Dating In The Digital Age: How Technology Has Changed Our Relationships

Over the last couple of decades, the world has seen a lot of changes that have occurred in all the spheres of our lives. All of it is majorly due to the rapid advancement of technology and its spread across the world. We are currently living in the digital age, which means more and more processes are stepping into the virtual plane. 

    Dating is one of such processes. The way we meet people, establish connections with them, and maintain relationships has been affected by the development of technology. Some of these changes have been incremental while others have been more radical.  One way or another, it has changed our relationship and therefore the way we interact with other people. 

The Role of Technology in Changing the Way We Connect with Our Partners

    The first aspect of dating that has been heavily affected by technology is the ways in which we search for potential partners and how we establish a connection with them. The new digital dating realm can be characterized as a place where anything is possible. However, is it having endless possibilities a positive or a negative thing? Perhaps, the answer is both: being exposed to so many options is extremely tempting and may feel rewarding but it can also be extremely overwhelming.  

You Are Currently Exposed to an Immense Amount of Choices

The digital age has made the saying ‘there are other fish in the sea’ more literal than ever before. Apps like Tinder, Badoo, and Bumble have shown us that there are actually millions of singles looking to find their love online. You are most definitely not alone in this. Quite an impressive and even somewhat unexpected revelation after all those years spent trying to look for someone who is not currently in a relationship in the real world. Moreover, the appealing interface of the aforementioned apps only further deepened this idea: the algorithm keeps suggesting you more and more new options no matter how many swipes you have already made. This creates an idea that the choice is unlimited — no matter how picky you are, you just need to keep swiping, and eventually, you will find someone just right for you. 

However, this is where the catch is. Tinder and other similar dating apps have fostered this new approach to dating that bases entirely on the belief that your options are endless. And, naturally, while it does sound quite tempting and appealing, there are both advantages and drawbacks to such an approach to dating. 

The Good 

    First of all, it needs to be said that online dating platforms have had an immensely positive impact on the attitude towards dating in general. In the past, there was a rather large percentage of single people who genuinely were convinced that they were destined to remain single for the rest of their lives. While the reasons for them to believe that varied from one person to another, in general, the main factor that pushed to such a harsh conclusion was their inability to see a possibility to meet a person who would be a perfect match for them.

    Everything changed with the invention and rapid popularization of online dating platforms. Many people started joining those, at first without any real agenda simply to try out something new and then with a clear understanding of what they were looking for, which led to a grand expansion of the user database of such platforms. The ever-rising figures were a clear indicator of the fact that there is hope for everyone — there are so many singles to choose from. This was a green light for everyone who was too self-conscious that they would never meet their soulmate: such a large number of people let them truly believe that their fate was attainable. 

    Besides, such a large number of choices has almost completely eliminated the fear of failure. In the past, when people decided to hit on somebody they would be completely invested in making a connection with that one person and would put all of them into that relationship. This could have absolutely detrimental consequences had something come between them. On top of that, even when the relationship is not too far in, it can still suck if you are getting rejected. If anything, it messes with your self-esteem.

    With the popularization of dating websites and apps, people have desensitized rejections. They are no big deal anymore. You swipe right and do not get a match, but it is only mildly offensive because just a moment later you are already moved on to exploring the next profile. It is another chance, another try, and the number of attempts is unlimited! You may get as many matches as you want as long as you keep going. This is where the bad comes in… 

The Bad

    As stated before, the whole concept of unlimited options makes you less focused on the goal and more focused on the process. You rarely stop after getting one match, because, let’s be real here, why have just one potential partner if you can have several. This is a massive ego boost to see all those attractive singles to like you back and be interested in making contact with you.

    However, it also perverts the whole idea of dating. They always say that the person you truly love appears to be flawless to you: even if they are full of flaws, you simply do not notice that since you love them so much. However, if you are trying to find the love of your love using dating apps or online chat dating sites, you are putting yourself in a difficult position. Eventually, you end up not even giving a chance to anyone who would attract your attention in real life simply because they are not perfect. It could be a very minor thing that does not even bother you, but since you know that there are so many other options to choose from, you swipe left on them. But chasing ideals is rarely a good way to tackle the whole online dating process.

