The Stigma of Internet Dating: Why People are Ashamed to Use Dating Sites

After many unsuccessful trips to local bars or clubs, many people find that their search for true love leaves them feeling exasperated or hopeless. Some then turn to online dating sites such as eHarmony, Match, or OkCupid to improve their chances of finding the right person. Yet, when they do, some feel embarrassed or request that possible love interests be willing to lie about where they met.

In view of the times, is it surprising that more and more people are turning to dating websites to find love? And if not, why are some ashamed of using such a provision? Is the embarrassment felt worth the effort?

Why Dating Websites Thrive

In most cities or towns, there are only a few places that are socially acceptable for trying to establish romantic connections. These are usually limited to bars, pubs, nightclubs, and similar venues. The problem with trying to find love in such establishments, is they usually attract people who are seeking something far more temporary; those who prefer casual encounters over meaningful relationships. This creates an atmosphere which hides those few who are sincere in intent amidst the mass of those who simply want sex; thereby making it virtually impossible for like-minded individuals to connect.

True, there may be opportunities during the course of everyday life in which two people may cross each other’s paths and share a brief attraction, but these encounters are rare if they occur at all. And even if they do happen, their continuance is usually discouraged because neither person wants to seem “too forward” or “desperate.” This leaves such happenings up to the chance that these two people may meet again on another occasion, limiting the possibility of a relationship even further.

And so, since most people spend a large amount of time online anyway, checking email or Facebook pages, they decide to give online dating a shot. After all, no overly personal information is given, so what could it hurt? And yet, once they do join, some feel worse rather than better.

The Embarrassment Effect of Online Dating

It is not uncommon, once perusing the profiles of those using dating websites, to find individuals who are willing (or request that their partner be willing) to deny how the initial contact was made. Others explicitly confess shock or shame on their bios that they are actually trying to find love online. What is the cause of such negativity? The most common answer is feelings of failure or desperation.

Some view online dating as only a last resort. So when they try it for themselves, it isn’t surprising that they may feel their use of a dating website indicates they failed to find love using traditional methods. As previously discussed, however, it shouldn’t be surprising when experiencing such difficulty since the boundaries of social behavior make connecting with that special someone similar to finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack.”

If feeling like a failure isn’t the cause, the feeling of desperation is the most likely culprit for embarrassment. Since there is a widespread prejudice towards dating websites, a person may feel that availing themselves of their assistance indicates that the person severely desires companionship and is willing to find it in any way possible. Once again, this feeling is influenced largely by the social stigma towards online dating rather than logical reflection.

Advantages of Online Dating

Since it has already been revealed that the boundaries of acceptable social behavior limit the chances of finding a sincere connection with the right person, it must be accepted that dating websites offer a beneficial service. In allowing local singles to post pictures, interests, and intentions to anyone who is willing to look, the sites provide a safe mediator between those seeking love. It also saves time as a person can usually eliminate prospects that carry certain habits or values that a person may consider “deal-breakers.”

True, the possibility exists that a person has been less than honest when it comes to his shared information, but since these sites can also connect those who are only interested in a “fling,” most do not feel a need for dishonesty. Also, since similar interests like hobbies, movie preferences, or activities are entirely subjective, most prefer to convey information that accurately conveys their personality so as to find those who can relate.

As with anything, the use of such sites requires moderation. One shouldn’t be too eager to reveal personal information like phone numbers or addresses until a measure of trust is established. But if a relationship seeker is reasonably cautious, and willing to break through the initial hesitancy of using such sites, he or she may be pleasantly surprised to find that it is much easier to find, not just a date, but true love.