In the specific study that I’ll summarize here, researchers reviewed existing dating websites with the goal of identifying ways that online dating is similar to and different from romantic relationship initiation in offline contexts.
There are a few fundamental ways the Internet has changed the dating scene.
Most users sign up for dating sites like Match, for example, with intentions of finding a romantic partner, whether it be short or long-term.
In contrast, Tinder has earned a reputation as more of a ‘hook-up’ (and sometimes even purely entertainment) app, where users make decisions based on first impressions of physical appearance and carry relatively low expectations regarding romantic outcomes.
Online daters also have extensive personal information at their fingertips.
Several months ago, I wrote a post about how online dating has shifted the way people search for and establish romantic relationships in the modern era.
Notably absent from that article was any mention of what has become the fastest growing, and arguably the most popular, dating app of the past several years: Tinder.
Why didn’t Tinder make it into my discussion of the potential benefits and drawbacks of online dating?As more and more dating websites continue to crop up, from Ok Cupid to Veggie Date (yes, a dating website for vegetarians), online dating has become a common and convenient way for singles to meet and pursue relationships.Is online dating really that different from offline dating? Recently, social psychologists who study the development of romantic relationships have begun to explore the phenomenon of online dating, specifically examining the extent to which it does or doesn’t mirror “traditional” dating.I filled forms about my interests, my opinions and my personal goals – which was having a family – something I’d been too frightened to mention to my exes in the early days for fear of scaring them off.“But the men I was introduced to were told what I wanted and shared those dreams. From the off we were on the same page and then it was only a matter of finding someone I also found physically attractive and that was Mark, the third man I met.” Wilkinson is far from alone.Based on this analysis, we propose future directions for fundamental and practical research in this important new area of investigation.