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What Are the Pros and Cons of Anonymous Dating?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

Anonymous dating has its benefits, including the ability to screen out undesirable matches without having to interact with them in real life, the opportunity to meet a wider pool of available individuals, and avoidance of social pressure from family and friends with whom dating service matches have a mutual acquaintance. On the other hand, anonymous dating has some well-established pitfalls, including issues of dating safety, misrepresentation, and fraud. For individuals who are interested in anonymous dating, setting up strong boundaries and establishing certain ground rules before going on a date may be the best way to effectively take advantage of this type of matchmaking.

For many people, anonymous dating offers them the ability to evaluate a potential partner both discreetly and at a distance. If using an online dating site, for example, an individual can review a photograph and detailed information about a person to make a decision as to whether this person might be a decent match. This sort of detached evaluation typically cannot happen when individuals are set up on a blind date or happen to meet each other in a bar or a social situation.

Stopping for a cup of coffee can be one of the least expensive blind dates.
Stopping for a cup of coffee can be one of the least expensive blind dates.

The flip side of this detachment is that it can be easy for someone to conceal information about himself or even invent an entirely new persona in the context of anonymous dating. As the individuals don't have the ability to read each other's body language, it is difficult to detect when a person is lying. In addition, if participants in an online dating service delay meeting in person, it also becomes difficult to detect inconsistencies by observing an individual's way of living, friends, and interactions with others. In worst-case scenarios, participants in these dating services may be concealing criminal backgrounds or the fact that they are already married or living with someone else.

Couples on a first date should moderate their alcohol consumption.
Couples on a first date should moderate their alcohol consumption.

One reason why many people consider anonymous dating is that dating services can bring someone into contact with a much larger group of people than they might otherwise encounter through their normal social and professional lives. In some cases, dating services may even attract people from long distances, which can increase an individual's ability to find a match. Once again, however, the fact that potential partners are detached from an individual's social circle can present challenges, particularly because neither party can verify the character of the other through mutual acquaintances. In addition, it may be difficult to integrate a new partner who is a complete outsider to someone's current social circle.

Discussion Comments


I had a horrifying experience with anonymous dating, and now, I only date people that I meet through friends. I once met a man online who seemed wonderful, but he was a psychopath in a clever disguise.

After we had been chatting for about a week, we arranged to meet at a nice restaurant. At first, the date seemed to be going very well. He appeared to be the romantic, considerate type, and he said all the right things.

When he took me home, I invited him in for some strawberry pie I had made earlier. As soon as he shut the door, he locked it, and I immediately got worried.

He pulled a rope out of his pocket and tied me to a chair. He showed me a knife and told me that he planned to slit my throat after he was done with me.

Thankfully, my brother came by, and he became concerned when I didn't answer the door. He had a key, so he came on in. Being a strong, sturdy guy, he was able to overpower my date and hold him until the police arrived.


I love being able to look at a guy's photograph before I decide to go on a date with him. I hate hurting people's feelings by telling them that I'm just not attracted to them, and this way, I don't have to do that.

I have been set up on blind dates through my friends before, and all of those guys were very ugly. I ended up having to tell them I didn't feel any chemistry, and it killed me to do that.

Though chemistry can only really be felt in person, you can tell by a photograph whether a person is your physical type or not. That gives you something to start with.

I met a guy whose photo looked promising, but I turned out to be really bored by his conversation. I met another guy whose photo was equally attractive, and I ended up falling in love with him. It all comes down to that first date, but it helps to have hope by viewing a little about the person first.


I've tried online line dating a few times with mixed results. I should say from the start that I am single right now so obviously I haven't found my soul mate online or anything.

A few of my relationships have been positive if not lasting experiences. I have met some kind smart and attractive women who are online for the same reasons that I was. I was not meeting anyone I really liked in bars or in my social circles so I decided to broaden my focus. We had good times and I'm glad I met these women, we just were not quite right for each other.

But I have also met some pretty crazy people online and have been on some dates with people who completely misrepresented themselves. The simple truth is that its easy to hide behind a profile and some people go online because they have no hope of meeting someone in person. This is not everyone, or even close to the majority, but these people are out there.


@Oceana – The chance that you will find a long distance match is one of the big cons of anonymous dating. I was already settled and happy in my new house when I met my soulmate online, and unfortunately, so was he in his home two states away.

We both had friends and family nearby, and we both loved our towns. We knew that we could be ridiculously happy together, but one of us had to move.

