Why Do People Online Date

Online Dating

Why Do People Online Date? 7 Most Common Reasons (Feb. 2024)

Hayley Matthews

Written by: Hayley Matthews

Hayley Matthews

Hayley has over 10 years of experience overseeing content strategy, social media engagement, and article opportunities. She has also written hundreds of informational and entertaining blog posts. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Bustle, Cosmo, the Huffington Post, AskMen, and Entrepreneur. When she's not writing about dating news, relationship advice, or her fantasy love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio, she enjoys listening to The Beatles, watching Harry Potter reruns, and drinking IPAs.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

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Why do people online date? Because it’s such a rush!

It’s like bungee jumping. Some people absolutely love it, and others, like me, think it’s freaking crazy. Whenever I see a video of someone bungee jumping off a bridge or something, I always think, “Why the hell would someone want to do that?” I have this fear that the bungee is going to snap or get wrapped around the jumper’s neck. Even if it’s not really a rational fear, bungee jumping is still something that terrifies me.

Some people have the same reservations and fears about online dating. They don’t feel comfortable taking that plunge and putting their hearts at risk.  They’ll see singles editing their profiles or swiping through matches on their phone, and they’ll think, “Why the hell would someone want to do that?” We’re here to give you a peek into the minds of online daters, highlighting some common reasons why they like it.

1. It’s Popular: Over 40 Million People Have Tried Online Dating

Online dating is one of the most popular ways for singles to connect — if not the most popular way. According to Statistic Brain, 40 million people have given online dating a try. And that number is growing every day. In 2017, more brides met their spouses online then through friends, at work, or in school.

There’s also not as much stigma attached to online dating anymore. In fact, 59% of Americans say it’s a good way to meet people. On the flip side, only 23% of Americans think people who use dating sites are desperate. In 2005, those numbers were 44% and 29%, respectively.

2. It’s Global: There Are About 8,000 Dating Sites in the World

Forbes reports that there are about 2,500 dating sites in the U.S. alone. Throughout the world, almost 8,000 dating sites exist. It feels like a new dating site or app is being launched almost every day, and singles have more options than ever before. You could join a site based on your favorite hobby, your preferred appearance, your location, your relationship, or a site that encompasses a little bit of everything.

Today’s mainstream dating sites are inclusive of most countries and languages, too. For example, eharmony is available in more than 190 countries, Zoosk is available in more than 80 countries and 25 languages, and Match is available in more than 25 countries and eight languages.

3. It’s Affordable: Most Sites Don’t Charge Anything to Get Started

Think about offline dating. Usually you’ll go to a bar, club, event, or something like that and pay for entry, drinks (for both yourself and someone who catches your eye), an Uber to and from, food, etc. By the end of the night, who knows how much money you’ve spent! Plus, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll even meet someone that way.

“If the economy wasn’t so rough, I wouldn’t mind,” said a 29-year-old single named Greg. “But that’s not the case. Going out on a couple dates a week can suck up a lot of money.”

With online dating, though, you’re guaranteed to meet tons of single people, and you won’t have to spend a penny to do so. Pretty much every dating site/app offers some free features, so you can create a profile, upload photos, browse, receive matches, and send winks or even messages for free.

If you do end up upgrading your membership, the monthly fees aren’t that bad either. Take Tinder, it’s $9.99 a month if you’re under 30. On Grindr, you could pay as low as $12 a month.

4. It’s Easy: You Can Have a Profile Up Within Seconds

Joining a date site is one of the quickest and simplest things you can do to improve your love life. Once you choose your site, you can get a profile up and start searching for matches within seconds. Some exceptions to that include eharmony and Elite Singles, whose matching algorithms are based on their exclusive in-depth questionnaires.

In addition, a majority of dating sites, if not all of them, have intuitive browsing and messaging features that even the least tech-savvy person could figure out.

To prove how easy online dating is, we’ll use OurTime as an example. When you register, the site asks for your gender, the gender you’re seeking, hair color, eye color, height, ethnicity, body type, marital status, how many children you have, how many children live with you, if you smoke, your country, zip code, date of birth, username, and password.

While this may seem like a lot of questions, they’re all pretty easy to answer. It’ll take you a split second to select to choose your answers and get your profile up and running.

5. It’s Safe: Oftentimes, Members’ Emails Have to Be Verified

It’s true that there are some scary and horrible things that have happened to some online daters. We’re not going to deny that. However, many dating sites employ safety measures to keep members from falling prey to unsavory characters. Online dating is about as safe as you can expect it to be, and it’s probably safer than meeting a complete stranger at a bar.

Most dating sites, once you sign up with your email, will send a message to that email asking you to click a link to verify it. Some sites will even verify your photos by asking you to take a selfie and send it to them in real time. You’re also provided with tools to block and report suspicious or abusive members, and if you come across someone asking for money or threatening you, you can report them to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

6. It’s Convenient: You Can Date Online Anywhere, Anytime

Let’s go back to offline dating again. When you’re going out with the hopes of meeting someone special, you probably spend more time than usual getting ready. That could be 30 minutes or more right there. Then maybe it takes 20 minutes to get downtown and then 20 again to get home. Don’t forget that you’ll spend a few hours at the venue itself. When all is said and done, you could’ve spent five to six hours trying to get a date and still wound up empty-handed at the end of the night.

Thanks to online dating, people can search for dates no matter where they are or what they’re doing — at home on the couch, lying in bed, on vacation, on the bus or train on the way to work, in line at Starbucks, walking the dog, or even using the bathroom (61% of people have done this).

7. It Works: 37% of Relationships Begin Online

Honestly, the real reason online dating has become such a thing is because it works. Singles go online looking for a date, a partner, or a confidence boost, and they find it within a few swipes.

Research conducted by Statistic Brain shows that 20% of committed relationships and 17% of marriages begin online, and we expect that number is only going to grow with time. Meeting people in person is great, but it’s not something that happens every day, and you certainly can’t count on a seredipitious meeting happening on your schedule. It becomes even more difficult as you get older because you get caught up in your job and aren’t as around as many new people as you were in college.

Other studies show that most people meet potential dates or partners through friends (63%), but there’s only a 17% chance that they’ll like that person. Another stat is that just 9% of women and 2% of men have formed relationships with someone they met at a bar or club.

The Better Question is: Why Wouldn’t People Online Date?

While I think online dating is way less scary than bungee jumping, some people would disagree. Maybe they’re worried they’ll become the next online dating horror story, they think it’s a lot of work, or they don’t know how or where to get started. All of those concerns are valid, but the good really does outweigh the bad when it comes to online dating. We hope the insights we’ve just given you will convince you to take a chance and give online dating a try because you never know what could come of a simple dating profile. At least think about it!

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