Editors' Picks

Cyber relationships: the risks and rewards of online dating

If there’s one aspect of human behavior that has been revolutionized by technology it’s dating. New matchmaking websites are springing up all the time and free online dating is an activity drawing in increasingly large numbers of eager participants. How about this for a statistic: in a poll conducted in 2017, one in five married couples admitted they met through the Internet. There is every indication this figure is only going to rise. So if cyber relationships are thriving they must be an excellent way for singles to get connected, right? As with anything in life, the truth is actually a bit more complicated. Here are some of the risks, and the rewards, of online dating.


The nature of dating on an online platform is the websites and apps are designed to be user-friendly, with slick interfaces intended to make it a straightforward exercise to browse through photographs of potential partners. But while this caters for the instinctive impatience of site visitors, always so eager to click to see if they find the next profile photo more appealing, it encourages people to fixate on appearances first, personality second.

In this superficial environment it is also common for photographs to be doctored or Photoshopped. They might attract attention but they are presenting a false impression of the subject. The anonymous nature of this type of dating means users can use images that aren’t even of them, but of some random ‘model type’ grabbed from an online search. While the vast majority of those who engage with online matching sites do so with the genuine intention of getting paired up with someone compatible, there will always be those who are intent on manipulating this resource for their own egos.

A lot of users who sign-up to Internet sites get so caught up in the notion of finding love online they’re ‘loved up’ with the possibility of meeting someone to connect with as opposed to the important factors that will underline a real connection. This search for some idyllic relationship becomes the be all and end all, at the expense of getting to know someone by steadily building a rapport over a period of time. Restlessness can be a big issue for site users and this is exacerbated by the very nature of a medium that can be tapped into anywhere, 24/7. You might be sitting on the tube, or even strolling on a treadmill at the gym, and you can readily surf into your preferred dating interface. Convenience is one thing but it does ensure there is a prevailing sense of superficiality.


For all that online dating will have its drawbacks, there can be no denying these are far outweighed by the positives. Sure, there are superficial aspects, but it’s entirely up to the user the extent to which they engage with this platform. Many site visitors take their time when selecting who to get in touch with. They can be just as discerning as they would be in an offline setting. In fact, you have a much better chance of getting paired up with someone compatible because the sites operate algorithms which ensure likeminded individuals are put in touch with one another.

People develop a real sense of chemistry during online communications, as they are far less inhibited when it comes to sharing their true feelings. There are fewer mind games with Internet dating. And there is always the safety net that should one relationship show signs of not working out, the next one is a matter of a few clicks away.