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The Pros and Cons of Online Dating

Pros&ConsOnlineDatingIn the early 2000′s, when people used to think of online dating they probably imaged online daters typing sweet nothings back and forth with Siri-like significant others. But today, a mere 13 years later, we are comfortable (or at least more comfortable) with the idea of cyber-fishing for that special one in the sea.

But how do relationships with cyber beginnings rank compared to relationships with more conventional beginning? That is the question currently on the mind of lead researcher Eli J. Finkel, first author of the article, “Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science.”

Finkel and his research team were commissioned by eHarmony to delve into the state of modern relationships and marriages by researching a two part question: Is online dating different from the dating of yore, and is it better? This is what Finkel’s team found.

Is online dating different?

Yes, Finkel’s team discovered, online dating is different. The summary of the published study notes online dating is definitely different because romance and potential partners used to be vetted by ” village elders, family members, or friends,” and now those human reference points are “a mathematical matching algorithm.”

But they went a step further. Online dating is different in these 3 different aspects:

  • Access “refers to [the] users’ exposure to and opportunity to evaluate potential romantic partners they are otherwise unlikely to encounter.”

  • Communication “refers to users’ opportunity to use various forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC) to interact with specific potential partners through the dating site before meeting face-to-face.”

  • Matching refers to “a site’s use of a mathematical algorithm to select potential partners for users.”

Is online dating better?

The answer to this question is yes and no. We have highlighted some of the positives and negatives of online dating, as specified in the study, below.

Online dating is better than conventional dating because:

  • you can access potential partners all over the world via the internet.

  • you have an added filter for potential partners due to CMC.

  • certain sites filter out unsuitable partners with the interview processes.

Online dating is not better because:

  • it deprives the participants of the “experiential” (meaning discovered through experience) part of meeting a potential partner face-to-face, and discovering how their body language, voice, and treatment of others appeals to you.

  • it makes romance more of a job interview, so participants objectify and distance themselves from potential partners.

  • an algorithm cannot accurately match how well two people will interact, and cannot measure or predict how two people will “grow and mature over time” together.

What does this information do for us?

So where are we after receiving this information? Well, that depends on you and your opinion. Knowing the study was funded by eHarmony made us first believe the study would find online dating to be the best way to find a significant other, but that was happily not the case.

Well, Readers, what do you think about online dating? Sound off below.

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