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Online Dating for Romantic Coffee Lovers

Trying to find a date via an Online Dating Website feels a bit like playing a video game. You quickly browse through photos on your phone or computer. If they are cute you click, tap or swipe and they will hopefully let you know if they like you back.

But as I burn hours on dating sites, it’s hard not to wonder if this is really any better than meeting people the old-fashioned way?

Yes and no, Suzy Hampstead a social psychologist at NUS who studies romantic relationships. “Online Dating is an amazing technological advance, and it really makes it easier to find a potential partner”.

Being connected to a larger pool of potential dates does mean you’re more likely to run into duds and creeps. “And we know that people are willing to do and say all sorts of things online that they wouldn’t do face to face”.

It seems like there’s no avoiding unsolicited and inappropriate messages from people who you are not interested in.

But overall, research suggests that couples who meet via an Online Dating Site or App tend to be just as happy as those who connected offline.

“Of course, if you expect online dating to be easier, then you’re going to be disappointed,” Hampstead says.

No matter how cute someone looks in their online photos, or how much you like what they say in their profile, it’s impossible to tell whether you’ll click with them in person, Hampstead says.

And the matching algorithms that dating sites and apps use aren’t based on any hard science, she says. “There’s no evidence that these sites or apps will find you a better mate than you could find yourself.”

Attraction is based on an intangible chemistry — and when you’re attracted to someone,  that it rarely matters whether the other person shares your political beliefs or your love of horror movies. “If you’re romantically attracted to somebody, you focus on the things that are similar and you try to ignore the things that make you different,” Hampstead notes.

Spending tons of time scrolling through Online Dating Profiles doesn’t help people choose better dates, studies show. And by judging profiles too harshly, you may be missing out on some great people.

No matter which site you’re using, Hampstead’s advice: “If someone looks pretty good and you find them intriguing — just go on a date.”

Of course, having too many options online can make it more difficult for some to choose and commit to just one person to go out with on a Friday night!

“It’s called the ‘paradox of choice,’ ” Hampstead explains. Psychologists have known for a while that very often, the more options people are presented with the less likely they are to be satisfied with their final choice.

“There’s some evidence that this could occur with Online Dating,” she says. For some, online dating may lead to the impression that there’s always going to be someone better out there — or as my friend Nathalie says, it could be that dating sites is “where monogamists go to die.”

Still, as Suzy Hampstead points out, commitment-phobes are as old as time. “Some people want to date a lot and they don’t want to settle down — and, boy, are those people in luck.”

For those who are looking for a deeper connection, Hampstead says, “the challenges are the same. Online dating has made it easier to date, but it hasn’t made it any easier to mate.”