It’s Valentine’s Day as I write this. My husband and I exchanged sweet gifts. We put on the sappy love songs we used to play when we were falling in love and got nostalgic about those precious memories.
I feel quite lucky that things worked out like they did. Of course I feel I hit the jackpot with my spouse, but I’m actually referring to the relative ease with which I found him. Pete and I were close friends throughout college. When he told me a couple of years after graduation that he always saw us as more than friends, the only hurdle I had to jump over was whether I wanted to risk ruining a friendship by dating him. I didn’t have to wonder what kind of person he was. I never had to fear that he had bad intentions or that he was secretly a psychopath. I had known him — very well — for years. From that first dinner date on, it was a delightful breeze. The couple of years of dating I had done before him was behind me… for good. That was a huge relief. In my humble opinion, modern dating was not fun.
My siblings are all younger and in great physical shape. They’re funny. They’re interesting. They’re highly educated. And they’re all single. That’s totally fine, but on any given day they might disagree. It can be tough playing the dating game, especially if you know that you want to be married eventually and perhaps even more if you use your older sister as a gauge of your progress. I got married early at age 25. The average age for American women to be married in 2012 was 27, and is steadily rising.
Now that online dating has gone from being slightly fringy to the norm — especially in bigger cities — my siblings have potential dates buzzing as notifications on their phones. These are almost always strangers (occasionally, there are mutual friends) who, through the dating apps’ algorithms, seem to be a potential match. Because practically everyone has a handful of social media profiles, they can stalk their dates online before meeting up. And then, thanks to a digital Cupid, they are expected to sit across a couple of lattes from one another and hope that something clicks.
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Pew found interesting statistics after a survey about social media and dating conducted in 2013. Five percent of Americans who are currently married or in a long-term partnership met online. Women are much more likely than men to have a negative experience on a dating app. But generally, users of dating apps feel they make the process easier and more positive. About 79 percent find dating apps are a good way to meet people, and 70 percent feel it helps people find a better romantic match.
This August, we are excited to attend the wedding of a dear college friend and her fiancé. They met in New York through Match.com a few years ago. They come from different parts of the country. They are of different ethnicities, and have different career paths.
It’s hard to imagine they would have met through more “analog” methods, and I know they thank the app for bringing them together. Modern dating has never been particularly easy, but maybe it’s a little bit easier today.
Natalia Naman Temesgen is an independent contractor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.