Online Dating Works for Many, but there are Alternatives!

Online dating, without question, has proven to be enormously successful (not to mention a multi-million dollar industry). According to research conducted from 2007 to 2009 by Reuben J. Thomas, a sociologist at City College of New York, approximately 23% of couples met online. (Click here for the full report) Almost a quarter of all couples meeting online really illustrates that this is not your grandmother’s dating scene!

This approach to meeting potential partners was found to be used predominantly by what Thomas referred to as “subpopulations.” Subpopulations refer to people who live in areas where they struggle to find compatible potential partners. This may be due to their personal life situation or individual characteristic such as age, race, sexual orientation, or location.

Interestingly, Thomas and his colleagues also discovered there was not necessarily a greater percentage or gain in the total number of couples since the introduction of online dating. It appears that while a new way to meet potential soul mates has emerged, it has not increased the number of successful mergers. In other words, instead of getting set up as often by friends and family members, people are meeting their partners online. His research indicates that there are not more relationships in total, as a result of online dating sites.

Although online dating is not without its faults — it can take a lot of work, almost becoming a full-time job, and can attract perverts, pedophiles, and other deceptive predators — it is now much more socially acceptable to meet online than in the recent past.

If less than one-fourth of all couples met through one-on-one online dating sites, that means the large majority of present partners were introduced via other successful means. What are some of the most promising alternatives to online dating? Most communities now sponsor a meetup.com site where local people can meet in a group setting to enjoy shared interests with one another. There are dozens of meetups as diverse as hiking, wine tasting, and mountain bike riding. Religious institutions (churches, synagogues, etc.) can provide many opportunities for their congregation’s singles to meet. They often hold varied gatherings for their single members, providing opportunities to better know others who share their similar religious backgrounds and beliefs.

Other online dating alternatives include the use of matchmaking services and blind dates — perhaps the most “old fashioned” way of all — which are usually arranged by family members or trusted friends. In general, it is a great plan to let your social support system assist you in putting your energy and intention out there — tell them you’re ready to meet that special someone.

Regardless of which dating method you decide to try first, there are some common principles that can make a difference. The first is being clear with yourself and about your intention to meet someone. Secondly, increase your energy for social interactions and, within reason, try to socialize more frequently. Dare to stretch yourself at least a little bit; however, don’t sign up for dance lessons if you hate dancing! By pursing your own interests and hobbies, it’s likely you’ll meet others who enjoy the same activities. And of course, the idea holds true that even if you don’t meet someone, you’re engaging in activities that you enjoy anyway! Another bonus is that new friendships are often made in the process.

Give consideration to the vast number of ways to meet potential partners, and be open to trying several different ones, if necessary. While online dating has clearly been successful for many people, it’s obviously not proven to be for everyone. After all, according the above referenced study, the “old fashioned” ways still work, and are over three times as common as online dating.

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