Online Dating: Help or Hindrance?

Online Dating: Help or Hindrance? January 9, 2013

Over at The Atlantic, Dan Slater wrote an article about the recent state of online dating. In the article, he describes an individual’s personal experience with online dating, and mentions various statistics and psychologists findings on the subject. The article’s aim is to showcase how online dating is changing the way singles view commitment and marriage as a whole.

Slater mentions the main “ingredients” that psychologists say determine the strength in a relationship: overall satisfaction with the relationship, the investment one has put into the relationship, and the quality of perceived alternatives. The satisfaction and alternative ingredients, Slater states, are largely affected by the online dating pool. The man mentioned in the article felt that if he were to end his relationship with his current girlfriend, he would not be worried about whether or not he would be able to find another woman to be with, in large part due to online dating. This type of outlook and other research seem to suggest that online dating may produce an overall decrease in commitment. Slate quotes the man he interviewed for the article: “Maybe I have the confidence now to go after the person I really want. But I’m worried that I’m making it so I can’t fall in love.”

Whether or not someone supports online dating isn’t the issue; the issue is commitment. If satisfaction and possible alternatives are indeed factors in how online daters look at relationships, how should we view online dating sites? Is online dating beneficial? How can we redeem this problematic trend in society?

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