So I did the craziest thing ever. I signed up for a dating site.
Why, I don’t know. I didn’t understand the big hype about finding someone online. I mean, meeting someone in person seemed way more romantic and potentially safer. Dating online seemed rather ridiculous. So I would never have considered it, if it wasn’t for my friend who claimed that she had such a great time on the site. So I did what any curious person would – I signed up.
And I’m not the only one. Roughly one out of four couples meet on the internet. According to Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford University who conducted a study on dating “… online dating has proved more useful – both to individuals and society – than the traditional avenues it has replaced.”
Apparently more couples who meet online stay together than couples who meet traditionally. Perhaps it will become such a norm that finding ‘love’ the old-fashioned way becomes more unusual.
OkCupid was my dating site choice. Many people were talking about Tinder and so I investigated what other options there were – after all I didn’t want to find an app where someone might recognise me!
Signing up on OkCupid was relatively easy. They asked a few questions so I could be matched with potential suitors – and of course, having a profile picture was of utmost importance.
An online article published by Lea Rose Emery, How Many People Who Meet On Dating Apps Get Married? Swiping Isn’t Just For Hookups, suggested that what matters to men the most when it comes to dating online is the women’s photos, whereas the most important factor for the women is the description of the person. I can definitely agree with this statement. Guys always contacted me with a “Hey beautiful” or something similar. I preferred to read the description of the person first. If he didn’t have anything there, then I’d move on to someone else.
Using OkCupid was also pretty simple. Swipe left for someone that you’re not interested in and swipe right for the guy you quite ‘like’.
94% of people questioned on OkCupid said that they were more open-minded to date a foreign person after they’ve visited another country. 73% of millennials (ages 18-36) said that finding someone who spoke another language was attractive. With my profile I selected the option where anyone in the world could contact me. I found it appealing to perhaps learn another language, or to learn about different cultures.
I decided to be brave and send some likes and a few messages. I got responses from some, and tried to form some sort of bond with anyone. I spoke to people from several countries including America, England, Scotland and of course South Africa.
It’s much harder than it sounds. The time difference made things quite difficult, as conversations would stretch on for days, and often I forgot who I was talking to.
However, my profile picked up from 12 likes to 50 to a staggering 800 likes in a matter of 6 days. I honestly couldn’t believe it, but I assumed that this is the case for most women.
I asked guys about how many likes they received, and it was significantly lower than mine. I came to the conclusion that women still wanted to keep it old-fashioned, despite being on a dating app. Women want men, to some degree, to still do the chasing. According to Kelly Cooper, who writes for the OkCupid blog, women are more likely to receive a message if they send one first. “Most women on OkCupid are still waiting to be messaged, which means they’re settling and not even realising.” So – for a dating site, the lesson is – if you are interested in someone, send them a message! Women shouldn’t wait for men to make the first move.
The most important aspect about the whole dating online thing is how you even begin to establish a relationship if there are so many people liking and messaging you. I suppose this is ultimately up to the individual and who you prefer, and what your needs are.
Apparently about 44% of women and 38% of men on dating apps are looking for a long-lasting relationship. I was definitely part of the 44% – I was looking for a long-term relationship. This gave me a smaller pool of guys to work with. I knew what I was looking for in a guy: respect, loyalty, honesty and willingness to make time for me despite a busy schedule.
I was on OkCupid for a few weeks. I didn’t find my ‘Mr Right’, although I did manage to make great friends along the way. I suppose I stopped using online dating because I wasn’t really meeting anyone who caught my attention. There were a few guys that I spoke to, but no-one who I was willing to meet in person. That’s not to say that other people won’t find a special someone, but for me personally it wasn’t working.
One thing is certain though, dating online definitely seems to be the way forward. It’s time for the world to look ahead and accept that everything around us is changing, including the way we meet our perfect stranger. And who knows, I might just sign up again and try and find that someone special.
Tell us: would you try a dating app? Have you tried one?