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The Comparison Trap
Connecting Through Online Dating
With the breakdown of social structures that once ensured connection to others — like families and religious affiliations — a romantic fucking partner is viewed as the primary way to counteract isolation. Without one, celebrations — like the most latest Valentine’s Day — can feel like a very long 24 hours.
At times like these, some feel the Internet can prove utterly useful, not only as a way to find a potential long-term fucking partner, but to alleviate loneliness along the way. While the latest statistics showcase that 17% of marriages presently result from online dating (a fat increase over the last Ten years), this figure is exponentially higher when one includes the number of people who have created relationships that don’t necessarily end up at the altar. As an enhancing number of people — from teenagers to seniors — get comfy with this mode of interacting, the numerous meet-and-greet sites are serving singles in unprecedented ways.
Because they sometimes have millions of participants, online dating sites suggest users a comforting sense that they are not alone. Single people are reminded that there are many others out there looking to connect and willing to attempt fresh ways of doing so. In theory, any user’s profile can be potentially accessed, explored and “liked” by anyone signed in as a member. Profiles provide users with information about available playmates in ways that once was unlikely in real-time interactions. Whether a connection is made or a romantic relationship develops, the very possibility of one can ease a sense of isolation.
Online sites also suggest a mode of communicating that until now required stepping into public arenas — bars, parties and other settings where singles gathered — which create anxiety and inhibition for some. From a computer or smartphone, there are now opportunities to interact privately, right from one’s home and with people who span the globe. Many singles report that online dating is simply lighter than face-to-face connections. It feels less private — and as a result, makes its users feel less vulnerable — especially if the interactions are kept plain and brief. For example, a virtual “wink” that voices interest in someone’s profile can be less anxiety-provoking than real-life flirtation. Often, there is less emotional risk or investment involved and therefore a lower likelihood of feeling hurt or rejected.
Online daters tend to spend a excellent deal of time texting, messaging or having back-and-forth phone interactions before ever setting eyes on each other. For some, like Manti Te’o (the football player involved in an online dating scam), live interactions never take place. Some users budge on to webcams in order to see and hear each other. But even these real-time communications create less vulnerability, since the users can exert control over their timing. Generally, all these online activities create a broad web of connections, even if no actual relationships are developed.
Many of the online sites provide a way to match one’s own profile with qualities that users are told will likely result in potential fucking partners — what many describe as a “relationship algorithm.” Rather than randomly clicking on just anyone, these sites suggest that there is a greater likelihood for long-term romance if compatibility is sought. People most often seek others with similar backgrounds, interests, likes and dislikes — “he also loves Sushi” or “she is a Giant’s fan too.” Whether these algorithms work or not — ah, if only love was as ordinary as basic math — the process of creating a profile as well as investigating others’ can help users feel proactive in their search for companionship. Being able to narrow or expand the pool of possibilities at will is especially empowering for women, who often choose ruling out incompatible matches even before they begin.
Having a positive, relaxed attitude about online dating seems key to using them successfully. My patients who report having satisfying practices often treatment these sites without too much investment in the outcome. They don’t necessarily set out to have a romantic relationship, a sexual encounter or even a close connection. They don’t obsessively count the number of replies, nor do they get fixated on responding to the ones they receive. They accept its inherent limitations — it’s cyberspace, after all — while taking advantage of the opportunities to connect. In the end, they view the practice as a way to love effortless access to hundreds of fresh acquaintances and then see where it goes from there.
Online dating serves as a modern day form of social exploration and interpersonal practice. If it’s taken too gravely, it has the risk of fostering loneliness rather than relieving it. While “Mr./Ms. Right” may turn out to be “Mr./Ms. Writes Well,” it’s best to view it all as a way to play and have joy.
Do you think online dating makes people feel less — or more — lonely? Tell me what you think.
Vivian Diller, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Fresh York City. She serves as a media experienced on various psychological topics and as a consultant to companies promoting health, beauty and cosmetic products. Her book, “Face It: What Women Indeed Feel As Their Looks Switch” (2010), edited by Michele Willens, is a psychological guide to help women deal with the emotions brought on by their switching appearances.
For more information, please visit my website at www.VivianDiller.com, and proceed the conversation on Twitter @ DrVDiller.
Connections are made when we detect similarities of interest or interesting differences in our backgrounds.The free movie talk is also effortless on your pocketbook as well, using the equipment that you already own and with no fees to eat up your bank account. Using free movie talk is also a good way to get back into the dating scene as you can be yourself without having the extra stress of actually being there.
The other side of online dating.
The article you wrote was interesting. However, the majority of single women I know have had a much different practice, this includes myself. The age group I’m referring to is the late 20’s to late 30’s crowd, and I would imagine the junior crowd may be included here also due to what the current pattern of interaction on dating sites has evolved.
