Sunday, 1 November 2015

Your true love is not on Tinder!

When a colleague narrated her successful ‘I-met-my-husband-online’ story to a mixed bunch of us, relationship status ranging from singles to complicated to married; I blurted out, “Girl, you were just among the lucky 8%.” The rest of the evening was a haze. Every time I passed a single, their eyes shot daggers at me.

My grandparents had had an arranged marriage; they lived happily until my granddad passed away. Not just them, I can cite a lot of examples from the greatest generation, the Baby Boomers, and the Gen X with the same success story. All these accounts however, share one thing in common; none of them happened online. In this advanced information age, however, love is just a click away, or so they say.

Pew Research Center reveals some startling statistics about marriage and relationship statuses. In 1960, 59% adults of marriageable age were married compared to just a 20% in 2011. 64% adults of marriageable age today are neither married nor living with a partner. There has also been a 0.3% decrease in the number of people having more than one sexual partner from 1988-96 to 2002-10.

It’s not that Millennials don’t want to get married (61% actually do want to get married someday) or do not value a lasting romantic relationship (8 out of 10 value a genuine relationship). To help this woebegone generation find love, there are about 3000 websites offering online dating services. And 1 in 5 adults actually makes use of these religiously. Then why do statistics indicate otherwise.
The answer is ‘Analysis Paralysis’.

Too many choices
According to Forbes, in US alone there are about 1000 new options for dating every year. That means 1 thousand more potential partners at any given time. Choices can be overwhelming and a thousand is a fairly large number. Psychology proves that the more options available for a given situation, the less likely it is to derive at a concrete conclusion and the more likely is the choice to go awry. Humans are subconsciously aware of this and therefore there is less effort to hold onto a relationship with a match found online. Hence, a rise in the number of short term relationships.

Selection criteria
In the real world, you decide whether you want a relationship with a person based on the how much you like them. In the virtual world, apart from an extraordinarily pretty profile picture, there are a myriad other criteria to consider; even favourite colour may serve as one.

There are many profiles present that are poles apart from the actual person. This can lead to serious misjudgement and even heartache for those who wear their heart on their sleeves. But who exactly, is to blame for this? Again, when dating online, people are at a loss of genuine human contact. They are choosy given the wide selection criteria and based on petty criterion, may write off a potential match as incompatible.

There may be someone better out there
There’s always a nagging feeling about the many potential matches out there that a person may miss out on once they've found someone reasonably compatible. This not only makes the current engagement a trial but also reduces the amount of effort they’d be ready to put into the relationship to make it work.  

Lastly, all the fuss about finding the 'right' match leads to stress and in many cases depression. It shouldn't come as a surprise that most Millennials have managed to stay out of serious relationships for so long, or use dating sites only for flings. If you find this piece of truth disturbing, then a sensible thing to do would be to get offline. Try the jogger's park or the library instead. There are more chances of getting connected with a soul mate here than anywhere online.

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