Online dating, love, relationships, dating, romance

History tells us, that for as long as romantic relationships have existed, people have sought help in finding them. From centuries old arranged marriages and matchmaking clubs through to personal ads and well-intentioned-friend-orchestrated blind dates.

And more recently, yet unsurprisingly, modern technology has been enlisted as the new cupid.

RELATED: The Single Girl’s Guide to Online Dating 

But with the internet‘s irruption into modern relationships, you have to wonder: has the internet changed the way we date, and is online dating better than traditional dating?

The answer to the first part of the question is simple, and relationship experts agree – the way we date has changed. Dramatically. No longer are we confined to love matches being sought from within our existing social or professional networks. No longer are we bound by geography to find our perfect match. The internet crashes through these barriers and opens a deeper pool of potential partners.

Not only has the internet broadened the love pool, but it has also changed the way in which we seek a partner.  We no longer rely on those who intimately know us to help select our other half. Instead, we place our romantic fate in the hands of computer systems and algorithms designed to monitor our dating behaviour and preferences.

And to a certain degree, with online dating, we no longer ‘choose our chase’ based purely on the physical, as we would when spotting a love interest across the room. Instead, online dating offers a brief snapshot into the life of another in the form of a profile, which at least initially allows us to connect on a more cerebral rather than physical level.

But with the many (seemingly beneficial) changes brought about by the internet, is online dating actually better than traditional dating?

On this, the jury is out. And the debate centres around communication, chemistry and commitment.

Communicating online is not always as straightforward as it seems, and sometimes, through lengthy emails and texts, a false intimacy between strangers can develop, leading to unrealistic love expectations.  The only way for online daters to really know if they will be good together, is to meet on a traditional date, face-to-face.

Which brings us to chemistry. With a slew of profiles on offer, the catalogue style of online dating can create a ‘shop around’ mentality. Many online dating websites allow the user to specify height, body shape, hair and even the eye colour of their potential mate, and it becomes tempting to by-pass any profiles that don’t meet your criteria. But chemistry is more complex than physicality alone, and if you were to meet on a more traditional date, perhaps the charms of a person would give you reason to take a second look.

Which brings us to commitment. The act of browsing large numbers of profiles can lead online daters to view each other less as people and more as one opportunity amongst the many, which in turn can reduce their willingness to commit. Simply put, we no longer take the time to get to know one another, especially when our next date is only a few profiles away.

So while the debate of online dating vs traditional dating plays on in the background of life, I offer my opinion. In your search for the good life, do both – use online dating as part of your overall approach to love. But remember, no romantic pen-pals! The ultimate goal is to take your dating offline.

I did, and so far so good. So very, very good.

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