An estimated four out of 10 adults in the U.S. are online dating, that’s according to a study by eHarmony.com. The online dating site also found that the ratio of men to women online dating is nearly even. Many people are still left with the question, "Why can’t I find a date?"
People like Janae Denman, who tried dating online for nearly a year before she said enough was enough.
"[Online dating was just] awkward, time consuming and just complicated," Denman said.
She is not alone.
Dr. Don Hebbard, professor of marriage and family therapy at Amberton University in Dallas, said the issue is not the number of fish in the sea, but rather the kind of fish that are in the sea.
"[Online] is a good venue. It’s a good way to meet people, but if I don’t have my stuff figured out before I get into it, then I might run into problems," Dr. Hebbard said. "It really becomes a problem when I don’t know enough about me before I go into online dating."
So how can you give yourself the best chance at finding love online? Dr. Hebbard said there are two things someone should pay close attention to.
"Do you get a sense of authenticity and transparency from this person? Do I ask a question and do I get a reasonable, fair, quick and open response? That’s usually a sign that the person is the real deal," Hebbard said. "Also ask yourself, when I meet the person, what is my gut telling me? Listen to your intuition. If it’s uncertain, then don’t ignore that."
Hebbard also said generally, there are four kinds of people who are looking for love online.
The veterans, the rookies, the wounded and the fakers.
- VETERAN: "They been doing this. They kind of know what they are doing and they will behave themselves. They’ve got great manners," Hebbard said.
- ROOKIE: "They are brand new to this. They are bright eyes and bushy tailed, hopeful and expectant. Or the problem with some rookies is that someone has talked them into doing this and their really not into it and then you match Up with them but they fail on you. Because they weren’t ready to do this."
- WOUNDED: "The wounded are in transition. Coming off another relationship, maybe a divorce. Or they have got a core wound inside of them that’s been there for a long time. Instead of working on that core wound and basically healing up and becoming a good whole adult. They are filling that wound with relationship after relationship after relationship."
- FAKER: "The fakers are the people who are out there who really don’t want to date. They want to email or text with you. They are isolated and really don’t want to get out there in public. But this gives them a venue for contacting somebody. The fakers are also people who are married, they are living in San Antonio traveling to Fort Worth or Dallas on business. They set up a profile online and they got a family at home and a girlfriend up here in town."
Hebbard also points out that online dating has empowered women in dating more than ever before.
"Online dating has allowed women to take the initiative. She sees a profile. All she has to do is do a click and send a smile and this guy knows that she is a lady who is interested," Hebbard said.
While Denman ended up finding her perfect match an old school way, through friends, she still thinks online dating is a great way to meet people. She just has this advice:
"There is something valuable about connecting in that way. We just need to see that there is a human on the other side that also has value to add," she said.