Online dating has definitely changed the dynamic of dating in the last few decades. It’s never been easier to find people to date but it’s also never been harder to find a committed relationship. I believe that online dating has made people fickle and has commoditised people into being perceived as objects. Objects that can fulfil a need in this instant gratification society we live in. Commoditisation is the killer of romance.
The myth of availability and opportunity
Part of the reason why people are so fickle and non-committal is due to the idea that there are hundreds of other people to meet out there. So, if your online date has an odd laugh, their teeth aren’t straight or they order the wrong dessert, you can feel safe in the knowledge that you can get straight back online and look for someone better. The reality isn’t quite like that. If you have a ‘maximiser’ attitude to dating (in that you believe that there might always be someone better out there), then you will most likely be dating for a very long time. You may meet the right person but due to your restless nature and stable ambiguity (the tendency to remain in the “I’m keeping my options open” camp), you are dooming yourself to singledom for eternity.
If on the other hand, you are a ‘satisficer’, you will be more likely to settle down. A satisficer has an idea of what they are looking for but it isn’t a rigid idea. They may have a few non-negotiable characteristics that they are looking for. Say, for example – someone who doesn’t have children at home, someone kind and someone about the age of 25. Once those characteristics are met, they will be happier to consider getting attached and trying to commit.
Too many filters
I haven’t dated online for a few years now and the idea of having to date again fills me with fear. I remember at one stage, I would reject someone online due to them being the wrong star sign! How utterly ridiculous but I received so many ‘hits’ per day that I had to be ruthless. The longer I dated, the more fickle and choosy I became. It’s almost as if online datng somehow brainwashed me or changed my attitude. I am not proud of it, I was also sucked in. If Darcy and Bridget Jones had been doing online dating I doubt they would ever have met. I’m convinced that Darcy would have had a “non-smoking” filter on his profile…
Online dating doesn’t facilitate love, only lust. Bumble, Happn and Hinge bill themselves as modern day matchmakers but about 56% of adults view dating apps either “somewhat” or “very” negatively according to an online survey with 36% of Brits saying they would prefer to meet someone the traditional way – face to face.
Complaints about internet dating
Many people using online dating complain about how flakey and unreliable people can be. Either you get “ghosted” – where someone just disappears on you, or you have one date and then they stop contacting you or only contact your sporadically. After sex, many women complain about the guy losing interest. It seems to be common, when you like them they aren’t that into you and vice versa. Others complained about lack of commitment or about the fact that you would write forever but never get to meet.
Many users becme disillusioned and retreat from online dating to resurrect the batterd self esteem, only to try again three or four months later. This cycle can be repeated a few times.
The dating-interview technique
Often a date can feel a bit like a job interview…
So, how long have you been divorced?
How many children do you have?
Do you own your own home?
What do you do for a living?
All of these questions can seem like a ‘tick-box’ exercise. It can feel as if the other person is weighing you up and deciding whether you are worth pursuing. If it gets too complicated they just might ghost you. Too many ex partners, too many children, not financially stable enough…you’re out.
Before online dating, you could assume you were special and that someone would treat you with kindness and respect. You would be part of a community and you would meet someone who was a friend of a friend or family. There was accountability. It seems these days that accountability has gone and we no longer care much about other people’s feelings. You couldn’t just get rid of someone with a click and treating someone badly would be more likely to have negative consequences. Now, we can behave quite callously with impunity. What does this say about us as a society?
Apparently 43% of all daters admit to lying online. Men lie about their height (it seems to be a cardinal sin for a bloke to be under 5foot 8 inches) and women lie about their weight. Many lie about being single when they are married or separated but “still working things out”.
Lack of commitment
Even one night stands can be too much commitment. Londoners are fond of the half-night stand. You get the sex you want, take it to the next level without getting bogged down with anything serious. As long as you leave before the morning and keep it brief you’re part of the half-night stand fan club.
Of course, there are the success stories out there, but there aren’t enough of them to convince me anymore. What seems to happen these days is a pattern of numerous dates, numerous let-downs and a struggle to keep on top the rejection. It’s harder to keep the momentum going as you have no friends in common to maintain the contact. As a result it requires more effort to keep it going. On top of that, online daters are usually to chatting to at least two or three other potential dates, so it can get complicated.
People are quick to judge and dismiss due to the availability myth and are less tolerant. Ultimately though, I like to believe that we all really want to find love and a partner for life, even if we are much fussier than we used to be.