Online dating is bigger than you think

More and more people are going online to meet their match - and it seems to be working too!

It’s hard to believe that not too long ago couples were making headlines for meeting online.

No-one could believe that people were willing to forego the subtle glances and flirty conversations, the agonising “is he/ isn’t he” dilemmas, and the in-depth body language analyses – basically ignoring all the rules of courtship and plainly stating that they were looking for a partner.

Most of society wouldn’t have been caught dead with an online dating profile; it was for weirdoes and techno-nerds that couldn’t leave the realms of their cyber-life to go out and meet someone like normal people do.

But, as the years went by, online dating just wouldn’t go away; it popped up in those irritating online ad’s, stubbornly refusing to budge. It divided itself into sections and sub-sections, catering for every kind of interest - quickly changing from a social taboo to a social to-do. 

From beautiful people to farmers only, wine enthusiasts, female inmates, Christians, Jews and even those wanting to date their mirror image. Yep that’s right – there’s even a site called FindYourFaceMate.com – there’s literally something for everyone.

So it came as no surprise when the results of a recent study found that more than 35% of married couples admit to meeting online, either through social networks or on dating sites.

And not only that! Research shows that couples who meet online are less likely to get divorced and actually have a better chance of staying together in the long-term when compared to those who met in the real world.

As online dating has become more and more acceptable, so have the people that are using it. People are committed to finding someone that they can share their life with.

Perhaps online dating is proving so successful because it provides a platform for those who are more willing and serious about finding a long-term partner.

There is no “face saving” says John Cacioppo, a professor of social psychology at the University of Chicago.

Meeting on the computer “leads people on average to be a little more honest and self-disclosing.”

“When you are face to face, there is face-saving. When you don’t [see each other], you can be more comfortable being yourself,” he says.

Another reason for the higher success rates may be the dating site questionnaires and match-making algorithms that help weed out those that are unsuitable for you.

But before you jump right in and sign up, there are a few things you should be weary of.

Online dating can be dangerous because people have no background. If you meet someone at work or through a mutual friend you can find out a bit more about him. When you’re online there's no context- it becomes difficult to trust them.

And there’s no shortage of stories from men and woman disappointed with their matches.

A friend told me a story about a man who she thought was her perfect match, until she got a call from his girlfriend threatening to kill herself if they continued seeing each other.

The biggest plus about online dating is also its biggest flaw. The anonymity and endless pool of possible dates makes sifting through the liars and cheats just that much more difficult.

No matter what your opinion of dating online is, the study made it clear that couples who spent a long time ‘getting to know each other’ before tying the knot,  long outlasted those that married on a whim.

So whether it’s online or in real life, make sure you take your time when searching for your ‘Mr Right.’

Check out this Buzzfeed article for some of the weirdest online dating sites...

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