Does Online Dating Work for Long Term Relationships?

I remember a few years ago when the idea of online dating was so taboo. When people thought about online dating, they usually thought of the personal section of Craiglist where creeps lurked. As technology soared and our smart phones became an extension of our arms, that idea quickly changed.

The likes of Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge,, eHarmony, etc really revolutionized dating as we know it. But how successful is online dating?

Can you really find a girlfriend or boyfriend from online dating site and apps? Even more so, can you find someone to marry from online dating?

The simple answer is yes, but just like with traditional dating, there are precautions you need to take in order to find a lasting partner.

Let's start with the basics. To figure out if online dating can work for you, you need to understand why people even use online dating in the first place.

Here are some pros to online dating:
  1. It's convenient. You don't have to go anywhere or get dolled up or do anything. You could literally be wearing sweatpants in bed watching netflix eating your third bowl of cereal because you're too lazy to cook and still get a date for tomorrow. As long as you have a phone or a laptop with internet, then you are on the market. 

  2. There are so many options. Think of it this way: Before online dating, we were hunting and gathering (had to get out there in the real world and find people) for potential mates. Now, we just go to the grocery store (log onto a dating site) and judge the packaging, briefly read the label (look at their pictures and read their profile) and decide if we want to try it out (go on a date). There are so many on the shelf that we don't get too hung up on any one person because there's plenty more just a swipe away that are just as good as the last brand, if not better. 
A lot of people use online dating because they're bored and it's a fun way to pass time. Clearly, you need to avoid people like this if you're looking for a long term relationship.

There are sites and apps dedicated to these people like Tinder, known as the "bootycall" app. Stay clear of those. But also, ask people pretty early on what they're looking for.

Other people use online dating because they're lonely. Steer clear of people like this. There is a difference between someone who's lonely and needs someone to fill them and someone who's complete and wants to find someone to share their completedness with.

The latter is the type of people you want to associate with.

While the convenience and abundant suitor options are really great perks, there is always a flip side to every good thing. For the most part, people are just looking to bond with that one special someone. Sure, in the beginning, we'll date a few people at the same time but once we start to like someone more than the others, we begin to slowly drop the others away to just focus on that one person.

The thing is, pursuing someone means having to actually put effort into it. As a species, we've learned to shy away from things that require work and gravitate towards things that are easy, hence why people are so attracted to online dating-- it's easy.
At any sign of trouble or imperfection, we just want to toss that person out and exchange them for a new one.

Online dating has made it so convenient to find someone new, especially since there are so many options just at your fingertips.

Though it's counterintuitive because of the convenience, it's actually more difficult to find a lasting partner with online dating because no one is actually focusing on just one person. Everyone is sending messages to multiple people at a time. Online dating has dehumanized the whole experience of dating.

This person whose profile you're viewing is no longer a person, they're just another cereal box in an aisle of cereal boxes. We want to click with one special someone... but even when you've had a great date and you're really interested in that person, you're likely to still scroll through profiles and send out messages on the off chance that your new love interest doesn't feel the same way and never contacts you again.

Even if they did contact you again and you went on a second date, you're still probably going to occasionally flip through profiles and they're probably doing the same exact thing. Now both of you are not putting in that much effort and either of you could just get lazy or distracted by another potential mate that you just forget to respond and the next thing you know, despite your awesome dates, you're no longer talking. If both of you had just stopped looking around long enough to focus on each other, you might have realized that you could have had something substantial. Instead, your eyes keep wandering for fear of getting hurt or out of curiosity and then the vicious cycle continues. First date after first date after first date.

The way to avoid this is to really try to get to know the people you're dating and ask important questions. You don't have to ask them if they want to get married on the first date, but ask, "What are you looking for?" Be cautious if someone wants to suddenly spend a lot of time with you after having just met you. They are more likely to be the lonely-and-looking-for-someone-to-fill-my-loneliness type rather than the please-share-my-completedness type. I get that it's fun to spend time with someone who you have fun with, but happy people with fulfilled lives are busy. If you do have a good first date (it doesn't necessarily have to be spectacular, or sweep you off your feet), you should definitely go on a second date.

You just never know with online dating and you really need to give it that extra little effort if you want to find your special someone.