Just over the past few years, there has been a huge change in the way couples meet. Suddenly everyone is finding their dates online, quite separately from their social media networks. While the traditional routes are all declining. Like being introduced by mutual friends, meeting through work, family connections or shared interests.
Partly, that’s because we’re all so comfortable online now. We’re always connected, especially since Covid struck, and messaging and video feels completely natural. But it’s mostly because internet dating has lost its stigma. Years ago, people who met online were really coy about it. Now they’re much more open. In fact it’s almost becoming cool.
Busy people like how meeting new people online is so efficient. It still involves the risk of rejection, of course, and at first it led to a lot of short-term, meaningless hook-ups. But that soon changed, and has been replaced by a kinder and more responsible approach. Especially as nowadays couples usually start video chatting together quite deeply from the word go. So they already know each other well by their first date.
You should still be careful, of course, because there are some serious oddballs out there. So be on the alert for anything that sounds even slightly weird. Behaviour that suggests a personality disorder, for instance. And some people have some really bad online dating habits. Like ‘ghosting:’ your squeeze suddenly disappears from your life completely. Anytime. During the first few dates, or while you’re planning the wedding.
Sometimes they’ll ‘zombie’ you. Suddenly reappearing with a happy little text, just as you’re starting to get over them. As if they had never stopped messaging you in the first place.
Or maybe there’s lots of online activity, but few actual dates. So you never seem to be getting anywhere. You’re being ‘benched,’ like a reserve at a football match. Because your online friend are still on the lookout. In case someone better comes along.
Bad behaviours like these have mostly developed because there’s always another match just a swipe away. So that individual relationships are valued less. But more often things work out well. Everything might feel different at the start, but once a relationship becomes established, then the way we do things doesn’t really change.
All this has overlapped with some other important trends. Like nowadays most urban, educated and successful singles are well past 30 when they first marry. And do a lot more dating and experimenting before they settle down.
Once upon a time people mostly married someone who lived close by. Because those were the only people they had met. Not anymore. Very few people marry their school or college sweethearts anymore. And even workplace romances are in decline. Because it’s now easier to meet people online than in offices, and we worry whether it’s appropriate to even flirt at work.
Technology is forever changing, and maybe Tinder will soon seem quaint. But online dating has really caught on. And will only get better in future.