If you’re as hopeless a romantic as I am, it can be a challenge to consider the world of online dating as a possibility in your love life. After all, we still believe in the idea of soulmates and of meeting that love of your life in a bookstore while reaching for the same book (*Carly starts throwing heart shaped confetti into the air and cheering with pom poms).
But as we move into a time when Facebook pokes have replaced flowers on the first date and a Facebook relationship status means more than meeting your partner’s family, the chances of finding your true love in person seem slim to none. Today in the United States there are over 54 million single people. That’s 54 million people being bombarded at Christmas by their families asking, “Are you dating anyone special?” 54 million people being forced to check the singles box on wedding invitations. I crunched a few numbers based on these statistics and discovered that as a single female living in the US, I have a 0.00000003 percent chance of finding my soulmate on my own (*lowers pom poms). And should my future husband be residing internationally, the chances of our paths crossing are even more dismal (*begins chugging out of empty wine bottle).
Okay, before you throw your laptop out the window and go join the convent, there is hope, my fellow singletons! Recent polls have show that of the 54 million singles in the United States, over 40 million of them are dating online through major websites such as OkCupid, eHarmony, Zoosk, Match and Chemistry. With the cupids of online dating on your side the chance of finding a partner you’ll connect with in your area is just a questionnaire, profile picture and algorithm away! So, my fellow romantics, I am here to debunk the top 3 myths surrounding online dating and hopefully convince you — along with myself — that finding your star-crossed lover online isn’t unromantic, it’s practical.
Online dating is only for strange old people who dress up their cats in “Star Trek” costumes.
Online dating is used most by singles between the ages of 23 to 30.
While there was once a strong belief that only old, balding men with a collection of cat figurines relied upon online dating, in 2013, that is no longer the case. Looking at statistics taken from the wedding magazine America’s Bride, over 82 percent of the single population can now be found online. And while I used to believe that online daters were few and far between, after talking with friends and family I have come to realize that maybe I’m the last dinosaur. It seems the chances of meeting at a local coffee shop or through friends is a less practical way of connecting with people of the same interests and hobbies. So while I’ve been spending my Saturday nights curled up with a book, anticipating the next time I “might” meet that cute boy in my apartment complex — with online dating I could be taking my dating life into my own hands.
Online daters are just looking to hit it and quit it.
Hundreds of thousands of marriages take place each year between couples who first met online.
While there are many sites that will help you just “tap that” — see Bang With Friends for more details — it turns out that most people who join online dating sites are looking for a solid relationship. Statistics have shown that couples who meet in person date for an average of 42 months before tying the knot as opposed to couples who met online — who are dating only 18.5 months before they walk down the aisle. Could the algorithms employed by popular dating sites to match lover’s compatibility actually be your best wingman? When dating in person, it can take a while to get to know the likes and dislikes of your partner. But when working online, you can simply read through a comprehensive bio before you choose to accept this person’s offer for coffee. Online dating eliminates that awkwardness of the first date because you’ve had the chance to message the person and learn a little bit about them to see if you two are looking for the same things.
It’s just not safe to date online.
Be cautious, but enjoy meeting new people.
One of the biggest myths I’ve heard is that every online dater is a crazy person just waiting to lure you into their cave to eat you (and I don’t mean sexually). It’s those one or two bad eggs that seemed to ruin the reputation for everyone else. And while it is always important to keep yourself safe online, remember that the large majority of singles using these online dating sites are in it for the same reasons you are: to make a true connection with someone else. Match.com shares their advice to staying safe below:
– Protect your finances. If they are asking for you to bail them out of a foreign country they are probably a scammer
– Don’t over share your personal information such as social security number, address, phone number until you feel comfortable.
– Meet in a public place for your first couple of dates and let your friends know where you are going. It’s just a safe rule of thumb to always follow.