Last updated on November 30, 2015 | by Aet Suvari0
The Wrong Person
There are many reasons why online dating is becoming increasingly popular. Of course it’s easy and accessible, safe (with sensible precautions), entertaining and exciting but I personally think that one very good reason, which makes online dating such a hit for hundreds of thousands of members around the world, is the fact that it provides us with a chance – or at least an illusion of a chance – of finding someone just right for us.
Traditional dating leaves so much to pure chance – who you happen to work with, who the friends of your friends are, who sits next to you in a bus or the pub…
Sparks fly and next thing you know, you’re in love, dating, possibly in for a long run. However, as this very interesting short film by The School Of Life (and this long and detailed article) show us things aren’t always so cut and dried.
The successful relationship
There are a whole host of different factors that contribute to a successful relationship – most of which are not considered when we decide to start dating someone.
However, online dating gives us a certain assurance – false or not – that we are at least a little bit more in control of our own fate. After all, there are all those personality tests, psychological profiles, matching scores, compatibility algorithms… There are ways to describe your peculiarities in detailed profile descriptions (how many actually do that is another story) – in a way that no one would ever dream of describing themselves to a relative stranger on a date.
Yes, online dating does not account for chemistry. It either happens or doesn’t happen. But chance has less to do with that – at least in theory.
Let’s take a look at the reasons why we end up with wrong people, brought out in the above mentioned article and short film:
1) We don’t understand ourselves
The article claims that any standard date should start with a question: How are you mad? – because apparently we are all crazy in our own way, only we desperately try to hide it. If we’re used to being alone, we have no idea how we would, in fact, behave and act if we were in a relationship.
There’s a brilliant quote on it:
One of the greatest privileges of being on one’s own is the flattering illusion that one is, in truth, really quite an easy person to live with.
Online dating makes it easier to come clean about your craziness by revealing some of these different characteristics, likes and dislikes right there on one page. If you’re diligent about filling in your profile, some of your craziness should already come across and thus make the selection process easier for your future dates. If you’re really open about your madness you will end up scaring most of the prospective dates away – but then again, these are the people that will always be “wrong” for you anyway.
2) We don’t understand other people
The article states very plainly:
In a wiser society, prospective partners would put each other through detailed psychological questionnaires and send themselves off to be assessed at length by teams of psychologists. By 2100, this will no longer sound like a joke. The mystery will be why it took humanity so long to get to this point.
But isn’t this to an extent what modern dating sites already do? Most of the psychological profiling and compatibility testing used by dating sites worldwide has been worked out by different scientists, so there is at least some kind of scientific background to all that. Of course, it can never be guaranteed that members taking those tests actually give accurate answers – but it seems to me that dating sites are at least on the right track.
3) We we aren’t used to being happy
What a sad thought this is! Basically, the article claims, we are all so used to our issues and problems since early childhood that we seem much more relaxed and comfortable with those old issues than we would be with our new found happiness. We seek familiarity. That explains why we’re always attracted to a “certain type”, doesn’t it?
However, online dating minimises these risks as well. On a dating site you can avoid members who you would consider to be “your type” and make conscious decisions to date people different to your usual type.
The article states:
As adults, we may then reject certain healthy candidates whom we encounter, not because they are wrong, but precisely because they are too well-balanced (too mature, too understanding, too reliable).
Perhaps that seems boring. But at least it would be a conscious step towards not choosing what is familiar and what is ultimately keeping us from being happy.
4) Being single is so awful
Being single can be awful when all you see around you are happy couples (or at least couples who appear to be). Going to a pub or the movies alone can be a daunting experience as you might be the only single person there. This will only highlight your singleness, thus rubbing salt to your wounds.
On a dating site you’re always going to be amongst like-minded people who are all (hopefully!) single. This way you don’t feel such huge contrast between you and other people. It’s a safe and secure environment for you. Plus, you’re actively seeking a way out of your singledom and that’s bound to make you feel better.
5) Instinct has too much prestige
Like the article says – what has replaced the marriage of reason of the olden days is “the marriage of instinct, the Romantic marriage”. Feeling is the most important factor in why people get together. That has, in turn, resulted in an abundance of unhappy marriages and divorces when people discover that romantic feelings alone aren’t a sufficent base for a long lasting relationship. If we think about it, we all agree that it sounds perfectly reasonable. However, it’s hard to be reasonable if you’re head over heels in love.
Online dating in turn has a lot less to do with instinct and a lot more with reason and clever calculations – that is, if one wants it to be. One can simply set out to find a spouse and never let romantic feelings enter the equation.
6) We don’t go to Schools of Love
No, indeed we don’t. Nobody teaches us how to keep a relationship alive, how to hold on to something as fickle as someone else’s love. Can online dating help here too?
That’s a bit trickier, of course as online dating can only provide you with a springboard – you actually have to take the leap yourself, but if you look at the article, you’ll see that they’ve come up with a clever set of criteria, which should help us determine someone’s rightness. Following these and asking the right questions beforehand – before you go out on a date – might help you to get a step closer to a right relationship. How you manage it from there on is another thing.
7) We want to freeze happiness
Sure we do. What’s wrong with that. And this is something that we actually can easily fall victim to on an online dating site as well. We might feel blissfully happy chatting to someone online but this is not a guarantee that we’ll be able to maintain that same level of happiness in real life. We want to make this feeling last, make it permanent – but we have to understand that it is not possible. No one can be happy all the time.
But we can try and make a better choice so that even being unhappy would not seem such a horrible thing if the right person is next to us. And this is, indeed, where online dating can theoretically lend you a hand.
Online dating is no miracle in the making. Don’t think that signing up alone will help you to end up with someone who will make you happy. Online dating simply provides you with a spinning rod – but you still have to learn how to catch the fish by yourself. Happy fishing!