Online dating is not for everyone, but approximately 1.2 million Canadians have used online dating as a means to meeting a partner. Of the 1.2 million, 80 per cent were single while 18 per cent were married or common law. We live in a drastically different world than our parents largely in part due to the emergence of a digital environment. The advent of Facebook and Twitter pushed the boundaries of anonymity and full access to a person’s every public thought is now possible.
Online dating website such as eHarmony, Plenty of Fish and Match.com boast of their high success rate and their ability to predict matches based on compatibility. The idea that online dating is reserved for the desperate, weird and older individuals is being challenged. The highest demographic signing up for online dating is between the ages of 23 to 29. Not surprising considering that this is the age group that is most highly adapted to the digital era.
For those not familiar with what led up to the topic on online dating, it was sparked by reader responses to my columns on dating in Vancouver. In particular, a high number of responses have been male readers offering stories of how they’ve been roadblocked by women who they approach. As a result, many have turned to online dating as an alternative to meeting someone. Around the same time my friend Kev just moved to Vancouver recently and hopped back into online dating. I decided to follow his journey.
The first week, Kev was busy putting his profile together and making sure he was putting information out there that would attract the right woman. When I met him for our weekly chat he admitted that even though he theoretically had access to more people the response rate was still poor. However, after about two weeks online he’s finally started to meet women he was interested in. So far, he has two dates this week. One with a woman who is in her mid-20s and the other is 30.
I’ll give online dating this. It certainly renewed a newfound sense of confidence in my friend. The idea that there are options out there never hurts when it comes to dating.
I had a chance to go online onto Kev’s profile to look at what people were putting on their profiles. Many of the profiles looked similar to something you would find on Facebook. The person lists their interest, what they are looking for and something interesting about themselves. But the key thing to remember is that chemistry on paper — or online — does not always translate to real life. At one point or another we have all been initially attracted to someone who is perfect for us on paper only to find out that maybe what we truly need is someone who surprised us.
The first date conversation creates the initial bond between two people. Learning about someone and engaging in conversation creates a physiological bond that connects couples. Online profiles bypass this key stage. We may think we know what we want but without different experiences, we may never stray outside the lines that may lead us to better place.
For now, the journey into the world of online dating has been mainly positive for my friend and I’m excited to see him move to the next stage. We’ll see how this all unfolds.
Amy Yew is a researcher and therapist. Tell us what you think and submit any questions you have to email@example.com. You can also tweet your thoughts on Twitter @AmyYew.