The future of online dating

Online dating: yay of nay? You undoubtedly heard stories from people who met their partner through online dating. And you probably also heard horror stories about people who were used for sex or people who were ghosted (meaning that someone completely ignores you out of the blue for no reason). What does the future of online dating look like?

How many people are dating online?

An American study from 2017, conducted by Michael Rosenfeld, sociology professor at Stanford University, shows that no less than 39% of all participating heterosexual couples met each other online. That’s 17% more than in 2009. This percentage is even higher among gay couples: in 2010, 70% of all gay couples met each other online. Since 1940, the traditional ways of meeting potential partners have been declining. Back in the day, people met each other in the neighbourhood, in church, or through family connnections.

The influence of friends

Rosenfeld researched online dating in 2009 as well. “Back then, people still met their partners through their friends. During that time, people often asked their friends to help them create a personal profile on a dating site. And friends often also helped assess potential partners. Nowadays, that isn’t the case anymore.” Although friends still play an important part in our lives, we don’t need their help as much anymore when it comes to finding potential partners. Rosenberg: “We predicted that the role that our friends play in finding a potential partner wouldn’t change. But it seems that modern technology actually decreased the role of our friends in that area quite a lot.”

From offline to online dating

Rosenberg explains: “There are two major technological developments that pushed us towards online dating on a large scale. The first is the invention of the worldwide web around 1995. The internet made it possible to use pictures and search terms. The second important invention is the smartphone in 2010. Since then, online dating has moved from desktop computers to smartphones and you can send messages to anyone at any time and anywhere.”

“The advantage of online dating is that the number of potential partners is much greater than the number of potential partners your mother or your best friend knows. Although most people you find on a dating app won’t start a conversation with you, there is a real chance that you find someone who is right for you.”

Does online dating make you happy?

Experts predict that in a few years, 50% of all couples will have met online. Still, using dating apps isn’t always positive. Various studies show that single people who don’t date online are much happier and more satisfied than people who do use dating apps. Dating app users can get caught up in the philosophy that is known as ‘tyranny of choice’, meaning that there is just too much choice. This often leads to unreasonably high expectations; dating app users hope that every new partner is more perfect than the previous one. The need to save an existing relationship by actively working out problems potentially disappears. Why bother when you can meet a new potential partner with one swipe on your smartphone?

It sometimes happens that a match on Tinder or Grindr for example ends in casual sex. That’s fine if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s not so great if you’re looking for a serious relationship. Users often say dating apps are degrading, because you are often judged on your appearance alone. The fact is that online dating is only increasing in popularity and that won’t change anytime soon. But maybe the form will change, just like when we went from dating sites to dating apps.

Should I sign up or not?

Is online dating great or not at all? It all depends on your personal experience and the experience of the people you care about.  A Tinder date doesn’t necessarily have to end in sex if you don’t want to, and it’s possible that it leads to a stabile relationship. Just like meeting someone in a pub can lead to a one-night stand or a long-term relationship.

Also read: The best dating apps for the LGBTQ+ community

Relevant stories

Respond or ask a question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Are you going to follow us?