Social media is a quick and easy way to connect with friends and family, share photos and update the world on what you ate for breakfast. But how do social media sites fare when it comes to romance? While many people feel that social media and love do not mix, others purport that online love and romance is just heating up.
Between sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Match.com, going online is an obstacle course of likes, tweets, winks and pokes that is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. But in today’s over-worked and over-stressed society, where people would rather send a text via iMessage, WhatsApp or FaceBook Messenger than call and where friends go out for dinner only to spend the entire evening gazing at their smartphones, it comes as no surprise that love has also blossomed in this digital environment.
We live in a world where we have thousands of “friends,” most of whom we can’t remember when put to the task (your neighbor’s cousin that you met while walking your dog?) so how can we expect social media to help us maintain meaningful, lasting relationships?
Everyone and their dog (really!) has a Facebook account these days, so you’d think the odds of finding ‘the one’ should be improved, right? But can it actually ruin your chances at love? Picture this scenario: It’s late at night. You’ve had a glass of wine, and you’re checking your Facebook page. It’s only a matter of time before one thing leads to another and you are scrolling through photos of your ex or chatting up an old college boy/girlfriend. If you’re single, this may not be so bad…but what if this becomes a nightly routine and you find yourself pining, unable to move on? Or if you’re significantly othered, this could be the beginning of something ugly and could ruin your relationship.
Facebook is a minefield for already established relationships. Your partner may suddenly confront you about why somebody “liked” your status, or an unexpected comment from an ex may leave you fuming about why your significant other is “friends” with their ex in the first place.
Divorce attorneys say they have seen a rise in cases that have ben sparked by social media infidelity. Sites like SnapChat—a photo sharing platform where images only appear for between one and ten seconds—have gained a massive following for sexting, and Instagram photos have broken up handfuls of relationships. Flirtations, befriending people of the opposite sex, remaining friends with exes and inadvertent liking and commenting across Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and others is now a major cause for strain in many relationships.
But the internet isn’t all bad when it comes to romance, in fact, online dating is now the second most common way to meet a significant other. Websites like Zoosk, eHarmony, and OkCupid claim to connect busy singles and nowadays we all know happy couples that have met online. Although it was once attached to a stigma—think “They had to look online because they couldn’t meet anyone in real life!”—it’s now a common phenomenon that has become mainstream…even sought after. Online love and dating could expand the possibilities and opportunities beyond local bars, laundromats, coffee shops etc. There’s a site for everyone: The religious can meet a mate through Christian Mingle, the travel happy can join Miss Travel to meet their co-pilot for life, the athletic and active folks can meet their life partner through Fitness Singles and there’s even a dating site called Positive Singles that matches people who have STDs. If you are looking for someone more local, Meetup could be helpful. But, as with everything online, it’s important to be careful and make smart decisions while using these online dating websites.
It’s almost as though we’ve gone back in time to the days of arranged marriages, the controversial phenomenon still practiced in some areas of the world, where parents select the most suitable match for their children in the hopes of everlasting love. With social media, we select our own match, but instead of choosing blindly at a bar and never knowing what we’ll get into, we have a veritable resume of the prospective mate’s life —their job, interests, income, religion, hopes, dreams, etc. With social media, long distance relationships are also on the rise and tools like Face Time, Skype, Google Hangouts are helping them last.
But the number one way to meet a romantic partner? It’s still a good old-fashioned in-person introduction. So although it’s a dominant factor in many areas, looks like social media hasn’t taken over our love lives quite yet. Just give it time.
Have you met your significant other online through social media or any internet dating sites? or did you meet your long distance relationship partner in person ? Please let us know in the comments which online site(s) worked for you!