“Dating in the Dark” & Internet Dating: Does it Work?

I’d have to say yes. James and I have been together for a year and a half and, believe it or not, we met online. My cousin Tony is getting married this September to a girl he met online. People everywhere are finding love over the internet. On the other hand, I have a lot of friends who have tried internet dating with absolutely no luck whatsoever.

Why is it that tons of people are still single after months and months of being on dozens of websites?

Recently I’ve been watching that new show on ABC, “Dating in the Dark”, and it seemed to me to have a lot in common with online dating. In both case, you choose your partner from a pool of “applicants”, and get to know them without knowing what they look like. (It’s true there are pictures in online dating, but people often have a different impression of a person once they’ve seen them in real life.) In both “Dating in the Dark” and online dating, people who develop fantastical expectations in the beginning get turned off and run away when they are forced to see the person in the light.

From watching the first few episodes of the show, it looks like the biggest factor that breaks up a couple is unrealistic expectations. There was one couple in the first episode that seemed to get along great in the dark. They hit it off so well, actually, that all they did was make out. They didn’t spend any time getting to know each other beyond the physical aspect. When their true appearances were revealed, the girl was put off by the guy’s sloppy attire and decided right away to break it off. Was she shallow? Maybe so. But the real problem here wasn’t her, exactly. It was her unrealistic expectations–and her inordinate infatuation–fueled by a few too many smooches.

In internet dating, like “Dating in the Dark”, your perception of the other person is going to change after your first meeting “in the light”. There’s no question, it will change. Your only hope of surviving this is to keep and open mind. You have to go into the meeting with a blank slate. Nothing ruins your impartiality like too much flirting beforehand. If you say something sexual online to the other person, you’re going to feel awkward when their looks don’t match up to what you’ve been imagining. If you keep your online conversation to a PG level, you have a much better chance of having a good first meeting.

I think the problem with internet dating, for a lot of girls, is that they either are too naive to know what to avoid, or too jaded to keep and open mind. It’s true, for every prince charming there are a hundred slimy toads. If a guy sends you an introductory email containing the phrase “I think we’re meant to be”, RUN. Learn how to smell bonafide BS. The other thing you have to avoid, if you’re serious, is overbearing flirtation. Sure, it’s flattering, but usually if a guy is layering it on in the beginning, he’s not going to amount to much later. A guy like that is building up his own expectations in his mind, rather than taking the time to get to know the real you.

The most important advice I could give anyone who’s looking for love online would be to keep an open mind. For example, when I saw James’s profile for the first time and notice his lackadaisical writing style, I didn’t think he was for me. In fact, when I met up with him for our first date, I still didn’t think he was for me, but there was something about him that sparked my curiosity. After our second date, I was intrigued. I bought a new outfit for our third date, and after that I knew this was something special. Sure enough, he turned out to be absolutely perfect for me.

The keys to success in internet dating are common sense, perseverance and open-mindedness. People are usually much different in person than they are online, so its good not to get emotionally involved before meeting them in person. The people on “Dating in the Dark” might be shallow, but I think the real problem is that they let their imaginations ruin their chances.

So what’s the lesson from all of this? Give people a chance. You never know who could turn out to be the best friend you’ve ever had.

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