A Web of Romance: The Truth About Dating in the Digital Age

Let’s be honest, we all dream of meeting our perfect guy in a coffee shop.

I’d be reading a novel like Ulysses, or something equally as impressive. He’d come over and ask for my opinion and, despite my nonsensical response about it being ‘still very relevant today’, he’d sit on the stool next to mine and look at me as though I were queen of the classics. 

Sounds like a scene out of one of your favourite rom-coms, doesn’t it? If only real life could be so dreamy.

In reality, I’d probably be reading a trashy magazine that had been left at the table or scrolling through my phone for the twelve-hundredth time that day. The man who approached me? He’d be the antithesis of Tom Hardy, with added personal space issues. I’d, of course, immediately catch The Ick, and get the hell out of there.

The fact is, people don’t meet in the way filmmakers or authors suggest they do. I certainly didn’t meet my match in a bar. I met him hungover, in bed, as I swiped through Tinder. But that’s a story for another day.

You don’t need to be a genius to work out that dating has changed over recent years, but just how much is the question.

Way back when, women spent their lives with a man their family had chosen for them. Money was the aim of the game, and their parents would pick out the most suitable match. With a bit of luck, the woman thought he was a catch. If not… well, it really didn’t matter. Then came the age of free-dating, when we could finally pick our partners. Most couples during this period met at work, or through friends of friends. The trouble being, of course, that even when you were free to pick, you didn’t get much choice. Nowadays, choice is all around as the internet comes into play and a whole new world of dating is born. 

Dating has changed drastically through the years, and while those in ‘the not so distant past’ thought their luck was in, we’re now in an age of free-pickings, most of which are found via dating apps, like Plenty of Fish or Tinder. In the early days of the net, dating sites were deemed fit for only the loneliest of people. They certainly weren’t common currency and you’d keep schtum if you’d signed up to one. But, with 50 million monthly users on Tinder alone, there’s been a noticeable shift in our thinking. It wouldn’t be unreasonable, however, to wonder what this different dating style means to those looking for love in the modern age. After all, it’s the biggest leap the dating world has ever seen and you’d be right to have some doubts. To help dispel those worries, we’re going to look at the pros and cons of these modern methods.

Yay!

  • You can find matches based on your interests
  • You don’t have to meet anyone you don’t want to
  • You can chat with potential interests without committing
  • You’re in complete control of the situation

Nay…

  • Obvious safety issues
  • Many people are only after one thing
  • You may get sent pictures you’d rather not see
  • Matches aren’t guaranteed to be local

As you can see, it’s a relatively even playing field, and most of those cons are easy to overcome. Meeting someone off the internet doesn’t have to be a safety risk. You could talk to them on the phone beforehand to make sure they are who they say. You should also tell someone where you’re going, and arrange to meet in a public place. And, if you state that you’re looking for more than sex, you can at least reduce the number of inappropriate pictures. Sadly, there’s no real cure for the possibility of long-distance, but hey; anything for love, right?  

Of course, it’s too early to say what long-term implications these changes will have on the dating world. But, so far, so good. In recent years, for example, we’ve seen the first drop in divorce rates for 40 years, and although there’s no way to confirm whether this is all thanks to online dating, it seems a safe bet. After all, we’re now in a position where we can meet like-minded partners at every turn, and as this Telegraph article suggests, online love is proven to be more likely to last.

Could divorce once again become a dirty word for the next generation?

I’m up for a Love Revolution if you are. 

With that being said, some things will never change. Though the way we meet is different, we still opt for the same old dating haunts, with dinner and a film still a winning combination. The end goal also hasn’t changed much, either, with the majority of couples still dreaming of living together and getting married, turning to hand-crafted wedding invitations and big blowouts for the big day.

So, ladies; it might be time to let go of your coffee shop fantasy and go out there to make it happen. You could make sure he sees you reading Ulysses by popping it in your profile picture, and ensure he doesn’t have The Ick factor by simply swiping the bad choices away.

Happy dating, kiddos.

*THIS IS A CONTRIBUTED POST

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