Dating has certainly changed in the last few years.
In the old days, we would meet randomly.
We would bump into a woman.
Or we would see a woman on the street and approach her.
A friend would fix us up — the blind date horror!
But we more or less collided at random with possible partners.
Since we had so few opportunities, we would often focus on the woman that would actually agree to sleep with us.
The next step was deepening the relationship without really realizing it by sticking together for a while.
Then you’d get married.
That’s not really so much the way today.
Today, there are so many ways of meeting people, especially online.
And it turns out that this new way of doing things can have a certain merit.
It can actually lead to happier long-term relationships.
Online meetups have proven to be a success.
But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at an important study that I’ve been meaning to share with you.
The study focuses on long-term relationships that have led to marriage.
About one-third of the relationships today that results in marriage start out online.
That’s a pretty large number considering how new the concept is!
First of all, notice that the study points out that people are more likely to open up to each other when they start out with a fairly anonymous online presence.
Meeting people online is lower risk.
When their offline, face to face, the risks seem higher, anxiety is higher.
And people are less likely to disclose much about themselves, even if it’s just nerves.
This is been shown in many other studies, but the study authors here pointed out again.
In the study, they examined over 19,000 survey responses of people who got married between 2005 and 2012.
When respondents met their spouse on-line…rated as more satisfying than marriages that began in an off-line meeting.
Moreover, analyses of break-ups indicated that marriages that began in an on-line meeting were less likely to end in separation or divorce than marriages that began in an off-line venue.
Some relationships that started online were more likely to be happy and long-term than relationships that began offline.
I’m not sure that the differences all that great.
But I think you have to attribute the difference to the fact that we have a greater abundance and selection online.
You can “run into” so many more people online than you can in your random meetings offline moments.
Also, there is a lot to be said for the disclosures we can make fairly anonymously when we’re online.
We’re more likely to open up to them online, and they’re more likely to open up to us.
This is much more openness than you experience looking at each other initially over drinks and telling each other lies about ourselves.
The tension and uncertainty are much harder to face.
And with a profile, you’ve detailed what you are looking for, something that is difficult to discover in a face to face meeting.
Here’s another study, and it found a huge difference online between what men and women want.
This is a very subjective study done with dating coaches and relationship evaluation conducted as a series of interviews.
But what makes it important is it was done with people who are older.
Most studies are done with younger people, primarily college students.
This is because it’s easy to get a large group of college students to sample, and more difficult to get large groups of older people.
But this study shows a striking difference between what men want and women want as they get older.
Men seek committed relationships, whereas women desire companionship without demanding caring roles.
I think this is a huge point.
Men want a girlfriend.
A woman wants a man who doesn’t want to be taken care of by a woman.
Make sense when you think about it, right?
And as the study points out, in dating online as we age, both men and women try to convey youthful characteristics to the other gender.
So I guess it won’t come as a huge surprise, but
Men’s criteria center on physical attractiveness, whereas women’s focus is on abilities. In constructing profiles, women focus on their looks and sociability and men on their financial and occupational successes.
It’s important to realize that women are not looking at men, the way men look at women.
I often have men who ask me, “man, I’m kinda fat, I’ve got high blood pressure, can I really have a realistic chance of lining up a girlfriend?”
The answer is certainly yes.
Women aren’t looking at a man the way that a man looks at women.
A woman wants a guy who is successful, secure, and funny.
A man wants a girl who is sexy.
It’s kind of that simple.
And it’s good news for men.
Online Dating in Middle and Later Life Gendered Expectations and Experiences