Navigating the Dating World in 2019

Swiping left and right can be complicated.

Posted Oct 03, 2019

From dating apps and social media to speed dating and matchmakers, dating today can seem more like a strategic game than a quest to find genuine connection. We have the ability to swipe right or left based on location, physical features, and a few short introductory sentences (if we are lucky) at our fingertips. We can do this from the comfort of our couch, while we are at work, or when we are on vacation.

Since online dating is a mix of instant gratification and a buffet of possibilities, we are not giving our potential matches a genuine chance. Is it possible to base connection and chemistry off of quickly skimming through an online dating profile? Sure, physical chemistry is essential in romantic relationships, but true chemistry goes much deeper than soft facial features and a toned body. We often have an ideal fantasy partner in mind. If our potential dates do not match this dreamy image, then we are quick to close the door.

Is new-age dating making us too quick to judge, or it a handy way to save time and cut to the chase? Most likely, it's a combination of both. Learning to navigate the online dating world can be overwhelming. There are a few things everyone should keep in mind, especially when it comes to emotional and mental health. 

Online dating facts and statistics

  • 40 million Americans use online dating sites. 
  • Men make up 52.4% of online dating users.
  • 53% of individuals lie on their online dating profiles. Age, weight/height, and income/job are the three most common areas for made-up tales. 
  • One in five online daters have asked someone else to help write or review their profile. 
  • 20% of those in current, committed relationships began online, and 7% of marriages in 2015 were between couples that met on a dating website.
  • If you meet someone online, chances are you'll break up online. 
  • 64% of people who use online dating sites are looking for someone they have something in common with, and 49% say they are looking for someone with physical characteristics they are attracted to.
  • According to Forbes, the United States alone has 2,500 dating sites, and about 1,000 new sites are launched every year. 
  • On average, dating site customers spend $243 annually on online dating, which includes registering and renewing memberships.
  • The online dating industry's annual revenue is over $1.9 billion. 
  • 1 in 4 people said they had been IM'd or messaged by someone on a dating site who made them feel uncomfortable or harassed. 

Make sure you are emotionally and mentally healthy. Dating is an emotional roller-coaster. You must be in a good place, emotionally and mentally. You may come across individuals who are not happy or are struggling with their mental health. Although this may be hard to avoid, you can still take responsibility for your emotional state. Timing is a big factor when it comes to dating. You may need more time to work on yourself before you can become emotionally involved with someone else. 

Remember there is an actual person behind the screen. In a world of keyboard warriors and online bullies, it can be so easy to become defensive or argumentative, or even to lash out on social media and online dating sites. Also, if you come into contact with someone who is not your ideal suitor, make sure you respond out of kindness and honesty. There is no need to be rude to strangers online, even when your heart and emotions are on the line. 

Ditch the ideal fantasy partner. Sure, you may way a tall, dark, and handsome gentleman to come riding up to your house on a white horse. But you are going to have to see a lot of toads before you meet your prince. You most likely will not marry the first guy you meet online, and that is okay. It may take some time before you meet someone with whom you share a connection. Be patient, and make sure you are not set on this idea of perfection. Everyone is flawed, so keep an open mind and learn which flaws you are willing to accept. 

Check judgment at the door. People are on dating websites for a multitude of reasons. Whether he is looking for a one night stand, she is looking for fun places to explore on vacation, he is looking for a long-term relationship, or she is looking to get over her most recent relationship, singles join dating sites for many reasons. Maybe you are trying online dating in hopes of finding a long-term partner. If this is the case, should you get upset over being mtached with individuals looking for a one-night stand? Instead of drawing lines in the sand, and judging someone for something that does not align with your views, accept the fact that everyone is different. Continue to search for others who are also looking for a long-term relationship. Shaming and becoming defensive only heightens emotions and allows negativity to take over. You never know who you will form a secure connection with, so try not to judge, and if you feel you are judging too quickly, maybe you should take a break,

Ask questions. Maybe you were matched with a beautiful partner, but isn't it still essential to establish some common ground before meeting in person? Dating can be time-consuming; make sure you ask the right questions before you decide to meet in person. Ask about hobbies and intentions. Try to stay away from heated topics such as religion and politics. You can usually get a feel for an individual if you ask the right questions and maintain an open mind. 

It's a two-way street. Dating is not a chase; both parties have to show mutual interest. If your match is not asking you questions, does not seem interested in meeting, or simply does not respond accordingly or appropriately, it is a sign that he or she may not be emotionally ready to date. 

Be patient. It is possible that even if you match with someone, they could be away from cell reception, in a work meeting, or enjoying time away. Give your match a couple of days to respond. 

Online dating is complicated. If we make an effort to practice kindness, honesty, and patience, hopefully we can have a positive impact on swiping left or right.