My synopsis of what works, and doesn't with online dating for adults, in a follow-up comment I left on a CNN article about Online Dating. One commenter, Valerie, cautioned women against the proliferation of predators (narcissistic-psychopathic personality disorder types) on Internet Dating sites. I think it's the way you use the medium that puts you at risk:
I've blogged a lot about being a single adult over the past few years and I have to say that new media channels, which is all that online dating really is, ALWAYS go through the 'latest obsession' phase during which the people who are out to take advantage LEAP on the opportunity of so many neophytes being out there. My 80 yr old parents have finally become tech-saavy and cautious enough to not be dupped (most of the time). I was in a relationship with an Aspergers/BPD woman for many years who I met face-to-face and it took me years to figure out what her issues were (and I'm a specialist in human nature!), so while there are risks in meeting people online OR offline, figuring out others is always a challenge for all of us.
What is gradually being figured out with Internet dating is what it's real value is. For most adults who are past the bar-scene stage (for the price of a few drinks we got exposure to hundreds of available members of our gender-preference every single night and our only REAL criteria to end up going steady was "Hot enough and willing to date me?"), our access to other adult singles OFFline is almost nil. We don't attend places of worship regularly and our 'network' no longer has that many single adults in it. Online dating offers us exposure to hundreds of singles who we would never, ever meet otherwise. Are some nuts? Sure, and every local OFFline singles club/event you attend will have the same percentage of oddballs in attendance, they are just way easier to spot in person.Note to my readers, with the insights I have today, versus some years ago, into how the Internet can work for us in terms of defining who we are and what we do in life, I'll be 'migrating' my several blogs into one over the coming weeks. Hope you'll follow me there! (More to come...)
And there's the key: in person. Online dating's 'marketing promise' makes it highly addictive: sit at home in your PJs with a glass of wine and 'shop' for your ideal mate! We all plunge in and get hooked to the medium, even though it works in a totally opposing manner to human nature (we're designed to be social, visual-first creatures who meet each other by first seeing each other across a crowd). Key to using online effectively is treating it no differently than you would the local newspaper's singles ads: when you have some time to go out and meet people, check who's on offer and IMMEDIATELY go out and have a drink. (Not a coffee! Caffeine just makes us hyper-critical. Just don't get smashed or you'll end up waking up next to him thinking "Not again!" ;-)
DO NOT OVER-ANALYZE the guys' profiles and texts, ladies! (Your 'instincts' don't work all that well face-to-face, as your past relationships prove -- they don't work AT ALL over the Internet or on lines of words strung together!)
And the above advice means LOCAL GUYS ONLY. The men who are willing to travel to meet you are highly suspect, very likely married and CERTAINLY only out for sex (which you might be OK with...). If you find random men at a conference or at the grocery store occasionally very intriguing, then go out for lots of 'meet and greet' dates with guys who's photos seem recent and attractive to you. At our age, it becomes a numbers game because our mature criteria list is much more specific than in our 20's and early 30's. I have a lot more adult dating insights in the sidebar on my Just One Cynic's Opinion blog is you're curious about a former ad man's take on the subject.
Online dating can work, and well, just don't get addicted to it, treat it like an opportunity to do serial 'speed dating' and you just might meet a good match (AND you'll get out more, which inevitably leads to meeting more people).