Nowadays many people go online to look for love and strike up connections, instead of just a simple internet acquaintance.
A recent survey by the BBC found that 30% of web users aren’t just looking online for job vacancies and news, but have romance in mind.
It seems that online dating has become a trend.
According to Internet Psychologist Graham Jones, one in every eight marriages are now a result of online dating, and that number is increasing all the time. Internet dating has become socially acceptable and, for many, is regarded as ‘normal’.
However, many people confess that they would be uncomfortable saying they met their partner online.
Another psychologist, Max Blumberg, explained that this is mostly happening because people think others will believe they were too unattractive to find someone offline.
He said: “This is of course untrue, because many attractive people also use internet dating because they are too busy to meet potential partners offline. This is changing over time as society gets more accustomed to the internet.”
But why are people going online to search for true love? Dr. Graham Jones believes this is because it is convenient, quick and the supply is high.
He expplained: “In other words, in the real world, someone might go to a social event in the hope of finding a partner, but they are limited to the small supply of single individuals in the building.
With internet dating, the supply of potential partners is vast. From a psychological perspective, this is perceived as a good idea, as it reduces the risk of having to accept someone who does not quite fit requirements. Convenience and choice are the two main reasons for internet dating.
Experts also believe that online dating doesn’t create greater risk.
Dr. Graham said: “Internet dating still means you have to meet the person in the real world if the relationship is going to become a long-term one, perhaps even marriage.
“So, meeting people you don’t know for the first time still carries some risk, as it always has done. The Internet makes no difference to this.”
This makes sense. Some people –even psychopaths – are very good at disguising themselves over the internet. If you ‘fancy’ them, sooner or later, you will still meet up and they will still be a psychopath. So, from that point of view, there is not much extra risk with internet dating.
However, many people have reported that people online behave more innappropriately than those offline. Perhaps you have been wondering why we are more polite offline.
According to Dr. Blumberg, we are polite because we never know whether the person we are being rude to might be a friend of someone we know, and that our rudeness might somehow come back to punish us.
Online, we are anonymous and there is much less chance that the person will know who we are; this means it is unlikely that they will be able to create consequences for us.
Above all, the real question is this; can people have real feelings and care for someone online? The answer is yes, and Dr. Blumberg went on to explain this.
He said: “People can have feelings and care for someone online because after you have spoken with someone for a while, you develop an image of them in your head.
“This image can be quite similar to the image you might develop if you met the person offline. People often fall in love with images. For example, many people care for celebrities that they’ve never met.”
Nicole Bale, a 23-year-old hairstylist from Paisley, said: “I believe it’s fine if you intend to actually meet the other person. But some people think it is ok to play with others feelings just because they aren’t face to face.
“It is never ok to play with people’s feelings and hearts. If the feelings involved are real, it doesn’t matter if it’s online or offline. However, if it is just a bit of flirty fun, people need to be clear about it from the start.”