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  • Writer's pictureDr. Speshal Walker Gautier a.k.a. Dr. Spesh

Sis, Let’s talk online dating.

Updated: Oct 25, 2020

Thanks to technology we now have nearly everything at our fingertips. We are living in an age where you can decide on tonight’s takeout and your potential soulmate with the click of a button. With the rise of online dating, people are no longer limited to those they naturally cross paths with. So let’s talk online dating as a Black woman.

While some are still leery about online dating, statistics show that people of various ages and backgrounds have given it a try. According to a recent Pew Research Survey, Black people were in the lead among U.S. adults who have tried online dating in comparison to other racial/ethnic groups surveyed. Results showed that nearly a third had tried dating apps/sites with over 10% having married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met online. So if you are looking for love why not widen your dating pool and let some of these computer algorithms do some of the legwork? Not to mention, staying safe during COVID has thrown a wrench into many of our social lives. This is not an online dating advertisement, more like a pitch for being open, flexible, and intentional when it comes to love.

Online dating can allow you to screen people before investing your time. Certainly, not everyone is forthcoming on their dating profile, but you may be able to identify some red flags to help you filter out people based on their profiles and/or the messages they send to you. Be sure to follow safety guidelines when using dating apps/sites. Unfortunately, online dating like other aspects of life can come with unique challenges for Black women. It can be an avenue for exotification and fetishizing of Black women. Additionally, racial biases against Black people can show up in dating and dating preferences, another disappointing reality of looking for love while Black. So if you are considering online dating, ask around and check out recommendations from other Black women.

Despite the drawbacks of online dating, there are some people genuinely looking for love and romance using dating sites. Black people are among those meeting and finding love via online dating. As nice as it would be for the love of your life to show up on your doorstep, chances are that’s not the case for most people. Dating involves intentionally putting yourself out there and acknowledging that you are looking for love. Dating sites might just be one more way of doing that. Think about what’s important to you in a partner and what are your deal-breakers. I recommend apps/sites that provide sufficient information on people’s profiles to help you make decisions about who to engage with, rather than those which are primarily photo-focused. Take your time and converse with people who interest you before deciding whether to meet in person. Have some phone conversations, video chats, etc. While virtual interactions are not quite the same as physically hanging out, COVID has highlighted that it is indeed possible to make deep connections using technology. Take it from a therapist working with people across a computer screen daily, something I had never imagined when I started out. So, remind yourself that even during a pandemic people are still looking for love and connection. Now go snuggle up in your favorite couch attire and peruse your dating prospects from your living room, Sis.

What dating/apps have you tried? Which ones would you recommend to other Black women? Share with

*Dr. Spesh is an Atlanta based Clinical Psychologist, blogger, and diversity consultant.*

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