People you meet online can grow into as close and intimate alliances as those you meet offline
Welcome to the 21st century, meeting people online is now more common than meeting through friends, family, or work. Out of ten people who are in a relationship, four have met their partner online. But what amazes me, is that out of 10 people 2 think that people who use dating apps are desperate. Why?
Maybe it is the fact the people you meet online are usually strangers at first.
It can also be related to the fact that out of 10 people 4 think dating apps are for people who look for casual sex. As a result, people assume that the relationships won’t last because the motives are “not right”. But if they knew enough, they would also know that even though we think people are just looking for sex. 80% of the users actually want to find serious dates.
To take it even further, people who met their significant other online are actually more satisfied with their marriage than those who met their spouse offline. And it does not end there. Marriages that began online are less likely to end in a separation or divorce. Yes, please!
But what can make online dating more successful than offline?
“Odds to find a person that shares the same values, interests, and future plans, are certainly better online than offline.“
One reason why finding a significant other online can be more satisfying than meeting offline is the increased number of potential spouses. Instead of settling for somebody because they are the best one available, you can go beyond your social cycles and meet people far apart from you. Odds to find a person that shares the same values, interests, and future plans, are certainly better online than offline. Although, the workload can also be significantly more enormous which can increase the odds of you giving up.
Another explanation is the amount of self-disclosure and affiliation people share online compared to offline. It can be easier to share personal information and take more risks than if you met face-to-face. We make our online dating profiles with the intention to find a person who matches us, not to impress everyone. As a result, we meet people that are at least to some extent similar to us.
Offline we are more prone to try to impress and please the other, trying to answer to their expectations. You might even end up hiding parts of your personality and life which would be important in finding a matching significant other. In the long run, it’s better to deliver yourself before you even meet the person than after two years of being together.
“…if you meet online, it might be easier to give the wanted information and impression of who you are.“
What also makes online and offline dating different is the part of actually delivering yourself. I bet many of us have been on a first date where you couldn’t be 100% of yourself and ended up thinking about what could have happened if you could have been yourself. If the other does not know that much about you or vice versa, you might not even have proper discussions.
But if you meet online, it might be easier to give the wanted information and impression of who you are before you meet. Then you have reasons why you are having the date, and some mutual interests and topics you can talk about (and if you use YouViaMe, you have a friend’s reasoning why you would be awesome together). BUT. It might also result in false expectations and impressions, which backfire when you meet face-to-face. The more you idealize the other, the less successful the first date is likely to be.
To put it all together, online dating can facilitate making the person more interested and invested in you even before you meet. Or even if you won’t deliver yourself fully on the first date. At least as long as the information is relevant and the created expectations are not false or too high.
On top, we have gathered the results of scientifical research with almost 2200 participants. Offline means a relationship that started offline and is maintained both offline and online. Online is a relationship that started online and is only maintained online. Mixed is a relationship that started online but is maintained both online and offline.
In general, the overall quality of an online relationship is not as good as offline. But the quality of a mixed relationship — one that started online but became offline — is even higher than offline’s. Also, mixed relationships develop at the same pace as offline ones. What this means is meeting people online is not worse than meeting people offline, it can even be better.
You should also pay attention to online relationships. The quality of online relationships increase after 3 months, but after half a year, it will decrease. The reason is that we are social beings, and we need face-to-face interaction and all the nonverbal expressions, and touch, that comes with it. A laughing emoji is rewarding, but an actual laugh is not only satisfying but also catching.
“…you should develop an online relationship into an offline one as well.“
When it comes to relationships such as friendship or love, the connection between you two doesn’t ask if you met online or offline, it couldn’t care less. As we can see below, online- and offline-relationships don’t differ that much. An online relationship can have a lot of affection and perceived similarity between the two. If an online relationship grows into an offline one (mixed), the levels are the same as with offline-relationships.
So, if you are looking for a close and intimate relationship, don’t hesitate to look for it online as long as it actually develops into an offline contact as well. Chatting f o r e v e r is not leading anywhere, and face-to-face interaction is still the most vital form of giving and receiving love, acceptance, and support. The online world makes your pool of choices as big as you are ready to have, but it is only an extension of the offline world, not a substitute.
Antheunis, M. L., Valkenburg, P. M., & Peter, J. (2012). The quality of online, offline, and mixed-mode friendships among users of a social networking site. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 6(3). https://doi.org/10.5817/CP2012-3-6
Cacioppo, J. T., Cacioppo, S., Gonzaga, G. C., Ogburn, E. L., & VanderWeele, T. J. (2013). Marital satisfaction and break-ups differ across on-line and off-line meeting venues. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(25), 10135–10140. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222447110