eDating, or Internet dating, is a way for people to find and connect over the Internet, intending to arrange an in-person date and start a personal or romantic relationship. With some 300 million people worldwide using Internet dating in 2022, this manner of meeting new people has come into the mainstream.
Have you ever met someone in real life, a friend of a friend perhaps, and you hit it off? Then, after a long and lively conversation, where you discuss your common interests and shared beliefs, that person’s partner materializes and breaks the spell. It is disheartening and often frustrating. The great thing about eDating is that everyone is honest and open about what they are looking for and therefore less likely to waste your time.
In this article, I will explain how eDating works, what different services are available, what to expect when eDating, and how the Internet method stacks up against meeting “the old-fashioned way,” in-person.
How To eDate
Users on eDating platforms begin by setting up a profile. These usually include pictures and a brief biography. They can also ask you about your interests and what you want in a partner. Depending on the platform, these questions can get personal. Begin with an open mind and honesty about what you are looking for.
Online dating services are accessible by computer, but many are smartphone friendly. These dating apps can provide real-time locations of potential partners within a few block radius and can be useful on the go. Apps are available for Apple or Android phones.
The eDating service will use your answers and personal details to find matches within the system using a mathematical formula, or algorithm. It is not always perfect. Mankind has yet to develop a computer that can untangle all the mysteries of the human heart. But, for example, if you are allergic to cats, the service can weed out any potential matches that would never work.
What To Do When You Have a Match
Most eDating services provide users with multiple matches at a time, which can be either gratifying or overwhelming. It is much the same as meeting someone in real life, where you will have to trust conversation and gut instinct to tell you who is worth meeting.
You can converse by text, email, or voice to get a feel for the other person. You also have their profile to consult for conversation starters and red flags.
Once you’ve been talking (or messaging) and it seems like a good fit, it may be time to arrange an in-person meeting. For many people, this is the hardest part. Most online matches never make it to the in-person date, so be prepared to be patient.
There are many eDating services to choose from. Some require a paid subscription, but most are free with optional upgrades.
The different eDating services cater to different audiences and needs. Match.com and eHarmony are two trusted broad-based dating sites that have been around since the advent of online dating. OkCupid is free and offers an extensive questionnaire to find the perfect match.
Specialized eDating Services
There are a host of more specialized eDating services.
Tinder has a reputation for drawing users more interested in hook-ups than relationships. Bumble flips the script by letting women make the first move. There is OurTime for mature singles, Jdate for Jewish singles, and Grindr for LGBT+ audiences.
There is an app for everyone, so do a little research before choosing yours.
What To Expect
One of the most prevalent questions about eDating services is about safety. While sites are proactive about preventing abusive or problematic messaging, the occasional creep (or unsolicited grainy photo) can end up in your message box.
Tips To Stay Safe While eDating
The following tips can help keep you safe:
- Do not share your address.
- Never send money or gifts to people you are messaging.
- Meet in public places.
- Drive yourself, no matter how chivalrous it may seem to be offered a ride.
- Tell a friend where and when you are meeting.
While safety and common sense should be on your mind in any online interaction, eDating services are considered fairly safe. 71% of Americans who have used apps consider it a safe way to meet someone.
According to Statista, around 44.2 million Americans were using online dating services in 2020, which is over 40% of the population. That means that you should be prepared to sort through lots of contenders before you meet your match, similar to speed dating.
eDating by the Numbers
According to eHarmony, the greatest number of married couples in the US met through a friend (63%). Only about 7% of married couples met online. But that number is rapidly changing as attitudes towards eDating change and more people begin using the sites.
Though the split of men and women on eDating services is almost equal, slightly more men use eDating services than women. Specifically, 52.7% of men as opposed to 47.6% of women. And 53% of all people lie somewhat in their profile, usually about age, weight or height, and income.
With eDating, you don’t have to be outgoing at parties or out late at bars to meet people. Many professionals, especially those in professions that require demanding schedules like doctors or nurses, use eDating services because they work better for their lifestyles.
One of the benefits of eDating is its efficiency because everyone in the community is interested in finding someone new. But just like meeting in the real world, eDating requires patience and a fair amount of good luck. It’s very unlikely to be a magic bullet that cures all your dating woes.
That being said, one of the most empowering things about eDating is having the opportunity to reflect on what you’re looking for in a partner. By being honest about your needs and situation in life, you can better understand what will make you happy. And that groundwork goes a long way.