Online Dating: The Image Thing
Online dating is booming like never before. If you don't really want to believe that, you just have to take a look at the increasing sales figures from German dating platforms . So you can't deny success in dating sites, but are online dating agencies now acceptable?
Let's do a little experiment and imagine the following scenario: A buddy tells you that he met an incredible girl via online dating. He has not yet met her, but is quite sure that it could be great love. And now you come: what are your first thoughts? The range certainly extends from “Nice for you.” To “Oh, you shit.” To the proposed slapstick with rhythmic wake-up gymnastics and a sobbed “Come to you, boy. Stay with us. ”Perhaps you also have the assumption that that“ incredible girl ”is really called“ Uwe ”and that it makes fun of teasing your buddy. So: what about your personal reservations?
Let's be honest: Anyone who first thinks of “nothing can go wrong”, “Put your body and soul into it, mate.” Or “Please let me be the best man.”, Is either a hopelessly optimistic person or he has already had good experiences with online dating. For many people, finding a partner on the World Wide Web is still a mystery. Here, the image has improved significantly. What two decades ago was perhaps dismissed as ominous filthy stuff, an opportunity to cheat or as a partner search for the toughest cases, is today advertised and used excessively. Online dating sites are currently undergoing a similar image change as nerds: dismissed 15 years ago as a curious fringe phenomenon, comic readers, Star Wars fans and pale “Big Bang Theory” types are more popular today than ever - Steve Urkel back then, hipster today. But despite the success story and the positive trend: There are still many reservations about online partner searches.
Online Dating: Purposeful Optimism vs. Skepticism
Many skeptics still have negative stereotypes in their minds that persist. In connection with the topic of online dating, unpleasant associations arise such as “stalking”, “fake accounts”, “marriage fraud”, “sexual harassment”, “rip-offs”, “data theft” or “romance scamming”. Many dating agencies struggle with the reputation of being a playground for married newts who are only after an affair. And some believe that such platforms are “only for the most hopeless cases”. These statements may be exaggerated, but they are not fictitious. The forums are full of such statements and honest questions about whether other users have had bad online dating experiences . The answers are mixed and range from “Nothing ever happened to me” to “He was married and had two children”. There are people who are looking for a serious relationship, as well as cheaters, cheaters and horny goats. Just like in real life. But it is perhaps easier to get on the glue with anonymous swindlers online.
If we allow the notorious skeptic on our right shoulder to speak, we must also listen to the angelic optimist on our left shoulder. Run for the Roman Bacon: Online dating offers singles a unique platform for exchange. As different as the singles on the net are - what they all have in common is the search for a partner. Here they can discover each other, get to know each other and get closer - without any reservations or crooked looks. You want to fall in love - and why not? Why not use a sophisticated matching process like that of Spaceship or eSweetheart to sort out rotten fruits? Your best friend doesn't do it any differently at coupling events, does it? Why not resort to aids if it doesn't work in the conventional way or with the help of trendy single events ? Let us let the optimism angel on our left shoulder fight and bicker undisturbed with the skepticism villain on our right shoulder. Let's take the hard facts instead. What success rates can online dating sites have?
Success rates: promises of advertising vs. bare numbers
It's hard to believe, but most partner exchanges advertise with rapidly growing membership numbers and immensely high success rates. But registered singles are not automatically active singles. With the membership in Online Dating The situation is much the same as with a fitness club. There are many registered members, but only a fraction of them come by regularly to sweat in their own juice and release happiness hormones. The promises of success of the partner exchanges also seem to spit out hardly any useful information, because much of the information is based primarily on surveys of its own members. In addition, some advertising promises are worded so vaguely that you can hardly do anything with them. Slogans like “100% hit rate” and “Successful placement thanks to infallible matching process!” May sound promising, but are about as meaningful as the weather report for the week after next.
So what are the bare numbers from independent sources ? How many German singles actually use dating platforms actively to search for partners? And how many of them were able to get to know a new partner via online dating sites? According to the study series “The Online Dating Market 2013-2014” by the single stock exchange comparison, 8.1 million German users were active on paid online dating sites in 2013 . The number roughly corresponds to the total population of Israel - or the sum of the German television viewers who voluntarily attended the final of the US Song Contest in 2017. So there are a lot of fish swimming in the German online dating pond , but what about the chances of success and hit rates? The answer: not so bad at all. Online dating actually seems to work: According to a German study by the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (Bitkom) , in 2014 every third user was able to find a partner via a dating platform.
So the conclusion is positive. Our angel of optimism triumphed and successfully pushed the skeptic boy off his shoulder. Online dating is used by many singles and can actually help in establishing a partnership. The rough, little boxer is lying on the ground, but is far from being counted: What about the longevity of digitally introduced acquaintances? Do relationships via online dating sites really have a chance?
