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Online dating search delivers laughs, disappointments and sometimes even love

Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 9:45 a.m. MST

She was planning a visit to America and changed her itinerary to meet him. He visited her a few times. "I was online mostly looking for friends. I was potentially looking for someone to marry — I wasn't opposed.

He had dated more than a dozen online acquaintances just once and with a few he went out more. He married her in 2003.

Getting better

Nearly 60 percent of Internet users agree “online dating is a good way to meet people,” up 15 percent from 2005, said Pew. More than half think online dating lets people find a better match because they meet more people. Still, 21 percent of Internet users believe those on dating sites are “desperate,” down from 29 percent in 2005.

Nearly a third of Internet users believe online dating keeps people from settling down because of never-ending options for people to date.

Most online daters (79 percent) say it’s a good way to meet people and 70 percent believe having more choices leads to a better romantic match. Still, 13 percent of even those who date online think it's a sign of desperation.

People don't usually fall in love with the first person they date — online or off. Some, like Crawford, will look out of their area for a match; others prefer to date nearby. "It takes a lot of patience," she said, "but I'm not sure it takes more patience than any other kind of dating."

Crawford believes online dating has become better as it has become more common. It opens up new avenues for meeting people. "If you don't want to date at work, what do you do? If the bar scene is not your scene, what do you do? It's a neat tool to be able to have.

"One of the things I liked about it and still do: You end up talking to a lot of people,” said Crawford. “It's a quick and easy way to understand yourself, what works for you and what doesn't. I tell everybody to try it. It's one of those things that's never a success until it is."

Still, online dating is not all flowers and butterflies. "It can be rejecting and your self-esteem can take a beating," said Laura Jackman of Corinne, Utah. "But I made some great friends and I learned a lot about myself. I would use caution, but I would definitely recommend it."

White lies?

Sometimes people lie. StaticBrain said that women fib most about weight, physical build and age, men about age, height and income.

Jackman was 47 when she began online dating. In five years, she's dated about 35 men and made great friends. She's also been burned a couple of times. She really liked one fellow a lot. It turned out his wife did, too.

Still, she thinks online dating allows men and women to meet individuals whose paths they might not otherwise cross. They can winnow down to traits that matter to them.

Hall's experiences have been mostly positive, although one date used a very old photo. She's not sure why he didn't think she'd notice when they met. "I didn't even recognize him," she said. "What's the etiquette there? I walked into the restaurant to meet a guy who said he was 37. He had to be late 50s."

One date confused her by handing her "a big old grocery bag full of animal cookies. That was a little strange." They didn't have a second date.

Staying safe, comfortable

Just over half who dated online told Pew someone seriously misrepresented themselves in a profile, and 28 percent, mostly women, “have been contacted by someone through an online dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.”

If a person seemed interesting, Vedomske exchanged phone numbers. Early on, he'd been emailing with someone who wouldn't let him hear her voice. He began to wonder if she was, indeed, female. She said she was shy. He let her go.

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