It would be an understatement if we say that online dating has made its presence be felt in our society. The way dating has been revolutionized by the internet is unprecedented. In fact, the online world has dramatically changed our dating behaviors. And this opens up an extremely interesting topic of discussion as to how deeply the web has penetrated our dating mechanisms.
Today, we are going to dig deep into the various implications that online dating has had on society as a whole and what effects it has left upon it. So, brace yourself, it is going to be an interesting ride.
Before we get into the effects of online dating, we need to go back a bit to know how it started and how it became an integral part of our life. So, to do just that, let us brush up some memory lanes to see the evolution of online dating.
The Evolution of Dating Platforms in the Society
We have come a long way from our courting days. Our ideas of romance have shifted although the essence of it is still very much the same. Long gone are the days when our only hope for finding a date would be at a bar or at a friend’s party. The days of being heavily dependent on our loved ones to find us a suitor is for the most part gone.
Mind you, it hasn’t happened drastically. A plethora of advancements paved the way for online dating. Remember, the personal ads that we used to get in our newspapers, magazines, and other similar publications that helped us search romantic partners? We always used to rush to get our hands on those ads. And what about those bling video cassette dating services back in the day? Good old memories, right?
And while we are at it, let’s not forget those good old days when we used to wait the entire year around for prom nights. Waiting for your crush to appear in the school cafeteria or college canteen or near the watercooler in your office was a feeling that was not alien to anyone. Those lovely lazy strolls down the pavements or the garden or simply around the block of your apartment meant the only way we can stay connected to our crushes and dates.
But with the advent of the internet, the world changed. It made its mark be felt in our economy, pop culture, and entertainment. So, how could the world of dating stay behind from the grasp of the internet?
The online world virtualized the dating arena and made it more accessible for people of varied backgrounds and aspirations to have a shot at finding “the one” for them. With that, there was no turning back as we were introduced to a Pandora’s box that gave us more than we could have ever imagined.
Of course, any gift from technology is not immune from drawbacks; and online dating is no exception. From catfishing to cyberbullying, people have suffered from the nasty side of online dating. Just like the real world, perpetrators lurk around the dark alleys on the web for catching their prey. However, with the cybersecurity getting stronger with each passing day, it is just a matter of time before these crimes or horror stories will become things of the past. Moreover, today is the day of celebration of the lasting impact of online dating on our lives. So, there is no reason to dwell on the morbid stuff.
It is time to get into the real deal. So, let us take a deep analysis of the effect of online dating on our society.
The Adjustments of Online Dating to Our Schedules
It goes without saying that our lives are becoming busier with each passing day. The highly-competitive environment that we live in today never gives us a dull moment. As a result, we are almost like rats in a hamster wheel, constantly on the run chasing success.
The definition of success differs from person to person, but its appeal never fades away. Whether we want to seek love or not, our busy schedule doesn’t allow us to practice traditional forms of dating.
It’s a funny little concept – Our aspiration for romance. We want it, we crave for it, but we don’t have the time for it. Yet, we don’t shy away from complaining about not having a proper romantic or dating life.
These are the reasons exactly why online dating has been so effective in the current scenario. Having the ability to find a match for ourselves without going through the initial stages of mincing down your potential partners is a blessing in itself. Moreover, you. can find the match of your interest and profession. If you are a busy working professional and want a like-minded partner, you can look for exclusive professional dating sites, whereas if you are a horse lover and like a countryside lifestyle, you can go through equestrian dating sites.
So, if we look at it from a grand scheme of things, the world of online dating is making adjustments to meet our needs and requirements; not the other way around. As a result, it is becoming effective without us even realizing it.
In fact, such strong is its command now that we are very much dependent on it to satiate our romantic, sexual, and other allied rendezvous. Thus, it has become a symbiotic relationship of sorts, wherein online dating made adjustments initially (and still is, to be fair) to meet our busy schedule, but it has now reached a stage of mutual reliability where we have unconsciously made it part of our schedule.
Yes, the keyword here is “unconsciously”. Have you ever thought about the number of times you check the status of the dating app on your phone? Between surfing Facebook posts or scrolling through the Instagram pictures to tweeting, you hop in your dating app for a minute or two to check your new matches, right?
This means that you are drawing in these dating apps (an invention of the online dating phenomenon) into your lives, thereby giving it the credibility it needs to gain effectiveness in society.
Online Dating and the Empowerment of Minorities
Probably the biggest impact that online dating has had on the mind-set of people is that it has allowed us to be unabashedly true to what we want and not compromise for it.
