Is it possible to find a serious relationship on online dating sites and apps? If you met your partner online, are you most likely to get married?
Is it even possible to find your future husband or wife on the internet?
These are only a few things that most people who are seeking for true love or a serious relationship are wondering about before considering online dating.
Is it worth your time and energy swiping left or right on your phone, or chatting endlessly with someone you haven't met yet in person?
Would you rather wait for the right timing? When is the right timing and how is that supposed to happen?
Do you prefer meeting your future partner at the grocery store while picking up the same favorite vegetables?
Do you need a regular schedule to go to a bar, yoga studio or church – depending on where you think your ideal partner typically would spend time?
Quoting from a character in Wong Kar-Wai's movie 2046, "Love is all a matter of timing. It's no good meeting the right person too soon or too late."
Timing simply means when everything falls in the right place. It's when both of you are ready for a serious relationship and you have similar interests and goals.
That's when they say, "You just know." Some relationship experts say, when you're actually in a relationship with someone, it doesn't matter where and how you met.
With the coronavirus measures in place, this could be the right time to look into finding true love on the internet.
During lockdown, traveling is limited to essential purposes, which means going out to public places in the hope of randomly meeting a potential partner may not be considered "essential".
However, it is essential in our life to be with someone who cares for us, especially in these times of uncertainty. It's our basic human need to belong to a healthy relationship with someone whom we can talk and share moments with.
Once you realize that this is what you're looking for, then you can decide right now that you're ready. Being ready means you are open to any possible ways to meet people.
That includes meeting someone online.
Online dating to find a life partner
If you're searching for a partner that you can spend the rest of your life with, then online dating can be a good place to start.
There are plenty of websites, apps and platforms where you can meet different kinds of people. It doesn't have to be a dating site. You can also simply find people on social media.
Going back to right timing, it's important to realize what kind of person you're looking for. What kind of activities or interests that you would like to share with your future partner?
It doesn't hurt to have a short list of non-negotiable things. Do you prefer someone who is vegan or non-smoker, an artist, has a degree, likes to travel, has no kids but likes kids, doesn't want kids and so on.
If you can't get everything – which is likely to happen as nobody's perfect – then what is the most crucial thing on your list?
Just decide and then you'll know where to find them. There are dating websites that cater to specific traits and interests, including the green and eco-friendly lifestyles, spirituality, sports and hobbies.
There are also different communities on social media platforms that gather people based on interests or advocacies.
Through online dating, you will be able to find people whom you share similar values with but otherwise you might not encounter in person, let alone in the grocery store or on a bus.
In fact, he or she might be living in a country you have never been before.
In the United States, three in 10 adults used an online dating site or app, according to a 2019 survey of Pew Research Center.
Among those who met their partner on the internet, 12% are married or in a committed relationship.
The same survey also revealed that the majority of the respondents who have tried online dating have an overall positive experience. They said with online dating, it was easy for them to find someone they can be physically attracted to and have common interests.
It starts with hello
Even before the invention of smartphones or the internet, people made use of the technology available at the time to reach out to others, hoping to meet the right one.
With airmail, people sent postcards or letters to strangers after finding their name and address on newspaper or magazine ads "looking for penpals".
Then there's CB radio, by which some people would enter random radio frequencies to find someone to chat with. "What's your 20?” (This means asking for location.) Roger that!
When telephones arrived, some would dial random numbers or pick one on the directory in the hope to hear a sweet voice. "Hello?"
Before emails and social media, there were chatrooms or mIRC where you could create cheeky nicknames and inquire: hello, asl? (It means age, sex, location.)
Some couples first met on a plane or in a bus while traveling. This makes backpacking exciting for those who are soul searching, as they could end up finding their soulmate.
Because most of us are unable to travel during lockdown, the internet is the best place for those who are soulmate searching.
Couples who meet online get married faster
There's no ticking clock involved here. And it's not about those who are in a hurry to settle down.
Again, it's about timing.
Imagine spending time and money going out on dates, hanging out in bars or joining events with slim chances of finding the person whom you might like.
With online dating, you cut those hours and expenses, getting right to the point.
Of course, it's nice to meet somebody in a gallery maybe while looking at the same painting. Such a random meeting could be the beginning of your life together. It still does happen.
It can happen anywhere and anytime when the timing is right.
The big question really is how do you make it happen? Now that you met your potential partner, based on your non-negotiables list and commonalities, how do you develop and nurture a serious relationship with that person?
Getting to know each other is a crucial stage before you both decide whether it's worth starting a relationship and meeting in person.
A few important things to make it work online
1. Keep a regular channel of communication. Always be honest and respectful. Make sure you're on the same page in terms of intentions. It's important that you're both looking for a serious relationship that could potentially lead to marriage.
2. Have a regular schedule for video calls. While messaging can be very convenient and fast, it still makes a difference to be able to see each other's faces real time. It creates a strong bond and builds up your idea of each other's personality.
3. Discover your compatibility or chemistry through humor, flirting or a friendly debate. It's good to know your opinions on things by actually engaging in a discussion.
If you find yourselves arguing, it's helpful to be on a video call rather than on text messaging, so you can be mindful of each other's facial expressions and body languages.
If you can talk for hours and you're still not bored of each other, then it's a good sign of compatibility. You may have some differences in terms of likes and dislikes, but what matters most is that you can talk.
After all, communication is the key to success in any kind of relationship. Remember that there's no perfect person and perfect relationship. It's all hard work and it's up to you to decide if it's worth it.