I am definitely no stranger to online dating. In my 20s, I used Yahoo Personals and Match. I even met my husband Jay on Yahoo Personals. We were married throughout my entire 30s, then we split up, and I have been dating again, online, in my 40s. And believe me, online dating is quite a different monster than it was in my 20s. I think the gamification of online dating has killed traditional dating. Let me explain and you can see if you agree or not.
The Gamification Of Online Dating
1. The World Is A Much Smaller Place – Back in the day, people were really only exposed to those that they went to school with, worked with, met in town or through other people. There was very little of this “keep my options open for something better” mentality. Since there were limited choices, you had to chose from what was readily available.
2. Swiping Is Like A Game – I have talked to people who “swipe” all day long. It’s simply a numbers game in which the swiper gets almost instant gratification when they receive that “swipe” in return. It’s not even really about genuine interest in dating. It’s all about the quick ego boost.
3. Virtual Anonymity Makes People Brave – Sometimes too brave. In this age of sending unsolicited nasty pics with [or instead of] the initial hello, people are willing to do [and are able to get away with] far more than they would at an in person pool party introduction, for instance. And with this anonymity often comes horrible behavior. Why? Because people are often far more brave when hiding behind the protection of the computer screen than they would be in a face to face traditional meeting. People also don’t always view the person on the other end of the communication as a real person, with actual feelings.
4. It’s Less Work – Let’s face it, no one has to be alone on a Friday night if they choose not to. The internet has made it ridiculously easy to find someone with similar thoughts, beliefs and lifestyles as you. That also goes for those that are online just hoping to have sex. Back in the day, courtship and dating was much more common. Even if someone was only looking for sex, they generally still had to date someone a while to get that. Again, the options weren’t as plentiful, and society frowned more harshly upon promiscuity.
Now, someone on the internet might ask you to meet for sex, without ever having even met you in person before. And if that’s not what you are into, they can easily stop talking to you and find someone else who is. The work is gone. People don’t have to get to know each other anymore and they know it. They can easily find someone else to sleep with that evening. People are often treated as disposable and are no longer valued. It’s a fact that people more greatly value things [and people] they had to work for but now people don’t have to do that. So we have forgotten what it means to really appreciate someone.
I am not saying that all online relationships are like that. Again, I married a man that I met online. But I will say that the huge majority of men that I have met fall into at least one of these categories. It’s discouraging to those of us that are not looking for hookups or games. But, on the other hand, I imagine it’s quite rewarding for those who are just looking for sex.
Have you dated online? If so, what was your experience like? Do you agree or disagree with my assessment of the gamification of online dating?