Dating apps are now seen as the standard way of making a connection with someone and, hopefully, finding love. But just because we all know that couple who met online and are now happily married with kids and a dog, is this really proof that dating apps have made the road of romance a smoother ride? Are dating apps the best and easiest way to find your perfect partner?
The sheer volume of members active on dating apps shows that many of us have faith that they can work, and remain optimistic that the swiping, the messaging, and eventual in-person dating will lead us to our Mr or Ms. Right. But is this the case? We explore more below.
What the Stats Say
Let’s start with the facts. Statistics show that, currently, roughly 20% of all relationships now begin online, and about 17% of marriages start in the virtual realm. And, while those who meet on a dating platform are more likely to head to the altar sooner than their ‘traditionally’ met peers, their marriages tend to last longer, too. This is most likely a result of the compatibility matching that’s part and parcel of online dating apps; whether that’s done via a computer algorithm or manually, by being selective over potential matches, the results are the same. Plus, there are now plenty of niche dating platforms to help people connect with like-minded matches, or that have similar lifestyles.
So there you go: your married friends who met online are the statistical norm, not the exception!
The Challenges of Online Dating
Ok, so we’ve established that it’s totally possible to not only find your perfect match on a dating app but that there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a fairytale ending, too….but what are the challenges that come with online dating that could make you wonder whether your subscription fee would be better spent on ice-cream? Some of these hurdles can seriously hamper your efforts to find love, but they can be overcome.
Struggles with Self Esteem
Online dating can knock your self-esteem, it’s true, especially when you’re new to the process. It can be extremely hard not to take every unanswered message or unreciprocated like as a personal slight, but it’s important to get things into perspective to protect your self-esteem and enjoy the dating adventure.
Try to keep in mind that these potential matches don’t know you, nor have been lucky enough to experience your beautiful personality. It’s also impossible to judge an individual’s motivations or what other things they have going on in their lives. The most important thing is to take care of and nurture yourself through the process, keep doing the things you love, and see the friends that make your world sparkle.
Not Getting Many Matches
Another challenge that can make finding love on a dating app difficult is when we’re not getting the number of matches that we’d like. Nothing is more disappointing than excitedly signing up to a dating site and waiting to make some potential connections…and nothing happens. Or the only people we’re matching with aren’t suitable.
But there are some easy fixes for this situation! Firstly, ensure that your profile is completed fully, with plenty of information to give potential matches an idea of your personality and what you’re looking for. In many cases, it’s photos that cause the problem. Photos that are filtered are often a big turn-off, and group shots should be avoided. Make sure that your main profile pic is clear and shows your face on and in clear view.
Lastly, some dating sites are extremely intuitive and will ‘learn’ what you’re looking for by analyzing the people you swipe right on, which means that the more active you are on the site, the more viable matches you are likely to get.
Matching with someone is only the beginning - next comes chatting via the dating platform to get to know your match better, which will, if all goes well, lead to an in-person date. Messages that go unanswered can be a real hurdle to those looking for love online, but a few tweaks to your technique could make a big difference.
Firstly, when sending an initial message, make sure it’s engaging - avoid a generic ‘hi’ or ‘how’s it going’ at all costs. Stand out from the crowd by asking a great question: read through your match’s profile and send a message that’ll grab their attention. For example, if they’ve written that they’re a foodie, you could ask them about the restaurant that they would recommend or the most unusual meal they’ve ever eaten.
It’s a good idea to keep the messaging period relatively short. If you seem to have a great rapport and feel you’d like to connect more, arrange to meet up for a date as soon as possible. Letting the messaging phase go on for too long is risky, as it’s easy (and totally natural) to start building in your head a picture of the other person that isn’t realistic, which can lead to disappointment. Get out there on a real-life date and see if you connect - this also means you can move on to your next match if it doesn’t work out.
In essence, it’s fair to say that online dating apps have made finding love more likely - but not necessarily easier! Online dating comes with its own set of pitfalls and challenges and can, at times, be a painful process. But it can also be a hugely rewarding one: it’s a great way to build confidence, learn about yourself, and enjoy some amazing experiences, even if it takes a while to find love.
The best advice when going into online dating is to enjoy the journey and view it as an opportunity for self-discovery and adventure. Go into the process without pressure and into each date optimistically and with an open mind to give love the best chance of finding you.