Why You Should Rethink Your Reservations About Online Dating


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Online dating is undeniably popular. At the start of 1969 the public didn’t even know the internet existed. By 2013, four out of ten new relationships in the UK were beginning online. Some still seem reluctant to step out into the cyber world. What puts them off?

In the bad old days, online dating was unfairly associated with nerdy types lacking basic social skills. It was a place to go when all other options had been exhausted. This tied in with the general feeling that the internet itself was a slightly sinister and confusing place.

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Fast forward a couple of decades and almost everyone has access to the internet. The 2013 UK Opinions and Lifestyle Survey reported that 35.7m Britons use the internet on a daily basis – almost double the number in 2006.

Whether they’re using a phone, tablet, laptop or the good old desktop PC at work, Brits are well and truly at home online. It’s hardly surprising then that the stigma surrounding online dating has also diminished.

Research carried out by the Future Foundation on behalf of eHarmony and Third City found that 94% of respondents to a nationally representative survey of 2,067 adults said that online dating had become more ‘normal’ in recent years.

Even among those who’d never tried it, nearly a quarter said they would consider it in the future. Among 35-44 year-olds, this figure rose to a respectable 32%.

The boom in internet dating has tied in with the decline of the more traditional methods of meeting people. It used to be that the workplace was one of the best dating pools to fish at. No more, it seems.

According to the Future Foundation’s research, the proportion of people starting relationships with work colleagues fell from 18% in 2007 to 12% in 2013. This figure is likely to drop further still as workplaces continue to become more decentralised and impersonal.

The other option for most people was to seek love via existing friends. Or friends of friends. This, too, is becoming more unusual, with the proportion of people starting relationships with their close friends falling from 18% to 12% since 2007.

The take home message here is that those who exclusively rely on the Old Ways of finding a partner will become less and less successful. By contrast, those who make use of the internet will be tapping into an increasingly large sample of the population.

Projections suggest that by 2031, more than 50% of relationships will start on the internet. By 2040, seven in ten new relationships will be formed by people either meeting online or using online communication to get to know each other.

Whether you believe in predictions or not, it’s clear that the internet is here to stay. It’s changed how we live, work and play, and it’s changing how we love too. Our advice is to make the most of it.

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What do your nearest and dearest think of online dating? 

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