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Online Dating through the Ages

The fact is online dating has been around longer than most people that use this form of dating to find partners. While it can be traced back to the 1960s, the advent of mobile apps, websites, social media and the proliferation of the Internet have resulted in a tremendous explosion of this form of dating. In the Internet dominated era, online dating is the future of finding partners with sites attracting hordes of new members on a daily basis.

According to, “People have found different ways to find new partners over the decades. This has resulted in the methods adopted to meet partners changing considerably over time. The advent of the internet has made it possible to find partners that an individual may not ever encounter if it were not for online dating.”

In the early days’ families and friends played a vital role in helping their children find prospective partners. At that time, dating was for a rather limited period of time before they got married. In contemporary times, things are starkly different with more and more couples spending a considerable amount of time together before they even decide to marry or not.

One of the earliest ways before the evolution of the internet was to place matrimonial ads in the local newspapers for partners. It would offer information about the personal attributes of the individual and the type of partner they seek. Now, these are rarely used since an increasing number of people prefer to search online for partners. The earliest known newspaper matrimonial ads are said to have been published in a newspaper in the UK in the 1700s. It was mainly done by wealthy men to seek suitable prospective brides.

Use of social media

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Social media has begun to play an increasingly important role in helping men and women find compatible partners. Sites such as Facebook bring together many people who share common interests, and over time this opens up the possibility for a romantic relationship. Facebook has become a popular way to meet new people by adding them to their friends’ list.

With the start of the new millennium, the quality and reach of Internet services saw a tremendous improvement, which made it possible to chat and stay in touch in real-time. It also was the time when a large number of dating apps appeared on the scene with a host of features to find eligible partners in close proximity. With apps like offering the swipe feature, it became extremely popular and convenient to hook up with people that matched. From being a dating concept that was frowned upon in the initial stages, online dating has now become mainstream and among the most efficient ways to find prospective partners.

Websites vs dating apps

As with most things, both websites and dating apps have their positives and negatives. Website users are not inundated with messages when one logs into the site. It has also been found that website users generally seem to be keener on pursuing long term relationships. The flipside is websites may be comparatively slower with pages more crowded. Another aspect is that many dating platforms only offer websites while others offer only apps.

With apps, probably the most exciting feature is the accessibility it offers. These can be accessed from any digital device be it a smartphone, tablet, etc., whilst on the move. So, whether you are in the subway, a restaurant or traveling, you can always check out profiles and connect with partners online. Apps are much quicker to upload with frequent updates that make them more responsive. The downside is these tend to develop glitches much faster than websites. Another negative is that most using dating apps tend to be more interested in casual relationships rather than anything long term.

How people met in the past

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During the swinging sixties specifically in 1965, a group of Harvard students introduced a computerized questionnaire through a project called Operation Match. It was used in matchmaking individuals based on their attributes and preferences. However, online dating only began in a major way in the 1990s, after the popularity of the internet grew. This led to a rise in websites that promoted online dating. Furthermore, the 1998 Hollywood movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’, a movie about online dating made this form of dating much more popular.

Online dating started the use of questionnaires to match partners. With video calling and Skype, the trend of finding partners online became more popular. Online dating has grown in popularity over the world it now caters to more niche categories and demographics. A study in 2017 found around 30% of people in the US in the age group of 18-29 used dating apps and sites to find partners. There are in excess of 8,000 dating sites with almost 2,500 alone in the US. While people are attracted to the established sites newer niche, dating categories are also attracting members looking for specific traits in prospective partners. Statistics further reveal that until date around 49 million people have used online dating at least once to find partners.

Stay safe while dating online

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Online dating is an exciting way to connect with a wide variety of people you normally would have an opportunity to meet in daily life. Nevertheless, it is critical not to get too carried away and try to remain safe when using sites or apps. A study done by Marketdata identified that approximately 10% of dating profiles found online were fake. That means when you intend to join any site or app you need to become a member of a site that carries out thorough scrutiny of their profiles and verifies them online.

That is one of the biggest reasons why an increasing number of online dating enthusiasts prefer to take paid membership of premium sites, that check profiles for their veracity. Even then, it is always recommended to remain anonymous and not share any personal information, unless and until you have reason enough to trust them. Even then only meet in a public space and be sparing with the details you reveal during the first few meets. Ensure you connect with them well enough before you actually plan to start dating the people you meet online.

About Henrietta Milanovska