I decided to make that sacrifice. I moved near him, and by the end of the month, I had become so homesick that I didn't know who I was anymore. I felt as though I had lost my foundation, and I was wandering around aimlessly.

If you do date anonymously, then you must first ask yourself what you want most out of life. If staying near family is most important to you, then you should probably stick to local dating.


I met a guy online who seemed like the perfect match for me. We chatted often, and it seemed as though he could get inside of my head and say exactly what I was thinking.

I didn't see his photo until after we had been chatting for a day. When he sent me his picture, I found that I wasn't attracted to him physically at all. However, I continued chatting with him because I enjoyed it.

We lived about 2,000 miles apart, so I think we both knew it would never work. Nothing ever came of it, but it did give me faith in anonymous dating.


I am too paranoid to ever use anonymous dating again. After having a couple bad experiences, I will stick to the old fashioned way of dating.

My bad experiences have not been creepy or anything like that, just that people do not accurately describe who they are.

When you read their profile and interact with them online, they sound great. When you actually meet them and spend a little time with them, you wonder what in the world you were thinking to even agree to meet them in the first place.

I feel I have wasted too much time trying to find decent dates this way. I would rather meet people myself or rely on the acquaintance of a good friend I know and trust instead of finding someone anonymously.


I think that anonymous dating through an online dating site is a good way to go. There will always be the people who are not honest and upfront, but if you communicate with them very long, you can usually weed them out pretty fast.

That is what I like about this type of dating. You don't have to let someone know where you live, work, etc until you feel confident.

The first few times I actually meet someone is always in a public place. I am very cautious about this, and up to this point have not had any bad experiences.

For me this is so much better than trying to find someone at a bar or somewhere else. Most people are trying to do the same thing you are, and I have been able to date some interesting people this way that I would have never met otherwise.


All of the online dating sites have certainly made anonymous dating something that is much easier to do than it used to be.

I know several couples who met this way, and are still together today. It never ceases to surprise me who uses this type of anonymous dating.

I was at a function just the other day, when a couple in their 80's were getting married. They had met through an online dating site. When they met they lived in different states, but she grew up in the state where he currently lives, so it isn't like it was totally foreign to her.

If I am ever in the situation where I want to date again, I don't know if I would have the courage to use anonymous dating or not.

The closest I ever got to it was going on a blind date with a friend of a friend. That didn't turn out to be a very good match, and I have never been on a blind date since then.

When people put a profile on an online dating site, they can portray themselves to be anything they want to be. I think that is what scares me more than anything.


@wander - I have looked at a lot of dating ads over the past few years and let me tell you, finding positive singles who are upfront about what they want is a challenge. I still think that people play games, and it doesn't matter if they are anonymous or not. While they may be more honest with whether they want a fling or not, it can still be tough to get them to spill their motivations for being in a relationship.

I was dating a banker anonymously and he didn't tell me he was separated, just that he was looking for a partner. I think when it comes to safe dating, the only way to really get to know someone is in person and by using your instincts.


Does anyone feel that computer dating actually makes people more honest abou their wants and needs?

From what I have found through a period of friends with benefits dating is that people are far more likely to tell you how it is when they remain anonymous. While people want to make a good impression on their online profiles they are also interested in getting what they want.

I have no problem with fulfilling a quest dating, as long as people tell me what they want up from. If they want a family man, that's not me, and we can both move on happier that we haven't wasted our time.


There is a lot to be said about the benefits of anonymous dating when you are sick of the bar scene and getting set up through friends. When I was tired of all the old avenues I starting hitting the dating websites and was surprised at how easy it was to find free dating sites that let me talk to people just by putting up a profile.

Dating for free online can be quite fun if you are aware that what is on most people's profiles is a bit fluffed to make them look better. I think getting to know someone through e-mail and the phone is a great way to weed out those who don't share your interests. Why waste time dating people who you have nothing in common with?

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    • Stopping for a cup of coffee can be one of the least expensive blind dates.
      Stopping for a cup of coffee can be one of the least expensive blind dates.
    • Couples on a first date should moderate their alcohol consumption.
      By: vgstudio
      Couples on a first date should moderate their alcohol consumption.
    • Blind dates often occur in public venues, such as theaters.
      By: adam121
      Blind dates often occur in public venues, such as theaters.
    • Rules about affection should be outlined prior to an anonymous date.
      By: berc
      Rules about affection should be outlined prior to an anonymous date.
    • Anonymous dating may require spending more time to get to know the other person.
      By: Joshua Resnick
      Anonymous dating may require spending more time to get to know the other person.