Written by Yulissa Chavez.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.
What does “love” mean today? Some may say it is the quality time one shares with a significant other. Others may define it by the number of growing experiences a couple has together.
Whatever love is—it is anything but simple.
In the digital age, everything has become accessible through screens—even dating via services, such as Tinder and Bumble. Both platforms have the same goal: to connect individuals based on mutual attraction. Attraction from a handful of photos and a short biography. The process of “matching” occurs with a simple hand motion. Both people “swipe right” and you have a match, which can lead to anything: a nice dinner, a potential relationship, a hookup, etc.
It’s easy to see why these platforms have been targeted for being overly superficial. Individuals are swiping on others ultimately because of appearance. Personality is disregarded, which leads some to believe that the online dating platform spreads toxic, self-destructive behavior.
Traditional Dating vs. Online Dating
While this claim may hold some truth, exploring the similarities and differences of the “traditional dating” scene is important. Tinder and Bumble allow the user to obtain information about a potential significant other upfront. No need to waste time with someone incompatible. If a user decides that there are no sparks saying goodbye is as easy as a tap. This makes the user avoid awkward encounters and unwanted sexual advances in a safe way. Traditional dating, on the other hand, is more steady with a progressive set of meetings and interactions between individuals, which can feel forced.
Online dating appears desirable because of the filtering method. You can avoid people before even meeting them. This saves time and energy. However, if one is especially vulnerable, they may look past the red flags—and convince themselves that any incompatibilities do not matter. Leading to heartbreak, unrealistic expectations, rushed demands, miscommunications and, worst of all, delusional fantasies.
Additionally, many individuals assume that online dating is purely for sexual relations. Because matches are heavily reliant on appearance, some conclude that people are not interested in committed relationships.
Do online dating platforms do more harm than good?
That depends on the individual who is exploring. Online dating platforms are intended for individuals who want to find potential significant others. Though the stereotyped culture of online dating persists, as people use these applications for frivolous relationships instead of real, meaningful romance. Dating, as it is, is about understanding the preferences one wants in a significant other. Heartbreak is, unfortunately, part of the process, so it doesn’t really matter which outlet an individual uses to find a match. As long as the dating experience is consensual from all individuals and there is genuine interest, online and offline dating are valuable in their own right.
Although an individual may experience an identity crisis while being on online dating platforms, it should be noted that this is also true in traditional dating. Online dating can be useful for those who are overwhelmed by live social situations. The trajectory and intentions of a relationship define the relationship. The right person can appear online or offline. It is about a stroke of luck with courage, confidence, and attitude that will lead one to their potential partner, not about the medium one uses to find them.