Journal and Courier Article- Cupid, draw back your (online) bow...

Cupid, draw back your (online) bow...

Journal & Courier - Lafayette, Ind.

Author:

TAYA FLORES

Date:

Aug 29, 2011

Start Page:

B.5

Section:

RELATE

Text Word Count:

752

Document Text

A couple of years ago, Jennifer Montgomery was reluctant to try online dating although friends and family had recommended it.

"I kept saying 'No, I can meet guys on my own,' " the 35-year-old West Lafayette woman said.

But after a bad date and a fit of frustration, she decided to give it a try.

She met Brice Koning the winter of 2010 through an online dating website, and he proved to be a match. The two are engaged and planning to marry in September.

As technology use changes the cultural landscape, more adults are gravitating toward online dating as a means to meet a suitable spouse. One out of every six couples (17 percent) married in the past three years have met their spouse through an online dating website, according to a 2009-10 Match.com study. But like with any new technology there are some gliches that might arise as people try to court in cyberspace.

Online dating is the third most common way that people are meeting spouses. The most common place people met their significant other was at work or school. Meeting a spouse through a friend or family member came in second, according to the study, which was conducted by research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey.

"I think one of the reasons why we are seeing online dating increasing to such an extent is because young people are in an extremely mobile geographical community, which makes it much more difficult to connect," said Glenn Sparks, communications professor at Purdue University.

Years ago, people would marry others from within their geographical communities. For instance, in 1940 about 76 percent of residents in New Haven, Conn., married someone who lived within 20 blocks of them, according to a study published in 1943 in the American Journal of Sociology.

So online dating websites are creating new communities in cyberspace for people who are not rooted in one geographical location.

"It's just a natural thing to turn to because it offers something that the young person really can't do on their own," Sparks said.

Sparks added that after college, which is a microcosm of the real world full of one's peers, it becomes increasingly difficult to find someone to date.

Koning experienced this after he graduated from Purdue University in 2004. So he tried online dating sporadically.

"I didn't want to meet somebody at a bar," the 29-year-old said. "How many opportunities do you have to see who is out there?"

Sparks said while these websites can be helpful in matching people, the matches often are isolated and completely devoid of true community.

So he advises that if couples meet online they should join a club, church or other organization to create a common community in order to share a life together.

He said this will give the couple common ground and accountability, and diffuse some of the pressure on the significant other to fulfill relational needs.

"As isolated as we are, when we attach to that one other person, the burden upon that ... person becomes very focused and intense such that sometimes the relationship implodes," he said. "They don't have the cushion of that larger community."

Thinking about trying online dating?

Buck Black, a licensed clinical social worker with Heartland Clinic in Lafayette, said he has noticed more people meeting people online and that they are more comfortable admitting it than they were two years ago.

"I think that it is increasing simply because technology use is increasing, and people are becoming more comfortable with the technology," he said.

Black gives tips for using online dating websites safely:

* Be honest when creating an online profile of yourself. That way this will prevent any disappointment when the other person meets you.

* Don't reveal personal information online, such as place of work or home address.

* Build a relationship with the person online first. Once you feel comfortable, talk using a webcam or on the phone before meeting in person.

This can help set the stage for when you meet and help you decide if you want to meet them in person.

* When you meet, meet in a public place.

* If you have children, make sure you have an established relationship with the person you meet online before introducing him or her to your children.

* If you are not having any luck with free dating websites, try a paid site. These sites usually attract people who are more serious about looking for a relationship.

-- Taya Flores/tflores@jconline.com

ID_Code: BY-108290305

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.

Abstract (Document Summary)

Buck Black, a licensed clinical social worker with Heartland Clinic in Lafayette, said he has noticed more people meeting people online and that they are more comfortable admitting it than they were two years ago.

Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.