The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
By Cassandra Acker
Online dating used to be viewed as dangerous or downright weird. Fastforward to 2017, and online dating has become socially acceptable for many of us. Fifteen percent of American adults reported in 2016 that they had used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.
Yet, most people are still completely terrified of online dating. First, you are being absolutely vulnerable to people online, or at least showing the side of yourself that you want the world to see. Secondly, you are communicating with complete strangers with the end goal of possibly meeting them—if the conversation goes well. On top of it all, the person that you meet online may actually be posing as someone else.
Star and television host Nev Schulman fell in love with someone online, but it did not end well. He discovered that the girl that he fell in love with was not who she said she was. He had such a traumatic experience that he decided to make a documentary about it. Stories and situations from online dating users started pouring in and inspired Schulman to create the television show that we know today as Catfish. Because of horrific online stories and television shows like Catfish, why do we constantly continue to use dating apps to meet people?
I embarrassingly admit I have been that person who is always online, meeting people. I'm confident that if a person mentions an online dating app or website, I have most likely tried it. In 2014, I decided to take online dating seriously and met quite a few candidates. The dates were fun, and I started seriously dating a guy that lived in my area. We hit it off instantly, and within a month we decided to be in a relationship. Things were going so well that I deleted all of my online dating profiles. At some point, we were even discussing long-term goals within our relationship.
About a year into the relationship, I received an email from the same online dating website that I met him on, notifying me about a message someone sent me. I was shocked, because I was sure I deleted my profile. I clicked the message, so I could finally delete the profile. Curiosity struck when I saw that my current boyfriend was still using the online dating website after communicating with me that he no longer used it. The beautiful thing about online dating is that they can tell you when a user last logged on...and his time stamp activity was pretty recent. I addressed him about what I found, and he admitted to still using the app.
The trust I had for him started fading away, because he began lying more about the apps he was using. At some point, he gave me permission to go on his phone. Three times I caught messages from other girls claiming that he was theirs and sending very inappropriate pictures. I broke off the relationship. We remained acquaintances, but nothing more. One of the girls that I discovered contacting him is now currently his girlfriend. After that experience, I decided not to use dating apps to find love.
My initial reason is that I honestly don’t want to meet my significant other that way. The Pew Research Center reported that five percent of Americans who are married reported that they met their spouse online. I hear success stories all the time about couples that have found “the one” online and eventually got married. I think most of those success stories are wonderful, but depict this idea that meeting someone traditionally may be a thing of the past. I don’t want it to be. I want to meet him naturally, maybe attending an event about something I am passionate about or at a bookstore, buying books I really don’t need. Another reason is that I am just really tired of the fake persona that most people have online. If I want a genuine relationship to begin, I would hope that it would start outside of a digital world.
My advice? If you’re curious about the online dating world, just try it. You never know what could happen. Yes, you are going to run into horrible dates and maybe even get catfished. That is the beauty of the dating world. Online dating is not for everyone, though. If it does not work out for you, at least you have a funny story to tell at your next event. To the ones who have found their soulmates online, I wish you every ounce of happiness. And to the guy I will meet someday, I like my coffee the color of a camel with two sugars, please.