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Online dating: Making marriage more difficult?

By Lee Cleveland - January 6, 2023

When I first posted an online dating profile on Match.com in 2002, I was laughed at and called desperate by some in my inner circle. However, even then I knew I was on to something cutting edge. The concept worked and the once-new phenomenon is now mainstream.

In 2021, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single person under 40 who is looking for romance and doesn’t have their profile on at least one of today’s many dating sites or apps.

And why not? Online dating allows people to connect with others very easily and quickly. Moreover, it trumps the old-fashioned way where singles met at local bars or clubs, special events, church, or via common friends.



And if you were born prior to 1980, you know exactly what I mean. Prior to the advent of online dating, meeting suitable dating partners was a lot harder. But, as a result, it seems we were with them longer.

Back then, finding compatibility wasn’t nearly as easy as it is today.

Internet dating exponentially expands the pool of possible candidates. That stated, according to the US Congress, the national marriage rate fell to a record low last year, suggesting it’s getting more and more challenging to marry.

Wait, what?



If internet dating vastly increases the pool of prospects and enables daters to connect very easily and quickly, why is the marriage rate plummeting?

Answer: The marriage rate is decreasing due to numerous factors, and we won’t expound on them all. However, we think Internet dating plays a role.

In life, even proven solutions and enhancements sometimes create more obstacles. Hence, innovation over the 70 years has saved money and increased efficiency but also killed a lot of jobs and careers.

Simply put, internet dating today supports the economic principle of The Law of Diminishing Returns – An increase in overall dating and the pool of marriage prospects are actually contributing to a decrease in married folk.

Most single people, especially those of average attractiveness or better, have too many options. Way too many. As a result, people are becoming less likely to settle down with one person for fear of missing someone else better.

Also, because Internet dating makes it so easy to meet a lot of people in a short time, some divorcees are often in no hurry to remarry or even settle down in a committed relationship.

I’ve had great first dates via the online dating process. However, a few of those “great” first-date situations soured quickly, presumably due to the online dating compulsion.

There were times when a young lady, following a fun first date, insisted she couldn’t wait to see me again. We’d make out, hold hands, and sometimes engage in …er… other activities. Afterward, they’d tell me how they boasted to friends and family about having met me and insist I was the greatest ever… blah, blah, blah.

However, those same women continued to “live” on dating sites even after our seemingly perfect first dates.

Why?



In all three cases, I told them there would be no second date because their actions didn’t support their words. If I was so awesome, why were they ALWAYS on the dating site whenever I looked?

OK, maybe I was spying a little… But, why did they have to be active EVERY TIME I checked?

In each situation, I was content to pursue things with them for the time being and wasn’t interested in meeting a bunch of other people.

No, I didn’t expect to be in an exclusive relationship after one date but if you find someone with strong potential – and she/he confirms it’s mutual – shouldn’t you put a little more focus on that candidate while making prospects you’ve never met a lower priority?

And it goes both ways as men certainly keep their options as open as women if not more.

And the choices we have today are wonderful. I’ve had relationships with women in multiple states and countries as a result. However, until people are more grounded and disciplined in their dating routine the marriage rate will continue to drop due to the ease of being able to meet so many prospects so quickly and easily.

There’s light a the end of the tunnel: Online dating, although in vogue, is still a relatively new concept. Perhaps when the novelty wears off – hopefully by 2030 – people will be more focused on finding that special person, having realized that sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side.

Internet dating is a great concept and will be even better when or if people’s expectations for finding long-term love get on track.

Are you a serial dater?

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Tags: Dating trends, relationships