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June 02, 2011

Comments

dangermom

I can understand "the shame," but at the same time I think Internet dating has got some really good things about it. (I've been married for 15 years, so I never did it.) What I'm often seeing is people who (for whatever reason) don't have a large dating pool IRL using Internet dating to meet a larger pool of potential dates.

For example, I belong to a minority church and I live in a small city in a rural part of the state. My single friends would love to date, but there are very few single men (actually about two) in our area who belong to the same religion. One moved to a large city in hopes of meeting more people (and got married). Two other friends tried Internet dating and--after some pitfalls of course--met and married great guys from across the country. I can think of a couple of others who are trying it out.

So I have some positive impressions of Internet dating, especially for those of us who aren't meeting people where we live.

Sarah M

I actually know a number of happily married couples who starting dating online, but I *never* would have done it myself.
I think if you're spending that much time on your online resume for someone to date...you could go out somewhere (bike club, hiking/running group, religious affiliated get-together, WHATEVER your interests are) and meet people in person...

Perhaps it's just not for some people ;)

Sarah M

Shanna

As an unmodest lady, I would say it's fear of the unknown. The extremely nice thing about online dating (I've some fun dates and one very good relationship as a result) is a lot of that information, some very important information, is upfront. I can skip over those guys who are just looking for sex, aren't interested in having kids someday, have tons of cats or listen to only country music.

While one runs the risk with any online profile of someone you don't want finding it, I do get how a dating profile can be more embarrassing, but in reality it's no more personal or open then a facebook profile unless you want it to be. The public portion is usually just what you like, what kind of a person you are and what you're looking for. I've found online dating very convenient in being able to find fellow nerds much easier then in real life. I personally don't get out much, and when I do it's usually drinks with a friend or two at a bar. I've learned I'm probably not going to meet the kind of guy I want in a bar (if he's there, he's with his friends and not looking around) I'm also always paranoid that if I try to talk/meet someone in real life they're already spoken for, or that our interests won't line up.

I don't think online dating is for everyone, and you do have to be careful, as creeps abound (but, they do in real life too). And there's a good chance even if you point out that you're a traditional lady looking for life-long partner, you'll get some messages that are soliciting and derogatory. Thats where the block option comes in handy. If you aren't comfortable with the concept and want a more traditional courtship, go for the traditional courtship. but I wouldn't say it's immodest to look for love through an online community. And I think there are religious based dating sites as well.

Marcia Wilwerding

We have a dear friend who asked her father to help her set up a profile on a conservative dating site. The potential suitor who responded corresponded with her father to determine whether or not it was worth it to move forward into a courtship. Once the father was convinced he was a suitable suitor and had conferred with the girl and her mother, permission was given for him to write to her. Later, they phoned, then visits were exchanged. In the end, they were wed and are on baby number two just two years into their wedded bliss. This couple lived in two different countries (U.S. and Canada), but it worked for them because both sets of parents were involved and things were done with the utmost discretion. It was literally a match made in Heaven.

Our own son discovered his bride-to-be when he saw her comments on a sermon they each had listened to on the Web. Because they were total strangers, he proceeded with caution and only began discussing non-relational things. Once he was sure their beliefs were compatible, he asked if he could speak with her father by telephone. Her dad was very happy with our son and gave his blessing on them starting a courtship. Again, both sets of parents were consulted and visits were exchanged. In less than a year they are engaged to be married and are as happy as any local couple ever could be. Using Facebook, Skype, and email, along with periodic, extended-stay visits, they have developed a rich and blessed relationship.

So, there are different ways to go about cyber dating. The success of these two couples had several things in common including a mutual belief system and seeking the wisdom and counsel of those older and wiser then they, primarily, their parents.

On the other hand, I once received a "cold call" email from a young man interested in our daughter. He had read about her on my website and thought she might be a good prospect. After emailing back and forth for awhile with many questions, she, her father, and I decided it would be best for him to seek someone closer to how he believed. He was cool with that and eventually found his bride from among his own acquaintance.

It doesn't always work out, but it can work.