Can you recall the number of times before the advent of online dating when you had to settle for less? Well, if you are a Millennial who has only been used to online dating, maybe you haven’t felt it since you haven’t been through the other way around. But, our previous generations have had plenty of experiences when they thought that their wants and needs, and especially desires will never be completely fulfilled. As a result, they gave in to what they had.
We are talking about your orientations and preferences when it comes to the choice of your potential partners. Even a couple of years ago, it was hard for queer people to find a potential partner. The same was for people who were into kink or BDSM.
But now, there are safe spaces that are more welcoming and tolerant of people with alternate sexualities (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and pansexual, among others), gender identities (non-binary, non-conformist, and transgender, among others), and fetishes (role play, kink, etc.).
Religious and ethnic minorities now have a better shot finding their love in their own communities than ever before because of the ease of accessibility in an outside environment.
For instance, let’s imagine a black person who wants to date a fellow black individual. Not to say that people always look for partners in their own ethnicity, but let’s imagine a hypothetical situation. So, this person, if he is in a predominantly white society, he will probably have only just a few options to choose from. And that is not fair! Everyone deserves their shot at love and everyone should be at an even field. If we talk about community-specific online dating websites, then we have Redhead Dating Sites, Arab Dating Sites, Wiccan Dating Sites, and exclusive dating sites for almost all communities.
Dating sites and apps are of great help in these situations because they allow people to get in touch and connect with the people who they are specifically looking for and intend to be with. They don’t have to go around having to be in a situation where they don’t want to be in order to reach where they want to reach. The same applies to interracial relationships as well where it has allowed people to go for whom they want to go for instead of settling for less. So, if you are a Christian and want to connect with a spiritually inclined person, you have a list of Christian dating sites to go through.
Online sites empower minorities, allowing them to be themselves and telling them not only that it’s okay to be who you are, but also letting them believe in themselves and teaching them to be proud of their sexualities, genders identities, preferences, races, heritages, and ethnicities, among others. It's online dating where even disabled people can find lots of dating options. In essence, online dating platforms play a huge role in putting down homophobia, transphobia, kink-shaming, religious bias, and other related bigot practices.
The Role of Online Dating in Giving Voice to Our Choices
In the same line of thought as the previous point (however, with a more personality-centric approach), online dating platforms have made it possible for people to avoid awkward and disastrous first date scenarios. Mind you, this is not 100% applicable for everyone, but without online dating, we are pretty certain that the chances of us whittling down the people whom we could see a future with, will most definitely be more difficult.
Confused as to what exactly is in reference here? Hmm…well, everyone has a list of checkboxes for their ideal romantic partners. Yeah, maybe you won’t ever get ten on ten checks in your ultimate partner, but the goal is to make the most check-ins. Even if you don’t have a tangible list, there are certain ideas in your brain and heart, even if they are not clearly pronounced.
So, in traditional dating forms, it is mostly impossible to have a sense of what the other person wants, or what he or she is into, or what he or she wants from you. But, this issue is taken care of beautifully by dating apps. Even if you are a conservative, you can find plenty of online conservative dating sites.
This way, you don’t have to sit yourself at awkward dinner dates or coffee dates. Almost every well-established dating apps or sites make it mandatory for everyone to share details of who they are, why are they in that specific app, what are they looking for, what are their interests, among others.
As a result, you can make your choice beforehand. Let us help you understand this even better with the help of an example. Suppose, in real life, a very dashing, good-looking guy asks you out, and based on his looks, you say yes to him. But, while on a dinner with him, you figure out that he is a completely different person than who you are looking for. Maybe it is his interests and hobbies that don’t match with yours or his political stance disagrees with yours, or something else.
Since online dating apps give you a bio of your prospective dates, you are not completely in uncharted territories and you have a fair idea of what you are getting into. Even before heading to your date, you know what you are about to get. There may be some hits and misses here and there, but overall you are more in control of how the date is going to turn around because of shared personalities or shared interests or shared experiences, or the like. And if you get connected through interest-specific dating sites, like sober dating sites, you already know a lot about likes and dislikes of the person you are going to meet.
A New Dimension to Affordable and Feasible Soul-Searching
Remember, in the beginning, we were talking about those ads in newspapers, magazines, and other publications and those video cassettes that gave us a leeway into the dating world back in the day? Well, they were nice and fun, but perhaps the biggest issue with them is the humongous amount of money they cost us.
