In the digital age, online dating continues to remain the number one manner by which aspiring couples meet in the United States. But these changes present dangerous widespread implications.
More than just a fad, the majority of couples in the United States today reported having first met online. This trend has become particularly popular amongst Generation Z and Millenials thanks to standardized platforms like Bumble and Tinder.
Representing the first generation of young adults to grow up alongside the Internet, it’s fascinating to watch the manner by which online dating, a once scoffed-at behavior, has now become almost fully embraced.
With all the unprecedented changes brought to society from it, research is now beginning to analyze the long-term consequences. Below are five ways by which online dating is impacting the world, and all the reasons to pay close attention.
1. More Diversity, More Inequality
Online dating serves to optimize access to a potential partner through the establishment of digital communication platforms that allow connection with strangers. The benefit of encouraging others to expand their existing social networks allows for increased diversity and higher rates of interracial relationships.
Unfortunately, there is great concern that the sorting and matching that takes place could lead to increased stratification. For instance, a report issued by Bloomberg claimed that elite dating apps worsen the economic divide by providing individuals with an effective manner by which to filter out lower-class people.
Regardless, it is clear that these platforms are paving the future of what relationships will look like.
2. Increased Difficulty for Commitment
Despite how ubiquitous this behavior is amongst the younger generation, the number of singles out there is steadily growing. Possessing so many choices should make it far simpler for those to find relationships. However, operating under the belief that someone better may simply be an additional swipe away can make it difficult for many to commit to just one person over the long term.
According to social psychologists, many do not find online dating to pose a potential threat to a relationship, but it could mean that individuals are less likely to remain if the situation is anything short of perfect.
3. Greater Long-Term Stability and Satisfaction
During the advent of the Internet, there were many optimists who believed that online dating could potentially reduce the rate of divorce by assisting people in better decision-making when attempting to find a proper long-term partner. Decades into the future, sufficient evidence has surfaced that the industry may now in fact be progressing towards that goal.
For those successful in forming committed relationships using this digital trend, it would appear that the platforms offer some lasting benefits.
4. Love No Matter The Distance
Prior to the Information Age, proximity was a mandate for the majority of relationships to succeed past a simple fling. The good news is that online dating has completely invalidated that problem. With these modern platforms, people can form relationships irrespective of where they currently live.
Yet, given the fact that just over 33% of all Americans never migrate from their town of origin, it is remarkable that online dating has now motivated so many to relocate themselves. This could also mean that individuals are more likely to opt into a long-distance relationship. Sadly, that still represents a unique set of challenges in addition to benefits.
5. Improved Matchmaking
Matchmaking algorithms are critical for the facilitation of introductions in online dating, but they pose implications for many other industries. For example, although eHarmony was initially designed to matchmake adults over the age of 30, the algorithm has been expanded to match organ donors with necessary recipients and employees with employers.
Another instance includes OkCupid, a platform whose algorithm has been applied to identify matches between patients with genetic disorders as part of rare disease research. As the platforms continue to manifest through the various approaches to matchmaking, they serve to drive innovation past their industry of origin.