At one time, the word “desperate” was almost always used in close proximity to the words “online dating.” Those days are long gone, as study after study is stating that online dating is now among the most popular ways for couples to meet.
Most recently, scientists at the University of Rochester announced that online dating is now #2 on the list of most popular ways for people to meet a romantic partner. Meeting through mutual friends still tops the list.
Increased use of online dating
The study, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science in the Public Interest, looked at more than 400 psychological studies surrounding the topic of online dating. In one study, researchers note that in just a month, nearly 25 million users around the world were participating in online dating.
Once a person is no longer in high school or college, researchers have found that dating becomes much more challenging. Online dating has opened up new possibilities for singles, research has found. However, the practice is not without its pitfalls. Researchers believe that the availability of hundreds of profiles has given daters a “shopping mentality,” which leads participants to make snap judgments and be far pickier than they would be without so many profiles available. The shift toward online dating has led today’s singles to encounter situations not previously experienced by single people.
An online era
Between social media, online dating, and the many communications tools, the way people date is changing rapidly.Online dating advice sites have exploded in popularity in recent years, as singles attempt to learn how to navigate the world of meeting Mr. (or Miss) Right when flirting is done via a mouse button click.
As the Seattle Times recently reported, negative experiences are very common with online daters. While the study revealed that attitudes about online dating have shifted, more than half of those who admitted to using online dating sites said that they believed someone had misrepresented themselves online. Posting outdated photos and embellishing personal details are commonplace on online dating sites.
Stalking is also a problem in the Internet era. More than 25% of online daters say they’ve felt uncomfortable or have been harassed by someone on an online dating site. One-third of Americans on social media admit to having used the site to find information on a romantic partner from the past.
Online dating will only continue to increase in acceptance, especially since some services now have apps to ease the process. But no matter a person’s age, the single life is never easy and online dating can complicate the process. Still, among those who are no longer in school, the Internet remains a great way to meet potential romantic partners.
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Image courtesy Thomas Leuthard.