The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Columnist: Computer dating lies

Aaron Vehling

I am a firm believer in the conventional way to meet someone – in person. But some people, like Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the founder of eharmony.com, seem to think alternative means are the way to meet your soul mate.

I heard testimonials on the radio about eharmony.com, and I became interested in why people were meeting people who they end up marrying through their computer screens.

According to eharmony.com, couples who have met there are happier and consider their relationships to be better than ones they have had with people they’ve met elsewhere. Eharmony couples also think their relationships are perfect, while non-eharmony couples are six times more likely to get on each others’ nerves.

I don’t know many normal, balanced couples who don’t get on each others’ nerves at some point. That would be an unhealthy relationship if you never disagreed on anything or bothered each other.

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In today’s busy society, I guess we should just fill out a survey and let the computer find our next partner.

I logged on to the Web site and filled out my own free personality profile to supposedly “fall in love for all the right reasons,” as the Web site states.

The beginning of the profile asked for basic demographic information and then launched into a detailed assessment of my background and personality, which got a little repetitious at times.

Between debating if I thought church is a good place to meet people or whether I enjoy hanging out with people, I became increasingly disturbed by the criteria this profile used and how this could possibly help me meet someone.

When finished with the profile, you have the option to see if you have any matches. After all of the time and consideration spent on my profile, I did have one match.

This would be really discouraging to someone actually looking because I had very little in common with this man except that we live in the same area and we are the same age.

Let’s just say the three things I am most thankful for are not my house, my car and beer. These were not my matches and neither was he.

After I was finished, I didn’t even feel like I knew enough about this man to start talking to him, and I wouldn’t have taken the risk to meet him in person.

These sites are not safe because you really don’t know who you’re meeting and they could be totally wrong for you. This could force you back to your computer screen and discourage you from that, and without the social skills to try and meet someone in person.

Or it could be worse, and you could meet someone you think you know, but this person could have completely lied to you. He or she could be married or cheating on you with someone else on the Internet. It is much easier to lie to a computer screen than a person.

I am not totally against using the Internet to meet people, especially when you are in a new place and don’t know many people; just be safe when you do. It’ll be worth it to pay for a background check or have a friend go along on a date.

Try datesmart.com; it offers criteria about observing behavior about a potential partner and what to look out for. Or whoisshe.com, which offers various levels of background checks for a price. If you really want to be sure, it would be worth it.

But the best advice I can give rather than even trying Internet dating is to go with conventional ways of meeting people. Go out and do things you like to do. Meeting someone you are compatible with could happen when, or even where, you least expect it.

If you do meet someone on the Internet, treat this person like someone you just met in person, not on the Internet. Forget what you read in the profile and start from scratch.

Just remember, not every instance is going to end up how Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan did in “You’ve Got Mail.”

Zillmer is a senior print journalism major and a copy editor of The Spectator.

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Columnist: Computer dating lies