One could say that love is love and it doesn’t matter how or where you find it.
If we talk about the durability of a couple, it is practically true. But when we talk about dating, it’s a little different.
To make a couple sustainable, it is not the meeting that is essential but the attention of the partners to favor communication, preserve respect and encourage complicity, that is to say the ability of the partners to remain attentive to the basic principles of the sustainability of a couple (see my article on the principles of success of a couple).
However, what interests me today is not this work in the couple, but the meeting itself and in particular, the meeting via Internet dating sites.
Thousands of people today register on dating sites. Some find love, others experience real sentimental escapades and still others only hope for luck.
Nevertheless, dating sites are multiplying. There are generalist sites, such as Meetic or Match, affinity sites, such as Parship or Darling and sites targeted according to religion, sexual orientation or the temporary goal of the relationship…
These sites tend to make people believe that Internet dating is more than another way to meet a partner for life because there would be more happy couples than with another way.
However, nothing protects a couple from failure. Between online dating and face-to-face dating, forming a couple is just as unpredictable and just as demanding. Online dating is absolutely not a guarantee of a lasting relationship.
Internet dating is not another way to meet someone but a different way.
How does this differ from an “ordinary” way?
The biggest difference is that as soon as you register, you can see a large number of potential partners, a number much larger than what you could have seen otherwise and therefore meet.
The other big difference is that it actually allows some people to meet people. Whether you have just moved to a city without having a network of friends yet, or you are very involved in an activity or an occupation, without being able to take the time to multiply the number of ordinary meeting places, the dating sites are real interesting opportunities.
These two differences are, in themselves, two advantages, which is not the case for the two other differences below:
The third difference can have a perverse effect. Every registered person has a profile, a profile which of course does not exist in face to face meetings. No profile, no matter how well it is filled in, can tell if the person who describes himself or herself can actually suit us because what is written is only subjective and we ourselves are not always able to know what we are looking for.
We often mistakenly think that we are making informed decisions. This is one of our biggest lies to ourselves.
With so many profiles to choose from, it can be hard to make decisions and waste 20 hours browsing profiles without getting anything done.
Some sites have then opted to offer only a handful of people. These are the affinity dating sites that have developed a mathematical algorithm for sophisticated matching of compatible singles. However, apart from the fact that these algorithms have not been scientifically verified, they cannot claim to offer long-term compatibility.
I had in my office a couple who met on the Internet on an affinity dating site after having been given a 98% match. After two years of marriage, they realized that they could no longer be happy, that they could no longer communicate properly and therefore could not understand each other.
They told me that they had mainly looked for complicity in each other. But when I asked them how they defined complicity in a couple, it was clear that they did not have the same definition, and therefore not the same expectations. And as on their profile, the word complicity was well put forward, they never thought of trying to get to know each other on this notion.
We can’t say that what works in a couple is to have a very good compatibility. Two people who look alike will not necessarily love each other for life (and vice versa). What is important is what the couple will put in place to go through the trials of life: unemployment, mourning…
In other words, what matters above all is the way in which the interaction is set up. It is necessary to know how to get to know the other, to listen to him or her and to seek balance in the notions that one does not share or in the defects that are difficult to accept.
The respect of both “I” is the guarantee of the “we”.
Thus, the big difference between an Internet meeting and a face-to-face meeting is that once the profile is defined, the quest to get to know the other person is not over. I would even say that it starts even more strongly than during a face to face meeting.
Some tips for meeting people via dating sites
1. Don’t waste time meeting the other person face to face
You can exchange a few quick emails and then take the time to talk on the phone before actually meeting face-to-face, in the right place and according to your desires.
Talking online or on the phone can increase our need for hope and blind us to the real possibilities
2. Discuss life’s essentials quickly
If everything seems to fit what we are looking for, don’t hesitate to have a very formal conversation about our needs and values.
Don’t forget that it’s at times when everything is going well that it’s easier to address the most delicate points.