As a recent poll suggests increasing cynicism among daters at the prospect of finding love, John argues it’s a natural effect of the growing popularity of online dating.
A recent poll by dating site eHarmony has shown that 12% of people believe they will never fall in love.
That’s 1 in 8! So if we run a speed date event with 30 people, statistically at least 3 people there don’t believe it will happen.
If we take a closer look things become even more surprising. 6% of people in a relationship don’t believe love will happen for them whereas 29% of singles are similarly pessimistic.
So if we return to our speed dating event, this means almost 10 out of our 30 singles are concerned about a lonely old age!
The reasons for feeling this way differ between men and women. Almost half of women with such concerns are worried they won’t be able to trust their partner, while 17% felt nobody would understand them. For just under a third of men, not having a job was a major factor in preventing love with 17% specifying financial instability.
But where do such fears come from? Focussing on single folk, it appears that while emotional and lifestyle concerns were underlying factors the catalyst for increasing cynicism at finding love is bad dates.
44% of singles had been involved in bad dates with the most common reason given as not having enough in common.
But does reality match perception? Psychologists suggest that rather than actually having given up on love, saying that you have done so is a way of avoiding disappointment – a form of self-defence to protect against the disappointment of having your desires left unfulfilled.
If we take a closer look something else emerges. As more people use online dating and dating apps to help their search for love it seems prudent to expect that these mechanisms have some impact upon both our expectations and outcomes.
Online dating provides an immediate interactive experience that gives the illusion of increased possibilities. With such an increase comes a related increase in expectation. Surely the more people I have easy access to, the greater my chance of finding love. Yet online and app dating are flawed in the manner in which they select matches. We know that the majority of people to some degree lie on their profiles – men on their height and income and women on their weight. When we do finally meet someone after weeks of messaging back and forth and find our date to be somewhat different to what they advertised, disappointment ensues.
Then there is the added impact of fake profiles and online security. While recent high profile cases such as Ashley Madison and Plenty of Fish highlight the dangers online daters face, it seems the problem is far more wide spread with one online security expert claiming that most dating sites have suffered significant security breaches but did not inform end users.
The knock on effect is obvious – increasing disappointment and growing cynicism about the possibility of finding love.
In a study we conducted last year, only 6% of respondents rated their chance of meeting someone through online dating as ‘high’. 22% rated themselves as having ‘no chance whatsoever’. In comparison almost 60% rated their chances as ‘good’ or ‘high’ of meeting someone at an organised dating event.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t be using such technology. It’s just that we should adjust our expectations accordingly. As it stands, online and app dating should be treated with a rather large pinch of proverbial salt.
By all means extend your search into the digital realm, just don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t work out as they appear they should.
If you haven’t been worn down by the negative impact of online dating, or would like to have your optimism restored, perhaps you should join the 60% who believe they have at least a ‘good’ chance of meeting someone at an organised event.
The figures speak for themselves. Have a look at the events we have coming up and give your love life a well deserved boost.
WORDS BY JOHN DAVIS