Debunking 4 Common Myths About Online Dating
We might be living in the golden age of online dating.
The 1990s gave us human matchmakers who encouraged us to make recordings of interviews to send out for dates. In the 2000s, the first dating websites and apps came along. And since then, the matchmaking business has become a multibillion-dollar industry with upward of 40 million of us signed up and looking for love.
As of now, more than 1,500 dating apps and websites are available to users worldwide. So it's no wonder that all kinds of misinformation is rife about dating apps.
Let's try to dispel some of those misconceptions, so you can get down to the important task of finding that special person without worrying unnecessarily.
Myth: Dating apps encourage a hookup culture.
Reality: Many people blame apps for creating casual hookups, not relationships. They believe the act of having sex with someone once then never speaking to them again was created by Grindr or other platforms. The facts don't support this.
Studies have been carried out to discover whether the number of hookups has increased since dating apps and websites hit the market. And the data reflect that it hasn't.
It turns out that college students in the '80s were having just as much sex as college students between 2002 and 2010. The conclusions of the studies were that hooking up hasn't increased, but it has evolved, like much of our social structure: People nowadays simply meet each other in a different way, in a different medium.
Myth: Online dating is hurting our social lives.
Reality: There are those who claim that dating apps don't allow people to interact with each other in "real life"; that the experience of meeting someone "organically" in a bar or museum is better than sitting alone scrolling through images of prospective mates.
Of course, the truth is online dating is as much "real life" as meeting strangers in a bar. Scrolling, messaging, liking and flirting in a dating app is very much the same as doing so if you were face to face.
Most people find it socially awkward to meet people in a public place and interact with them. And it's not just because of shyness; there's an element of safety involved here, as you know nothing about the person you've just met. Online, in a dating app, you may feel much more comfortable as you look into someone's background and lifestyle before you become friends.
Myth: Online dating is dangerous.
Reality: Everyone is brought up to be wary of "stranger danger." So, it's natural to experience some hesitancy as you begin getting close to someone you might not know very well.
However, dating apps provide all the time and space the users want before—if ever—they feel comfortable meeting in person. If a user gets a bad vibe from someone or simply loses interest, they can block them and move on. You have full control over what personal information you choose to share, and no app provides that kind of data to other users without your express permission.
Make sure that when you're reviewing dating apps, you choose one with built-in safety features. Apps that do this well will advertise these kinds of features and they'll promote them for your personal security. If the app you're looking at doesn't mention safety features, it might be time to move on to another one.
Myth: People post fake pictures.
Reality: People worry that they'll show up to meet someone they've been messaging and be surprised to find someone unrecognizable from their posted photo.
Statistically, it's been proved people do lie on their profiles, but most often not with pictures; actually, with numbers. Men often add inches to their height while women shave numbers off their weight. Incidentally, it turns out that married men are the biggest liars on dating apps, obviously, because they're pretending to be single.
But avoiding dating apps won't protect you from accidentally dating a married person; wedding bands can be removed just as easily as "single" can be clicked in an app. Cheaters will always find ways to cheat. You simply have to do your best to set boundaries and protect your feelings.
In a world where everyone scrolls through everything—social media, shopping sites, lengthy websites—the dating app lifestyle is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future.
Avoiding or engaging in a dating app is a personal choice everyone makes for themselves. But if you educate yourself, separate fact from fiction and find the right app, you may end up finding someone who brings joy and love into your life.