Everybody knows somebody who's familiar with the online dating service experience. It's a fairly common way for people to meet and become romantically involved these days. But how is it different from more traditional dating and courtship?
The largest potential downside to the online dating is that it can create a cycle of "pass/fail" relationships that are never fully explored. When you create a profile on a dating site, you're presenting your best self – the most positive aspects of who you are as a person. Not only does this make rejection harder to process (and rejection is what people on those sites experience most frequently), it also allows users to view dates as a binary, yes/no proposition: "Either I would consider marrying this person and cross that off my checklist, or I will not date this person again – so on to the next." And with that mindset, disappointment is abundant.
But if you view online dating as a tool for meeting new people – a way to be exposed to new environments and new activities – it can be a rewarding opportunity. Our mobility and changeability has increased significantly over the past decade; we don’t necessarily stay near familiar social groups and activities throughout our lives. We might move to a new city and need a convenient way to meet people and find a new social circle.
As long as dating isn’t approached with a singular goal in mind (like getting married), online dating services are a great new technological advancement. But if you go in expecting to achieve some lofty goal on your life-progress checklist, it's probably a recipe for disaster.
People are not their profile. Human relationships and experiences can't be measured by how useful they are in relation to achieving a goal, like finding a partner or getting married. Relationships are constantly evolving, living things that require work to maintain – even between compatible partners. The relationships that last are the ones where that work leads to mutual benefit, enjoyment and progress.