Old Fashioned Dating is Not Safer Than Online Dating

Study: Old Fashioned Dating is Not Safer Than Online Dating

As an online dating advocate, I’ve said for years that it’s as safe (or safer) than dating “in real life”. Strangers and critics pooh-poohed me.

“How could that be? They’re total strangers! You don’t know who they are! The best bet is to go on a half-hour coffee date in broad daylight, with a friend at the same coffee shop and tell everyone you know where you are. Then, if there’s no chemistry, you can leave without wasting time.”

Just because you went out with some total pervy jackasses on OkCupid does not mean for one second that there is a higher population of men like that online than offline.

Wow, ladies, you really make dating sound like a lot of fun!

Turns out, I was correct – or, at least, not incorrect. Sure enough, online daters tend to have a slightly lower victimization rate than traditional daters. Do you hear the sound of a record scratching? That’s all of your irrational fears rubbing up against reality.

Are many men creepy? Are many men pigs? Are many men stalkers? Are many men abusive? Sure thing. But here’s the problem: there’s not a higher percentage of those men on Match.com. If anything, it’s the same percentage of men – or, maybe even a lower percentage of men. Furthermore, you can’t tell which of these men is going to be the worst of the worst. Stalkers don’t say so in their profile. Rapists don’t advertise. Unless he has an extensive criminal record that’s Googleable, the only way you know if a guy is a bad egg is by going through the dating process.

And here’s where online dating has the edge over “real-life” dating. Says the study, ““People who seek out potential partners on the internet seem to exhibit higher levels of caution and utilize more protective measures,” Smith said. “In addition, many people who use online dating sites tend to [talk to] their potential partner for a longer period of time prior to meeting them in person, thus making them more aware of potential “red flags” that might arise in a face-to-face situation.”

Thus, “men” aren’t the problem, Match isn’t the problem… a swath of bad eggs are the problem – and those bad eggs are everywhere – your workplace, your grocery store, your subway, your bar, your gym, and yes, even among your friends. Online dating doesn’t create or enable the worst behavior – all it does is give you access to greater numbers of men. So when I tell you, in Finding the One Online, that the answer to successful online dating is to SLOW DOWN, not speed up, this is what I’m talking about. Go on a date with a cute stranger that you met at a bar and you know virtually nothing about him. If you follow my 2/2/2 rule, you can spare yourself the trouble of going out with a freak AND set yourself up for a much better first date.

And if you don’t know what the 2/2/2 rule is and how it will give you an infinitely better dating experience, do yourself a favor and click here. Despite the marketing language, it’s a unisex product that helps men and women attract and flirt with the highest quality singles out there.

Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated. But I’d appreciate if you keep them logical. Just because you went out with some total pervy jackasses on OkCupid does not mean for one second that there is a higher population of men like that online than offline. It’s the same pool of men – but at least, in online dating, you have a greater chance to screen them before going on a date.

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  1. 31

    Beth 27
    Your comment that offline dating is safer because you get a feel for the person is absurd.  As soon as you meet a person that you found online you also get a feel for them.  So prior to the actual meeting the two scenarios are on equal footing – you haven’t met them yet.  Oh wait they’re actually not, because online you also have the advantage of chatting to them beforehand.
    Truly absurd logic.  Prior to actually meeting someone, you haven’t met them yet, make sense?

  2. 32

    Karl T #30
    My sentiments exactly. Anyone saying online dating is lazy seems particularly uniformed and unsophisticated in their thinking process .
    I will add that because of online dating Ive met some really interesting people and even if it doesn’t turn into a romantic match, I invariably learn something that is useful to me.
    2 weeks ago a CFO I met, discussed some negotiating tips that were helpful when I sold my car last weekend. Ive met lawyers , architects, trainers for the NBA, guys who were athletes in Europe, music producers, cross fit gym owners etc…. All of these guys had something interesting to say and I would not have come across them in my normal environment. I go on approx 2 dates a week because Im selective. Once I understood the mirroring technique and learned not to be attached to an outcome its been fun and an interesting learning experience.  
    Some of the people who seem most adamantly against online dating seem to have no personal experience with it or are those that could benefit from Evans advice the most.

  3. 33

    So many people date online nowadays that it has become just as “normal” as any other way of meeting. I think there is still a bit of a stigma held over from the old days of lonely-hearts club ads and personal ads, and the idea that if you can’t meet someone in real life, there is something wrong with you. Despite any of the drawbacks, I certainly can meet many more men through online dating than I would IRL.
    I don’t think online dating is lazy at all, unless someone approaches it in a lazy way. But if you are serious about it, it takes quite a bit of time to compose an interesting profile, put up photos, and evaluate other people’s ads, as well as exchange emails, talk on the phone once or twice, and then actually set up a meeting. And I’ve never had a problem determining the gender of any person I’ve been dealing with!

