Online dating is not suitable for people who are faint-hearted or easily discouraged, warned Harry Reis, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology a nd Dean Professor in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, at the University of Rochester, quoted Sarah DiGiulio of NBC News’ Better, a news source that offers life and health tips. Online dating is similar and different in real life. For example, you have information about people you meet people because you read a short profile or had conversations with them, Reis stated.
When meeting someone offline, you may also have ideas about the person beforehand from a friend (or any third party) or when you briefly met someone in a bar. A third party connection helps validate a person’s characteristics such as their appearance, values, personality, and more.
Online Displaces Other Places of Meeting In the US (2017)
Michael J. Rosenfield, Reuben J. Thomas, and Sonia Hausan of peer-reviewed journal portal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) presented data from a nationally representative 2017 survey of heterosexual American adults. They found that 2% of heterosexual couples (versus 39% in 2017) met online in 1995. 33% (versus 20% in 2017) met through friends.
15% met through family, decreasing to just 7% in 2017. 19% of American heterosexual couples (versus 11% in 2017) met through or as coworkers. 19% met in a bar or a restaurant and in 2017, the figure was 27%. In 1995, 10% of couples met in primary or secondary school compared with 2017’s 5%. 7% met in church in 1995 (versus 4% in 2017), 8% for those who met through or as neighbors (versus 3%), and 9% have done so in 1995 (versus 4%).
The findings suggest that there is a process of disintermediating with one’s friends or family due to technology-driven changes in the dating scene.
Online Dating Experiences of American Adults (2020)
Monica Anderson, Emily A. Vogels, and Erica Turner of Pew Research Center, a non-partisan think tank, found that 30% of Americans used an online dating site or app. Of those who used these platforms, 18% said they are currently using them while 17% said they are not currently using it but have done so in the past year.
48% of Americans aged 18-29 said they used a dating app or site, followed by 38% of those aged 30-39, 19% of 50-64-year-olds, and 13% of those above 65 years and older. By sexual orientation, LGB adults were about twice as likely as straight adults to said they have used a dating site or app (55% versus 28%).
12% of US adults said they have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating site or app. 17% of those aged 18-29 have married or been in a committed relationship with someone they met on a dating site or app, followed by the age groups 30-49 (16%), 50-64 (7%), and 65+ (5%).
57% of Americans described their online dating experience as positive while 42% described it as negative. Additionally, 71% of online daters said it was somewhat easy to find people they were physically attracted to versus the 28% who said it was difficult.
64% (versus 35%) said it was easy to find someone who shared their hobbies and interest. 64% also found it easy to meet someone they wanted to meet in person (versus 36%). 61% of Americans reported it was easy to look for the same kind of relationship (38%).
Among Americans who online dated in the past five years, 43% said they did not receive enough messages, 17% said they received too many messages, and 40% stated that the messages they received were just about right.
Being A Better Online Dater
Choose your apps carefully and use apps that cater to what you’re looking for in a partner, Hallam recommended. For example, you can download apps or visit sites that aid you in meeting people of the same religion or hooking up.
Be honest about who you want and who you are as these help increase the likelihood of meeting someone you end up talking to and having a relationship with, Hallam stated. Keely Kolmes, PsyD, a San Francisco- and Oakland-based psychologist, reminded, “This is an opportunity to be clear about who you are and who you want to meet.” If you have a deal breaker, be sure to mention it upfront to save time and effort.
Be sure not to write an essay about yourself on your profile because people swipe through profiles quickly, Reis said. Get straight to the point and only write down pertinent information such as your preferences in a partner, as well as information that makes you stand out. Don’t forget to have fun in exploring the online dating world. Take a break and try something else if using dating apps feels like a chore or you’re not having fun, Kolmes recommended.
Slow Dating Is An Alternative for Fatigued Online Daters
Nicole Spector of Better defined “slow dating” as a mindful and meaningful approach to dating without sacrificing momentum. Sara Konrath, Ph.D., a social psychologist and consultant for OkCupid, saw it as a desire for people to get to know each other without pressure, focus on quality connection and closeness, and slow things down.
Slow dating also means that sexual intimacy comes later, after getting to know your partner. But it also limits how many potential partners you are engaging with, especially if you are experiencing “dating app fatigue,” observed Christie Tcharkhoutian M.A., MFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Some people work well with having many matches, but some prefer to have fewer matches that enable them to humanize and be reflective about dating, she added. This means quality reigns supreme over quantity, perpetuating the notion that every single individual has value and is “quality.”
For Tcharkhoutian, “it’s just a matter of discovering what’s underneath the surface to see if they are someone whose internal qualities are compatible with yours.” Clinical psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Cohen noted that people who are obsessed with dating or meeting someone cling to it because they believe it will make everything better.
If you’re scared of being alone, take a vacation, date yourself, and try to find the root causes. Always remember that slow dating means “having space and room to think about what is going on,” Cohen. Avoid rushing through life just to get yourself away from difficult feelings.
Online dating is another way to meet new people, but it can be exhausting for some. Slow dating enables individuals to get to know their potential partners, helping both parties focus on forging quality connections.
Individuals should be honest and upfront about what they want in a partner to save time and effort. Most importantly, online daters should be wary of posers and scammers that lurk in dating apps or sites.