Dating has changed a lot in recent years, most notably with the rise of online dating. The rules regarding dating in general are more compromising than they were just a generation ago, and the stigma that was once associated with meeting someone online has faded significantly. That’s because dating apps are convenient in our increasingly over-scheduled lives. They can expand the dating pool far beyond the places you regularly visit and allow you to match with people you otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet. But while there’s a lot to love about online dating, it comes with its own set of challenges. Here, five of the biggest problems with online dating today, plus how to overcome them so that you end up with Mr./Mrs. Right.
Dating apps can be overwhelming, since there are so many different options and even more potential matches. If you find that you are spending more time swiping through profiles than you are talking to matches, you may be suffering from choice overload. When faced with several choices, studies show that people become less decisive, with some even making poorer choices as a result. In fact, one study found that “online daters who chose from a large set of potential partners were less satisfied with their choice than those who selected from a small set.” With that in mind, considering choosing just one dating app that features like-minded individuals. Or, opt for one that offers fewer, more curated matches, like Once or Hinge.
Perhaps the most annoying problem with online dating: You show up to meet the person you connected with, only to find that they look and act nothing like they did online. While it’s easy to make oneself more desirable, there are ways to tell when a profile isn’t telling the whole truth. Steer clear of people who have only posted photos, especially if they appear too perfect. According to dating experts, when someone is serious about meeting people, they will take the time to fill out the information section, revealing personal details about themselves. With that said, the opposite is true, too. When someone uploads only one photo and a bunch of generic content, you’re not getting a good glimpse at the bigger picture (e.g. their lifestyle and hobbies). Look for balance and authenticity.
Building good communication from the very beginning of a relationship is key, but this can be challenging if your only source is messaging. Chat with someone online just long enough to get a good vibe from them. Find out what their interests are, make jokes to gauge their sense of humor, and let them know what is important to you to help you determine if you’re on the same page. Then, hop on the phone or schedule a video chat. (A new app, called Filter Off, even encourages this type of chatting from the start.) It may feel awkward at first, but experts say this is the best way to evaluate compatibility and build a connection early on. Bonus: You’ll spend a lot less time decoding messages, and simple misunderstandings will be completely avoided.
Determining the definition of a date
There’s no denying that the definition of a date has changed, leaving more room for interpretation. These days, a date can be anything from drinks after work to dinner and movie to Netflix and chillin’ at home. The options are endless, but dating is extremely personal and you may feel more comfortable with some than others. That’s why it’s important to be upfront about what you expect and to make your non-negotiables clear. Not comfortable meeting going to his place? Plan to meet in a public spot. Prefer not to drink on any empty stomach? Pick a place with sharable apps. Set your standards – and stick with them.
The date went great, so now what? Don’t be afraid to reach out if you are still interested in the person. Let them know you had a good time and would be interested in seeing them again. Chances are, if you picked up on good vibes, they will also be interested in a second date. Worse case? They say no. Okay, or worse, they ghost you. Ghosting, in case you are late to the modern dating game, is when someone suddenly ceases all communication with you without explanation. If this is the case, don’t waste your time sending them sulky texts or trying to figure out what you did wrong – it’s not you, it really is them – and move on to someone new.