Online dating: have you tried it? You wouldn’t be the first. By the end of 2015, dating sites in the US are expected to make $1.17 billion and dating apps are expected to make $628.8 million. Our busy lifestyles combined with our increased use of smart mobile devices seems to be the golden formula for dating sites and apps. There are loads of different online dating platforms available, with many different target audiences. Whether you are plus sized or skinny, straight or gay, a teenager or a senior, looking for a spouse or looking for an affair: there is a possibility for you to find your future partner online.
One of my favorite TV-shows is ‘The Undateables’, which was aired on TLC. This show lets you take a look into the lives of mentally and physically disabled people who are trying to find real love. The participants have to create an online profile on a dating platform and can then be matched with other users of the platform. Although some dates are painful to watch, there are also many success stories. I can imagine that dating for mentally and physically disabled people can be hard, but through the use of online dating agencies they find someone to grow old with.
‘The Undateables’ is the opposite of one of my other favorite TV-shows: ‘Catfish’. This MTV show portrays the stories of people who have fallen in love online, but they have never seen the person who they have been in contact with. They aim to set up a meeting with their online love with the help of the TV-show. When it is finally time to meet their online crush, the participants are almost always
disappointed. I have seen people breaking down because their love for many years turned out to be someone totally different. There have been cases of identity or picture theft, revenge plots or even gender swaps.
Comparing these TV-shows makes me realize that there are two sides to online dating. How does technology interfere with relationships? Here are a few pros and cons of online dating:
Pro: you know what to expect
Online dating platforms will give you the opportunity to fill out all your interests, needs and wants. You will be matched according to these preferences, so you will not be in for any surprises. If you do still have doubts about the person you will go on a date with, you can just ask a question to that person online.
Con: you will keep dating the same type
One major flaw of online dating services is that they match you with someone who fits a certain profile. It is good to have some things in common with someone, but it is really about complementing each other. It might be that you are not a good match with someone who fits your preferred profile, and that you are missing out on other great dates.
Pro: the choice is yours
In the U.S., more than 49 million people have tried online dating. This means you will have a lot of people to choose from when you are trying to find love on the Internet. All the information you need about the person of your interest is right in front of you. Way easier than trying to chat someone up in a bar without having any knowledge on that person, right?
Con: it can be too much
Making choices and being committed can actually be harder when there are a lot of options to choose from. 52% of online dating site members are male and 48% are female. These inequal numbers can result into women being overwhelmed with messages from guys. This can affect their capabilities of a proper selection. Furthermore, 10% of sex offenders use online dating to meet people. When you have too much choice and you are therefore not able to make clear choices, your date could potentially be dangerous.
Pro: first dates will be easier
You know that you were matched according to your profiles, which means it will be easier for both you and your date to have a flowing conversation. You have common interests, careers, needs, wants etc. You can probably spend your whole first date trying to find out why you were matched. In case of an awkward silence you can resort to the obvious common interest: online dating.
Con: you might have the wrong information
The concept of hyperpersonal communication suggests that senders and receivers of messages tend to take part in the process of selective-self presentation. This means that people who portray themselves online can spend more time on idealizing themselves and their message, just like the receiver has more time to internalize the message that was sent. The sender can basically make its life seem amazing online, while this might not correspond with reality. When you become a member of an online dating community, you should take this fact into account.
Whether you prefer offline or online dating strategies, the goal is to find real love. Because in the end, love is all you need.
What are your thoughts on online dating? Do you have any experiences that you would like to share with us? Share your thoughts in the comments!