Like many things in this world, dating used to be analog. Lovers met in person, spoke face-to-face, and hand-wrote letters when distance interfered. In today’s day and age, we are seeing a shift from the analog to the digital in nearly every aspect of daily life and the world’s oldest and most intimate custom, love, is not exempt. With the invention and implementation of the Internet and its subsidiaries such as Facebook, Skype, online dating, and Tinder, the dating game has certainly gotten more complex. But while these cyber syndicates can heighten complication, they are also notorious for providing their users with options not formerly available in an analog world. So, if this is true, why the stigma surrounding the online dating culture?
It is true that more people are turning to online dating methods, with eHarmony alone claiming credit for 25.04% of all marriages in America. Yet, there are still several non-believers, people who are more of the mindset that online dating is not the “proper” way to date. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, this stigma can be damaging to potentially nervous, first-time online daters and ultimately cause them unnecessary shame when introducing their new partner. Sure, it is always nice to hear an adorable anecdote like “he was behind me in line at the coffee shop and bought me my latte…now we’re dating!” but the invented meet-cute will only promote the stigma (not to mention it will make your partner feel uncomfortable).
In order to overcome the bad branding of online dating, it is crucial to first identify the common misconceptions.
1) Online dating is for people who cannot find a date in person.
Many of the invented How-We-Met stories are the result of the loser mentality. Online dating is not a designated place for “losers” to convene and inter-date. It is a symposium of like-minded people, many of which have no problems finding love the “old-fashioned way”. Online dating is a means of broadening one’s horizons and opening oneself up to more options than those that had previously been presented.
2) Online dating is crude and impersonal
Apps such as Tinder and Zoosk haven’t helped this stigma, however online dating sites are as personal as their users wish them to be. While some choose to swipe left or swipe right to find the perfect hottie, others register with a recognized dating site and spark conversation with potential future life mates. Online dating is only crude and impersonal if the people you meet are crude and impersonal…a phenomenon known just as much to traditional daters as to online daters.
3) Everyone lies on the Internet
Everyone lies at some point in life. This is a fact. Not everyone lies on the Internet. It is no secret that catfish and fibbers do exist in all aspects of the dating world, but websites such as MateCheck work to minimize the amount of liars one comes into contact with online. In fact, if everyone certified their online profile with MateCheck, online dating could surpass the traditional method for levels of safety. Generally the people one comes into contact with online are as serious about their endeavour as the next; those who aren’t are almost always very easy to weed out.
Misconceptions have a way of outshining facts. When something is new and unknown, there will always be those who are hesitant and concerned – online dating is one of those things. But as more people create profiles and marry their online matches, these stigmas fade into the background. The NONline daters eventually become witness to the magic of online dating and – though they may not turn around and create a profile themselves – they notice that online or in-person, a match is a match. And that is the simple science of love.
Dana Simpson is a writer, musician, and university graduate. Not surprisingly, literature and music are her greatest passions in life alongside travel, human rights and art as a means to social change. Follow Dana on Twitter (@danasimpson) and read more of her work at danasimpson.pressfolios.com.