As many as one in ten Americans have turned to online dating sites in the hopes of finding the right one (or the right-now one), but the question still stands… not “Does online dating work?” but rather “How well does online dating actually work?
Obviously connecting via online profiles does work in many circumstances, but it might not be the end-all-be-all tool for romance that the dating site companies themselves make online dating out to be. The factors that can make it effective or not vary dramatically between people, and the overall stats just don’t really show that it’s better in the long term than meeting people in other, perhaps more conventional ways.
One study has claimed that up to a third of all marriages begin these days through online dating, but the study was done by eHarmony itself so some people are suspicious of those numbers, and probably rightfully so. Others have countered the numbers. True or not the business of online dating is a billion dollar one, so they want people to keep using.
Another part of that same eHarmony study seemed to indicate that people who meet online tend to be happier in their relationship than those who meet randomly, but is this because people who are dating online are actively searching for a serious relationship, as opposed to the folks who gradually or begrudgingly end up in them?
Some studies say that 63% of singles meet through some sort of a social network, so that still seems to be the most common way, although bars and clubs themselves only lead to 8% of marriages. Other studies show that only 5% of people in serious relationships claim to have met their significant other online.
Other studies show that only 5% of people in serious relationships claim to have met their significant other online.
The findings are a bit fuzzy. Like with any experience, it’s safe to assume everyone is going to have different one when it comes to online dating. One of the things that some people like and others abhor about digital dating is the almost-inevitable part where you end up making judgments about someone without having that physical experience of meeting them. For some people, this takes some of the pressure off and allows them time to learn about someone before they agree to a date. Other people like to work off that instant connection or not, and without experiencing that from the beginning it can make the process feel a little distant and impersonal.
As for the complications involved with online dating, lies are one of the biggest challenges that people have to deal with. (It seems that only 10% of users are scammers, rejoice!) Men are most likely to lie about their age, height, and income, while women are more likely to about their age, weight, and build. Just be sure and sharpen up your communication skills, because half of online daters report that they have dated multiple people at once.
Other studies point out that while online dating sites are increasing the numbers of dating, the number of long-term partnerships is not altered, so it might not be too different from traditional dating in that sense. Those algorithms they use to match you up don’t have much scientific backing. The things that seem to account for success in relationships generally have to do with how the people interact and how they deal with stress together. No matter how hard it tries or how much it claims to, OKCupid can’t fill you in on that.
Just keep in mind hat 44% of adults are single so even though every single one of your friends is getting married at the moment, technically there are a lot of options for you out there. It’s up to you whether online dating is the way to find them.