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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).
Stanford University’s “How Couples Meet and Stay Together Survey” queried a nationally representative sample of adults to determine how and when they met their current romantic partner (Rosenfeld & Reuben, 2011). Less is more: Why online dating is so disappointing and how virtual dates can help. They can be quite sophisticated AND PATIENT in hooking unsuspecting victims, before trying to reel them in.
In my own analysis of this data, I examined the age at which survey respondents met their current partner and compared this to the age at which they became romantically involved, to get a rough sense of how long it took couples to go from first meeting to a romantic relationship. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Social and Personality and Psychology, Memphis, TN. Luckily, I learned to recognize them before falling prey, but sometimes it's difficult to know. Moreover, as in the world at large, there are A LOT of "players" online--people who are extremely dishonest.
There's pressure for things to turn romantic quickly.
One benefit of online dating is that you know those on the site are single and looking, which reduces ambiguity.
The same principle applies to online dating: The sheer number of potential partners creates abundant choice.
So if one dater doesn’t suit the bill, there are hundreds more who could be better.
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.
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.
One study of online daters found that most viewed each other as similar, and liked each other less, after than before their offline dates (Norton et al., 2007).
The sites can put too much focus on physical attractiveness.