With an unlimited number of other people on offer via the internet, there’s little incentive to work it out if things get tough.And with the cloak of anonymity the net provides, it’s never been easier to be unfaithful.‘The internet has opened up this sense of “Where do I stop? ‘In previous generations, people met a partner and accepted they wouldn’t be perfect in every aspect, but internet dating is like a chocolate box that never stops giving.‘It’s left men and women on a never-ending hunt for the perfect partner, thinking: “A few more dates and I’ll find The One.” In my work, I’ve met plenty of women who think there’s always a better guy out there.‘The danger is that it results in a string of meaningless flings.Apart from the risk of sexually transmitted disease, ultimately a never-ending quest for grass that’s greener means that women (and men) don’t face the realities of relationships.
But after one serious heartbreak and hundreds of pounds spent on subscription fees, love still eludes her.‘In many ways, internet dating is a great way to meet people, but it’s such a whirlwind of highs and lows,’ she says.I’ve already expressed my argument for why in two posts: one on how critical it is to find the right life partner and how seriously we should take that quest, and another on why going to bars is a terrible life experience.The first step in ending up with the right person is meeting the right person, and for something so important in our lives, we’ve had for doing it efficiently and intelligently.But is this a trend that could change the very nature of romance and turn long-term commitment into a thing of the past? There is striking evidence to suggest that the web is causing social change.Traditionally, women might have had one or two boyfriends before getting married; now, they are encouraged to date lots of people in a quest to find a perfect partner.‘I’ve met some lovely men, but I’ve also met many who lied about themselves and their intentions.’Her experiences are mirrored by many women, who find that internet dating is great if you want a casual fling, but not for anything longer lasting because there are so many dishonest men seeking cheap thrills.Today, nine million Britons will log on to look for love.The way the current trend is heading, what will dating be like in 2030, and will that be a better or worse time to be on the dating market than 1995? I think the term “online dating” is part of the problem and makes people who don’t know much about it think it refers to people forming entire relationships online and only meeting in person much later.Simply considered as online meeting people, it makes a ton of sense.But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts."There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.