Is online dating the best way to find love? According to the founder of the biggest Chinese dating site, there is no “offline” dating any more in China. It’s considered odd to approach a stranger in real life. Everyone is looking for someone online. In the UK, 20% of relationships now begin online and 11% of the nation does online dating. Will offline (or organic, as I like to call it) dating become a thing of the past as more of the so-called iGeneration begin to date? And what effect will this have on our relationships?
Although there have been numerous discussions about the possible negative effects of social media usage and screen time, there is not yet robust evidence to support this. (See, for example, here and here for the effects on young people, who use it the most.) Human being are very adaptive and most of us are able to utilise the benefits of technology to our advantage whilst still having plenty of face to face interactions.
For us busy divorcees, we need to maximise the efficiency of our free time, but we also need social interaction and support. It’s definitely good to get out and meet people in the first few months and years after separation, and groups of people rather than one to ones can be good for our mood, for comparing notes, getting things in perspective, developing new interests, and building new friendship groups. The opportunities now you’re single are endless! Meeting someone who shares your interests and values are also increased this way. Over a two year period, Mike joined a French class, a choir, and learnt to salsa dance – all good places to meet women – and made new friends and went on some dates as a result.
But there is also an argument for the efficiency of online dating, in terms of simply playing a numbers game. As long as you can filter out the baddies and the ones that are incompatible with you, and are prepared to keep persevering, it can be a good way to meet people you’d be very unlikely to meet in real life. Mike wanted to supplement his new social life with some online dating to try and meet more women looking for the same things as him. At first, Mike wasn’t getting many messages online and he didn’t feel much of a connection with the women he did meet. Over time, he learnt more about which sites to use, how to filter, how to write a profile that gets women’s attention, and how to make the dates more meaningful. With help from Rachel New, London Dating Coach and member of the Divorce Club, he became aware of the psychology behind online dating and how to use findings from research to improve his dating behaviour.
There are a number of psychological processes at work in online dating – such as the illusion of choice, buyer’s remorse, treating it like shopping, and so on – that can help you be more aware of what’s going on. There are also lots of quick tips that can help you, based on research – such as how long your messages should be and what they should be about.
If you want to find out more about the psychology of online dating, come along to a free t in Crystal Palace on the psychology of online dating, given by Rachel New. By helping you understand the psychological processes described above and giving you lots of fascinating facts about what works in dating, you’ll improve your dating experiences.
There will be activities and a chance to get to know other people, and you can ask all your burning questions!
See here for more details: https://www.meetup.com/The-Divorce-Club-London/events/254235649/
Rachel writes a blog about the psychology of dating. Take a look here.
Dr Isabelle Hung is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and clinical psychologist. Having got through her own divorce just three years ago, she is now remarried and happy to report that divorce really is an opportunity for growth and positive change.