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But this can also lead you to pass up on potential dates because with all those options, you can't help but think, "There must be someone better out there." Online dating sites can thus foster an attitude in which potential mates are objectified like products on a store shelf, rather than people (Finkel et al., 2012). Online profiles are missing vital information you can only glean in person (Finkel et al., 2012), so it can be difficult to know if you’re really compatible with someone based solely on what they have shared on a dating site.
Research shows that people spend their time on dating sites searching criteria such as income and education, and physical attributes like height and body type, when what they need is information about the actual experience of interacting with and getting to know the person on the other end of the profile (Frost et al., 2008).
Having no choices can lead to misery, but too many options can overwhelm and lead you to worry that you’ve chosen wrong.
You can feel confident in your decision about which car to buy when there are only three under consideration, but if there are hundreds, you’ll constantly second-guess yourself and wonder if you could have done better.
It is well documented that physical attractiveness is a major factor in romantic attraction, especially initial attraction (Sprecher, 1989).
Romantic relationships often do develop slowly, rather than taking off from instant mutual attraction. While I think the sites have gotten better about identifying and booting scammers, I have been "scammed" more than a few times by miscreants, usually foreigners, who prey on lonely hearts, particularly those who list their professions and incomes.There are dating sites devoted to particular religious groups, like Christian Mingle or JDate, for example, as well as sites that cater to gay and lesbian daters. This removes a lot of the ambiguity that you face when you meet an interesting person at a work event or a party. Because of the ease and relative anonymity of online dating sites, we may take more risk reaching out to people we would not approach in person.And even though men generally contact women more than vice versa on these sites, research has shown that a sizable minority of women do reach out to men they find desirable online, suggesting that these sites allow some women to overcome traditional gender norms that cast them in a passive role of waiting to be approached (Scharlott & Christ, 1995). Shy or socially anxious individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships (Alden & Taylor, 2004; Davila & Beck, 2002).But this also creates pressure quickly to turn your online connection into something romantic, rather than letting romantic feelings develop more slowly.When you meet someone in the context of an online dating site, the stage is set to look for an immediate romantic connection— and to abandon the effort if there’s no spark.
The same principle applies to online dating: The sheer number of potential partners creates abundant choice.