Keshet Shenkar

I actually met my husband online (so I'm a little biased!) and I think it's a great venue for meeting new people. When I was dating, I lived "out of town," so websites gave me access to a much larger group of people than the ones in my city. As long as you keep the profile honest and classy (which I'm sure you will!), it'll be fine:)

Lindsay

I think online dating can be fine if done with the same discretion you'd practice with someone you met in person through friends or family. There is an additional aspect of protecting your emotional self, though. The "shame" you mention can fall into that area. Reading someone's status updates on facebook and Twitter and viewing profiles for an extended time can make you feel like you know someone better than you really do. As a blogger of almost nine years, I have made online friends, but I know my relationship with them isn't the same as it would be if we had met in person, and if we do meet someday, we won't necessarily have the same relational closeness as people who've known each other face-to-face for the same period of time.

Tom Babcock

I am long past the courtship days, so have not been involved with Internet dating. Standards of behavior have seemed to change over the years, and some of the traditional ways to meet future partners have fallen by the wayside. I sometimes joke with my daughter that I sent her off to college to find a husband, but she didn't find one. Tom Wolfe may have made me reconsider the wisdom of even thinking about that. But more importantly, dating someone you meet at work is more and more discouraged. Church or temple are obvious choices, but Dangermom shows us the problems with that. That pretty much leaves us to bars as the logical place to pick up a future husband or wife, unless you turn to Internet dating sites and social networks. [and what is wrong with a "friend" of a facebook friend?]

We all know the caution one needs in online communication, but online is also where, as Marcia points out, people can reveal their true character. Especially regarding modesty. For the modest, there should be a dirth of inappropriate snapshots or off color comments on Facebook or on other Web sites where we tend to let down our guard. Not that it is "predator-proof" but then no place really is.

jillybean1013

Funny to see this post. Just this Wednesday I heard part of a radio program on dot.com dating that had some wonderful insights/statistics. It was on "In the Market with Janet Parshall." It is a Christian program and I think that most of it would apply to the modest mind set. Here is a link to the program where you can listen to it: http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_ProgramDetail.aspx?id=70979

jillybean1013

Oops! To access the podcast, here is the actual webpage. Just scroll to the program description for Hour 1: Dot.Com Dating and click on the link for "Hour 1" to hear the podcast.

Laura

If I had not met my husband when I did, and had moved to an area where there weren't very many people who worship as I do, I would have seriously considered a dating site. I would have most certainly signed on to an LDS dating website (because I'm LDS) and of course exercised a lot of discretion with regards to who I corresponded with.

I also have known couples who met online, so I see nothing wrong with it as long as you set rules for yourself :)

Rocky

I understand people's hesitation about the idea of internet dating because it is a new concept that we are unaccustomed to. However, I cannot relate to any of the issues presented in this blog. First, I think we would do well do break down the stereotype that people turn to online dating out of desperation. Sure, that may be true in some cases, but I think most do simply because it is a more streamlined way of determining compatibility with people; rather than haphazardly exchanging numbers with acquaintances at meetups or bars.

Second, I have to disagree with the author's implication that internet dating obviates the courtship process allowing people to instantly know everything about each other. From what I hear, online dating includes just as much courtship as in-person dating. The principal difference I see is that it allows you to tailor your first impression in a way that you cannot in "real life." You choose the picture, you choose what people learn about you from the get-go. An online profile enables you to introduce yourself to strangers according to the things that you prioritize. And this enables potential suitors to make a choice about pursuing you based on a wider variety of substantive qualities, beyond just beauty and charisma. Likewise, you choose to contact people based on substantive commonalities that you identify. Who wouldn't want that?

And finally, online dating is as public or as private as you choose to make it. And if someone maintains a facebook profile, I don't see much difference, in terms of privacy. Online dating sites ask questions (which the user can elect to answer or not) for use in determining compatibility with other users. There is a profile template in place, but again, the user chooses what information to include.

Online dating is not for everyone, but I find that too often critics suffer from reactionary thinking in their suspicion of it. It's new, yes, but on the whole, not so different.

Michelle

My parents met because my dad's rear-ended my mother's. It wasn't the most romantic way to begin a courtship, however, there is more than one way to meet somebody.

There is nothing wrong with online dating. Yes, I've heard some creepy things about it, but there are equally creepy things about dating IRL.

We should remember that any online dating site is a controlled by a database,and, you don't have too much control over this information. Just like Facebook, Twitter, or email, only put online things you wouldn't mind your grandmother/father/rabbi/priest/someone-who-is-important-to-you to hear. If they can't hear it, it should be private.

And like any other part of dating, don't be afraid to use your gut to determine what is right and wrong!

whatever

Hmmm not for me tough. It is too easy to lie online.