 Another issue with the unlimited choice online dating platforms provide you with is the fact that you never really put enough effort into getting to know the other person. You do everything half-heartedly because you know that if something goes wrong, you can simply go back to swiping. To an extent, you make your partner expendable. 

    This way, even when given a million options, people fail to make a choice and end up struggling to create a genuine connection with someone. 

Dating Is Seen as a Game Now

    In addition to the previous point regarding the slightly immoral approach to dating, another global problem that the digital age has brought into the sphere is the fact that it now has features of gaming. 

In theory, the concept of using technology to connect with your future partner is simply amazing. The process is smooth and straightforward and is very promising. However, it is also extremely addicting.

In fact, there is quite a lot of studies and other research to suggest that people who are using online dating sites and even more so online dating apps are hooked on them. Even though initially they might have downloaded the app or created a profile on the website to find the love of their life, after a while it became just an exciting part of their life that helps them overcome boredom.

The reason for this is the fact that online dating can be extremely rewarding. The most exciting part of it is that it provides an unexpected stimulus. You never know when your phone is going to chime to tell you that you have a new notification or a new match next. This element of surprise is what makes your body get all pumped and release dopamine. You instantly get your dose of happiness when you get a notification on your screen, and at some point, you just cannot stop. You keep swiping and matching just because you do not want the dopamine rushes to stop.  

It Is Easier to Connect With the Right Person

    However, there are also some good things about this new dating in the virtual realm that came with the digital era. If you manage to overcome the hardships of remembering your initial goal of finding a partner instead of focusing on stroking your ego, you can actually benefit from the numerous advantages of meeting your partner through the use of technology. 

In the past, it used to be very difficult to find someone who would genuinely be a perfect match for you. When looking for a partner, you would be limited to a particular area and the singles that were within your reach. While, of course, it is not impossible to find someone just right for you in your neighborhood, you need to be extremely lucky to do that. On a number of occasions, it would not be a match made in heaven but rather a match that kept both parties satisfied and was convenient for them.

The world on online dating, on the other hand, allows you to go beyond your regular area of search and look for the people that would share the exact same interest with you. The best modern online dating websites are all equipped with high-quality advanced search engines that help you to apply a lot of filters and narrow down your search to the preferred specifics. 

Moreover, there are also a lot of various dating platforms that are perfect for those people who are very specific in their desires. If it is important for you to have your partner enjoy a particular hobby of yours, you may look for a dating website that unites singles with those interests. Perhaps, you are into biking or very fond of video games — there is a dating website for everyone!

Another cool thing about online dating and digitalization of the world, in general, is that you are no longer restricted by your geographic location. If you are interested in international or interracial dating, you no longer have to travel across the world to find someone who would fit your criteria. You can simply specify those particular preferences of yours and let the matching mechanisms of the dating websites do the rest for you. 

Dating is Much More Convenient Nowadays

    Another big thing about dating in the digital age is that technology has made the whole process significantly more convenient. In the past, the main ways of meeting someone new, especially if you had an intention to date them, was by approaching them in the streets or giving them seductive looks across the bar. Not only the effectiveness of those methods was quite questionable, but also they were not suitable for everyone. A lot of people are too shy to shoot their shot in real life, but technology helped them to solve this unfortunate problem. 

    Besides, if you use online dating sites, you can actually be sure that everyone has the same intentions as you do. So, naturally, it saves a lot of time and effort trying to woo people who re simply not interested in dating.

You Get to Know More about Your Potential Partner before You Even Meet Them for the First Time

    Stalking is bad. Period. This is unnatural and creepy, and you should not do it. Unless you really want to and do not accidentally like an extremely old post on your crush’s mum’s Facebook page. 