  4. 34

    The advantage also of online dating, is that you are meeting people who most times have said upfront that they want a serious relationship.
    Most of the connections I have made with guys online where we have gone out have had a definite “going somewhere” feel to them, as opposed to the drunken exchanges in bars where a hook up or possibly furious text messaging is followed by an awkward silence.
    I would say the only means of meeting guys that I prefer to online is meeting guys through a friend – not a set up or a blind date, but a meeting each other at a social get-together scenario.  There is nothing quite like the thrill of coming to a party not knowing anyone or not knowing if you’re going to have a good time, and then talking with someone that you “click” with 😉

  5. 35
    beth hawkins

    I actually enjoy reading the statements of people on this blog defending online dating sites. To each its own, online works for some and not for others. That is the reality of the online dating experience. I have personally known people who had been online dating for years without much success. Eventually, they got frustrated and gave up after years of wasted money. In response to kathleen, yes i have used online dating and quiet frankly, i did not enjoy it at all. Some men were just strange, either they are married, or in a committed relationship. Most of the time they are not even truthful about their intentions, especially men who use dating sites to hook up for sex. I am not just referring to younger guys but older guys as well. By the way, there is no guarantee that who you met online will turn out to be who they claim to be.

    1. 35.1

      Out of interest, Beth, how long did you try online dating? If you tried it for a month, that’s like going to one bar a week for four weeks and giving up on bars as you didn’t yet meet your future husband. Or trying a class for a month and giving up as you didn’t meet anyone.

      “I have personally known people who had been online dating for years without much success”

      I have personally known people who never used online dating who were single for years without success meeting anyone in real life. Should we give up on real life? Meeting someone can be tricky. Online dating gives us another avenue to try.

      Online dating has it’s definite flaws, but it’s untrue that most men online are married, strange or liars. That may have been your experience, but Evan wouldn’t be promoting online dating if it was filled with strange, lying, married men. I also wouldn’t be dating online if I found that was the case (neither would the x million people who use it persist if that was the case).

  6. 36

    I’m not going to deny your experience.  Just pointing out that you cannot tar online dating with a broad brush because of it.
    My experience with online dating has been overwhelmingly positive.
    And I would also suggest that one’s approach to online dating and your skill with it has a lot to do with how much you enjoy it, rather than it being the fault of online dating itself.

  7. 37
    Karl T

    Beth #35,
    You are certainly entitled to your own opinion about online dating and whether it has personally worked for you or not.  But what gets me is that you put down people who use it by saying that online dating is a lazy way of dating.  Implying that people who use it are lazy and looked upon in a negative light.  Do you really feel like people who use online dating are, perhaps ‘losers’.  No you didn’t use that word, but the way your attitude comes off that is what it sounds like what you think of people who date online.

  8. 38

    Sorry to hear of your bad experience with online dating. While you seem influenced by people who are not successful with it , I continue to learn as much as possible (at the age of 54), from people who are good at it and thats why Im on this site.
    I must be doing something right because last night I had a great date with  a lawyer  and I learnt a few things about buying rental property in Texas He called later to ask me out today but I have another date lined up. He didn’t seem the lazy or loser type.
    To say that people may not claim to be who they really are sounds particularly naive. That seems obvious of people in general.

  9. 39

    This is fascinating. I have to say I believe my emotional intelligence improved when I got a few years of online dating under my belt. Just my two cents.

  10. 40

    For me i think both of them have their pros and cons. One can try online dating site if they really cant find anyone out there. There are people out who just do not have the luck to find their love ones and therefore these people would probably try online dating.Maybe try something like only go to dating site that is reputable.Besides, never give out your personal information until you really know that guy. I think these are the 2 important note that people can take note.

  11. 41

    Are many men creepy? Are many men pigs? Are many men stalkers? Are many men abusive? Sure thing. 
    Another sure thing:  Most of those guys are SINGLE and trying their darndest NOT to be single any longer.  The easiest way for ANY socially awkward person to cure that is to get on a computer and not see the sun for days at a time.  
    I agree that those people on that strange Internet are actually people that have to live real lives.  I’ve seen quite a few former classmates now divorced and with kids in tow posting online.  It happens.  
    OTOH, I know quite a few socially adjusted single women as acquaintances who will never have to resort to online dating.  Why?  Because every person they don’t know that walks passed them on the street isn’t deemed the next Craigslist Killer. 

  12. 42
    Gary Snyder

    Online dating is more dangerous because you are not able to use your intuition/gut feelings fully. Until you meet face-to-face, you cannot make a good judgement call of their character. Talk to security experts ….and the wide range of women who have been stalked and attracted as a result of online dating, it happens to tens of thousands every day. You are strangers until you meet.

  13. 43
    Robin Redwine

    I just finished a very lovely author’s experience with online dating. She went through several losers, and unfortunately, got raped!!  I believe much change needs to happed in the dating behaviour’s of women, to keep themselves safe!!



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