Lisa Nash

I think the best kind of online dating uses the online medium as a way to get connected with a good group of people to choose from, like a bar that is only patronized by people who you are compatible with. A couple who meets in a bar or at a party doesn't carry on their whole courtship in a bar or at a party, and likewise meeting someone online doesn't have to influence the quality or character of the relationship one way or the other. I met my husband the old fashioned way (friend of a friend at a party, we were both bored and talked with each other for a long time while the party went on around us), but I don't think there's anything immodest about online dating, anymore than there is anything immodest about dating at all. I think you can present yourself modestly online.

Cherynalice

My husband and I met online, but not through a dating site. We're both gaming nerds (or were, becoming a Mum has lessened my desire to game the way I used to), and met on a text-based game called Knights of Noblemen. We didn't see each other's photos for the longest time, but worked together in the only Christian alliance in the game (of which my husband was founder and leader), and learned how well we could work together. From there we went to Yahoo Instant Messaging, and sometimes talked with voice, though we never did webcam before we met. My husband lived in Texas, and I was in Australia, so that was rather a challange, but one we overcame. I now live in the States, we've been married for nearly 5 years, and have two beautiful girls.
To be honest, while I see the points you've made, I've always felt that online 'dating' can actually be much more modest than even traditional courtship, as the physical temptation is taken entierly out of the picture, and you're left with nothing more than the 'real person' to get to know. We would often sit for hours and just pick each other's brains. There was no holding hands, kissing or even gazing at each other, but never the less, we came to adore each other for who we truely were.
Yes, once we met there were the odd moments of 'Is that same person really in there??' but it didn't take us long to get to know each other again in an even more profound way, and I believe that once we were married, our physical relationship was that much more special because of how deep our mental and spirital attatchments were.
This is not to say that internet courtship is for everyone, but for me, I believe it was God-sent. I express myself so much better in writing than in spoken word, and will always be thankful for the foundation my relationship stands on.
In the end, to each their own. Caution is always nessecary when choosing a life-long mate!

Erin P

Alyson - when I was in my early 20's, I couldn't imagine dating online. When a couple of my Catholic friends went online looking for respectable Catholic men who want to live out their faith, I gave it a go. Lo and behold, I met my husband on Catholicmatch.com 6 years ago. As far as privacy goes, I disclosed what I felt comfortable with and didn't go "on and on" but I think painted an accurate picture of myself. No last names were used of course. Using common sense about corresponding/courting online are a must as in person. There was something wonderful about writing each other "letters" via email when we first "spoke" online...there was this beautiful unfolding process as we discerned our relationship and then marriage - via internet, phone and finally in person. Mind you, I have always been an extrovert and attended tons of Catholic young adult groups in NYC but am so grateful I met my husband (from Boston) on CatholicMatch. We were discerning and yet open to the idea that with God, "all things are possible" -- including online:)

anon

You're mixing up the introduction and the courtship. The internet part is just to make the introduction. In many ways it is easier as you can weed out men who are blatantly unsuitable before becoming emotionally attached to them. Once you have ascertained that you are on the same page, then the courtship can proceed.

Also you have more control than in offline dating. You choose a dating site that matches your interests, post under an alias, contact men you are interested in and only send your photo to them. Even though it didn't work out in the end I met some wonderful men through dating sites. Good luck.

Cynthia Hiebert

My husband of 12 years and I also met online, though, again, not through a dating site. We were both a part of a discussion group, not that different from this one, that was a group of Christians discussing certain issues. We would comment on what each other had to say which eventually led to emailing discussions, which eventually led to phone calls (lots of those) and finally the big first meeting (we did not live in the same city) which was really like meeting your best friend after spending all that time getting to know each other in such a chaste way. It did not take long for engagement and marriage because so many hours had been spent learning how we shared so many of the same values and dreams for our lives.

The caveat is that I do kind of feel The Shame everytime someone asks how we met...sigh. But who cares about the shame once you are spending a life time with someone who suits you so thoroughly!!

Another note, my beautiful, single, Christian friend was very resistant to any form of online dating. Church and work held no suitable suitors and she isn't the type to be out on the "scene" so she was alone. From my point of view she was being wasted...a woman I adored and knew the value of...a woman with a hearts desire to be a wife...it seemed so tragic! Eventually (I'm talking years here!!) she signed up with eHarmony and quickly was led to her now husband. Her bible college roomate's mom and his mom had been roomates at the same bible college!!! I praise God that a system was available to bring these two together!

Stop being scared!! It is less shameful to date online than to hang out on the single scene!!

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