Christopher Brignell/Steve Frost

Valentine's Day is right around the corner, love is in the air and online. One in five new relationships are started from an online dating site. Some people swear by them, while others have been completely burned. I'll go over some of the good, the bad, and well you know the rest.Finding a life long partner and love is one of the most basic human needs, it's one of the most common things that people can relate to. Hence the reason that online dating sites are so popular (as well as adult sites, but that's another story).

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson, A.K.A. "The Attraction Doctor" (because Dr. Love was taken), has written an article for Psychology today on the Pros and Cons of online dating. He and his associates set out to determine the benefits and the drawbacks to this practice by way of psychology and analysis.

According the the article, these are the three main area's where online dating was different:

1) Access

Pros: Online dating provided individuals with access to many more potential partners than they could often find in their daily lives. This is especially true for individuals interested in partners of a particular type, orientation, lifestyle, or in isolated areas.

Cons: The choices of partners can become confusing and overwhelming. Without a clear plan, online daters can get stuck endlessly "shopping" for the perfect partner, rather than actually starting a satisfying relationship.

2) Matching

Pros: Many online dating sites offer various types of personality testing and matching. Such matching can help guide individuals toward dating partners who may be more compatible.

Cons: Matching is a difficult process and testing may not be accurate for everyone. In addition, people may present differently in person or change over time. So, matching may overlook potentially good partners in the process.

3) Communication

Pros: Online dating offers a number of ways to get to know a potential date before meeting in person. Such computer-mediated communication allows for safe and convenient interaction, without much risk or time commitment. For the busy professional, or the safety-conscious, such communication is an excellent way to "test" potential partners.

Cons: Communication through computers is lacking some of the information provided in face-to-face interaction. As a result, it is harder to evaluate a potential match online. Also, some of the cues and features that build attraction (like touching) cannot be accomplished through a computer. So, such computer-mediated communication may have an artificial and unemotional quality.

I've known a few people who have had great relationships by meeting someone online, and on the flip-side I know people who have had bad experiences.

Whatever your feeling is about online dating, the bottom line is, go with your gut. If you don't try something new, your will never have that experience. If it turns out bad, then you've gained some knowledge, if it turns out good, then you may have what I wound up having, a wonderful spouse, and a best friend all in one.


  • Finkel, E.J., Eastwick, P.W., Karney, B., Reis, H.T., & Sprecher, S. (2012). Online dating: A critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science. Psychological Science, 13(1), 3-66.

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