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Is Online Dating Worth It?

by eharmony Editorial Team - November 22, 2023

While the numbers who use online dating grow by millions worldwide every year, so do the anecdotes of its pitfalls and some singles’ inability to find what they’re looking for.

So is online dating worth it when compared to other methods? We’ll take a quick look at this question and offer some advice to make finding success online a little easier.

Online dating’s history

We could hash out the pros and cons of online dating for hours but the truth is it’s here to stay. The dating and social dimensions of the internet are as old as the internet itself.

From personal ads to agony aunts, people have been using media to find that special someone for more than a century. The only thing that’s really changed are dating conventions and how widely people will look for love.

People don’t want to be bound by the romantic options in their vicinity or who they’re lucky enough to meet in their day-to-day. They want more control over their love lives and online dating not only offers that but with added convenience and a clearer scope of what other singles are looking for. 

So when you ask, is dating online worth it, it’s not a question of the format. It’s perhaps more a question of how actively and broadly you’ve used it as a tool to find someone.

Learn more about the online dating history

With 40 million Americans trying online dating services, it only becomes more normal every day. We looked at the history of online dating.

Some hard data on why online dating is worth it

If you are interested in online dating and whether it is worth it, you will quickly come across online dating statistics. We have summarized the most important ones :

  • Online dating is the most popular way for couples to meet in the US, according to a recent Stanford Study1,
  • and at least three in 10 US adults have tried it.
  • People in the US also spend more on dating apps than the eight other leading countries combined2, although this trend is reflected across the western world and beyond.
  • Online dating has developed a somewhat infamous reputation for casual hookups. However, this trend is relevant on just a few apps designed specifically for that type of dating. Today, according to Pew Research, 40% of users say they are looking for casual dating and 43% looking for their next relationship3, so the service you choose is the distinguishing factor.
  • Around 10% of partnered adults in the US today met their partners through an online dating platform4.

The data shows, that singles are serious about their search for love and willing to put in the time and resources to make it happen. They’re not asking, is online dating worth it but rather seeing it as an exciting avenue.

Your chances of success: some pros and cons of online dating

Online dating is not a miracle solution to loneliness. While it gives you the luxury of dating on your phone from anywhere, at any time, it’s not some siren song that will automatically attract a partner. Is online dating worth it? What’s it worth to you?

If you use it to just aimlessly chat with singles online with no clear goal or use the services to boost your ego, then it’s probably not worth that much. Same goes for if you’re not willing to put care and effort into your profile and the messages you send out. This is your online statement of being. What are the photos and words on your profile trying to say and do they succeed?

A clear idea of your goals and the type of person you’re interested in will play a huge role in how you answer is dating online worth it. If you’re looking for something serious, then you should pick services that cater to those types of singles, not hookup apps. Your profile should also declare that and your bio should be thought-out and clear, not short and filled with emojis.

Lastly, when you communicate with people you’re interested in, don’t play games. Treat it like a normal conversation but one where you have a stated purpose: you’d like to get to know them better and perhaps meet in person.

Is Online Dating Worth It? Expert insights and advice for success

Our eharmony relationship experts, Dr Lalitaa Suglani answered three frequently asked questions when it comes to the topic “is online dating worth it?”:

Is dating in real life better then online?

Dating in real life and online both have unique advantages. Real-life dating offers immediate, authentic interactions, making it easier to gauge chemistry and body language. Online dating, however, provides access to a broader pool of potential partners, convenience, and the ability to connect with people who share specific interests or values. Ultimately, whether one is better than the other depends on individual preferences, comfort, and dating goals. Balancing both approaches can maximise the chances of finding meaningful relationships.

Is online dating healthy?

Online dating can be healthy if approached mindfully and with balance. It offers opportunities to meet diverse people, which is beneficial for those with busy schedules or limited social circles. However, it’s crucial to maintain realistic expectations and protect emotional well-being. Over-reliance on online dating or becoming too invested in virtual connections can lead to disappointment or burnout. Setting boundaries, being honest in profiles, and prioritising personal safety are essential.

What are the common mistakes people make in online dating?

Common mistakes in online dating include misrepresenting oneself, rushing into relationships, and ignoring dating red flags. Misrepresentation, such as using outdated photos or exaggerating qualities, leads to trust issues and disappointment. Rushing into relationships due to the excitement of new connections can result in emotional burnout and poor decision-making. Ignoring red flags like inconsistent communication or evasive behaviour can lead to unhealthy or unsafe situations. Over-investing in virtual connections without meeting in person creates unrealistic expectations. To avoid these pitfalls, it’s essential to be honest, patient, and discerning, ensuring that connections are built on genuine compatibility and mutual respect.

Online dating tips – A simple guide

Take a look at our online dating tips and how-to guide.

So is online dating worth it? The data says yes… If you do it the right way

Everyone has pros and cons of online dating, but if you want to discover its true worth, you have to explore for yourself. Your real dating journey is your own and it can’t get started until you decide to take that first step.

What you can do is make the best possible plan for success. If you’re looking for a lasting, happy relationship with a like-minded person, eharmony is your ideal destination.  Every 14 minutes, someone on our platform finds love thanks to our approach to matching eligible singles through compatibility, leading to more authentic relationships down the line. If you’re still wondering, is online dating worth it, find out on eharmony today.

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