Dating sites and apps are very popular. Some people find this strange and like to point out that they didn’t need a site or app to find a partner before. But not everyone is in a situation where he or she can meet a potential partner in everyday life. If you don’t go out much or rarely go to busy social places, are too shy or have poor communication skills, you are less likely to come across a date. Research by de Volkskrant and a PhD student from the University of Amsterdam shows that six out of ten members of dating sites and apps see no chance of finding a date in their daily lives. No wonder online dating is so popular.
People over 50 are successful
Of the approximately 2.7 million singles in the Netherlands, it is expected that a third are active on paid or free dating sites and apps. Three out of ten of them use this as a supplement because they also regularly find a date in their daily life. Online dating is also increasingly popular among the over 50s. Fun fact is also that this group is the most successful when dating online: almost two out of five middle-aged couples who moved in together in recent years have met online, compared to only one in twenty young adults.
Small difference between traditional and online dating
There is not much difference between a ‘normal’ and an online date. Regardless of whether you met your date in a different way, a date often looks the same: public places like cafes and restaurants are the most popular places to meet for the first time. In addition, a fifth of the dates are active, for example a walk or a visit to a cinema or a museum. About one in ten first dates take place in the home of one of the two people.
The dangers of online dating
The above gives the impression that online dating is fun, and it certainly is. Even if you don’t find your love partner, there’s a good chance you’ll make one or more great friendships with a free or paid membership to a dating site or app. Still, online dating is not without its risks.
1. The Other Is Not Who You Thought (Maller)
In the first instance, of course, you agree in good faith. During the chat, you got a certain image of the other person and based on that you decided to meet in real life. Unfortunately, it often happens that someone is not what he or she has said. The other already has a relationship, with or without children, not the good job or a dark past. Or it’s the right person, but the photos used on the profile are years old. All factors that can really ruin a date.
2. Fake profiles
In addition, there are many fake profiles. These can be quite harmless and have been purchased by a dating site or app just to have a larger member base. This will not bother you except the wasted effort of sending a message.
Unfortunately, there are also fake profiles that bother you more. A (often very handsome) man or woman sends you a message about how nice you are and how much he or she wants to get to know you. Unfortunately, their profile has just been removed from that page or app, and you’re tempted to create an account on another, often expensive, site. Never fall for this: often these sites are full of fake profiles and it is almost impossible to get rid of them.
The world of online dating is an attractive place for scammers. Members of dating sites and apps are looking for a partner and/or are lonely. This makes them easy targets for fraud. More than once, so-called scammers (often operating in a country other than your own) try to build a relationship with a member of a dating site or app. And once that connection is there, and that apparent trust, there is always something that this scammer needs money for. And once you’ve sent some money, the gate is open: the requests for money keep pouring in.
Tips for safe dating
Despite the possible dangers, online dating is usually a fun experience that can lead to a lot of great contacts and hopefully a relationship. And with the following tips, you can enjoy it to the fullest.
1. Visual contact before the first appointment
If you’ve seen each other before, there’s less chance that someone you didn’t expect will be sitting across from you. So try to see each other before you actually meet. This can be done, for example, via the video call program Skype.
2. Pay attention
Look out for signs that could be an indication that something is not quite right. Never being able to go on weekends or in the evenings, never being allowed to come to the other’s house or never receiving an invitation to a joint party or meeting… these can be signs that the other is hiding something. Pay attention to these signals.
3. Meet in a public place
Meeting in a public place provides a certain sense of security. When there are other people around, unwanted things are less likely to happen on a date. It is not for nothing that only one in ten meet at someone else’s home.
4. Always be yourself
Treat the other as you would like to be treated by the other. Of course, it’s tempting to make things a little prettier than they really are in order to pique the interest of the cute potential partner. Don’t do this: the other person has to like you for who you really are. If you pretend to be someone you are not, sooner or later you will be caught.
5. Be positive
The first impression is very important. So be open and positive. Give funny conversation topics and certainly do not tell whole stories about your ex and the end of the relationship, you are not seeing a psychologist.
The only other tips we can give to the single reader: enjoy online dating and also see it as an opportunity to make good contacts, not just as a means to get into a relationship.