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Does online dating cheapen relationships?

Source: Bostino

Source: Bostinno

5 key problems with online dating

It’s 2013 in San Francisco, CA and online dating is officially socially acceptable and widely used.  Between eHarmany and, there are over 35 million users.  There are tons of others too including Zoosk, OK Cupid, Scout, and lets not forget the infamous Tinder.  I haven’t dabbled in online dating before.  I’m not a fan.  I think it removes a lot of the challenges that makes dating incredibly exciting and suspenseful.   From what I hear, there are several issues coming up in the online dating sphere, and I’m just thinking about how we can alleviate them?

problems with online dating

  • Lack of privacy
  • Superficial Interactions
  • Story without narrative
  • Focus on Fucking not Friendship
  • Sketch balls

What is it that we are all looking for?  Is it love? Sex?  Or Both?  Is online dating the best way to get those things?  In theory, it certainly cuts off a lot of the old school courtship practice, but not without compromise.  On one end, you might spend less time in dingy stinky dive bars hoping the next drink will make her/him attractive.  At least you have your privacy in the dark.

your face showing up on a dating sight sends a message

Once you go onto an online dating site, you might have your profile protected from public view but let’s FACE IT; Your pretty face is being solicited in public for everyone to see.  What kind of messaging does it send out?  At the very least it says, “I’m single and looking for action.”  I know if any of my friends saw my face on one of these sites, I’d hear my coworkers saying, “so Lief, I saw you on Tinder the other day.  Did you pull any tail?”  San Francisco is not a big town and if you are looking for other singles in a tight proximity, there is a high chance you can find someone you already know.  In a small town, forget about it.  You might as well head to the corner store.

superficial interactions are the norm

Pictures on dating sites are mostly a good thing.  You can screen prospects to some extent, but the savvy online dater is no stranger to photoshop.  A little grayscale and free transform and you can make any fat face blotchy skinned slob look classic, fit and refined.  There is an element of deception.

Suppose you’re a nice guy/girl that’s a hair less than stunningly beautiful.  You deserve an honest chance right?  The other problem I see with online dating is that every person in inundated with selection, and naturally, everyone wants to sync up with the most attractive person they can.  64% of people said they were driven by common interests (Source: Statisticbrain).  I’m not buying it.  They use 400 questions on the eHarmony survey so I’m sure they can link up commonality in some form or another with a ton of unqualified potential partners.

the story without a narrative

Friend: So where did you guys meet?

You: Oh we met online.  I submitted all my data to this website and the the algorithm hooked us up.

Friend: Cool story bro.

I don’t like that part of online dating.  Sure, there are stories beyond the first encounter, but that first encounter is pretty unromantic.  Tinder has some potential for adventure, but that app is like taking the 1-10 rating scale and just going binary.  This is your real life and if you don’t have a good story, you are probably doing it wrong.

focus on fucking, not friendship

Relationships already seem to have a tendency to move fast for single adults.  For singles going on more structured dates, there is a lot of pressure to push things to an intimate level or risk falling in the friend zone.  Online dating actually accelerate the process significantly.  Couples that meet online spend a third the time courting into marriage compared to offline couples.  This goes back to what people are looking for in online dating.  My postulation is that the expectation for relationships to “progress” is a little more urgent for those resorting to online dating.

The reality is that this is not a race.  There is no population crisis.  The tax breaks aren’t worth it.

sketch balls

Sketch balls are a big problem for all forms of dating.  I have a flag system worked out for every type of sketch ball.  It is kind of like the soccer penalty system.  A red card is a no-go.  That is usually set off by tramp stamps, outfits consisting of greater than 50% animal print, high heels taller than 3.6 inches, or cigarettes.  Yellow cards are dished out to dates with a number higher than 30, or ones that walk out of the restroom with a powder coated nose.

Red Card

in conclusion

I’m exploring and researching this space a little more.  I’m intrigued by the rapid growth of some of these companies receiving millions of dollars in funding.  I think there are some ways to alleviate some of the problems with online dating.  I think there is room to create more interesting ways to bring potential partners together.  It would be interesting to see gamification tied to this segment.  I remember Chris met his girlfriend Elissa playing his Boombot portable speaker at the farmer’s market.  He created common ground over music interest which is proven to be effective for most anyone.

On the other hand, if you can meet your dating objectives without using online dating, you’re gonna be a better person for it.  I promise.  One thing for sure is that online dating is here to stay and  I will continue to observe this social experiment passively.


10 comments on “Does online dating cheapen relationships?

  1. I like to read your blog. After reading your blog I found my dating partner online very easily. I am very thankful to you.

  2. This is why I’m using MatchSecrets service. My online matchmaker does everything for me. I’m highly recommended!!!

  3. The best information so far that I read today about relationship. It should be something
    that is to be nurtured and cared for. I will give this blog an A+ rating for the best information. Please keep posting.

  4. Hey,

    So no product placement or anything, but I was reading this article and immediately thought about what a friend of mine was saying the other day exactly about this topic. She’s been on online dating for a while and found that the whole dynamic wasn’t really her style. So my friend (Emily) launched an online dating site of her own called Vera. Check it out, she explains it way better than I can. I liked it! #mytwocents


  5. Thanks for sharing some of the best points after reading your views it can be overcome easily to give dating a fresh start …..Update us with more

  6. Very true on some points, and that is why it is important to remain yourself no matter what. When you use online dating websites to meet knew people, you need to be creative but also to be yourself if you still want to keep authenticity. Of course, you also need to choose the right website and not one randomly that will only lead you to casual dates or something you definitely don’t want. Thanks for sharing.

  7. The single biggest issue with online dating, regardless of the verification measures put in place by dating site administrators, is the ability for members to misrepresent their true identity or current physical appearance. As a dating site administrator the majority of my time is spent policing and filtering fraud profiles and maintaining quality profile content from members. Online dating works for many people, but if you’re considering using the internet to find a mate, please use some common sense before taking it offline.

  8. It really depends on what you’re using online dating for in the first place. Some sites openly cheapen the concept, sites and dating apps like Tinder for example. Although there are several great sites that promote wholesome relationships such as eharmony. So the choice is really up to the individual as to whether they want a cheap of full filling experience.

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