Since the popularization of various social media, all of us have indulged in this all-consuming process at least once. There is nothing to be ashamed of: you want to make sure that the person you are about to go on a date with is not a serial killer and have not lied to you about where they work at.

This is exactly the advantage of using technology to better your dating life. It makes you feel safe if you know more about the person you are going on a date with. Moreover, it gives you a general idea of what they like, which events they attend, and how good their taste in music is. All of those will prompt your conversation and spare you of having to go through the moments of awkward silence.

However, you need to remember that everything is good in moderation. If you spiral down the rabbit hole of learning your date’s family history through Facebook and end up on their granddad’s twice-removed cousin’s daughter page, you might have overdone it. Let the person tell you their story themselves. 

On top of that, you need to remember that technology is accessible to everyone and the same way you might obsess over stalking your date’s social media, someone may examine your online pages. So make sure you do not overshare and stay safe. 

There Are Much More Opportunities for Those Interested in Expanding Their Horizons 

    This article has already brushed on the topic of the convenience of the dating facilitated by the technology: as stated before, it is becoming much easier for people to connect with each other in a more efficient way. However, it is applicable to not only those interested in old-fashioned regular dating, but also to those who want to experiment and have fun.

    Technology and online dating in particular have changed the status of casual dating and made it significantly more acceptable. Nowadays, looking for one-night stands is no longer frowned upon and the hookup culture is currently striving. 

The Role of Technology in Changing the Ways in Which We Date

    However, it would be unfair to only cover the impact of technology on the process of meeting new people and not talk about the subsequent steps on the dating path. After all, the rules of dating itself have been fully redefined by the digital era: modern dating is much more convenient and diverse, although it may sometimes be less intimate and passionate. 

Keeping In Touch 24/7

    One of the best things about technology is the fact that it allows you to be in touch with the people you love at all times. As long as the two of you have access to a device that can connect you with each other, you may continue communicating with each other without there being any obstacles such as distance or time. 

It Has Made Long Distance Relationships More Bearable 

    Finding a soulmate that you would want to spend the rest of your life with is an amazing feeling that absolutely everyone on this planet seeks to experience at least once in a lifetime. It is in our nature to fight for our happiness. And the latter one can only be reached through satisfying the urge to unite with our second half, our perfect significant other. Throughout history, people have shown an extraordinary readiness to make great sacrifices for even the tiniest chance to be together with the person that they believed was their fate.  The need for these sacrifices arises from the fact that not all soulmates are lucky to have it easy and live their entire life next to each other, making it a piece of cake accommodating their happy ever after. Some can be thousands of miles apart without there being any viable option for relocating. 

    Of course, they also say that if two people are meant to be, they will always find a way to reconnect with each other and successfully combat all the obstacles that stop them from doing that. In the past, however, it sure thing was much bigger of a challenge than it is today! Before, people only had two options: either to give up their relationship, or leave behind their past life to start over in a foreign land with your loved one. Today, you do not have to be that radical with your choices. Thanks to technology the fact that we live in the digital age, it is more than possible to be in a long-distance relationship with someone without it being too hard. Without a doubt, it is still not the same as being physically close to your partner at all times, but if you try hard enough, you can be there with them virtually day and night. 

    Relationships no longer have to be ruined by distance, which we have all witnessed recently due to the coronavirus outbreak and the quarantine measures associated with it. Even though physically the entire world was grounded at their homes, people still kept going on virtual dates, continued giving presents to each other through delivery services, and kept in touch with each other! And that is just an extreme example of how technology makes modern dating more diverse. 

In a situation less severe and deadly, the prospect of having a long-distance relationship is even more bearable. First of all, the fact that we are blessed with having access to all the marvelous transport capable of removing any sort of distance at a snap of your fingers (or, to be more precise, at a click of your mouse on a travel ticket booking website followed by a couple of hours in the air as we are yet to invent teleportation) instantly erases a lot of concerns associated with long-distance relationships. You no longer have to limit yourself to dating only the people within your immediate reach as you can simply make a trip to any location in the world to see each other. 

