How Social Media and the Internet Impact Dating and Relationships

One of the great things about social media and the internet is that we get the opportunity to connect with people all across the world. This allows us to relay different experiences, be subjected to a personal look into other cultures, and even find love. With almost half of the world on social media, we have a better chance than ever to find that special person, and it seems easier than ever.

We can skip some of the weeding out and join groups based on interest, with the ability to chat someone up already knowing we have something in common. And if it doesn’t click? Well, we can just chat up somebody else! All without leaving our house. What a sweet deal!

If we really think there’s only one person for us, or maybe a few people, or maybe just one in on hundred, we greatly increase our chances of meeting that person if we scour the web. Seriously, what are the chances the person who’s perfect for you just happens to live in the same town? And what’s the likelihood you’ll even get to talk to them?

But what if “the one” doesn’t actually exist? Having access to a wider dating pool is beneficial only if we subscribe to the idea there is someone out there who is perfect for us. In this train of thought, we assume we have a perfect match and we have to find them. When we do, we’ll finally be happy.

The problem is once we get into a relationship, we encounter challenges. There are disagreements, arguments, and problems to be worked out. At some point we realize our partner isn’t perfect, and we wonder if we made the right choice. With the internet at our fingertips, we see hundreds, thousands, millions of people, and we think there surely has to be someone better.

We start to hone in on the inevitable inadequacies of our partner and think of what it would be like if those faults just weren’t so faulty. We see other men or women in the digital world and assume they are what their profile suggests. In the back of our minds, we think there’s probably someone who doesn’t have as many issues as our partner, because everyone looks like they don’t have any issues online.

If we think like this, we consider getting a whole new car when there’s a couple of flat tires and some worn out brake pads instead of just fixing the car. We fail to realize that all cars need maintenance, or they’ll break down. We forget about the beautiful journey of buying a car we like, getting comfortable with it, falling in love with it, and taking care of it so it will run smoothly for a long time.

With the ability to establish a new connection so easily on the internet, temptation is high, and moving on from a relationship is easier than ever. But if we want a successful relationship, moving on should be our last resort (in a serious relationship); something only considered after we’ve tried to fix all of the broken parts. More than a “perfect match,” it seems as if the most important thing between two people in a successful relationship is the mutual commitment to working things out.

Take the divorce rate in the United States, for example. From divorcestatistics.info, “The marriage breakup rate in America for first marriage is 41% to 50%; the rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67% and the rate in America for 3rd marriage are from 73% to 74%… Also, the children of divorced parents are prone to divorcing 4 times more than the children of couples who are not divorced.”

There could be myriad reasons for why these patterns exist, but one thing we can’t deny is the more somebody is exposed to divorce, the more likely they are to get one. It’s only my own speculation, but it seems logical that a successful or “happy” relationship is as much a mindset as it is a match.

It’s imperative we find someone we respect, whose company we enjoy, and can relate to on some level, but we also have to be careful not to glorify the playing field and try to accept the faults of our partner and help them improve before we move on. When we meet someone on the internet, we have to remind ourselves they are a person, not a checklist. With online dating becoming so popular, it’s easy to search for a potential partner as if they’re a commodity, filtering and searching for specific characteristics and interests as if they’re functions on a new laundry machine.

Often times, the listing of characteristics and interests in order to find a “match” sets up a dynamic where each person is constantly trying to live up to the profile they’ve created. As people, we have a tendency to overestimate our abilities and see ourselves as more interesting, creative, etc. than we really are. When our partner finds out we aren’t all we’ve led on to be, it can be hard to correct. The longer the relationship goes before this fully comes out, the more damaging.

So, when we meet a potential lover on social media or the internet, we have to be careful. We have to understand that the profile and the person are not the same. The profile may be a good start to securing a reasonable date, but when we meet the person, we should pretend we know nothing about them. We should be skeptical, but give them a fair chance. Most importantly, we should understand they (just like you) are a work in progress.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

“Divorce Statistics and Divorce Rate in the USA.” Divorce Statistics Divorce Statistics and Divorce Rate in the USA Comments, www.divorcestatistics.info/divorce-statistics-and-divorce-rate-in-the-usa.html.

Everyday Sociology Blog, www.everydaysociologyblog.com/2008/07/is-marriage-und.html.

“Online Dating Has Become a Hobby, One That Is Often Not Even That Fun.” Phys.org – News and Articles on Science and Technology, Phys.org, phys.org/news/2015-12-online-dating-hobby-fun.html.

Williams, Brett. “There Are Now over 3 Billion Social Media Users in the World – about 40 Percent of the Global Population.” Mashable, Mashable, 7 Aug. 2017, mashable.com/2017/08/07/3-billion-global-social-media-users/#.0REsOnPPaqn.

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5 Comments

      1. Well, it’s not like people are really willing to listen to someone issues or problems. But they do complain we one shows “the best side of themselves”.
        Complex species, these humans 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  1. YES. Thank you.

    Have you ever read the book “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs? One of the things it talks about is that “respect” means to men what “love” means to women, and how both should be unconditional. I think it’s wonderful that you, as a man, are advocating respect for relationship partners.

    I also appreciate what you said about long-term quality of a relationship over the passive focus of getting our own needs met. The car analogy was a good one! A relationship is an enormous investment and should be treated that way.

    As someone who has had to leave an abusive relationship, I really connected with your statement about the most important thing in a relationship being a MUTUAL commitment.

    I also liked what you said about searching for a potential partner as if they’re a commodity, filtering for characteristics. I think your last three posts (this one included) go hand-in-hand: creating our own alternate reality on the internet in which we have no faults and can present the most appealing versions of ourselves with little to no accountability. Everyone is imperfect. The only way to know someone well enough to begin an invested relationship with them is not only to know about them, but to see firsthand how they react to frustration, happiness, disappointment, excitement, and even tragedy- things that are inevitable in every person’s life.

    Once again, a fabulously insightful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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