First of all, let’s just confirm that online dating is unnatural. It certainly is. I believe what most people mean by “unnatural” is that you are not physically present to the person. The in-person experience has not yet taken place as it usually would under “natural” conditions. In person, you interact with all the senses. You talk to each other, you look into the person’s eyes, you can shake their hand in an introduction, and you can even smell yourself. In-person experience provides very important non-verbal communication, which constitutes the majority of communication. There is the ability to read body language. Finally, there is chemistry; that aspect of attraction which is part of the mystery of love in the desire for God.
There are some very natural things about online dating that people miss because they are too concerned about what is unnatural about it. Online dating is not dating at all. Dating is not the right term. Dating is a reality in person. Period. No one is dating someone who interacts online. You are simply interacting with another person.
Online dating is first and foremost a networking tool. It is a means to an end. It is a vehicle that is temporary and transient in order to get you from one place to another. If you want to date you have to be in person.
Using the site as a tool to help yourself achieve your goal is the natural part of online dating. It is natural to want to satisfy a desire. It is also natural to enter environments that offer an achievable chance to achieve this goal. For a Catholic person who wants to find their future spouse, it is natural to register on a Catholic dating site where there are other people like her. Not only is it natural to join an online dating site, it is also smart. Taking every opportunity that God can use to help us reach our goal of meeting our future spouse is wise and proactive.
What’s unnatural is when people only write to each other for extended periods of time and resist or procrastinate organizing in-person meetings. The purpose of the dating site is to network and find those you want to meet in person, that is, when you find out if this is someone with whom you can ultimately grow in friendship and love. Beware of those who never seem to be interested in talking about a face-to-face date.