Online love case study: The pros of online dating are that you feel much more secure in yourself, not as vulnerable

Emily Wood, 28, and Rob Hall, both from London

Emily "After a host of unsuccessful relationships that began offline, I began to realise that although I often met people that I got on well with, we didn't share the same values, and that created problems further down the line.

I studied psychology at university and was really interested in dating; what brought people together and kept them together. I knew that eHarmony had been started by a relationship psychologist and that the site had been well researched, so I wanted to see if it worked. I was on eHarmony for about four weeks before I met Rob, only going on one date apart from him. That date was a bit of a disaster, I can see why we were matched, but I think this guy had been on the site for so long that he probably just checked all the boxes and would therefore have matched with almost anyone.

I would say that the pros of online dating are that you feel much more secure in yourself, not as vulnerable. Yes everyone is judging each other, but you have as much power in the process as the next person. You can also reject people and they can reject you behind a sort of smoke screen, so it's less awkward than real life rejection, you don't have to see their responses. I'm sure there are plenty of cons to online dating, but I met my future husband that way, so I'm a bit biased. Admittedly, there are a lot of people on there who just want a booty call, which is fine, if that's what you're looking for.

I genuinely don't believe I would have been able to find someone without the help of the internet, I now know that I was looking for the wrong people when dating offline. I was looking for the same type of person all the time and then wondering why it didn't work out. I didn't know how to find the kind of person I needed." Rob "After moving to London for a new job I worked very much independently in my region, so didn't have many colleagues or peers who I might have been able to date. I enjoyed going out with friends to bars and clubs and trying to meet girls. However, I soon found that it was almost impossible to find someone in a loud, noisy bar or club who had similar interests to myself and were compatible for a long term relationship. I did go on a number of dates with friends of friends, but again could not find anyone who was a good long term match.

I turned to online dating because of marketing, on TV, billboards, newspapers etc. which were all over London. It can be quite awkward and nerve wracking when you first start online dating and meet people for the first time, but after a while you become quite comfortable with it. And actually, because you've already had a bit of chat on email, texts or calls beforehand you know the person a bit more than if they were a blind date and sometimes more than if you'd met them in a club.

You also know you're at least going to have some general things in common because you've seen their profile and had conversations, so will always have some common ground to talk about, even if you're not made for each other. I've only had one bad online date, out of quite a few, where I didn't get on with the girl and made an excuse to leave early.

I don't believe that 'shopping' online for a partner reduces the value of the relationship, because if you're single and looking then you're 'shopping' through other methods all the time. It's just another means of meeting someone that is probably safer and with a higher success rate than bars or clubs. I definitely believe that online dating has become a fashionable way to meet people, especially in London and larger cities which are densely populated, and as with most things it seems as though the large cities are where the trends start.

I was quite embarrassed when talking about my online dating experiences at first, but now that I am an 'online dating success story' I'm proud to say how I met Emily. Emily and I are now very happily engaged and I would urge anyone who is looking for a partner to stop moaning about being single and give it a go. It can take a bit of time to find the right one, but this gives you a chance to have a fun a few dates, what have you got to lose?"

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