Secondly, there are about million services on the internet (and the number of those only continues to grow) that allow you to replicate real-life experiences in the virtual plane. For instance, you may sync up your video streaming accounts and pretend like you are watching a film in the same room. Movies night, how romantic! Besides, you also get to see your partner’s face and hear their voice whenever you want for as much as you want as long as both of you have a stable Wi-Fi connection.  

It Is Much Easier to Be Thoughtful and Make Romantic Gestures

    Another perk of having technology involved in our romantic lives is the fact that it makes it so much easier to be thoughtful and caring. Even though it was the first 

Some could argue that having your crush’s birthday saved in your smartphone’s calendar defeats the whole point of being in love. After all, if you truly care about someone you would never forget such thing regardless. However, it is a rather weak argument. You save the information just to make sure that in case something terribly wrong happens to your memory, you still have a choice of being thoughtful, and that is the biggest indicator of love. 

Besides, the role of technology in bettering our relationships is not limited to just reminding us about all the important dates. It also opens a world of other opportunities for those who want to impress their significant other. If you want to make a present for the person you love but do not know what exactly they would fancy, chances are their Amazon wish list would be of incredible help. And if you stalked their Twitter likes, you could get a general idea of what their current mood was without outing your plans too much. Technology and social media are perfect for making surprises! Ordering their favorite meal to be delivered straight to their house or getting a beautiful bouquet of flowers shipped to their office — all of it is possible in just a couple of clicks.

A number of people say that turning to such methods can be considered to be cheating and actually devalues the romantic effort, but this is hardly true. After all, it is the thought and effort that count. 

Technology Can Make It More Difficult to Understand Each Other

While it sounds counter-intuitive and almost counter-logical, especially considering how much this article has explored all the different ways in which technology can bring people in love closer together. However, there is always the other side of each and every medal. The same way technology and the overall digitalization of our lives can promote better communication with the people around us, it can also lead to a decay of the latter. 

Because modern people are so focused on creating and maintaining their digital image, they often forget to pay enough attention to other parts of their lives. On a number of occasions, technology replaces human contact which, despite everything, still remains the most valuable thing determining every relationship. How many times have you seen a couple at a restaurant waiting for their dinner to be served while being on their phone instead of talking to each other? Unfortunately, this is a very common thing nowadays. People are so used to their smartphones they rely on them for entertainment at all times, even when spending some quality time with your partner would be a much better choice.

Besides, being so reliant on technology, messaging in particular, takes away from the communicational skills. It is proven that people who are constantly messaging instead of talking over the phone or chatting with each other in real life tend to be more socially awkward. There is a rather simple explanation for that. If you are used to using text messages as the primary way of communication, you have a harder time reacting properly to the things people say to you. The reason for this is that when messaging you can choose to not reply straightaway and have a couple of minutes to come up with an answer. You cannot exactly do that if you are having a conversation in real-time.

On top of that, if you do not communicate enough in real life, you may find yourself jumping to conclusions and making wrong assumptions. All of that comes from the general inability to accurately read the intonations of a message and interpret it the exact same way as intended. This can be the source of a number of miscommunications and lead to arguments. 

The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, it can be said that the dating world has been massively affected by technology: almost every single aspect of dating as it used to be in the past is different nowadays. Starting from the way we look for people, how we contact them, and how we interact with them to the ways in which we maintain our relationships and advance them. Absolutely everything has changed. Some things turned out to be much easier such as meeting the people that share the same interests as we do regardless of where they live, and keeping in touch with our loved ones, while other things became a challenge that used to not be one in the past. 


Lilian O’Brien is a passionate journalist who enjoys writing about psychology and human relationships. Over the course of her career, she was a regular contributor to major media publications, and currently, she serves as an editor for onlinechatdatingsites