Love and relationships are two things which go hand in hand and which most people certainly aspire to. The truth is that there are many people in the world who enjoy being by themselves, or prefer casual relationships. However, a great many of us want and desire that warm and fuzzy feeling and connection, as well as the companionship which ultimately comes with a relationship that works. It used to be the case that many relationships were expected to have developed through family and/or friends’ networks and introductions, at work, at random social interactions, perhaps in church and community spaces. But as the world changes and evolves, these traditional routes are becoming less and less common especially with the increasingly popular and ever expanding existence of social media and technology.
In more traditional and dare I say overly-religious societies where people view social media with suspicion, finding love online is still a taboo. It is happening everyday, but people choose to keep this quiet. I think meeting one’s significant other online may be frowned upon depending on how and what platform on which the connection happens. For example, I have found that people are more inclined to disclose finding love on social media platforms such as instagram, facebook and twitter, more than they are willing to admit being on online dating sites. And yet, these online dating websites are increasingly popular and reporting consistent annual profits from doing business successfully, around the world.
The Knot surveyed 14,000 engaged couples, and 19% of those surveyed had met their to-be-spouses online surpassing the older methods for meeting and dating including through friends (17%), from University (15%) and through work (12%). In early 2017, the online dating industry reported an incredible $3 billion, from websites and online apps. Some of the success reported is as a result of the increasingly isolated lives which we lead, the increasing economic pressures which makes people move far from family to work, which makes people work late and have less time for socialising and also in some cases, the shrinking disposable income that allows for a lot of socialising. The use of technology also makes it easy to find love online because we are already on our phones and laptops one third of our wakeful hours.
So how can one find love online? Is it worth it? What platforms can one consider and what are the pros and cons of using the internet to find love?
- It is important to understand oneself and exactly what you are searching for in a partner. Are you looking for a fling, are you looking for a lasting partnership, are you looking to date someone and hopefully get married.
- If you are already using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I am advocate of “shooting your shot” when the opportunities present themselves. There are many success stories of people “sliding into DMs” of people whom they found interesting and the rest they say is history.
- Choose an online dating site that charges a minimal fee (or a maximum one if you can afford it). The idea is that a paying subscription based website weeds out the bad eggs and the people who are on these websites just for a laugh.
- Do a bit of research, check for authenticity of the online dating sites, including how much traffic it receives from your location (some dating sites are more popular in some countries more than others. You want to make sure that you choose a website that is actually popular in your country/region).
- Consider choosing an online dating website that either allows you to search for and select potential dates that you fancy, from your region/in close proximity, or an online dating site that uses some kind of psychometric patterns to match you.
- Give yourself a timeline for meeting someone and stay open.
- Set ground rules for yourself which will guide you as you navigate these “territories”
- For the first three dates, it may be wise to plan dates that take place public spaces to keep yourself safe and in view of other people. Do not go in a stranger’s car.
- Slow down on the alcohol at those first few dates, so that your inhibition is not lowered and you can react should you smell trouble.
- After multiple dates, if you feel safe enough with your date to want to take it further, consider using protection.
- If you can afford it, spread your bets and set up accounts on at least two online dating websites with different “love models” and metrics.
There are certain pros and cons which I consider worth looking into before one embarks upon this “venture” called online dating. The main pro I think is that once people decide to give online dating a try, chances are that they are indeed ready for something worthwhile and will give it an honest trial in a bid to successfully meet a significant other. That’s a good thing. One big con is that unfortunately, there are many “loafers” on online dating sites who are there to take advantage of people who wear their hearts on their sleeves there and are very much on it for the wrong reasons. No surprise that there has been a rise on the spread of STDs through online encounters. But this is why everyone who is genuinely on it for the right reason must have some ground rules and set boundaries to guide your interaction.
Finally, The Knot reports that people who meet online are more likely to commit to each other quickly through engagements, civil ceremonies or weddings, more so that couples who meet each other through the traditional means. Thus if you are prepared to take that plunge and meet your significant other for a happily ever after, this is your shot. Godspeed as you travel on your journey.