Online Dating works – but are you aware of the many reasons why? Did you know that nowadays, it’s estimated that nearly 1/5 of all marriages start from online dating? Here’s why internet dating or online dating works and why it really can be the answer to finding true love….
By Julie Hodister
- It can make finding long term love more likely
A UK study revealed dating websites can give people a “surprisingly high” chance of long-term romance. Some 94% of UK online agency customers questioned, saw their “e-partner” again after the first face-to-face meeting. Bath University psychologist, Jeff Gavin, surveyed 229 adults, telling BBC news that web dating worked “for many people”. Almost one in five of those interviewed had started a relationship lasting more than a year via a dating website. Log on. What have you got to lose?
- It’s easier to find the person you are looking for
We often have an idea in our head of what our ideal date would look like, listen to and enjoy doing, but it can be tricky to find them amongst the people you come in contact with on a daily basis. In fact, it’s a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. With online dating, you can search for exactly the kind of person you’re looking for, and then review all of the matches that meet your checklist, before deciding whether to contact them. It makes finding the kind of person you want to date a lot easier than traditional old fashioned offline methods. As Dating Coach, Jo Barnett, says in her bestselling e-book, ‘All You Need Is Love,’ “Fact – there are lots of lovely people out there waiting to meet someone like you, so why deprive them?”
- You can make a great first impression every time
Ever tried to talk to someone you were attracted to, but stumbled over your introduction because you were nervous? Or struggled to start a conversation because you didn’t know what they were interested in? The benefit of online dating is that you can take time to compose your first message and think about exactly what you want to say before pressing the send button, giving you time to make a good first impression, without the embarrassment of an awkward face-to-face chat up line.
- Online dating is mostly common sense
The reality of online dating is that all it takes is common sense. Despite some of the bad rap it gets in the media, dating online is a great way to meet new people, and all it takes to make the most of it is a little know-how and a smidgen of luck. There are a lot of lovely people online, but just like in real life some online daters are a nuisance. Use your gut feelings and best judgement to be safe on line. “Your profile is there to lure potential partners looking for love, so try to keep it positive and upbeat,” says Dr Jo Hemmings, a behavioural psychologist, who is also an experienced dating and relationship coach. “I think there is a temptation on internet dating sites to give away too much or be a bit self- deprecating.” She explains, “You don’t want to put people off you want to attract people.” Keep guarded and don’t reveal all your personal details in the first email. It’s pretty simple. It’s just common sense.
- It’s efficient and fast!
Traditional ways of meeting a date are all very well, but these days, they simply don’t work for a lot of over-scheduled busy people. For others they just don’t work fast enough. It’s a bit hit and miss hoping to bump into Mrs. Amazing while getting the car serviced, or Mr. Hot while walking the dog. In a society where we bank and do the weekly shop online; we send texts rather than talk, we may seem more connected—but we’re actually more isolated than ever. Trying to meet someone in pubs and clubs, you’re really up against it. A) They might be a bit drunk. B) The noise means zero chance of conversation, and C) He might just be out having fun with his mates, not looking to meet you, Mrs. Right, at that moment, on that night. But, when you’re introduced to someone through an online dating web site, they may not be Mr. or Mrs. Perfect for you right away, but at least you found out in a couple of clicks and emails, rather than the couple of years it could to take to meet someone offline. Thanks to the internet, you’re pretty much now only two minutes away from having access to thousands of potential love-matches that could change your life forever.
- You can chose your date more carefully than you can offline
There are tons of UK and worldwide internet dating sites around, with new ones springing up each week, all promising thousands of singles online waiting to meet you. The key is to pick the right one for you. The internet dating market has become big business, but it’s important to remember that online dating sites are NOT all the same, and it’s worth shopping around to see which dating sites offer what, and what sort of people they attract. It’s quite common for people to register with multiple dating sites at once, to increase their chances of love. Therefore, you have more chance to thoroughly vet several potential dates, all at the same time, before you agree to a meeting. You can’t do that hoping to bump into the love of your life in a bar, now can you?
- It’s safer
Because online dating allows you to screen people before you meet them, online dating expert and advocate, Evan Marc Kratz, has said for years that it’s as safe (or safer) than dating ‘in real life.’ “Strangers and critics pooh-poohed me,” says Evan. “But online daters tend to have a slightly lower victimization rate than traditional daters. Are many men stalkers? Are many men abusive? Sure. But here’s the problem: there’s not a higher percentage of those men online. If anything, it’s the same percentage of men – or, maybe even a lower percentage of men. Furthermore, you can’t tell which of these men is going to be the worst of the worst. Unless he has an extensive criminal record that’s Googleable, the only way you know if a guy is a bad egg is by going through the dating process.” And here’s where online dating has the edge over offline dating. Studies have shown, that people who seek out potential partners on the internet, seem to exhibit higher levels of caution and utilize more protective measures than in ‘real life’ dating. Speaking on wired.co.uk, Graham Jones, a psychologist specialising in internet psychology, agrees that, rather than being unpredictable and dangerous as stereotyped, internet dating can actually keep us safer, at least on a psychological level: “One of our fundamental psychological drivers is to find certainty”, he says. “Traditional dating is perceived as a danger to us because it involves so much uncertainty. The internet removes that danger from us.”
- Relationships that start online are happier
In 2013, scientific researches in the USA, found evidence that relationships that began online are slightly happier and less likely to split, than those that started offline. Based on a survey of more than 19,000 individuals who married between 2005 and 2012, findings put the percentage of married couples that now meet online at almost 35%. About 45% of couples met on dating sites; the rest met on online social networks, chat rooms, instant messaging or other online forums. “It’s a very impressive study,” says social psychologist Eli Finkel of Northwestern University in Evanston, USA. “Does this study suggest that meeting online is a compelling way to meet a partner who is a good marriage prospect for you? The answer is, absolutely. But,” he concludes, “It is premature to say that online dating is better than offline dating”.
- Everyone’s at it!
The UK’s Guardian newspaper reported a huge change in the landscape of dating. They detailed a survey by psychologists at the University of Rochester in the US, showing that, online dating is the second most common way of starting a relationship – after meeting through friends. “It has become popular in part”, Professor Harry Reis, one of the report’s authors, told The Guardian, “because other methods are widely thought of as grossly inefficient. The internet holds great promise for helping adults form healthy and supportive romantic partnerships.”
- It’s fun!
“Forget going to the bar, honey,” says dating author Cheryl Fraser in Best Health Magazine, “Get thee to thy laptop! Cultivate the right attitude. Dating should be fun. You have nothing to lose by meeting a guy for an hour in a public place and having a conversation. Don’t listen to the freaked-out voice in your head that is predicting doom. The biggest mental block between you and finding a great relationship is dating anxiety. If you separate the concept of dating from the concept of finding true love, you will relax, have more fun, and be more open to being surprised.” And remember, rather than ensuring you run out of things to talk about, going into your date armed with info about this person can actually improve your chances of having fun together. Just don’t to be too picky when it comes to meeting people for dates, advises UK Dating Coach, Neil Ward. “Some of the best dates I ever went on were with people who I just didn’t think I would click with but I had an amazing time!”