Photo of two men sticking their tongue out for a selfie
Photo by Andy Rickman, Flickr CC

A growing number of couples are meeting through online dating, while for much of history couples met through friends and family. According to new research by sociologist Michael Rosenfeld and colleagues — cited in a recent article in The Atlantic — online dating shows no evidence of slowing down. As online dating grows, individuals shoulder more of the burden of finding a mate. Sociologist Jessica Carbino points out that expectations of potential partners are also shifting, sometimes toward “unrealistic.”

Rosenfeld doesn’t see this state of affairs as a major cause for concern:

“I don’t see anything to worry about…For people who want partners, they really, really want partners, and online dating seems to be serving that need adequately.”

In addition, online-dating has been helpful for minority communities, including LGBTQ people. Rosenfeld points out that in the past, even families who were supportive of their queer children were unlikely to know other queer people to introduce them to, whereas online dating sites certainly do. Rosenfeld and colleagues’ research supports this: the proportion of gay couples who have met online has risen greatly in recent years.

Online dating can feel daunting and overly critical at times, but clearly there are good things to swipe right about.