Sexual Health

Online Dating

In a country like India, there persists a culture of marriages being arranged by parents, and a woman not having complete dominion over her choices of a partner, thus needless to say that the dating culture is very new. When it comes to online dating, it gets more complicated. Many men and women are unsure about online dating. So let’s tackle the apprehensions people have when deciding to date online.

Is it Moral?: Let’s start with morality. Given that sexuality is associated with character in India, many people are worried that online dating is too forward and immoral. However, there are no moral issues about online dating. People who date online aren’t immoral, people who don’t date online aren’t necessarily more moral. Dating is a personal choice and using the internet to find someone you like doesn’t define character and morality of any person. 

Is it right for me? A qualm that people have is that they aren’t sure what the right reasons are to date online. Whatever you’re looking for, there is no inherent ‘right’ reason to date online. If you’re looking for a partner and you haven’t found them physically, if you feel the need to look for a partner online, it’s a good enough reason.

What if I can’t handle it?: Another reason why people, especially women, are hesitant to opt for online dating is that they fear that they might get into something they can’t easily get out of. There are many small steps involved in online dating. From the act of setting up your profile, to agreeing to meet someone, there are small choices involved throughout the way. If at any point, you feel uncomfortable, it is perfectly okay to stop. You don’t necessarily have to go all the way if you don’t feel comfortable with it.

Will I be judged?: Do not succumb to judgment from others. There are many people who use dating apps to find love. There are people who are looking for a casual relationship. There are people who just want to talk to people online and don’t actually want to meet someone. All of these are valid. Do not judge others. Do not submit to being judged. Your reasons to date online are yours and nobody can take that away from you.

Managing expectations: What if he has expectations, wonder a lot of women! Well, you do too. It’s your profile, it’s your life. Talk about your own expectations openly and ask him his. Is he looking for the same thing you are? Is he open to the same things you are? Does he understand your fears and your hesitations?. Also remember, while you are thinking about his expectations, he might be thinking about yours too. So talk before you meet someone, and arrange for an in person meeting only after both people are satisfied. 

How do I protect myself?: When you date online, it helps to follow standard data protection policies. You can keep yourself safe by not giving out your personal information before you actively trust the person. You can read the privacy policy of the platform you’re interested in and understand what you agree and what you don’t. If you’re a woman, many platforms in India are already aware of the privacy concerns that you have and adapt their policies accordingly to make you feel safe.

The first date: If you do decide to meet someone you met online, make sure you meet them in a public place in the first meeting. Even if things go well, you can meet them at a park, pub, or coffee place and then move things over. When you’re meeting them, trust the vibe. Remember that it’s both of your responsibility to make each other feel comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable, it’s perfectly okay to leave.

Online dating isn’t that different from regular dating. Remember that regardless of whether you met the person online or offline, your sense of safety and comfort is paramount. If you’re a guy, remember that you have a huge role to play in making your date comfortable. The internet age has brought us closer together like never before and if we’re empathetic, respectful, and kind, we might be onto something beautiful.