Yes, they did burn a pretty large hole in our pocket just for securing a date. Not to say how hard it was to get a free space in those publications or recording companies for having your name put out because of the limited space and high applicant ratio.
Online dating has effectively put an end to this scenario (well, for the most part). Now, there is no need to bear any extra expenses to find the love of your life. The only charge that you need to make is your internet fees, which is pretty minimal these days.
Of course, almost all the dating websites and apps have premium memberships these days, which requires you to make payments to unlock additional features, but most of the crowd resort to the regular membership anyways. Truth be told, these regular memberships are more than enough to get the job done and you won’t need to feel pressurized to invest any extra money on them. Apart from that, there are many free dating sites that you can try without spending anything.
Henceforth, love is essentially free, to put it lightly. You can’t put price tags on love and online dating platforms are doing just that. They are not limiting it to the riches only. We do agree that almost all of the participants in these apps and sites are fairly urban and sub-urban people, but, hey, we can cut them this much slack that they have a long way to go.
The important thing to note and praise here is that they are not setting a benchmark for getting access to love in terms of finance. This is a great boon to society. After all, we didn’t need another reason for someone to feel unworthy just because they can’t afford dating apps and websites. In other words, the demarcations between the have and have-nots are minimal to the point of being negligible.
So, these online platforms in a way are a microcosm of how an ideal economy should be, where everyone has an equal shot at getting whatever they want to get. Wow, who would have thought that something as casual as dating apps can actually serve as a model for something that the economy can look up to? Well, as someone rightfully said that lessons can be learned at the oddest of places and when you least realize it. There’s something to learn from every sphere around us. This globalized effect of online dating on society is something to be appreciated.
The Ballroom of Socialising
If you look at it closely, dating apps and websites are just an advanced version of social networking apps and websites. Well, of course, with more emphasis on romantic, sexual, and other allied intentions.
But what is dating anyway? It is just a form of socializing to figure out whether the person in front of you offers you a better future from a soulmate's point of view or not. But socializing is easier said than done. Not every one of us is a social butterfly, strutting our way to the top like those well-liked and admired people that we see in our everyday lives.
We are far from a homogenous group. There’s a wide variety of people existing in the dating pool waiting for Cupid to strike the anchor of love for them. Some of us are socially awkward, some are socially inept, while some struggle forming social bonds, among others. But does that mean these people have no shot at love just because they have not mastered the art of socializing? Well, hell no!
Dating apps allow people to have a boost to their morale when they get the courage to text or reach out to someone whom they probably would never have in real life, maybe out of self-consciousness or insecurities, etc. A couple of decades ago, the only option of dating for little people was their local community. Today we have plenty of dating sites for little people that can help them socialize and date with the people around the globe.
So, this means that a whole new ballroom of socializing takes place in the dating world which is more inclusive than the socializing that takes place in real life. Mind you, we aren’t referring to building connections anonymously only here, although that can count based on the situation or circumstance.
The bigoted social norms that force people to get ostracised or feel bad about themselves can be broken off by the social dynamics that take place over the virtual world.
What we are saying is that the online world builds a society of its own, where people can have clarity of their statements. Besides, it gives them the chance to polish their social skills, break social redundancies, and formulate more social dynamics that are centered around love and acceptance.
The online platforms for dating may have changed the means of seeking romance and other allied interests, but it hasn’t changed the essence of the same. This is what is important at the end of the day. After all, love is love, no matter how, when, and where you find it. And if you could find it at the comfort of your home while resting on your favorite couch all while having access to the internet, then long live online dating.
Dating has seen a 360-degree turnaround in the past decade or so, and the virtual world is only enhancing more. But, the success or failure rate of online dating relationships doesn’t matter here.
What matters is figuring out what role they play in society at large. What matters is looking out whether positive changes are being brought by online dating websites and apps or not. What matters is that whether people are happy after using these platforms or not. And looking at the progress so far, we are certain that the sky is the limit for these online apps and websites. At least, that’s what the outstanding impact and effect that these platforms have brought in over the last decade or so tells us.
We are confident of better things. The society needs better things. Maybe dating is not the first line of concern for everyone, but finding soulmate and love certainly is important for everyone. And guess what, dating is the gateway for opening up the channel to love in your life.
So, go out there, explore what is there to explore, know what you want and stick to it, don’t do anything you don’t want to do, be safe, read love quotes and give yourself the permission to fall in love with the help of online dating sites; because love, my friend, is a beautiful emotion that needs to be cherished for a lifetime.