If you’re getting back into the dating game after a long time, you might notice that there are more options on dating apps than in real life.
In-person interactions have higher stakes and don’t happen often enough, making dating sites far more lucrative. When you decide to make a profile on one of these sites, you have to start with your name.
In this article, we will go over whether you should use your real name on dating sites or not, alongside the respective advantages of each option. By the end of this post, you’ll know how dating sites affect your reputation and whether it is acceptable to use an alternative name.
Should I Use My Real Name On Dating Sites?
When it comes to online dating, using your real name on dating sites that you trust is important.
This is especially true in today’s digital age where a background check is becoming increasingly common for someone you might potentially want to go on a date with. By using your real name, you can avoid raising any red flags that might come with using an alternative name.
While there may be some advantages to using a made-up name, it’s important to weigh the potential drawbacks as well. In the end, the decision is yours, but many people choose to use their real names on dating sites because they believe the benefits outweigh any potential risks.
As we know today, people are running background checks on their dating partners, and using a fake name can make it harder to verify your identity or potentially shows there is something to hide.
It is still possible to use a made-up name on an online dating platform. And there are advantages to it, but it is up to you to decide if they are worth the drawbacks. Most people use their real names on dating sites because, for them, the pros of using their real names outweigh the cons of using made-up ones.
Pros Of Using Your Real Name
In this section, we will go over the advantages of using your real name on dating sites. These pros might not be equally valid for everyone, so you have to factor in your context and situation as well.
A Deeper Bond Of Trust
The greatest advantage of using your real name when dating online is that you don’t have to repair the damage caused by using a fake name. After all, the first impression is the last. And if their first impression is that you are someone else, and you have to walk it back to your actual name, your potential partner will keep wondering what else you faked.
Leverage External Achievements
From your job to the volunteer work you do, anything that is public in the cyber world can help you land dates if you use your real name. People can look you up by name, and if there are positive things about you online, you might get more dates. From your LinkedIn profile to your Twitter handle, anything can pop up online.
And if your real-world reputation can land you more dates, then you might as well use your real name. If you use a fake name and your potential date looks it up, they might find a serial killer story!
It Isn’t Awkward When Familiars See It
If you get “caught” on a dating site by a co-worker or a friend, you don’t have to explain why your name is different on the site. Using online dating platforms has become the norm, so explaining why you are on a dating site isn’t even necessary.
But if you’re using a fake name, you might get approached and asked about your dating profile.
Cons Of Using Your Real Name
Now that we have gone over the advantages of using your real name, let’s look at the downsides. Some people still use anonymous handles and made-up names for their online dating profiles, so there is a rationale for this exercise.
In this section, we will break down the contextual disadvantages of using a real name on a dating site.
Easier For Stalkers To Follow You
Online stalking and parasocial relationships go hand in hand. If you match with someone online and don’t vibe with them, you might decide to cut off contact on the dating site. All dating sites have the option to block people.
But if the same person looks you up online and finds your socials, they might stalk you without your knowledge. In extreme cases, you might get harassed with repetitive messages.
In some professions, conservative thought prevails to the point where even casual dating is frowned upon. Different dating websites have different tiers of search engine discovery. Some of them will place your public profile on the first page of Google for specific keywords.
The more unique your name is, the more likely it is that your online dating profile will appear when someone looks you up online. This can be a red flag for corporate recruiters who don’t want their management-tier employees showing up on such sites. Teachers, academics, doctors, and lawyers might also be judged on these unfair standards.
In some traditions, people are expected to meet in real life through friends and family. While online dating is becoming the norm, it is still not universally accepted. In certain third-world countries, teenagers aren’t allowed to date at all.
They have to resort to not just fake names but random pictures in the hopes of connecting with people they like. While things are not as strict even in conservative cultures in the US, online dating is still judged in small towns, religious households, and certain families.
If you belong to a family that might judge you for being on a dating site or you have a social circle that will not understand why you date online, you might not want to use your real name.
Is It Acceptable To Use A Different Name On Dating Sites?
It is acceptable to use a different name on a dating site, especially if you’re upfront about it early on. Many people choose not to use their real names to avoid stalkers finding their profiles after being unmatched or blocked.
However, it is not acceptable to maintain your fake name in private conversations with someone you ask out on a date. You should disclose your real name to the person you’re going to meet because you shouldn’t be meeting anyone you don’t trust enough to know your real name.
Generally, using one’s real first name while omitting the last name gets rid of the stalking issue. Since most dating platforms automatically hide the last name, using made-up names is becoming less popular and, consequently, less acceptable.
There are very few contexts where it makes sense to use an alternative name. Here is when you can understandably use an alternative name:
- You’re dating online as a teenager – Teenagers have to be extra-cautious about their safety and online exposure, especially on dating sites. To maintain your right to disconnect from anyone who gives you the creeps, you should use an alternative name. That way, they can’t find your Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.
- Your job or social relationships might be at risk – Teenagers aren’t the only ones who need to be cautious online. If being on a dating site affects your chances of employment or alienates you from your friend group or family, you might not want to use your actual name when dating online.
- You are easy to find online with your first name – Finally, you can use an alternative name if you’re very easy to find online. If your first name is so unique that you pop up with a simple search, you might want to use a name that is entirely different from your actual one.
How To Use An Alternative Name On A Dating Site
The best way to use an alternative name when dating online is to use your pet’s name as your profile name. That way, it is easier to introduce your real name down the line without seeming like you faked anything, to begin with.
You can also use the “disclaimer in bio” strategy. By mentioning “real picture but not my real name” in your bio, you get rid of the need to tell people individually that your name on the site isn’t real. Moreover, it can make people curious, leading to more conversations. If anyone’s wondering how they can start a conversation with you, they can text you, “So, what’s your real name?”
Will Being On A Dating App Affect My Reputation?
For some people, using their real names isn’t about what they can and cannot do. It’s about how they will appear. You might be worried that you will appear a certain way if you are on a dating app. This might be because of how these apps were judged when they first became available.
Being on a dating app will affect your reputation only if the specific app is controversial or has negative connotations. Some dating apps are known for being fling-friendly, so if you don’t have a reputation for having flings, you might want to stay away from them.
However, there are plenty of mainstream dating apps that are considered normal. Being on them doesn’t affect your reputation as much.
Tinder is the biggest dating app in the world and has embraced flings. You might get judged for being on it, but since it is quite mainstream, people don’t assume everyone on the app is there just for a fling. If you want to guard your reputation, it is better to seek out dating apps for long-term dating and relationships, but only if you want a long-term relationship.
Dating apps and online dating sites have become a mainstream way of meeting potential partners. Because of this shift in cultural adoption, being on dating apps is not as stigmatized anymore.
You can use your real name on dating sites without getting judged harshly. Of course, exceptions exist, and if your job or social relationships are at risk or you want to avoid online stalkers, you might use your pet name instead of your real name when making a dating profile.