Connecting Through Online Dating
Since online dating was introduced in the mid-nineties, it has drastically changed our society and the way relationships are formed. There has been an increase of interracial marriages, acceptance of gays, and the pickiness of singles. The idea of online dating is also not something that is incredibly uncommon any longer. In fact, one in six couples now meet through online dating. A lot of people turn to online dating because finding people that are looking for serious relationships is becoming more and more difficult. Many describe their frustrating experiences with meeting people at clubs and bars who are just looking to hook up.
In an article by Mark Brooks, 39 executives and spokespeople of Internet dating companies were asked questions about the business. Most believed that the usefulness of using the Internet to connect with others stem from the fact that it is easier to find people with common interests, beliefs, and values. People also have the ability to connect with others that they wouldn’t normally meet. Couples from different cultures, backgrounds, and races have more opportunities to get together and create relationships with each other.
Online dating also caters to your specific interests. For example, there are dating sites for all different kinds of sexualities. Sites like Grindr, for example, are popular among the gay community. In fact, it is currently the most popular all-male social networks with more than four million users. There are even sites out there, however, that will match you based on traits like your taste in music, Tastebuds.
A popular technique that many dating apps and sites use is connecting with others based on their locations. Your smartphone locations can now actually help you find matches in your vicinity. The well-known “hot-or-not” app, Tinder, is an example of a social networking site that uses this feature. This new method makes it easier for users to meet up if they desire, which explains its increasing popularity.
Apps that connect you based on location, however, are typically associated with younger generations and have more of a “hook-up” stigma. On the other side of the spectrum, there are sites online that seem to focus on building long-lasting relationships. Match.com is an example of a site that tailors its functions to the needs of its members. Every member can upload up to 26 photos and various writing sections where you can post personal information or what you are looking for in a partner. As you research these different sites, it is easier to find out exactly what formats appeal to you.
When entering the virtual dating world, it is common to be confused about the proper etiquette to use when you are constantly being matched with new profiles (Match.com). Online dating can be very different from meeting new people in public. One major difference is the concept of rejection. When you have been matched with someone you are not interested in through the Internet, it is perfectly acceptable to not reply or provide a reason for why you aren’t interested. In fact, it is often recommended that you avoid any contact with a person whose profile does not appeal to you. Another difference is when messaging online it is better to stay away from any detailed questions like where the person works or lives. Saving those questions until your first meeting will ensure that you aren’t invading any personal privacy.
Searching for a match or deciding whether or not a profile has potential can be a daunting task. With so many options, you can easily get side-tracked and forget about what it truly important to you in a partner. Keep in mind that you should only connect with people that you can envision yourself in a relationship with. If you are truthful with yourself and know what you want in a partner, it will be easier to find the right match for you.
When searching through profiles, there are also certain warning signs that you may want to be wary of. To avoid a broken-heart or wasted time bloggers Lauren Romano and Jessica Ruane list profile characteristics for men and women that can be indicators for a sour relationship:
The Rusher is someone who gives out there number within the first couple messages. They might even jump the gun and bring up topics such as marriage or a more serious commitment. This dater will most likely accept the first offer that comes their way instead of searching for something more meaningful.
The Taken is most likely still married, but is still looking to have some fun. They will post pictures with sunglasses or ones that cover up any distinguishing characteristics. Don’t let the taken persuade you into following their cheating ways.
The Rebounder is looking for a way to get over their past relationship. They might even post something about their ex on their profile. If you are looking for a more open relationship where you are the priority, then the rebounder is not the one for you.
The Know-It-All believes that they know everything about relationships. Their profiles are filled with comments about how all relationships should be. It can be very hard to deal with the know-it-all’s “been there, done that” attitude.
The Sex Seeker is not looking for any serious relationship. They’re just in it for the fun. Look out for sexual comments on the first conversation or plans to meet up within the next few hours.
The Perfectionist wants it all. They need someone with good looks, master’s degree, high paying job, etc. Even if you fit the perfectionist’s criteria, they will most likely nitpick at any flaws they see in you.
The Blank Page does not have much on their profile. If they are not invested in really putting themselves out there, then they probably are not willing to take the time and effort to work on an online relationship. They most likely only joined to “see what’s out there” or to “see what all the hype is about.”
The Peacock is more into their self-image than the actual online dating process. A peacock might have the profile picture of a guy flexing or a girl posing for a pouty selfie. Stay away from those that have this “it’s all about me” attitude.
The “Jay Leno” is the type that appeals to the masses. Their goal is to set feelers out for all the other fish in the sea. But do you really want to be with someone who has caught and released countless other fish?
The Flat Out Faker is full of inconsistencies on their profile. It is one thing to embellish a bit, but telling complete lies is a whole other story. If a person is willing to lie about themselves on a dating profile, think about what other things they are capable of lying about?
The success from online dating, however, is undeniable. A recent study by eHarmony suggests that 35 percent of Americans now find their spouses through online dating (Huffington Post). Each couples story is different, but can reveal a lot about the potential that online dating holds. For example, couples like Carlos Cataque and Kristin Palozzi describe how their experience with online dating eventually led to their own happy ending. Carlos specifically remembers being surprised with how smoothly the conversation flowed on their first face-to-face meeting, “We sat and talked for almost five hours. It was the easiest, most beautiful conversation I’ve ever had with a stranger. No forced talking to fill in the spaces, no effort needed, just ease.” It wasn’t the strange, awkward encounter that many might envision when basically agreeing to meet up with a total stranger. It was as simple as two people having a natural connection.
Matchmaking sites have definitely evolved the dating world. It has become a normal part of the way we create and maintain relationships. If you are single and looking for alternative ways to meet a romantic interest, online dating could be a fun option to explore!
Alexandra Zuccaro is a recent graduate from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A in English. She a strong interest in journalism and hopes to pursue a career in the field.