How long do internet relationships last?
The chance that an online acquaintance will turn into a real partnership isn't all that bad. Now the relationship just has to last. If both parties are happy and satisfied, the basic requirements are already in place. So what about the feeling of well-being in German internet relationships? According to a study by the researcher Professor Dr. Manfred Hassebrauck , couples who are "matched" via online dating sites are "on average significantly happier" and confirm "higher relationship satisfaction" in surveys -Developer for the online dating platform HeartScout02 (formerly GayScout), but leaves a bland aftertaste. The prerequisites for a long partnership are therefore given. But do Internet relationships last just as long as other relationships?
According to a study by the University of Chicago , online partnerships are more likely to get past the so-called darn seventh year than relationships that are "off-line". Internet relationships should last longer than conventional partnerships. Ko for the skeptical kid? Not quite. The stubborn doubter spits a tooth in the corner and slowly straightens up again. In fact, the research mentioned above has come under fire. The study wanted to research the extent to which unions survive the seventh year - in fact, the surveyed participants with the longest marriages had only been married for seven years. There he stands like a one again, the little troublemaker off his right shoulder.
Perhaps we should look to other sources on Internet relationship longevity. According to a study by Michigan State University , the separation rate for online couples is significantly higher than for couples who met “offline”. While the optimism angel is already frenetically celebrated by the crowd, our skeptical boy trudges towards the champion unseen. The survey of 4,002 test persons also revealed that the search for a partner on the dating platform took significantly longer than with the "conventional" partner search. Boom! The villain hits the angel again.
What did we learn from it? The longevity of Internet relationships is a difficult topic that cannot be easily lumped together. There are numerous studies on the subject around the world - some certify that Internet relationships are long-lasting, others doubt their durability. Another problem: Compared to the ancient concept of conventional partner search, online dating is still a young chick. Guys and angels will probably have to continue squabbling until there are really meaningful long-term studies and extensive results on the duration of relationships in online couples in 10 to 20 years . Let's leave science behind - now it's getting emotional. What experiences in online dating does the Internet offer?
Extreme Online Dating Experiences - Romance vs. Horror Story
The internet makes it easy. If you want to know what experiences users have when searching for online partners, all you have to do is take a comprehensive look at the internet and crank up the search engine. The Google search for “Online Dating Experience” brings up 478,000 results (as of August 2015). For comparison: the search for “binge drinking experience” only yields 48,100 results. The catchwords “silk painting experience” still come to a total of 54,500. What does that tell us? Binge drinking and silk painting are out, welcome to the age of online dating. Wherever there is a lot of planing, there are of course insider chips. And so the forums, Internet guides and blogs are full of personal experiences and self-experiments.
The spectrum of online dating experiences ranges from film-ready, honey-sweet "Dirty Dancing" stories to dramas in the style of "Titanic", voluptuous coming-of-age comedies such as "Popsicle" or horror experiences such as " Scream ". What do these movies have to do with online dating? The experiences are the same. With “Dirty Dancing” on the one hand, we have a couple dancing through life who hold their own against all odds and everyday prejudices. The hero only counters skeptics and frowns because they met online with a theatrical "My baby belongs to me!" The other side comes up with negative examples: In "Titanic" the object of desire to never be seen again disappears in the Atlantic. But that's not all: The bastard doesn't react to calls or longing e-mails - he could at least have had the decency to make clear announcements. The film series "Eis am Stiel" awaits with a horde of pubescent, horny louts who have only one mission: to drool after skirts and chase bed trophies in order to talk about the size and shape of the "melons" in the sports locker room. The horror film "Scream" shows a particularly dark side of online dating: Freak pursues victims, even though they have now made it clear several times that they have no interest. But the stalker is persistent and clearly resistant to advice.
Anyone who searches the net for personal experiences on the subject of online dating will definitely find what they are looking for. But let's be honest: what stays in your head are the Hollywood romances and the horror stories . It is very similar to googling disease symptoms. Our expectations range between extremes: The symptom of nausea can either be described as a “jackpot! Finally pregnant. ”Or as“ Oh my God, I'm going to die of cholera. ”We tend to project borderline cases onto ourselves - mediocrity and average are often ignored. When searching the net, you shouldn't relate the glittering happy-end stories or the horror scenarios to yourself, but rather make your own experience . When looking for a partner online, you will neither wear a watermelon when you meet your "Dirty Dancer" for the first time, nor will you be all alone on a floating door in the vast ocean while your Romeo and the Titanic get out of the dust or open makes the way to the seabed. Better to write your own story and play the main role yourself.
