I had always expressed criticism towards online dating; in part, because I thought it was impersonal and contradictory to some old fashioned ideologies that I cherished. To validate my viewpoint, I’d gage the long-lasting relationships of people whom I admired. People who had met their life partners by some kind of face to face interaction – introduction by a relative, from the same neighborhoods, or by attending the same schools.
I remembered an interview I had read with Aziz Ansari, the comedian and author, concerning his book “Modern Romance an Investigation” in which he discussed relationships. In that interview, he said “I interviewed all these older people and talked to them about relationships. People back in the day would just marry people who lived close to them. There was this study done in Philadelphia in 1932 that found that ⅓ of couples that got married lived within a 5 block radius of each other. ⅙ lived in the same block. And ⅛ lived in the same building! This was true in all different cities.”
Once upon a time, the development of a compatible relationship was as heartwarming and effortless as picking a pretty flower. Nowadays, technology is nearly a necessity for the formation of relationships with adults of a certain age. Numerous gender studies reflect the disproportionate male to female ratios throughout the United States. Unfortunately, the disparity of males to females become more lopsided in the upper age ranges approaching solitary in the last group for women. Albeit bleak, these skewed stats do not even take into consideration the males that are married, in committed relationships, incarcerated or identify with the LGBT community. Fortunately, technology provides a level of accessibility that is far-reaching. Unabashedly, this progress has improved the current relationship landscape by providing possibilities beyond your immediate vicinity.
I used to speculate about the kind of people that would resort to online dating – assuming that they were inept misfits, people preying on the desperation of others, or perhaps predators. My theory was that they were desperate people in search of impersonal companionship. I was dumbfounded when I discovered that all of my single female and male friends that were 30 years of age and above were active partakers and quite the opposite of desperate, inept misfits. Unquestionably, my condescending perspective was based solely on my ignorance.
When I inquired about the decision to date online versus just meeting someone face to face, the common-sense responses I received were: “If you are not going out regularly, you are not going to meet people. Too busy professionally for socializing outside of work. At the events where you would expect to meet someone, most of the people are either coupled up, married, or already in relationships.” I then evaluated the interactions I’d encountered while braving my new singlehood. While meeting lots of nice people, I had never really met anyone that I would consider as a “partner” and came to the same conclusion.
I determined that while online dating has its benefits, like providing a platform for people with like interests to meet other people, otherwise outside of their reach, it also comes with risk. You don’t know that the person with whom you are communicating is actually the person whose face is on the profile. There is also the possibility of divulging too much personal information, as well as, becoming prey for unscrupulous folks. So, after consultation with experienced participants, the consensus was that you have to take precautions as is expected with face to face meetings.
Over the past few months, I’ve noticed hitches with trying to get together with my friends. Their social calendars are booked. I don’t begrudge that a few have managed to connect with people whose company they really enjoy. Needless to say, I have totally changed my perspective regarding online dating. While there are no guarantees, I have come to admire the people who have taken charge of their social lives. With the help of friends, I have now developed my own profile. This is definitely a “to be continued post.”
Talk to you soon.