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11-Oct-2019 09:17

And after hundreds of first dates, who wants to waste their time finding out they didn't need to meet in person anyway?

The ability to find out more ahead of time, versus the proverbial "blind date" or even meeting a stranger at a party, is an advantage that online dating has over conventional dating—if you ask questions, and if the other person genuinely shares.

It's common to hear stories from people we know describing how excited they were after talking online to someone who seemed so perfect, sharing the same favorite movies, sense of humor, and taste in music, TV, and literature, only to feel really let down when they actually met and got to know the person better.

It's easy to play up similarity and downplay differences—and it's understandable that some people looking for companionship tend to quickly develop a crush when someone seems to "get them" right away.

According to research by Rosenfeld and Thomas (2012), internet dating steadily increased, reaching a plateau in 2009.

At that time, 22 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting online.

For this study, the researchers measured: 1) "anticipated future interaction," 2) "change in attraction" (from online dating to after the first date), 3) "perceived similarity" (a well-known predictor of attraction), and 4) "uncertainty" (about the other person, e.g., how well do you know them? The data, drawn directly from online conversation, included: 1) expressed similarity, 2) frequency of disclosure, and 3) pattern of information seeking, and they rated the communication volume based on the number of words in the emails. First of all, they found that most participants were disappointed after the first date, as indicated by having less attraction after meeting than during online engagement.

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Many times, that first meeting is a letdown, and it doesn't go further than that. In turn, be open to sharing about yourself (while exercising prudent caution, of course). Expect that, on average, you may be disappointed, but with persistence, there is a good chance you can form a satisfying relationship. Use online dating services that match you with people similar to you, and which require greater communication and sharing as part of online courtship.

Yet, one-third of people who have used a dating site have never met up for an in-person date.

Lastly, in spite of the rise in online dating, only 5 percent of married couples or those in a committed relationship say they met their partners online, and 88 percent of people say they met their partners via conventional means.

So while online dating is on the rise, most online relationships do not lead to long-term, committed relationships. (2013), a higher percentage of married couples in their sample (30 percent) met online, and those that did were slightly but significantly more likely to stay together and report greater marital satisfaction.

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Researchers are just beginning to understand the new and complicated dynamics of online dating, and it is unclear what factors go into successful matching, though long-term relationship satisfaction is likely to come from the same factors regardless of how people meet (see here for an overview of predictors of relationship satisfaction).Sharabi and Caughlin (2017) set out to investigate the question of what predicts first-date success in their recent work.