Is our online dating success being ruined by our inability to distinguish the difference between online activities such as shopping for goods and finding a partner?
With the stigma that used to be attached to online dating all but gone it is now considered a legitimate way to meet new people, but is it effective? These days everybody seems to know at least somebody that has met their partner online and gone on to have a successful long term relationship, in some cases even marry. With online dating having become so normalised however, is it still an effective way for people seriously looking for relationships to meet or is it flooded with people looking for an convenient way to make a low effort connection? Do we end up with superficial relationships not built for long term as a result?
Previously, couples that met online would often agree on a good cover story in order to hide that fact; these days however, people are more willing to admit to having an online dating profile and to openly discuss their online dating activity. We do almost everything else online, shop for everything from white goods to sports shoes, rent movies, pay bills, find a place to live, why not meet a new partner? The problem is that when we do these other things we often shop around and compare, expect minimum inconvenience and to have most – if not all – of the criteria on our predetermined wish list met, and that attitude is creeping into online dating.
Prior to the emergence of online dating meeting people was not so easy and we often met through mutual friends and common activities which allowed a slower relationship to build and with greater accountability attached. We got to know the person, the good and the bad, before launching into a relationship with them, so we were more willing to overlook faults and more likely to ride out the rough patches and find compromise through the ‘getting to know you’ period.
Now that we shop online for a mate, however, we spend more time compiling wish lists of physical and character traits and trying to find a profile that ticks all the boxes. We picture the ideal and a great amount of hope and expectation goes into those early meetings, quite often leading to disappointment after a few dates when the gloss wears off and the reality of dealing with a real, faulted human being sets in. At the first sign of conflict do we spend the effort to work out how to reach a compromise? No, we go back online to find a more suitable match.
And so it continues.
I believe there is definitely potential to meet someone online and develop a wonderful and meaningful relationship as a result. What is needed to achieve that is for us to closely manage our expectations and to never forget that the people we are meeting are just that, real people. Perhaps if we slow things down and allow time to get to know each other in a more traditional ‘offline’ kind of way then maybe the sort of genuine love that comes with a realistic amount of tolerance and acceptance can have an better opportunity to blossom.
A very big thank you to you if you participated in the poll and your comments on this topic are very welcome.