Types Of Online Dating

Updated January 9, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Online dating can come in many forms. Dating websites, relationship-focused websites, niche dating sites, meet-ups, smartphone apps, and social media groups may be some of the most common. When meeting up with someone from an online dating website or app in person, it can be crucial to exercise caution by meeting in a public place and potentially speaking over a video call first. If you find yourself feeling stressed or anxious when it comes to dating, you may wish to consider working with a therapist online to gain confidence and alleviate symptoms of stress.

Experiencing Stress Or Anxiety About Dating?

Types Of Online Dating

There can be many types of online dating available, depending on what you’re looking to get out of the experience.

Online Dating Websites

There are numerous websites with a database of people who are interested in finding others to date online. On these websites, you can often peruse different profiles or fill out a quiz that connects you with others with whom you’re likely to be compatible. Once you’ve made connections, you may reach out to them, or vice versa. These sites are generally for more casual daters who may or may not be looking for a serious long-term relationship or a partner to marry.

In many cases, there is a free trial period before you must sign up for a membership. This can give you the opportunity to try out the site and see if it’s a good fit for you before making a financial investment.

Relationship Websites

On relationship-focused websites, you will likely complete a lengthy questionnaire about your personality, hobbies, interests, desired characteristics in a partner, where you live, whether you are willing to relocate, and more. The site may then compare your responses to the responses of others and provide you with a list of potential matches. You can contact these people if you are interested in pursuing a relationship with them. Relationship websites are generally intended for those who are looking for a long-term partner.

Relationship websites can be a great option if you’d prefer to have some personal space while getting to know another person online. Many times, there is a free trial period before you must sign up for a membership. On most relationship sites, you may only have reach to the profiles of the people you are matched with; you may not be able to peruse other profiles.

Niche Dating Sites

Niche dating sites are typically focused on certain characteristics or interests, such as particular religions, hobbies, age ranges, and more. Many of these sites have been introduced recently, so it’s likely you’ll be able to find one that resonates with you. A benefit to niche dating sites can be knowing that you have at least one very important thing in common with others who have profiles on the site.


Online groups called meet-ups may allow you to sign up depending on your interests. Once you sign up for these groups, you may receive messages regarding when the groups have meet-ups. You can then comment on whether you will be attending. Meet-ups may include various social outings, sports events, spirituality or religion-based happenings, day trips, and more. 

They can be a good way to meet others in a relaxed atmosphere in person while being involved with an activity you love. Conversations may be easier because you’ll automatically have something in common, and the event at hand can provide easy conversation topics.

These groups are usually free to join, but there may be a fee for various activities. If your social circle is small, or if you are new to a community, this may be the perfect fit for you. Additionally, suppose you’d prefer to use technology to find opportunities to meet others in person rather than communicating via the internet. In that case, meet-ups can be an excellent way to do so.

Smartphone Apps

A multitude of smartphone apps may be available for various dating preferences, but most tend to focus on physical appearance and some basic details, such as your name and a brief bio. Often, smartphone dating apps are more popular with younger audiences and frequently focus on casual rather than long-term dating. A potential benefit to these apps is that they usually result in more immediate matches and responses than traditional dating websites.

Social Media Groups

Many social media platforms have personal groups that you can join, and they can be great places to meet like-minded people. You may need to answer some questions before you are approved to be in the group. In addition, the group administrator usually oversees online interactions and has the last say about what can and cannot be posted. Still, social media groups can be good starting points for finding others that share your interests.

Meeting With An Online Date In Person

It can be important to take precautions if you decide to meet in person with someone you initially met online. It is usually safest to meet up in a public location and to let friends or family know about your plans. While many people online are genuinely looking for relationships, it can be possible for a person to pretend to be someone else online or to have nefarious intentions. Therefore, it is generally better to avoid meeting in compartmentalized.

You may also wish to video chat with your date before meeting up in person. This can eliminate any fears that they may not be the person they are portraying themselves as online. In addition, it can be wise not to rely on your date for transportation to or from your meeting place.

Experiencing Stress Or Anxiety About Dating?

Online Therapy Can Help With Dating Anxiety

Dating anxiety can be quite common, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy to manage. If you experience dating anxiety, you may benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional to address these feelings and discover strategies to cope with them. Visiting a new therapist’s office can also be a source of anxiety for some people, but speaking with a therapist online instead of in person may alleviate some of that anxiety. Online therapy platforms often make it simple to connect with a therapist from anywhere you have an internet connection.

As this study explains, online therapy can be as effective as traditional therapy for various mental health disorders and concerns, particularly anxiety and the effects of stress. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for the help you deserve if you believe you’d benefit from working with a professional to alleviate dating anxiety.


Meet-ups, social media groups, relationship-focused websites, online dating sites, niche dating sites, and smartphone apps can all be types of online dating. If you choose to meet with someone from a dating site in person, it can be wise to let family and friends know about your plans and meet in a public location. You might also confirm that your date is who they say they are by speaking with them through a video call before meeting in person. If you experience a lot of anxiety or stress regarding dating, you may benefit from online therapy, which can teach you methods of working through and managing challenging thoughts and feelings.

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