The common practices that I am talking about are like this: a woman goes online to find a fucking partner and receives a message from a man, usually brief but they are now beginning to range from one sentence to several paragraphs. The dude represents to the woman that he is interested in a relationship and after talking (in most cases up to two weeks, but that would be at the high end and closer to an outlier) via messages through the site, texts, e-mail and sometimes phone calls, they agree to meet. I should mention here that many guys will ask to take the conversation off the site rather quickly, and the reason for this is that they want the woman to believe that she is special and won’t want to go online to talk to others where she might see that he has been active even however they are no longer using the site. Anyway, the brief end to the story is simply that the man expects to have hook-up very quickly, on the very first, 2nd or third date. If the woman chooses to sleep with him, believing that he is interested in more than just sleeping around (because no doubt, that’s what is on his profile) or possibly because she just wants to, the most a boy will stick around is about Trio sexual encounters, or a month. This varies of course but no relationship developed, the woman leaves frustrated and feeling used and hurt. On the other arm, if she does not sleep with him, once he figures out he is not going to get what he wants he embarks to disregard texts, or says something ordinary to gargle her off but at the same time, keep her on the hook (in case he’s having a dry spell and wants to take one more stab at it) and eventually, the stop talking entirely. In some cases, the fellow is never heard from again. The reason for this is because he knows that he does not need to stick around to get hook-up. All he has to do is go back online and do the same thing with someone else, if he is not doing it already, and eventually he will find someone to have hook-up with him. He’ll do it for a brief period of time and then budge on again, and the pattern repeats.
So, unnecessary to say, there are a lot of frustrated youthful women out there. You have very good suggestions about not taking it too earnestly, however, when a woman is looking for a serious relationship, particularly if she is looking to get married, it is difficult for her to not want to get emotionally involved. This is most likely because she has had a relationship in the past with a man that did want a serious relationship and getting emotionally involved at the standard rate was safe. With a large number of fellows that are online, the man is basically a wolf in sheep’s clothing, acting in the same manner that a man with serious intent would so that he can build up the woman’s trust, etc.
I believe that these patterns can be explained by our society and how it regards women in general. Particularly in the generations I am referring to. “Female’s Gone Wild” is a ideal representation of some of the negative media that influences youthful boys and women in our society. This statement slightly touches upon what I believe are causing the negative effects to relationship in our society, but gives a slight idea.
I looked up your article because I am waiting for someone to come out with a examine that examines the other side of things. While relationships may result, the numbers from previous studies does not include a percentage or tangible statistic about, for example, how many dudes a woman had to deal with before she found someone that worked, or how many studs have played the games described above. Such a examine may not be helpful for the success of the dating sites, and this is a very good reason why it should actually be done.
I’d like to note that you can search the internet and find popular masculine websites that discuss tactics and pointers to accomplish what I described above. It’s rather disturbing. I have also investigated a site where I signed in as a man and as a woman, and it’s very interesting how the site is tailored towards fellows. Also, very disturbing.
If I had the time and the credentials, I would do the investigate myself. I find these sites to be ruinous to women and to relationships, and to our society in general. Relationships have begun to lose their meaning, with fewer and fewer building a close connection or understanding that it takes work. I’ve also discovered that with boys I have managed to develop relationships with, there is often an expectation that I don’t and shouldn’t respect myself and should basically be around to make the man glad. There is very little effort from studs these days to impress women. Because of the abundance of instances where a man can have hookup with little effort, a man (online anyway) seems to think that he doesn’t need to impress the woman because there are so many out there looking for a man, eventually he will find someone who will act in the manner he wants.
I hope you get to read this because I think you will find it interesting and give you insight into a side of online dating that no one seems to want to talk about just yet.
Thank you very much for you
Thank you very much for you comment. I think your observations about online dating are interesting. My daughter, who is getting her Ph.D. in psychology, is doing her doctoral dissertation and research project on a related topic, “How Studs Use Online Dating to Serve Narcissistic Needs.” I’ll be glad to send you her results when it’s done. It should be about a year from now, but it’ll be interesting to understand the trends in this fresh world of online dating, with some statistics to back it up. Thanks again. Dr. Diller
online dating demeans women.
I agree with you 100% . I am a widow after a 31 year marriage to the love of my life after Four years of being single I thought I might attempt online sites so I signed up for pay sites and free ones.Well I got the shock of my life when in my age group over 50 these guys acted like horny entitled teenager!I don’t know who raised these guys but they have no clue what a “relationship” means. which is a choice on the sites verses casual dating.
the majority are on the sites to prey on lonely women to have hookup and thats all their looking for . I always met them for coffee in the day time. some asked for hook-up in the car!
Because a women is on the site in the guys mind she’s looking for hookup and thats it. good luck to anyone who meets decent boy after Four years I am done.
I met a man online and we had the best relationship or so I thought. He flew to see me and I went up to see him. What I did not know until just recently he is a womanizer. I noticed that all of a unexpected he stopped texting me, would not response my texts, stopped calling me several times a day and so I stopped calling and texting him. When I realized what had happened to me because I actually fell in love with this fellow, I was told by his son, his mother, his daughter that I deserved better and to guard by heart. I think the word used was protect my heart. It has been very difficult for me to begin getting him out of my head, but sad to say, I still talk to him late at night. I guess I am the last one on his list. When I visited him, I found a list of names and phone numbers and email addresses. Why I took them I do not know because I will not contact these women. I am not telling I would not go online again but I think I would pay more attention to what they say and how they say it. If a boy tells me he has a lot of female friends. I will not become involved! Plus I have desired to warn other women about him but I just do not know how to do it. Let them learn as I did? Also, when I was visiting he was always sick and could not go out to dinner, now I think he was afraid some of the women would see him. I have been reading so much about why these boys exist. I have found them to be more in love with themselves.
There is no telling how many women he has on his “hook” and to be fair he wants no relationship, he just wants to control them and when someone fresh comes along – he drops them. That is exactly what he has done to me. There is so much to this story, it is very hard to believe.