Online Dating: Healthy or Unhealthy?

Psychologist Weighs in on Meeting People Online

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If you went out for dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day, chances are, the couple sitting next to you met online.

That’s because more than half of Americans have found their significant other through a dating website.

But is it the best place to look for love?

When it comes to your pet, picking up on their wants and needs is pretty simple.

But love between humans can sometimes be a doggone mystery.

But when you know what you want, the perfect place to solve it might be online.

“I could just say, ‘This is what I’m looking for. Nothing personal if it doesn’t match up,'” said Kelly Eng, who met her husband Johnny online.

“If I’m just looking for somebody to just go out with and hang out with occasionally, you can find it there. If I’m looking for a serious relationship, you could find it there,” said Johnny.

The couple has to thank for bringing them together and has no shame in admitting it.

“I don’t think it’s weird at all to meet people online because we live our lives online right now,” said Kelly.

Dr. David Plude is the owner of Arrowhead Psychological Clinic in Duluth and a big supporter of online dating.

“I think it’s one more option that people have to get out there and meet people,” he said. “I think people are relationally driven and this is just another way to connect, and it’s the beginning. I think that’s the healthiest way is to use this to get out there and meet some people.”

According to Dr. Plude, ten years ago, only one percent of couples met in cyberspace.

“Things are changing. There are more tools out there and there are these opportunities,” he said.

But is it the best way to start something?

If you’re shy, Dr. Plude says why not?

“It could be kind of safer. It’s a big leap of faith, really, to just kind of walk up to someone and say, ‘Hey, you seem neat,’ you know, ‘Who are ya? Tell me about yourself,'” said Dr. Plude.

That begs the question: does meeting people organically even happen these days or has technology officially taken over our lives?

“I do think there’s still traditional kind of offline dating. Friends hooking up friends, and people that you bump into at work or on the volleyball court or on the ski hill, it does happen, but not as much as it used to,” said Dr. Plude.

Either way, Dr. Plude says if you’re connecting online taking that next step is key in really starting something.

“Get out there in the real world so you can get to know them and can see all the non-verbal cues and all these other things that make human interaction rewarding,” he said.

For Kelly Eng, that was the hardest part.

“If you’re going to meet face to face you have to be able to converse and let go of some of those fears,” she said.

A world dominated by digital dating can be overwhelming.

But with 40 million Americans logging on for love, the Eng’s say why not?

You might just find what you’re looking for.

“Be vigilant, but yet, be open minded. Give it a try. Be patient,” said Johnny.

Think you’ll find love at the bar? According to, only nine percent of women and two percent of men say they’ve found a relationship at a bar or club.

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