One benefit of online dating is that you know those on the site are single and looking, which reduces ambiguity.
But this also creates pressure quickly to turn your online connection into something romantic, rather than letting romantic feelings develop more slowly.
And even though men generally contact women more than vice versa on these sites, research has shown that a sizable minority of women do reach out to men they find desirable online, suggesting that these sites allow some women to overcome traditional gender norms that cast them in a passive role of waiting to be approached (Scharlott & Christ, 1995). Shy or socially anxious individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships (Alden & Taylor, 2004; Davila & Beck, 2002).
Research suggests that those who are socially anxious (Green, 2001) or introverted (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Rice & Markey, 2009) feel more comfortable communicating online.
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The most obvious benefit of these websites is that they provide easy access to thousands of potential dates.
This can be especially beneficial for people who don’t have a large social circle.
There's pressure for things to turn romantic quickly.
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).
In addition, when we read vague information about someone, we mentally fill in the blanks with specific details that may be incorrect (Norton & Frost, 2007).
Once stigmatized as a venue for the desperate, online dating has become a normal part of the mating game.
A recent survey of 19,000 people who married between 20 found that 35 percent of these new couples met online, with about half of those meeting through an online dating site (Cacioppo et al., 2013).