BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: UK  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 25 November, 2002, 09:39 GMT
Internet dating 'empowers women'
Steve and Suesie Glagow, who met and married in 2000
Not all online romances are as happy as the Glasgows

Internet experts believe online dating can be more open and liberating - a fillip for women in the battle of the sexes.
Many modern women need no Dutch courage to talk frankly to someone they find attractive.

But for those that do, the web may provide them with a useful confidence boost, according to psychologists.


As a woman you are more confident and you can come across as sharp and witty

Paula Blewett
Internet dater
Dr Petra Boynton, sex editor of Men's Health, said: "People who feel uncomfortable can actually be much more up front doing this, and ask direct questions.

"A lot of women say they find it quite empowering because they can ask things, demand things and flirt.

"For instance, many women find it hard to say 'I don't want to see you again' but online they can.

"So it can be used just to improve your confidence outside of the internet."

Fear of rejection

She said the rapport built up by chatting online can be more meaningful than a judgement based on looks.

Shy men and women can find it easier to speak through a keyboard than face to face, because the fear of rejection is reduced.

Paula Blewett, who met her boyfriend Douglas online, added: "As a woman you are more confident and you can come across as sharp and witty because it's not a rapid response conversation, like in a bar.

"Everyone can sound like a raconteur on the internet."

Computer user
The anonymity of the internet can be abused
Professor Helen Petrie, of City University, London, said: "There are people who lack interpersonal social skills and would find it very difficult to meet people in bars.

"They may find it easy to meet in an internet room, but they still have the problem of meeting them face to face and if they have gone too far with the internet relationship, they may find that traumatic."

Online dating can also allow people to ask questions they may usually find awkward.

Before Suesie Glagow, 44, met husband Steve online, she made clear on her internet profile that she was looking for someone who wanted children.

'My CV'

She said: "If you were dating, you would need to let some time go by before you approached that kind of thing.

"But on the internet, you can say 'This is who I am, this is my CV and you don't need to make excuses for it."


There's a danger of feeling like you know someone, just because you're writing to them

Suesie Glagow
Graham Freeman, who married wife Deb in 2000, two years after making contact online, said: "You're in complete control.

The person cannot read your body language, so if you're a bit cautious and don't want to jump in feet first, you don't have to."

But this freedom can be double-edged and the keyboard, on the one hand a mask, can also make the user vulnerable.

Suesie added: "You need to be careful because it gives you that liberation and there's a danger of feeling like you know someone, just because you're writing to them, which is usually a personal thing to do.

"It is empowering, but you need to remember this is still a stranger."

Dating tips
Don't divulge personal details
Tell a friend if you are meeting up
Meet in a public place
Leave if you feel uncomfortable
Use the net as one option - don't be consumed by it
The net's seduction was demonstrated by a BBC Radio 5 Live investigation in August which found six women had fallen in love with one man online.

Prof Petrie said people can be drawn into the web and may find sometimes their interest is misinterpreted.

She added: "I've heard of some relationships breaking down because of people meeting others on the internet.

"But I think that's as likely to happen in the office or the pub or whatever."

See also:

25 Nov 02 | UK
23 May 02 | England
14 Feb 01 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more UK stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes