I’ve had many conversations with daters over the years that began with, “I tried online dating but…” Many of them shrugged when I mentioned trying a new dating app, and asked: “Tell me the truth…does online dating work? Like, for real?”
As a speed dating host and writer of all things dating-related, this assumption that online dating sucks really annoyed me. First, there is more than one dating app to try, so don’t blame the technology. Second, the same people online are the same people out in the world who you might run into at the bar. What difference does it make how you meet – through technology or proximity? Online dating is about making a virtual connection first – then you see in person if there’s an actual connection. (Some people forget the meet-in-person part.) But I digress. The point is to expand your opportunities.
This means giving online dating a fair shot.
New research has come out that shows online dating is not only on the rise, it is now one of the best ways to meet a partner. One third of couples today met online. ONE THIRD of the people you see holding hands in the street met on a dating app! In fact, online dating is changing “the nature of society,” because we are becoming connected to people who aren’t part of our work/family/friend circles when we date. The research points this out.
Online dating is linking groups of people that normally wouldn’t interact. This means we’ll likely see more interracial and interfaith couples in the future.
That’s kind of exciting.
The rate of interracial marriages increased when online dating was introduced in the mid nineties by Match.com. “It is intriguing that shortly after the introduction of the first dating websites in 1995, like Match.com, the percentage of new marriages created by interracial couples increased rapidly,” researchers Josue Ortega (University of Essex) and Philipp Hergovich (University of Vienna) told Technology Review. There was another significant uptick in the early 2000s, and again in 2014 shortly after Tinder took off.
Dating app culture has really changed the game for gay couples especially, the study points out. Online dating is now the primary way most gay couples meet, rather than through friends and social networks.
Another benefit of online dating? Hergovich and Ortega found that online marriages tend to be stronger.
This means that couples who met online are less likely to separate as time goes on.
So what does all this mean in the long run? To me, it seems online dating is a way for us to come together, to unite us in a rather divided world. And this is a good thing – we must forge more connection. We must become more open to opportunities and growth. We must talk to people outside of our own bubbles.
But the success of online dating isn’t about changing political views and cultural shifts, it’s about individuals looking for love. It’s a good thing when we expand our social circles.
The next time you log on to OkCupid, Tinder or Bumble and get frustrated, remember that the next match you have could be a game-changer. Don’t you want to stick around to find out?