Online dating is one of the best things to come out of the explosion of communication and social media ventures. As the number of people you know becomes smaller over time, the number of single friends you have may also become more limited. So with online dating that pool of available single people always remains fairly large (or larger) than the group of people you already know, and as a single person you can continue to meet people you would never come into contact with. Paumgarten states a very important statistic in his recent article about online dating in the New Yorker, “1 in 6 marriages is the result of online dating”.
Millions of couples have met, married and stayed married from online introductions. As a therapist who works in the field of relationships and sexuality, I think anyone can meet and marry. The complicated part is to stay married if that is what you want. I look forward to longitudinal studies done on couples who met online versus those who met other ways and how they all fare over time. I think the way a couple meets is probably not predictive in one way or another of how successful they will be, but it would certainly be interesting to see if it is.
Online dating is the most popular way for couples to meet today. Young people will never know the stigma once attached to online dating, and in my opinion that is a great thing. Many people, young and old, have had bad online experiences, but I would say the exact same statistics hold for meeting someone through a friend, family or at a bar. Relationships are complicated because people are complicated, and in general I feel that most people reveal only what they are comfortable revealing. So the process of discovering or uncovering another person and assessing if they are a good match for you remains one of life’s great mysteries. Online dating just makes the whole process a little more accessible.