Is online dating worth it?

Online dating has been a revolution ever since it started but like every coin, has another side to it. It appears to be a practical way to date for most people nowadays. However, is it really reliable?

Super effective or superficial?

Since its wide usage in the early 2000s, the internet has become an important utility for many. Many became dependent to the world wide web as it provides data, information, and social purposes. And before we knew it, people began searching for soulmates via the internet.

However, this is not something new. Back in the day, many people relied on magazines and newspapers to meet new people. As a result, when the internet grew in popularity, the method evolved and the opportunities for making new friends expanded.

Before there were dating websites like Tinder, WeChat, Facebook Dating and others, people met new friends on platforms like Friendster, MySpace, and Facebook. There were even circumstances where friends met through online games where communication via microphone was possible. Sometimes, these online relationships can turn into something beautiful, but it can also turn into an ugly disaster depending on the situation.

As safety precautions, many warn internet users about the strangers they meet, but the leap of faith and trust built online can, at times, go a long way. Sharing more on the topic, New Sarawak Tribune interviewed four different internet users who detailed how their dating lives were sparked by the internet.

Meeting strangers online was the norm

May and her boyfriend met on Facebook a decade ago. While it was a challenge in the beginning, they both learned to trust and respect each other.

To a 25-year-old internet user who wants to be known as May, making new friends on the internet has been a normal thing since she was younger. She said that as a teenager, she loved socialising with everyone and anyone on Facebook. “Back then, my trust was easy to gain as long as people were friendly and not creepy,” she said.

“I was young, innocent and just wanted to make tonnes of friends. I thought it as something harmless. But after realising that these online people were not really your ‘friends’, I changed my perception. I also saw many of my friends being played and taken advantage of by the guys they met online,” May added.

Sharing further, she disclosed that she met her current boyfriend via Facebook then. “Initially, I was sceptical. I was young and just wanted to mingle with everyone. We had our fair share of ups and downs because he was someone I had never known before. However, we managed to gain trust and respect and we have been together ever since.”

Today, May has turned into a private person from the lessons she earned from meeting strangers on the internet. “My circle of friends can be counted on one hand.” When asked about the red flags that one should look out for when making new friends, May answered, “From my experience, be wary of those who try to control you from the beginning, those that ask for money, those that make you feel insecure, and those that ask for sexual favours.”

Taking a leap of faith

Eva Ngu only started online dating recently. Though it was a new experience for her, she did not throw caution to the wind and always take safety precautions.

Another user, Eva Ngu recently tried online dating. Though she had never been on any platforms before, the 27-year-old did not throw caution to the wind. “When I signed up on one of the online dating platforms, I used a fake name as I didn’t want people to know who I was. I thought it was important to look for any sort of signal or red flag once a conversation was initiated online.”

The marketing officer added that one would notice the details when a person was looking for a serious relationship or something casual. “Since I was looking for a serious relationship, there were many times I would run into second thoughts and question myself if the person I was texting with was legit or not.”

The careful lass also attempted to do background checks on the people whenever possible.

“Social media is a good place to learn about someone. Studying their photos is also important because you would want to know whether the person you are talking to is genuine or if it’s just another catfish account.“

To her, the obvious reason to take precautions is when the person starts off the conversation with, “What are you doing, babe?” or “Hey,” followed by a heart shape. But one thing’s for sure: Eva said that texting and talking face-to-face could show very big differences. Sharing further, Eva said she would normally talk to the person online for days or weeks, “Just to see how things go and whether it is worth our time to meet up and learn more about each other.”

Nowadays, dating sites were often frowned upon despite being the norm. This is because society perceives meeting strangers online as wanting to meet someone to have an intimate relationship with.

Another reason for using dating applications is that you are expecting to meet someone completely new instead of through a connection or a cycle, which is a safer option.

Eva opined that dating someone whom we knew or had mutual friends with was good but there would come a time when there was just no one that you could get into a relationship with. “This motivated me to try out dating sites even though I value trust in a relationship and getting to know a stranger can be challenging.” 

So, taking a leap of faith, Eva believed that while online dating had ts dangers, once you found someone who genuinely had the same goal as you, you would know that the person could be the right one for you.

Finding love through online game

David and his wife were playing an online game together when they met virtually for the first time. When things looked positive, David decided to arrange a date with her to get to know her more.

Former avid gamer David Lee shared that he met his wife of more than five years over an online game that the couple used to play together. Asked whether he was wary of who he met on the internet, David said no. “The only thing I knew then was that she was Malaysian, and I felt that she was not a scammer. Furthermore, it was over ten years ago. Catfishing and online dating scams were not common then,” David added. What struck his confidence in meeting his wife back then was the information and photos she shared with him.

Nevertheless, David opined that online dating could be successful but controversial at the same time. With the rise and popularity of online dating comes a slew of new ways for scammers and catfishers to prey on unsuspecting victims and defraud them of their hard-earned money.

The most important thing to note, David added, was not to invest too much on the person you met online. “We don’t even know if the person we meet exists or if it was a bearded man on the other end of the monitor!”

When asked what if his wife was actually a dangerous person trying to rob him at the time, David answered, “Well, I am a guy. And at the time, she sounded like a girl on the phone. If she tries to do anything funny, I will just pick her up and drag her to the police station!” he said with a laugh.

“However, it is not to be discounted that there are multiple success stories from online dating, although those come in at about one in a thousand, “said the 36-year-old.

More than meets the eye

When Luther Ong first met his partner on a dating site, he was using an animated photo of himself as his profile photo. “But my girlfriend told me she was assured that I was safe as I had uploaded an old photo of me with my friend.”

The 29-year-old shared that he started dabbling on online dating sites out of boredom. “I was bored and I was trying it out to fight off the ‘If I never did it, I will never know’ situation,” he said. Though Luther was unsure of what he wanted when he signed up for the site, he ended up with a girlfriend!

Elaborating on the details, Luther shared that despite talking to different individuals, he had only met one person. “And that was my girlfriend. Everyone else stopped talking to me or I stopped talking to them. But that’s when you know they are not interested in you. If they don’t get back to you after 24 hours, then they are just not into you,” he said. 

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