Firsthand online dating experience
I can see that you really want to know and draw on the full wealth of experience of different users. Okay, I'll give in. So that the reporting is not too one-sided, three points of view are offered. I didn't have to search long, since former “online dadders” can be found in almost every circle of friends - including mine. And guaranteed in yours too - so it's worth asking. By the way, if you want to know how the various dating sites fare in terms of handling, in terms of costs, data security and reliability, you can take a look at our detailed test reports . But now we will first turn to the field reports.
Insider 1: Scream on a stick
It hit a friend of mine hard, even though everything started so well. Laura * was not long at the online dating site Dating Cafe when she met Julian *. Both came from northern German provincial nests, were sporty, liked to go to party and even in the same clubs. After a few messages the two exchanged their ICQ numbers - after a phase of night-long chats, they soon changed their phone numbers as well. Laura was in seventh heaven. A meeting could be arranged quickly, easily and informally, as one went to the same locations on the weekend. Julian was found by the friends (including me) to be nice and cute, which really calmed Laura. At the next meeting, the two went to eat ice cream and then go for a walk. It only took a few seconds for Julian to casually put his hand in Laura's butt pocket. Laura slapped her hand away, Julian became angry, but quickly calmed down. When the two said goodbye, Julian stuffed his tongue into the throat of the startled Laura. When she pushed him away, he did not understand the world anymore, became loud and called it test. Why else would she be on dating platforms if not for sex? Laura said goodbye and did not respond to any more contact. Julian persisted and tried for several weeks. One evening he was waiting outside the club, which they both went to occasionally. Laura's buddies managed to scare him off, but he tried a few more times. Julian turned out to be a horny “popsicle” lout for Laura, who later also became a “scream” stalker. Since that story, Laura has avoided dating sites.
Insider 2: The unexpected stroke of luck
My buddy Jonas * was never really into online dating. He's more of the alternative type - likes good, handmade music, comics, science fiction, travel and anything that is alternative and retro. Jonas is out of the ordinary, is funny, clever, urban, sometimes weird and always stylish. A good-looking, slightly nerdy guy. His best buddy, however, was regularly hanging out on free dating platforms - simply because it's fun and a nice way to pass the time on a hangover Sunday afternoon. At the insistence of his buddy, Jonas also signed up. After a while he got to know Anne *. The two are about the same age, like the same series and films, the same kind of music, have the same opinion on many topics and live in the same city. So jackpot. For the first meeting, a relaxed stroll through an alternative market was actually on the plan. In fact, the two chatted so tightly on the spot that they soon shifted their conversation to the neighboring meadow and talked to each other for hours. Jonas and Anne got to know each other better and better and soon realized that it just fits. Meanwhile, the two have been together happily for some time and confide in each other all secrets. If you look at the two communicative, colorful city birds, you would never get the idea that they found each other via a dating platform. And yet: If the two are asked how they met, they want to tell that they first met at a nerdy convention and not on a dating site. Perhaps online dating isn't as socially acceptable as comics, nerds, hippism or fashion icons à la Steve Urkel?
Insider 3: The golden mean
We saw how it didn't work and we saw how to find a suitable partner through online dating. The only thing missing is a perspective on the golden mean. I can step in here myself. It was a long time ago, probably sometime at the beginning of the 2000s, when cell phones weren't smartphones, but rather resembled small lumps of brick, when Google Germany was still in its infancy and, fortunately, cropped fashion was slowly being adopted. Wait, isn't that modern again? In any case, online dating was still young and uncomplicated. Mostly it consisted of simple profiles, unadorned chats or simple profile pictures. Nowadays, correct profile design is a science in itself. The ingenious matching logarithms partly consisted of the comparison of two images from which one could click on the "nicer" one. If you later decided to take the same photo again, the child was then given the name “Match”. If you will, the early matching systems are nothing more than Blaze - although at that time it was not primarily about meeting and practicing nonsense.
Online dating was exciting and a whole new way to interact. My best friend lured me. She didn't want to go alone to the promised foreign www-land. Oh yes, at the time the internet was really new territory. I was curious and had a good time. It was just fun. One page soon wasn't enough and so we registered with a wide variety of providers. The innocent flirtations never turned into anything serious. I met a guy once - but only because he was in the area and I had nothing better to do. It was nice. But the charm of the unknown is different. I enjoyed it - no more and no less. I got to know nice people with whom I stayed in contact for a while by email. It wasn't a lost time, it was more of a trip to the digital adventure playground that was worth it for the moment.
Most things are neither black nor white . My very early foray into online dating was gray. He didn't bring anything but fun - and that was what I wanted. Every online treasure hunter has a different online dating experience. The optimism angel on the left shoulder and the skeptic villain on the right shoulder will probably knock each other out for all eternity. There are conventional purists who prefer direct contact in the bar, and there are romantics who want to give their love happiness a boost. To each his own as long as he is happy with it . The main thing is what you make of it.
(*) All names have been changed.