The Ups, Downs, Pros, and Cons of Online Dating

Is it worth it?

The lockdowns may lock people down physically, but hearts and minds roam unfettered and freely through the Internet, seeking connections both socially and romantically. Usage of online dating apps and websites has skyrocketed within the past year. Several viral posts have shown that an app or website need not be designated for dating. 

People can make romantic connections on social media websites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and can find themselves married years or even months later. Even more expectedly, some folks have interacted on more unusual sites like Tinder or OkCupid and have ended up in a happy, healthy relationship. So, is online dating worth it?  

One of the more obvious discrepancies between in-person and online dating is that, online, the in-person components like touch and smell are completely absent. A Medical College of Wisconsin Study showed how physical contact prompts a response from the nervous system. Physical contact is necessary for bonding and helps release oxytocin, a hormone implicated in feelings of love and affection, although eye contact also causes oxytocin release. Smells are also important. Pheromones are the scents of a human and are correlated to various hormonal levels and balances, like cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen. At various concentrations, these hormones will result in a range of pheromones. Certain pheromonal combinations, in turn, will elicit different romantic responses.

Visuals are often not perfectly translated in online dating. It can be as innocent as the camera lens distorting features, or something more intentionally malicious, like catfishing. Many people describe being catfished as someone tricking them into thinking they look different than they do. This can lead to obvious trust issues. Online dating easily allows for deceit that would never pass during in-person dating experiences. Some deceptions are even more serious than appearances, as AARP recounts stories of people being swindled for money under the pretext of romance.

Despite the shortcomings, there are many positives online dating can offer. For instance, it presents many shortcuts to evaluate compatibility, although this assumes complete honesty from both parties. People can simply swipe any unsuitable suitors away over major incompatibilities, like age or personality flaws, or for minor complaints like physical features. Apps, such as So Syncd, have popped up to pair people up by using the Myers-Briggs personality test.  

Online dating can also make it easier to discuss sexual compatibility and other awkward topics that are hard to talk about in person. Furthermore, it allows people with similar mindsets and ideologies to connect from thousands of miles away, and they can then decide from a distance whether it is worth it to meet in person. 

Online dating is a highly practical option that continues growing in popularity and functionality, but human’s evolutionary past ensures that there will always be something special about organic, traditional in-person dating.

This is a selection from the Feb. 17 issue. To view the full issue, visit: is a selection from the Feb. 17 issue. To view the full issue, visit:!

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