Online Dating—Does It Really Work?

Posted by on Jan 15, 2020 in Couples Counseling For One | Comments Off on Online Dating—Does It Really Work?

It’s been 25 years since started the first online dating site in 1995. Now, according to Forbes, there are about 2,500 dating sites available in the United States, with more being added every year.  One of the big advantages of online dating is that is less daunting than meeting people in other ways. It takes much less time and energy to swipe left or right than it does to meet potential partners in real life. But does online dating really work?  

Acceptance vs. Reality

Despite the widespread acceptance and popularity of online dating, the odds are that it’s still doesn’t compare to meeting someone offline. In fact, only 20% of those currently in committed relationships actually met online. Also, just 5% of marriages involve couples who met thanks to a website.  

A study recently conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that relationships that started online were 20% more likely to end within a year than those that began in other ways. Even more startling, married couples who met through online dating were three times more likely to end in divorce than marriages where partners met through more traditional means.

Clearly, the data shows that meeting someone on the Internet doesn’t guarantee a successful relationship; however, there are still many couples who do meet online and go on to have happy successful relationships. What then can people do who want to have on-line relationship success?

Tips for Improving Your Odds with Online Dating

Here are both some pitfalls of online dating and some tips for improving your chances of beating the odds.

Increased Risk of Deception

The potential for deception is always a risk in any relationship but deception seems to be more prevalent with online dating than when people meet face-to-face. Most people who lie in their dating profiles do so to make themselves more attractive to potential partners, such as lying about their age or how much money they make. But there are also some people who lie to take advantage of others or promote scams.

Online Dating Tip #1:  If you are pursuing online dating, beware of those who are not honest with the details of who they are. Proceed with caution. If someone hesitates to meet you in-person or wants critical personal information such as your financial data, run! Trust your gut, even if you can’t verbalize it.

Overemphasis on Physical Appearance

If we don’t think that a person is attractive, then we are not very likely to get together with them. With online dating, you get some pictures and a brief profile; however, there’s more to someone than just their looks. When you meet someone in the real world, you often have the chance to get to know them through interactions from work or social groups. This helps you get a better picture of who someone is and to look past their appearance to who they truly are.

Online Dating Tip #2:  Expand the “type” of person you are searching for, especially if you are working with very limited parameters. Remember that real connections are made when you get to know someone and see their true character.

People Who Practice Online Dating Tend to be More Judgmental

If two people who met online do end up on a date, they tend to be more scrutinizing of each other. They are looking for flaws or turnoffs with one another, rather than turn-ons. This is because there are many more options for online dating than in real life. This makes it easy to be picky and move on quickly when someone falls out of favor but it also makes it harder to find someone to truly connect with.

Online Dating Tip #3:  Seek to develop a friendship first. When you take the pressure off of finding the perfect match, you create more of an opportunity to build a connection. That, in turn, can lead to a meaningful relationship.

Online dating can be a great way to meet people, especially if you haven’t found success dating in the real world but there can be several pitfalls to online dating.  Keep these, as well as the above tips in mind. And if you are still struggling to meet someone, talk to a therapist for support.

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