Online dating: Making marriage more difficult?

By Lee Cleveland, Polls and Trends - October 22, 2021

When I posted an online dating profile on Match.com in 2002, I was laughed at and called desperate by some in my inner circle. However, even then I knew I was on to something cutting edge. The concept worked and the once-new phenomenon is now mainstream.


In 2021, you’d be hardpressed to find a single person under 40 who is looking for romance who doesn’t have their profile on at least one of today’s many dating sites.

And why not? Online dating allows people to connect with others very easily and quickly. Moreover, versus the old-fashioned way that stressed meeting dating prospects in the community, at bars, clubs, or special events, or via common friends, internet dating exponentially expands the pool of possible candidates. However, according to the US Congress, the national marriage rate fell to a record low, suggesting it’s getting more and more challenging to marry.

Wait, what?

If internet dating vastly increases the pool of prospects and enables us to connect very easily and quickly, why is the marriage rate plummeting?

Answer: In life, even proven solutions and enhancements sometimes create more obstacles. Hence, innovation over the 70 years has saved money and increased efficiency but also killed a lot of jobs and careers.

Simply put, internet dating today supports the economic principle of The Law of Diminishing Returns – An increase in overall dating and the pool of marriage prospects actually leads to a decrease in the likelihood of marriage.

Most single people, especially those of average attractiveness or better, have too many options. As a result, people are becoming less likely to settle down with one person for fear of missing someone else better.

And yes, most daters, whether they admit it or not, are usually seeking someone better; And these days, they have the means to carry out their searches. As a result, they may not notice their perfect partner if she/he were right in front of them.

I’ve had great first dates via the online dating process. However, a few of those “great” first-date situations soured quickly, presumably due to the online dating compulsion.

There were times when a young lady, following a fun first date, insisted she couldn’t wait to see me again, made out with me or initiated holding hands, and said she’d boasted to friends and family about me. However, those same women continued to “live” on dating sites even after our seemingly perfect first dates.

Why?

In all three cases, I told them there would be no second date because their actions didn’t support their words. If I was so awesome, why were they ALWAYS on the dating site when I looked?

No, I didn’t expect to be in an exclusive relationship after one date but if you find someone with strong potential – and she/he confirms it’s mutual – shouldn’t you put a little more focus on that candidate while making prospects you’ve never met a lower priority?

And it goes both ways as men certainly keep their options as open as women if not more.

And all of the choices we have today are wonderful. I’ve met and had relationships with women in multiple states and countries as a result. However, until people are more grounded and disciplined in their dating routine the marriage rate will continue to drop due to the ease of being able to meet so many prospects so easily.

There’s light a the end of the tunnel: Online dating, although vogue, is still a relatively new concept. Perhaps when the novelty wears off, hopefully within the next ten years, people will be more focused on finding that special person, having realized the grass often isn’t greener on the other side.

Internet dating is a great concept and will be even better when or if people’s expectations for finding long-term love get on track.

Tags: dating, Dating trends, online dating, relationships