Dating in the Modern WorldWritten by Jordan Osborne
Age-old dating traditions have been shot to hell. I’ll tell you a secret. You can now fix your most despised flaw with the click of a button. Well, you’ll still be you in real life, but concerning your online persona, you hold the reins to make whatever first impression you’d like to make, right down to your Photoshopped profile picture.
These days, thanks to Facebook, first impressions likely form before any face-to-face interaction ever takes place. The result is the same in many cases: upon meeting a person in the flesh, at least one party is as disappointed as an adolescent boy who discovers that bras sometimes overflow with no more than tissues.
Rules about making the first move are more ambiguous than ever. Asking for someone’s number seems archaic. Profiles are now the one-stop shop for perfect ice breakers, and winning a girl’s heart can be as simple as reciting her listed favorite quotes. Advances in technology have made constant communication a way of life. To pull the plug can feel like quitting smoking cold turkey.
We’ve all seen it: a couple at dinner retreats from quality time to their mobile devices, not so subtly hidden beneath the table. With this ‘need’ to know exactly what everyone is doing every minute of the day, especially between couples, it’s no wonder that so many people have become paranoid about infidelity.
“I found out through some pictures on Facebook that the girl I was dating still hung out with her ex, even though she denied it,” Matt, a third-year sociology student, says.
People hide behind their computers and smart phones too. You know the scenario– a guy or girl blows up your phone but can’t muster more than a “h-h-hi” upon seeing you in person. Awkward doesn’t even begin to describe it. Online dating sites have increased in popularity, but some students still think they should be the absolute last resort.
“As a college student, I believe we have ample opportunities to meet potential partners, whether it be in class, on campus, in clubs or downtown,” Chloe, a fourth-year math student, says.
She suggests to talk more and be friendlier to the people you meet day-to-day before relying on a website to match you. However, to condemn all of today’s communication advancements wouldn’t be fair. Social networking, dating sites and Skype have their perks when used in the right context.
Americans have warmed to the idea of online dating sites, despite their questionable beginnings. They prove to be one of the most effective new ways to meet a partner. A survey conducted by Match.com in 2009 reveals that, of those married in the last three years, 17 percent met online. A 2010 Huffington Post survey reports that 40 percent of American singles admit to using an online dating service– that’s over 40 million people. The numbers continue to escalate.
Creating an online dating profile has become less taboo, and as a result, people are presented with more relationship opportunities than ever before. Take third-year students Crystal and Katelyn, for example. The two met using a Facebook dating app three years ago and have been together ever since. They both agree that using the app made it easier to connect with people in a community that shared common interests.
“Within the gay and lesbian community, especially on campus, it’s difficult to know when to approach someone you’re interested in,” Katelyn says. “You’re likely to take the leap, only to find out that they’re straight.”
With online dating though, a person’s “interested in” box clears any confusion. They both expressed that in the beginning of their relationship, they hesitated to tell people how they met. Only close friends knew the real story. Now, though, with online dating viewed as commonplace, Katelyn and Crystal happily share their story. Katelyn stresses the importance of taking a chance.
“Relationships don’t always work, but that’s true for couples who meet online and for those who don’t,” she says. “A perfect story won’t always begin, but you might meet the love of your life. My life would be completely different if I hadn’t met Crystal through Facebook.”
Skype also allows people to connect in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. People maintaining relationships across thousands of miles, many of whom are in the military. Hallie Lipsmeyer, a fourth-year retail and fashion merchandising student, met her boyfriend, Justin, last year in Atlanta. Justin, a nuclear officer in the Navy, is currently stationed in Waikiki, HI. His travels all over the world, which restricts communication with Hallie. The couple has maintained their relationship for over a year through Skype.
“It’s definitely harder than being in the same physical place, but Skype, Facebook, texting, email and FaceTime have made things as ‘normal’ as they can be while we’re thousands of miles apart,” she says.
Technological communication is both a blessing and a curse. Whether you find out your partner cheated because of a tagged Facebook picture, or that they are more of a party-animal than they led you to believe, the truth usually seems to prevail. When used responsibly, with moderation and maturity, online communication lessens fear and intimidation in the dating realm. It can also equip a person with the tools to find and maintain a healthy relationship.
Be it JDate, AfroRomance or ChristianMingle, discover which site fits your groove, and remember that love is love, no matter where it’s found. If it doesn’t work out, keep your chin up. Applaud your attempt. Down a roll of Nestle Tollhouse cookie dough, and remember that PlentyOfFish are in the sea.
Thursday, 23 February 2012 11:58
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