Online Dating: Why Choice Isn’t Always Good (And What You Can Do About It)

Online dating has made our choice of potential partners the most vast and diverse of any point in history. There are obvious benefits to this namely the ability to find someone the most compatible to partner with, and the convenience of being able to select potential partners from the comfort of your home. But one major pitfall to online dating is the sheer number of potential partners that you could choose.

In a research paper from August 2019 researchers found that the vast amount of potential partner options when using online dating over time leads to a sense of dissatisfaction and an increase in the rate of rejecting potential partners. Which then over time leads to reduced chances of finding a partner. The researchers found that the first profiles and photos you see have a higher chance of being chosen and the more photos and profiles you view the increased rate of dissatisfaction you will have in the potential partner choices you view. Online dating at first seems like it will increase our chances of finding a partner but can have the reverse effect due to the high volume of choices.

So should we all be trying alternatives to online dating? The answer is no, or at least not necessarily. Online dating is a fantastic way of finding a partner when used well. There are a few ways to help combat the dissatisfaction and rejection mind-set that can occur over time when using online dating. One way is to limit your search for choices, for example limiting your initial search to 10 or 20 or 30 people depending on your preference, and then narrowing down your choices from that initial selection. Another way to help maximise your chances of finding a partner is to take breaks when using online dating. If you haven’t found the right person yet and can feel yourself getting weary, dissatisfied and doubting whether you’ll find the right one for you, it would be wise to take a day or two off from using it. This will give you time for the dissatisfaction and rejection mind-set to diminish, so that you will be more optimistic when you get back to searching. A further good way of increasing your effectiveness when online dating is to limit the amount of rejections you make. The researchers found that the more people you reject the more rejecting you become of the further choices you have.

Whatever way you use online dating, your best option is to take everything in small chucks to help you stay hopeful and effective in your search for a partner. Limit your choices of partners and limit your time searching, taking breaks in between, to maximise your chances of being successful.

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