Confessions of a therapist: Logging on to love

The perils of cyberdating

One click away from love - or danger. Helen Skene on the ups and downs of internet dating

Internet dating! Is it an unhealthy addiction or a feel good therapy? I had woken one Saturday morning feeling a bit low and in need of uplifting. Some therapy seemed like a good idea. I cycled, went to a meditation class, swam and had a haircut, but still I felt flat and discontent.That night I sat alone. After four months as a singleton, the children at their father's and my friends busy with their own lives, I turned to the internet for solace. It is estimated that seven million singletons (half of all the singles), will log on to find love this year and more than a million of them will succeed.So how does it work? You upload a photograph of yourself, and write about your interests and life in general to create a profile. Then you can "view" other people's profiles and they can view yours. If you like the look of a person you can "wink" at them, and if you want to take it further you can e-mail or instant message.So I spent the evening searching a sea of faces and reading about those I liked the look of. My profile then received a number of viewings followed by several winks. No winks from the men I liked, I might add. I trawled through those vaguely interested in me and barbarically deleted most of them.Although there was no Mr Right that evening, my spirits had been lifted and I couldn't wait to switch on my computer the next day.For the next ten days (it could have been longer) I was glued to my computer chatting to various potentials and ignoring all other aspects of my life.A therapy client once confessed to having profiles on nine different sites! She dated one of her admirers for a year before he told her it was over. She said she had contacted him every day since and was never going to give up despite his failure to reply!So, in conclusion to whether internet dating is good therapy or unhealthy addiction, I would say the the jury is still out, and anyone thinking of joining such sites does so at their peril.  Two weeks in cyberspace was enough for this singleton!

By Helen SkeneComplements Mobile Health and Healing for Suffolk Women Telephone 01473

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