keep surfing, even after a more extended relationships. Then again, I tend to attract the a$$holes. =D

Anonymous said...

What I find interesting is not the lack of serious relationships that come from online dating (because they DO happen)... but the lack of "courtship" that happens before you know if the guy is relationship-worthy.

I can always tell when someone is starting to get burnt out from online dating: their emails are one-liners, they reveal practically nothing about themselves but ask for my number way too fast and say, "just call me." For those of us who have "online dated" for a while - we all know by now that nothing means anything until you've met in person and see if you have chemistry. But even still, it would be nice if the process to get to that point didn't feel so cold and impersonal. Giving out my phone number is not something I do casually or without caution, and yet many guys seem to want to skip the whole "email back and forth a bit" part and just jump to the "meet for coffee" part.

Again, I KNOW that's really the deciding factor eventually, but still... I don't like reducing myself to robotic dating, and I don't like tossing those digits out to anyone who asks, online or not.

Dave said...

HEHEHEHE. I have been there done that still doing it and eventually it shall kill me.....but I am leaving a legacy of online dating...via http://datingdave.blogspot.com/
I have met three nice gilrs and two psychos online,..one still trying to kill me. I like you blog and will check back....if you are itnerested, i have been chronicling (sp?) my online and otherwise dating since last October....if you think you have it bad? Check the Dating Dave.

ptwelve said...

The burnout post above is right on target. The burnout factor is huge. The flip side is guys who want to be e-mail pen-pals and e-mail endlessly.
One suggestion is to have a policy of, say, two e-mail exchanges, then a phone screening, and then a very brief meeting. The attrition rate is high, so you won't be wasting your time on very many meetings if you screen well.
Also, as a girl, I do not give out my number. If they ask, I take theirs. I also do not reveal my number if they have that caller ID thing where the call does not go through unless you reveal your number.
But I would add that too much preliminary e-mail "courtship" isn't helpful, because it is so misleading and leads to high expectations, and it's pointless to have such courtship when the guy will turn out not to be relationship-worthy, as is virtually guaranteed.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous and ptwelve, I agree with you both. Here's the problem: there are women that feel the same way you do ... that they would like to get a meaningful email or two before giving up their phone # (I absolutely agree ... giving one's phone # to a complete stranger isn't something that one does casually). But I can't tell you the number of women that I've also spoken to who get frustrated with any kind of email exchange ... some of them don't even like to type! And it's impossible for a guy to know beforehand which type is on the other end. So I might send a couple of short thoughtful paragraphs ... get a response ... and then want to send a couple more to get a little bit of a conversation going (can build trust), but after receiving that 2nd email ... the woman on the other end might be saying "what a jerk ... he's too wordy, I just want to meet already ... I'm moving on to the next guy".

I tend to like to exchange at least 2 emails ... possibly revealing just a little bit more about myself and asking a few questions ... nothing heavy. Then, I generally ask if she'd like to chat and if she is comfortable sending me her phone # ... also saying that if not, I'd be happy to send her mine. But you just never know when 2 emails is too many.

Blogger S.

Leflyman said...

"Online dating" is difficult; in large part because potential daters build up expectations/false images of each other, based on their own interpretations of scant info. One can only get only a limited view of someone without meeting them in person. Having said that, I do think that emailing/chatting online first offers a deeper understanding of a potential, without the real-world artifice of keeping up surface small-talk while trying to figure out if there's any "there" there. (with apologies to Gertrude Stein.)

On another note, to get even more technical, Valentine's Day really isn't a Christian holiday, but a pagan one adopted by the Christians. (Seems they did that a lot.)

In Roman times, February 14 was a day to honor Juno, the eve of which was a festival in honor of Lupercus, the wolf god, in which participants were said to smear themselves (or possibly their children) with blood. Quite the pleasant way to celebrate, no?

See: Britannica Student edition
Fate Magazine: "From Werewolves with Love: The History of Valentine's Day"
The Advocate: "Romantic revenants and paranormal love stories"

Anonymous said...

When it comes to Online Dating you must screen through all the masses of people but there is love out there.

I think most people are on these site for just that.....Love. No one wants to be in flings for the rest of their life and if you wanted a fling you could just go to a bar.

Sure, there are people on these sites looking for flings but most people want Love and that's why they're willing to pay the monthly fee.

However, what most people do wrong is they stick with one site and never really explore other sites or ways to meet people through these sites.

Over on WebDatingReview.org they list a number of different dating sites. There are some that have tests that can help you find your true love, some have local meetings and outings to go as you never really know who you're meeting until you actually meet.....right?

You guys know what I'm talking about.

You got Dr. Phil, Dr. Warren and a host of other people out there willing to help these people.

Besides, with the millions and millions of people out there using these sites, you know that these can't all be people looking for cheap flings.

If you are looking for true love and you have had some bad luck then I say go try some other sites.

Not sure where to go?

Do a search for online dating or go to one of the many review sites like WebDatingReview.org but don't write off all the dating sites just because you had bad luck with one or one person from that site.



Mel Balsamo said...

My friend is getting married to a guy he met in JRomances.com. It proves to show that online dating can indeed be a foundation to build a future.

Although there are other we-met-through-online-dating relationships that didn't work, there are still a lot that did.

The internet has been a very useful tool for people who are looking for mates, whether they're just-for-fun or this-could-be-forever thing.

It all depends on the couple involved, that's what I believe in.