Online Dating? Why Not?

An older client of mine recently asked me if she should be ashamed of admitting that she joined a dating site.

“Absolutely not!” I told her. “Use everything you can to find people. You’re never going to have access to that many potential dates without it.”

As far as I can tell, online dating shakes out at about 50/50 in terms of long-term relationships. Some of my clients have a lot of enjoyable dates but never meet a life-long partner. Some move in with a person they met online. And some — not a lot — wind up getting married.

So what makes online dating work?

You can refine your profile, but meeting the right person is a bit of luck and a lot of being open minded about who might be a fun date or a life partner. Often clients come in with a list of things they must have or won’t accept. One client said she’ll only date a man who owns a house. I reminded her that a) she owns a house, b) she’s financially solvent, and c) she’s not looking for the father of her children. Perhaps a less materially successful partner would be fine — she was limiting her options by not thinking outside the box. Another client told me she would only date someone with a car. Again, this was limiting since she owned a car herself. If you start off with a list of cast-in-stone “must haves,” you may miss someone really wonderful.

So, back to the original question: is online dating OK? I think the key is whether or not it’s going to be too stressful for you. If you enjoy meeting new people, if you are game to kiss fifty frogs before you find a possible prince or princess, then why not give it a whirl!?