Online Dating for Marriage

I have often been asked, “Should I do online dating? Is that really a good idea?”

I always respond with the question, “Why the hesitation?”

“I just don’t know if I can actually find a lasting relationship online.”

I think it’s interesting that so many people have the same concern about dating online. So does online dating give you a better shot at a lasting relationship? The short answer is, it depends.

If you look at the research, you’ll get a mixed answer on whether online dating creates more long-lasting relationships than traditional dating.  In one study, researchers at University of Chicago’s Department of Psychology and Harvard University’s Department of Epidemiology found that online dating actually leads to higher marriage satisfaction and a lower divorce rate. Also, they found that the marriages in which the couples met online were slightly less likely to result in separation or divorce.  Great news! Of course, it may be because the individuals that date online could just have different personalities and motivations to create a long-term relationship when compared with couples who meet without online help. That would be something to follow -up on in another study but results look promising overall.

Now if you change the sample of people a bit, the results are discouraging. A researcher found opposite results in another study  when she extended her investigation to include people in relationships who were not married as well as married couples.  She looked at break-up rates among relationships and marriages to see if there were differences for couples who met online vs. couples who met offline.  She found that couples who met online had higher breakup rates than couples who met offline.  Of course, we need to consider the duration of the relationships and the quality of those relationships when looking at these outcomes.

It’s never an exact science with human-subject research. There are just too many factors that researchers can’t control, but we do our best.

So between these two studies, we know one thing for sure – couples have vastly different experiences when dating online. Factors to consider are differing personalities of online daters – some may be more motivated to have long term relationships – this is good!. Also, just as it may be easy to meet people online, it can be just as easy to break things off. Hence, easy come, easy go. Not so good! Lastly, too many choices in online dating may make people fickle or non-committal. By concluding that there are plenty of fish in the virtual sea, one partner may be more likely to throw that fishing line back in the ocean if his or her current partner doesn’t seem like the “perfect fit.”

With these mixed results, it’s easy to get frustrated, but there really is a way to successfully date online and land a lasting long-term relationship. Like anything else, it’s all about the approach you take that will determine your results. If you want to find your forever-partner, my experience has taught me that it’s much easier to do this online. Yes, you read correctly. I think online dating can be a better venue to meet someone and create a lasting relationship than traditional dating. I met my husband on match.com using these techniques and we were married after just a year of dating and now have 2 beautiful children together.

Here are some reasons to give online dating a try if you haven’t already…

  1. Online dating allows you to search profiles of potential dates before you decide you may be interested in asking for a date. You get to peak at a person’s interests and values to check if they align with yours instead of starting with just looks alone.
  2. You don’t have to be limited to a local search. Sure you may have some potential singles in your area, but you have a much better shot at finding someone great for you if you are willing to expand your search. Of course, you’ll also need to be willing to move for love when things go well!
  3. After you decide you like someone’s profile, you can shoot out an email to test the waters. Essentially, you have the opportunity to start talking with someone online to screen them before you decide to meet face to face. Is this person looking for love or just a one night stand? That’s usually easy to find out with a few email conversations before you waste a date night on someone who isn’t looking for anything of substance.
  4. With online dating, you can take it as slow as you like. If you aren’t ready to meet face to face but want to get to know someone more through conversation, you can allow for that space. Everyone’s dating choices are different, and online dating allows you to make those choices at your own pace.

Online dating can be a wonderful thing if you do it right so here are 4 STEPS to assure you find a lasting and loving relationship instead of a disaster…

  1. First thing’s first. Set your mind straight. You want to meet someone with whom you can build a lasting relationship so don’t become too distracted in the online dating world to commit to one person. Decide that when you find a potential partner, you will delete your online dating profile and give the blossoming relationship a real shot. That will take some time. Let things develop.
  2. Realize that when you find the “right person” that not everything will just magically fall into place. There will be ups and downs with anyone, and that won’t differ with your new partner. Decide that you will ride out the storms together rather than jump ship and start again with another fish in the sea. You’ll just end up frustrated as you jump from one potential partner to the next if you constantly give in to the temptation of all those profiles waiting for you online.
  3. Get to know what you are looking for in a potential partner and get to know yourself. Sure you may want someone attractive, funny, and smart, but don’t we all? Those assets are too general. What else is important to you in a potential mate? What do you want for your life and how would you know if a potential partner would be best suited to follow you on that path? What positive values do you see in yourself? What positive qualities would you like to see in your partner? Answer these questions for yourself before moving forward with someone. You’ll narrow the pool, but you’ll have a much better chance of finding someone right for you.
  4. After you decide that you like someone enough to contact, give it time on the phone. Feel free to meet for coffee if you like, but don’t ignore the power of conversation. Telephone conversations will allow you to focus on what is being said rather than how good looking your date might be. Often, we get blinded by good looks and ignore red flags that might come up in conversations. The telephone allows a good buffer zone for true assessment. Talk about your values and what you are doing with your life. Discuss where you see your life going in the next five years and ask your potential partner to do the same. Talk about your positive qualities and what qualities you would like your future partner to possess. Get to know each other on a deeper level. It’s great to talk about favorite movies and the last best vacation you took, but those bits of information won’t get you far in finding out whether you’re dating the right person for you.

A lot has changed since match.com started in 1995. Lots of other online dating sites have joined the party, and more couples have met online than ever before.   While there may still be some hesitation, it’s much more accepted these days to date online. With lifestyles getting busier, it’s often a matter of convenience rather than desperation (as it was once viewed). I imagine the numbers of couples that meet online will grow and grow as this technological age moves forward. I think that’s a good thing.

If you found a wonderful relationship and want to keep it strong, don’t wait for it to get bad before you learn how to build a lasting partnership. Work with me or get free guidance on how to keep your relationship thriving. It’s well worth your time!