ARE WE COMING TO THE END OF LOVE ?
Ana is a young woman in her mid-twenties who had a strong resolve to find love. One day, her friend Clara invites her to spend time at her house. After a few moments of making small talk, Clara starts to share some updates on what she has been up to. She begins to share with Ana the numerous dates she has been on after she started using two dating apps. Ana who was infatuated with her friend’s story looks on and listens intently. Clara started recounting all the challenges and observations she made during these dates.
Clara was obviously looking for advice to determine what she was doing wrong and how come none of these dates yielded fruitful outcomes. Ana was at a loss for words because though she cared for her friend, she didn’t have enough dating experience to provide solid advice.
Clara’s search for love is all too common across generations. There are many of us looking and yearning to share our lives with another partner. The question that resurfaces consistently is to what length women or men go to find that special someone. Though Clara was intentional in putting herself out there and laying all the cards on the table, she is a prime example of the current sphere we live in where dating sites or apps are ubiquitously convenient to develop romantic connections. Nowadays, women and men have the option to either pay for a monthly subscription or use the free version on dating sites.
As a matter of fact, online dating existed centuries ago dating back to the Book of Genesis, where a servant was tasked with choosing a bride for Abraham’s son. More refined dating methods began to appear in the late 17th century in the form of newspaper ads in Britain.
The first online dating site domain was registered in 1995 while the first computerized matchmaking was created by Stanford students in 1959. Historically, males have been dominant users of dating sites than women. As of 2018, about 60 percent men use these site domains compared to 40 percent women. On average, Bumble had a reported 22 million users as of November 2017, and 27 million downloads as of February 2018.
With the convenience of finding people or potential contenders with the swipe of a finger, I cannot help to ask whether these dating sites have been or are effective tools for those seeking soul mates. The other questions become:
- How effective are these dating services to men and women across different age groups?
- Are these dating apps equipped to deal with unexpected contingencies such as potential sexual assaults or cat fishing incidents where you spend months talking to someone who is faking his/her identity?
- How would these individuals be held responsible? Do these dating sites have the leverage to hold these individuals accountable?
Because these dating sites are deemed user-friendly and have simple user interface features, it has become extremely hard to answer these questions. In our contemporary times, it is common to hear men or women say “I am just going to take a leap of faith”. But, how far can your faith take you if it might translate to compromising your own safety and well-being?
Today, the online dating market is a booming business projected to grow to $12 billion by 2020 which leads us to ask to what extent dating websites have snatched our spirits and use of better judgment. At what cost are people willing to sacrifice common sense or logic to find everlasting love?
Magazines sell dating life on a silver platter purporting to have the best ways to please your significant other without realizing the overwhelming impact the messaging has on the self-identities of young women and men. Love is fetishized and condoned if it is not perfect. Have we become enamored with the illusory image of love or the reality of love?. And if so, which one of the two weighs more value?
I wanted to explore this love affair with dating sites to find out more on what made them so attractive to the masses. My discoveries led me to some edifying trends that left me at times either laughing to being completely befuddled at the lack of substance on these platforms.
Another strange pattern was a slew of men mentioning they liked Guacamole. I can understand that Guacamole may be a healthy food item because of its nutritional and caloric value. When have dating sites become spaces to explore your culinary palette? Overall, these profile descriptions do not inform us with accuracy the character of these individuals. Neither does it allow us to gauge nuances, and underlying motivations and intents. Profile comments such as the ones provided below made me question if apps are used to find true love or temporary satisfaction.
- I am remodeling my house/need a woman’s perspective
- I have good credit.
- I will give you extra points if you like tacos.
- I prefer my pasta al dente.
I began to ponder on how efficient these cheesy pickup lines were and the reasons why these comments made people lurk around to dive for more stimulation. Apparently my synthesis led me to conclude there is someone out there for everyone’s palette.
The upside of registering on dating sites is the opportunity it provides to meet people from all different cultural backgrounds with varied interests. Those sites also enable interesting conversations to take place outside of the platform. One of the downsides of dating sites is the swiping left or right system being subjective wherein individuals are basing their decisions on profile pictures and biographies that may not always be one hundred percent accurate.
At times, you can find what they term as “bad apples” in the pile where men/women behave in ways suggesting they are either insecure or infatuated with themselves; Or men even suggesting for women to have a certain look such as wearing straight hair all the time to appeal to eurocentric features instead of wearing natural curls. Those types of insecurities could be a potential turn off to finding and sustaining a mature love. In those instances, do dating sites help us forgo our authenticity or rather reveal simultaneously our whole and fractured selves in unexpected pockets of time?
Viewing these dating sites made me reflect on the fragility of seemingly innocent situations that could turn deadly overtime. As highlighted on the Red Table, a Facebook platform hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her guests always stress the importance of self-love. It is equally important not to let love make us fall prey and stay in potential situations that could endanger our own lives.It is important to follow your gut intuition if something does not add up or feel right instinctually.
People who are using these dating sites need to keep the following pointers in mind. For instance, you could have two people text for a while, then vanish out of thin air without an explanation. It made me ponder whether men or women not willing to engage in face-to-face conversations are not emotionally available.
Though texting is seen as the crux in our generation to build rapport with others, one cannot effectively know someone behind a screen. Text messages are endemically nuanced and opens ground for multiple interpretations because body languages and subtle social cues cannot be evaluated with certainty.
Individuals sometimes complain of a lack of emotional connection with their partners. Little do they know that vulnerability requires you to put yourself out there beyond the dating screen. So the question becomes when someone implicitly or explicitly tells you he/she is emotionally unavailable–if that is the case–what will be your response in that moment?
Another example might be when your date brings you to meet his/her family. In other cultures, parents are not introduced to your loved ones unless the man/woman intends to be married. In those circumstances, it is wise to decline the offer until you have built a solid foundation first. The gesture might be thought of as being kind or thoughtful, but remember his/her parents may have met dozens of potential contenders before you. Therefore, the action should not be equated to being special in his/her eyes.
Dating sites are tools used to either build or deconstruct communities because not everyone with a profile can be fully vetted. Not everyone will have good intentions. Online dating has taught me we need to shift our mindset on love. Most importantly love is a journey and not a sprint. If we are to pursue love in its purest form, we must discern how we are showing up and never cease to critique the mechanisms through which we seek love. Therefore, let us continue to speak up when something feels awry and teach others from the lessons learned along the way.
About The Author
Venchele Saint Dic is the author of Journey to Redemption and Faith in the book Passport to Self-Discovery Volume 2. She is the Founder of MESFAMI Care Inc on Facebook and on Instagram @Mesfami_CareInc. She has demonstrated leadership and innovation in public health, health equity, communications, public outreach, social inclusion and diversity, among many others.
Venchele is an experienced writer, editor, and native French speaker with cognate education in Public Health. Her focus is to improve accessibility to health services while supporting education, economic empowerment, and counseling as critical building blocks which empower families to survive and thrive through life changing events. MESFAMI Care Inc. facilitates community institutions by voluntarily supporting families with the knowledge, skills, and services required to survive in changing social, and economic environments. Her past writing stories have been included on BlackState, Thrive Global, Gratitude Circle, Medium, LinkedIn, and the newsletter of Peace Corps Senegal, Simmons College, and Friends of the Library Montgomery County. Additional information on the nature of her work can be found on her Author profile at amazon.com/author/venchelesaintdic.
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Seal, Kelly. 2018. Analysts Project Online Dating Industry Worth $12 billion by 2020. https://www.datingsitesreviews.com/article.php?story=analysts-project-online-dating-industry-worth–12-billion-by-2020
Copyrights of this article belongs to Venchele Saint Dic