Dating Sites: The New Norm For Long-Term Love?
With almost every aspect of our lives going virtual, the rise in popularity for dating sites is hardly surprising. But, is it the new norm for young adults to form long-term relationships?
Aside from the inevitability of online dating with the progression of technology, we are currently amidst a global pandemic, and the only place people can go to find love is the internet. Sissi Cao states that 'on Sunday, March 29, Tinder recorded more than three billion "swipes" on the platform, the highest single-day activity volume in the app's history'. Though it is interesting to consider other factors that could be pushing online dating forward.
Rejected? No Big Deal.
Meeting online is potentially a far less intimidating scenario than meeting someone the more 'traditional' way. You know the person you communicate with is interested in you because they will have matched with you. But looks aren't everything, there needs to be a connection through communication. And, let's be honest, chatting someone up at a bar and having them laugh in your face is a far more soul-crushing experience than words on a screen.
However, couples counsellor Matt Lundquist feels that online dating is far crueller than in-person dating, arguing that 'if you go on a date with your cousin's roommate, the roommate has some incentive to not be a jerk to you. But with apps, you're meeting somebody you probably don't know and probably don't have any connections with... There's a greater opportunity for people to be ridiculous, to be not nice'. It would be naive to assume online dating is all sugar and spice, but Lundquist certainly has a valid argument for the harsh realities of online dating.
Looking for lust, or looking for love?
Whilst online dating apps like Tinder and Plenty of Fish have a reputation of unsolicited, inappropriate photos and one-night stands, there is a vast demographic who use these platforms to find long-term love. As reported by Business Insider, '80% of Tinder users say they're looking for a meaningful relationship'. E-Harmony discovered that 20% of committed relationships began online, and 7% of marriages in 2015 were of couples who met online. The trouble is, you never know if you're going to match with someone who wants a serious relationship. You might be caught in an endless swiping frenzy, only to find countless people here for 'a good time not a long time'. Though the consistent annual increase in downloads for apps like Tinder or Plenty of Fish suggests that people don't mind kissing a few frogs first, it could simply be an inevitable part of the online dating process.
7 Billion to 1
Out of the 7 billion people on the planet, what are the chances that your soulmate is on your doorstep? Pretty slim. An aspect of online dating is the ability to search far and wide for a potential partner. Tinder has 57 million users worldwide, and with figures that large, you are bound to find someone totally new and exciting that you may otherwise never have met. Maybe the mystery of who you could match with next correlates with the ever-growing popularity of dating sites. Or, perhaps it's just a nice change from the people who you see every day.
With online dating, first impressions are everything, so it's no surprise that over 50% of people 'exaggerate' their profiles. But at what point does exaggeration become dangerous? Romance scams are a huge issue when it comes to online dating. According to Mollie Halpern in an FBI interview, 'romance scams, also known as confidence scams, result in the highest amount of financial losses when compared to other Internet-facilitated crimes'. She further states that in only six months 2014, over $82 million was lost through romance scams. And financial implications aside, the risk of sexual abuse is higher amongst those who use online dating sites. The fact that there is such a large number of people you could meet is as much a risk as it is a good thing. The person you see on the screen might not be the person you meet, and that could lead to a dangerous situation.
So, is it the norm?
Despite the risks that come with them, dating sites are certainly on their way to being the new norm for finding long-term love, especially with the lockdown. There is no reason why young adults shouldn't be able to use an online platform to find a meaningful relationship, and the tools are there to help them do so. Everybody loves a Tinder success story. The takeaway is to be cautious; if a profile looks fake, trust your gut and steer clear.
Online dating is undoubtedly creeping its way into the go-to top spot for young adults to find long-term love, no doubt the lockdown is giving them the boost to do so. You never know what could happen, but don't let fear fuel your life. Your next swipe could be your soulmate.