Is it better to find a partner online or in real life?


Fact Box

  • According to a 2020 Pew Research survey about online dating, 54% of Americans said that 'relationships that begin on a dating site or app are just as successful as those that begin in person.'
  • Launched online in April 1995, became one of the first online dating sites and pioneered the market, eventually expanding to 24 different countries. The site provides a way to 'create romantic opportunities, so singles are more likely to find someone special.'
  • By share of paying US customers, Tinder is the most popular dating app.  
  • One Iowa State University study found that the courtship period is significantly lower for those looking online for love, 'averaging 18.5 months of dating before getting married by comparison to 42 months for those who met in more traditional ways offline.'

JessiRae (Real Life)

Meeting romantic partners is complicated, especially in the COVID landscape. However, meeting online leads to fewer dates for couples than those who meet in real life. 

Dating is about chemicals. When two people meet, their brains are already analyzing nonverbal signals, wavelengths, and pheromones. Human bodies have been “vibe-checking” their entire lives. The law of attraction dictates that like attracts like. Pheromones, dopamine, and oxytocin dominate the real, tangible playground of dating, and the brain produces more of these chemicals in person, relying upon electromagnetism. People cannot accurately do any of this from behind the confines of a digital screen.

Further, meeting in person allows empathy to bloom. Those who feel comfortable and supported are more likely to share their dreams and ambitions with someone who is genuinely interested in them. It isn’t easy to read those cues through an app. Making lasting memories in the real world grounds one’s connection to something visceral. 

Additionally, meeting dates out on the town is good for overall health, as dating in real life encourages singles to attend social events, explore different scenes, spend time outside, and step out of their comfort zones by participating in karaoke or open-mic nights. Dating improves communication, commitment, and keeping things interesting.

Also, people can’t get catfished in person. The individual who shows up for a date is the same person that someone first met. No secrets. However, this isn’t always the case online. Additionally, besides catfishing, dating online can be tedious and often leads to failed plans, awkward dates, and “being ghosted.” 

Meeting a partner in real life is more straightforward, more conducive to connection, and more rewarding than meeting online. 

TeeRay (Online)

Times have changed since online dating was reserved for desperate people. Thirty percent of Americans go online to look for love, and there are strong reasons why.

Joining dating apps gives one a broader range of potential partners to choose from, making it easier and more efficient to find that special someone. Online dating apps allow people to connect with others who are well outside of their established social circles--something that can't be guaranteed when attempting to meet a partner in real life. 

With apps that are specifically tailored to search for likes, dislikes, age, career, and religious preferences, the basics of what you look for in a partner are already covered. And these metrics increase the probability of finding not only a match but a well-suited one.

With platforms like eHarmony--which developed a proprietary 'foundational principle of matching based on Key Dimensions of Compatibility'--the chances of meeting “The One” increase exponentially. In fact, according to research, about 438 marriages take place every day in the US between couples who met on eHarmony. 

Online dating doesn't only help you find a partner; it helps you keep one, too. A study from 2013 found that online dating leads to happier marriages than matches made in real life primarily due to a broader pool of possibilities, various matching algorithms, and the tendency for greater self-disclosure.

Having more choices--and better choices--than what real life can sometimes offer, it's no wonder more and more people are finding relationship satisfaction online.

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