You may not know it yet, but online dating platforms have really accelerated in recent years. In 2013, only 11% of Americans said they had used online dating platforms like pitcher prior to; by 2019, that number had risen to around 30%.
Most of today’s relationships still started the old way, but there’s no denying that online dating is gaining acceptance among adults of all ages. In fact, about 12% of committed relationships and marriages actually started online.
At some point there may be some stigma attached to meeting your romantic interest online, but that stigma is fading fast.
Just like attitudes towards things like cohabitation and sexual orientation, the general opinion about the use of dating platforms is evolving. Currently, the general attitude is quite ambivalent.
Around half of Americans do not believe that online dating platforms have a negative or positive influence; around a quarter of them think dating platforms have had a mostly negative influence on relationships, while the remaining quarter (roughly) think they have had a mostly positive influence.
And you? Maybe you’ve already been there, done that; Or maybe you’ve never tried online dating and are curious to find out more. Either way, let’s dive into the details about online dating.
Why all the haters?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hard to read anything about online dating platforms without hearing a few points about the drawbacks. Of course, that’s part of any balanced discussion on the subject, but for some people it’s pretty much all they can see.
Most counterarguments go something like this: “it’s too risky because you never know who you’re talking to”; “I saw a show on TV about romance scammers and now I’m worried about what might happen”; and most importantly, “meeting people online instead of in person cheapens the experience.”
Without going into nonsensical generalizations, people who aren’t fans of online dating sites also tend to be those who are a bit resistant to other social changes, like the idea of living together without marriage.
Still, just look at how things have changed in the last 20 years: As American society has evolved, the way people interact with each other has also changed.
Sometimes people object to something simply because it’s unfamiliar to them: they met their partner in such-and-such a context, so why can’t you? Other people worry that online dating simply makes it easy to substitute a single dating profile for actual social skills.
Some of these points are valid, for example, many people are probably not using as many social skills to find matches as they would during in-person encounters, but this does not mean that everyone should abandon online dating.
For many users, a dating platform helps them get out there and explore options in a way they would never have the courage to do otherwise. As with many other issues, some people focus on what they’re missing, while others are excited to see where the change will take them.
Not surprisingly, younger adults are generally more open to trying new ways of doing things, and that goes as much for finding romance as it does for anything else.
That’s not just a cliché, it’s backed up by statistics. About 50% of Americans ages 18-29 have tried a dating app or website at some point, while nearly 4 in 10 adults ages 30-49 have used a dating platform.
Not only is there a lot of diversity when it comes to age; Dating platforms are also popular with users of all sexual orientations. One survey showed that people who identified as bisexual, gay, or lesbian were twice as likely to try online dating as their straight counterparts.
That’s not all: 20% of them ended up in a committed relationship or marriage with someone they met online, as opposed to 12% of online daters of all orientations.
What you need to know before signing up for online dating
Creating a profile on a dating platform may seem like asking for an unlimited menu, but remember that there is a possibility of being too demanding.
Instead of searching for someone who is perfect, search for someone who is right for you; both will make you happy, but one of them is much easier to find.
Set some realistic expectations before you actually get involved. What are your obstacles? Are you ready for some explicit and definitely unsolicited messages or images?
It wouldn’t hurt to research some common scam tactics, so you can nip it in the bud if you start getting weird messages. Here’s a hint: if they ask for money or start offering offers that are too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam.
The way online dating platforms advertise themselves is truly inspiring, but here are some stats that might give you a better idea of what you’re signing up for: About 60% of online daters reported having a positive experience, which is not too bad. taking into account all the variables.
Keep in mind that “a positive experience” will mean different things to different people. For a small percentage of them, it means they found true love and “happily ever after.”
However, many people are not looking for that; many users want other things, like a fun and flirty evening at a new bar, or someone to hang out with while they’re on vacation for a few months.
Part of what’s missing from an online dating experience is the idea of that first romantic encounter, where you look into each other’s eyes from across the room and know he’s the one.
Let’s be honest though: It’s an amazing dream, but the chances of that happening are slim to none. Once again, consider looking for the right person, not the perfect person.
Just like trying to find dates in person has its pros and cons, using an online dating platform might come with a few bumps along the way, but that’s to be expected. At a minimum, you can rest assured that if you do your part, you’re likely to find what you’re looking for.