According to Pew Research Center, 1 in 10 Americans use an online dating platform. One estimate has shown that there are over 2,500 dating sites in the U.S and that number continues to grow. Even outside of dedicated dating apps more and more people have started to use things like Facebook and Twitter as a way of meeting potential mates. Even in the case of my relationship and my roommates, we both knew our girlfriends before we started dating them, but we both started our dating relationships with them through Facebook messenger. It made starting the relationship easier and less awkward then having to exchange phone numbers and hope things worked out.
Even outside of apps that help you find dates there are others that help you keep relationships going, the most popular one I know of being Couple. Couple is an app that allows you to connect specifically with only one other person and organize all of your messages, pictures, videos, and locations all in one place. It has helped change the way you can communicate with your significant other even if you don’t see them every day.
Even though a lot of people use online dating apps, I think the biggest impact the internet has had on relationships is the ability to keep up with someone even if you both are not in the same place. Facetime and Skype have made it possible to see one another even when you are miles apart, and that changes the dynamic of a relationship. I think more people have become willing to try and make short term, long distance relationships work because it has become so much easier to stay connected with someone far away besides just writing a letter and making a phone call.
While so many good things have come to relationships because of the internet, it has also caused a lot of problems in our culture. From unfaithfulness to fake relationships where one person may not be who they say they are, and that can cause a lot of problems. In 2011 alone there were over 5,600 incidents of online dating romance scams, and it is estimated that almost 80% of people who have set up dating profiles have lied about their height, weight, or age.
So how do we know who to trust? I have never actually used a dating website, but I have used the internet to further my relationship with someone I already knew. My advice would be mix old school dating and online dating to an extent. It may be easier to talk to that girl who sits across from you in chemistry over Facebook, but remember, at some point you have to step up to the plate and talk to her in person. I think the biggest problem with dating websites is that it takes out so many important steps when getting to know someone. Some of the best parts of dating is learning about someone’s quirks and stories, which is not near as fun (or accurate) if you’re reading it in an online profile.
So, if you are looking for something more than a profile that reads: “long walks on the beach and someone I can settle down with” start your dating journey with someone around you. Unless you live somewhere like Alaska, it is just as easy to find a potential mate at work, school, or any other place you frequent as it is to find someone online. Dating can be easier than you think, and its always better in person.