The internet has touched every area of our lives. Most of us use it every waking hour.
Some apps and features add to our experiences in so many ways. But what about love?
The emerging trends are indications of cultural shifts we’re experiencing in the tech age. So, in this age of Tinder, Grindr, eHarmony, and the more controversial sites such as Ashley Madison; how are our habits changing?
The term “to fall in love” implies a certain loss of control. It can be a messy, unplanned, and chaotic experience to fall in love.
This was the dominant cultural story surrounding love for the past several decades. We look upon the times of loveless and business minded marriages of the past and shudder.
The trend is toward greater individual control. With love, you may meet your “soul mate” when you are ill; your hair might be bad, or your first few jokes are terrible.
Now, with a profile, a picture, and a well-phrased tagline, you’ve made sure you control your first impressions. We now look for love with our cyber-personality, and we look to other cyber-personalities to match with.
The implication is we are less inclined to “fall” in love, and when we do eventually “swipe right,” it’s with our online persona, approving another online persona.
The real people don’t meet until there is some agreement between two alternative versions of themselves.
We elect two representatives on our behalf, each on their respective writer platform, displaying the qualities we want to show.
Whereas if you “fall” in love with someone, you may have plenty of things that you initially dislike about them, but there could be some “x factor” whereby you are still drawn to them. With the internet, the way we match is not mysterious.
We swipe right on looks. Plain and straightforward. And then, what else do we decide on?
Shared interests, friends in common, and the fact we both like Game of Thrones. The way we look for love now is almost a points based system.
Having shared interests may be excellent criteria for some people, but the mechanics of love are not based on superficial details like film and music taste.
It may fade in importance over time, but the fact remains we form first connections on things that don’t actually define us.
An unusual paradox of looking for love online is we are less guarded about what we reveal about ourselves.
Studies have shown people are far more free and easy with intimate details of their life with someone they have never met but are chatting to online, than with a physical relationship of the same length.
We know how awkward it is to discuss private things with someone we don’t know, but with the protection of a screen and a few thousand miles, we feel safer to expose ourselves.
This is a bizarre but understandable phenomenon. It may make up for the fact that without intense intimacy, a real connection will never be formed.
So to conclude, how has the internet changed the way that we look for love?
First, it allowed us to be more in control of our online persona.
We can control what people see and don’t see; we avoid the “fall” part of love.
Second, our selection process is based on flattering angles on a selfie, and which Netflix show we like.
Third, we look for love by sharing much more intimate details about ourselves with relative strangers.
This all adds up to a strange, but exciting time to be dating! Happy swiping!