Celebrating Women of African Descent

Round Table Discussion: Online Dating

Times are changing and so are the different avenues of finding love. Gone are the days of arranged marriages and with technology we now have social networks sites to bring people together. So many people are embracing online dating. We gather at the round table with three women who talk about their experiences with online dating.
Meet the Ladies:
Cheryl 27,Minnesota, USA
Rose, 26, Nairobi,Kenya
Lena, 22, New York, USA

1.Have you dated someone you met from the internet or have you joined a dating website?

Cheryl: Yes I have dated someone on the internet, but not successfully, it had so many challenges.
Rose: I have joined dating sites and have been on blind dates and dated a man I met on Facebook and back in the day ‘Myspace’
Lena: I have dated 2 different guys that I met online, through Myspace.com. I am currently still with one. Yes, I have joined a dating website.

2.If you joined a dating website, what encouraged you to try it?

Cheryl: It was out of curiosity, some of my friends had tried and it was successful so I thought why not?
Rose: I wanted to try something new and see what this online dating thing was all about.
Lena: I joined eHarmony.com because I was bored.

3. Did you ever lie on you online dating profile or did your online dating partner lie?

Cheryl: I never lied, I just left out some information because I thought, they don’t have to know everything in the beginning but as we go along.
Rose: I never lied about who I was in regards on physical characters because I knew I would meet some of them and I didn’t want them thinking I was a farce. On the other hand I didnt exactly give out all the information in regards to my profession and location. But I’ve met guys who lied about who they are, like being taller yet they were shorter or what they did for a living. Some I’ve never met so I don’t know if they lied.
Lena: I didn’t lie on the dating profile. I never contacted anyone from eHarmony.com so I don’t know if anyone lied or not on their profiles.

4. Did you take any precautions the first time you went to meet your online date?

Cheryl: I did, for me the most important thing is not putting your physical address or contact details, the site was the only way to communicate. I also didn’t accept meet up dates too soon until I got to consistently be in contact and know you a bit more.
Rose: Yes, every time I went on a blind date with a guy I met online I would ask a friend to come along but to just be in the background just in case something went wrong. It’s always safe to meet in a public place and for you to have your own transport home.
Lena: I talked to my guy every day, almost all day, for a month before we met up. I was cautious. We met up in Manhattan at a bookstore, then proceeded to dinner and a movie.

5. What’s the down side of online dating?

Cheryl: Most people don’t look like their profile picture or they send you pics of people who almost look like them or they send you outdated photos of when they were younger. Most keep up appearances and even write down qualities that they don’t have. Have a lot of pretenses, everyone on the site is good until you meet them and you realize that they don’t even have good manners or are uncouth.
Some people are trying it for fun so its hard to get the serious ones, who are committed to a long distance relationship, there is a challenge of consistent communication, some check in after months and not willing to let you in on their daily lives making it difficult to establish a serious relationship. Some seem wonderful and real but you cant meet them sooner because thy live in othr continents or countries. Some are not available in real life, you will find that they are either married, in a relationship or engaged or married. Many want an online connection as a break from the real life.

Rose: I’d honestly say, most people lie about who they really are or keep up appearance just to be liked by the other person. Like when you ask for a photo, they send you a picture of their brother or friend, that kind of thing.
Plus once I got into the relationship with the ‘Facebook’ guy i realized the connection we had made online was different from the face to face. We connected so well through the screen but when we met, the conversation was dry.

Lena: The downside of online dating (assuming that the person is not close in proximity) is not having the physical component to a relationship. A lot of planning goes into seeing each other a reasonable amount of times within a month or over a year’s time. Sometimes you need physical comfort. Sometimes you’d like to wake up on a Saturday and just meet up with them for a casual stroll through the mall. Sometimes you wish you didn’t have to plan out everything that other people take for granted- like a birthday or Christmas. Distance makes that impossible; it’s rough not having them around. 

6. What are the advantages of dating online?

Cheryl: You make new friends in the process and can be a place for networking
Rose: Meeting different people even if you won’t end up together.
Lena: The advantages of online dating are getting to know someone for who they truly are and having space to grow; be an individual (no smothering).

7. When meeting your online date for the first time, did you have a mental checklist?

Cheryl: Yes, I did have one…and one thing I realized is that many are not consistent with what they claimed to be, like workplace, schedules since many are just out to impress so that they get you and then you start to really get to know the real them and for me, it was not pretty.
Rose: Yes I did. Was always checking whether they lied about something they had previously told or if they fit the person I’d want to date. If the first date went bad or there’s something I found missing, I would not make any effort for a second date.
Lena: When I met my ex-boyfriend and my current boyfriend for the first time I didn’t have a mental checklist. Things went very natural and smoothly in both cases. I was only nervous about how I would appear.

8. Do you think dating sites make people superficial?

Cheryl: Yes because it doesn’t give a platform to get to know people for yourself, to live and see how they interact with others and see character or a lack thereof. People are who they wish to be when it comes to online dating and not who they really are.
Rose: To some extent yes, people are grouped in different categories and we immediately go for a profile that fits what we want and dismiss others, you can’t really judge character from profiling people in terms of height, skin colour etc.
Like some sites the first thing you are asked for by anyone chatting with you are your particulars, like age, sex, location, nationality ( no time wasting)

9. From your experience, what is your overall view of dating websites or dating someone you’ve met online?

Cheryl: There are people who are lucky to have found love online but I wouldn’t advise it because it does come with extra challenges…though if you are meant to be, you are meant to be and you will meet your true love in many ways. Many online relationships are very artificial in general. I would advise it if you are not so serious about getting into a serious relationship maybe just for fun and for meeting new people.
Rose: I think things are changing and you can meet people through any medium just with internet you have to be extra careful because there are creepy people out there, married people looking for side affairs and the like.
Lena: My view of online dating is the same as any other kind of dating: you never know who someone really is so you have to be careful. There’s no guarantee of anything, so if someone finds love online, great! If not, keep trying and keep moving. I wouldn’t tell someone to put all their faith into online dating. 

10. Do you know any success relationship from online dating? (that led to marriage or long term relationship?

Cheryl: I know of friends who dated a year or two but didn’t manage to get married.
Rose: Yes, I have friends who got married to people they met online. You never know where you will find that one true love. 
Lena: I know quite a few people who met online through gaming and communities (I don’t have personal testimonies from dating sites). These relationships are still going strong and some even have moved into marriage. My relationship is 2 years old and we planned to get married in the future. 

Basic safety precautions for online dating;
  • Let the first meeting be in public
  • Take your time to get to know someone. 
  • Avoid secluded areas when you meeting
  • Don’t provide personal information too soon
  • On the first meeting don’t leave your food or beverages unattended.
  • When going to meet your online date for the first time, let someone know your plans
  • Always trust your instincts
Check out this great article for more Safe Online Dating Tips; How To Protect Yourself While Remaining Open to Love

Are you dating someone you met online? Have tried online dating? Share your experience.

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  1. Hi Ladies Room,Great round table discussion on online dating!I appreciate the balanced approach you've taken to look at both the precautions as well as the fun of online dating. Generally i'm not a fan of dating sites, but social media and Web 2.0 is opening up new avenues for more people to connect in more ways than before.I guess its a challenge on society's model of traditional ways of interaction but it always comes back to the basic principles of how to know someone even if the environment is digitalGood read!

  2. Nice read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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