By Clayton Hendry
Pulse Staff Reporter
The average college student experiences multiple changes in their post-high school lives, such as mounting bills, increased homework and finding time for a relationship. These days, some students try their luck with online dating.
“It’s revolutionary and some people may think it’s weird, but for some people it’s all they have time for and it tends to work out,” said Zachary Mastroianni, a freshman Communications major.
Online dating involves going on the Internet and looking for a special someone from the very comfort of your own home. Online dating seems to have the same, if not better, success rate as offline dating.
Online dating may also be useful for finding regular, friendly relationships. It can be an outlet for students who are trying to escape the stress of college life. It opens the door to a whole new environment, where adults can be their own person and talk to other people about their lives.
Several online dating sites exist on the web today, such as match.com, zoosk, eharmony and Plenty of Fish. For those looking for a specific match, sites such as Christian Mingle, Gamer Dating Site and Farmers Only are also available.
When online dating, students need to be careful with whom they communicate. For example, students can be honest about themselves, but it’s possible that their match isn’t. Cyber bullies have been known to set up fake accounts. Researchers, however, show that fake relationships don’t last long. Only when an adult spends a long time with their match will they know that it’s real.
“It’s popular nowadays. Many people are trying it,” said Ismael Dovalina a Psychology professor at Palo Alto College.
Dovalina believes online dating can be successful. Some people have found love and gotten married, including a few of his colleagues. However, he knows that it’s also risky.
“People, especially women, need to be careful before going out with someone they only met online,” Dovalina said.
When online dating, it is best to be cautious of the information he or she shares on their profile. And if you decided to meet someone for a date, meet them in a restaurant, park or shopping center.
“The real trick is how you approach it. Online dating has pros and cons, just like face-to-face dating. Online dating provides a distance that enables people to feel comfortable and really be honest and open about things they would otherwise be too nervous to talk about face-to-face,” said Brent Walker, a Palo Alto College and TAMUSA graduate.
Walker met his wife online, and they have celebrated two years of marriage. He agrees that if you can make an honest relationship last a few years, even a long distance one, you can make it work face-to-face because it proves that the person is truly committed to the relationship. In addition, Walker said that predators will not wait too long to meet face-to-face.
“Don’t insist on it and be wary of someone who does. Never agree to meet at a person’s house, or at a hotel or a location that isn’t publicly open,” said Walker.
Another issue is the monthly or annual fee for the online dating service. Sites, such as eharmony, charge up to $8 a month. Other sites, like Plenty of Fish, are free.
When seeking a relationship, one can find a potential soul mate by answering the compatibility test posted on the websites. eharmony has a simple, multiple choice questionnaire that would normally take ten to twenty minutes. Plenty of Fish has a similar test, as well as columns, where adults write a little bit about themselves.
“One of the special things about eharmony is that it connects people with certain values,” said John Hernandez, a Philosophy professor at Palo Alto College.
Hernandez met his wife online and recently celebrated his one-year anniversary. He sees online dating as a wonderful option for meeting people.
“I would have never met my wife if it weren’t for eharmony. She and I had different fields of work, and we would have never been able to meet face-to-face,” said Hernandez.
The questionnaires are simple and easy to follow. The questions asked are personal, but you can still answer without giving away too much about yourself. The location of their state and city may be disclosed if the online dater only wants to date those closest to them. Once the test is done, the adult gets their own profile, and then they can elaborate more about themselves.
“There’s potential to meet a wider variety of people, possibly someone who is better suited to your unique traits and lifestyle. It’s important to be cautious. Different services of online dating have different levels of security and probably a range in the quality of services offered,” said Tony Villanueva chair of the Behavioral Sciences, assistant professor of Psychology at Palo Alto College.
Online dating can be an adventure for college students. Anyone can start a profile on Twitter or Facebook and have a ton of friends, yet to find that significant someone, online dating sites can help narrow down a person’s search.