In the journey of love, dating is the first and most significant step taken by prospective mates.
Love is considered as the most powerful of human emotions, capable of making the world go around. Romantic bonds that have survived the ravages of time and that have progressed all the way up to the altar, have mostly begun with this exercise called dating.
In the cyber age, dating is akin to an operating system that deciphers the romantic codes between two people, to connect them in a fitting program of love. Dating, today, is a hip and happening trend around the world that essentially refers to a meeting of two people usually of opposite sex. It involves sharing conversations, and enjoying the company of one another to explore the potential of an amorous relationship. Undoubtedly this method of finding a mate has found wide acceptance and no longer meets with raised eyebrows.
The roots of dating are believed to have sprung in the United States of America during the end of World War II. Most of the choices were from the school or from the church and it was considered a safe way to meet people in order to develop ones personality as a prelude to adult life. Dating during these times was an innocent indulgence dictated by religious values and parental authority.
The sixties and seventies was a period of confusion for the young due to the growing popularity of recreational drugs. There came about a change in attitudes and youngsters found themselves throwing caution and parental warnings to the winds. 'Bold and brazen' was how the youth would best be described marking a heady change in dating behavior.
During the eighties and nineties, with the rise of the modern ideas of feminism, women staked claim of a fair share in the dating process. It was no longer the sole prerogative of the man to ask the woman out or foot the expenses of the meeting. The liberated woman did not sit pretty waiting for things to happen, she would rather make it happen.
Things naturally progressed in the twentieth century and youngsters of today are on a 'social high'. Teenagers are seen flocking eateries, theatres and public places to spend quality time with a date. Public Displays of Affection (PDA) have become the norm rather than the exception.
Click Dating - Blossom of Online Love
The weave of the World Wide Web has influenced dating in a big way. In the present times, dating can begin with a simple click. Not an exaggeration that, one out of 5 relationships in the present day is born of the internet.
So what's the trick behind the click? Pressures on time and huge career demands leave people with little time for special rendezvous. Further, work place romance is considered risky, with the looming threat of sexual harassment complaints. This means the numbers of single people is growing by the day, leaving a large pool of people wanting to date without hassles.
What does the World Wide Web offer to such singles seeking mates?
A world of wonderful prospects, to seek friendships in a comfort zone. With no mind boggling transaction costs, it is possible to mull over the choices and find the right one to pursue. Further, a physical meeting can be put off till people are sure of what they desire. In a nutshell, online dating offers boundless convenience, unimaginable cost effectiveness, privacy and protection to pursue true friendships. Importantly, it enables the making of informed decisions with data in command.
Undoubtedly, technology has revolutionized dating forever. As Norval Glenn, a sociology professor at the University of Texas puts it, "the traditional institutionalized means for getting people together are not working as well as they did previously. There is a need for something new and the Internet is filling that need."
This has led to the spawning of numerous online dating services which act as a channel for real world relationships. According to the statistics of an online dating magazine, more than 20 million people visit at least one online dating service in a single month. Bordering on fantasy, these virtual relationships could give way to lifetime bonds after clicking with the right person.
Online dating has graduated from being a frivolous pastime to building lifetime relationships. Online dating owes its success to the extensive reach of the internet, enviable repertoire of 'serious' singles and fewer opportunities for bad experiences.
According to the US Census, 40% of American adults patronize the services of online dating sites resulting in about 120,000 marriages annually. Nearly 48% of those dating online happen to be men.
In India, 51% of urban Indians patronize dating websites, while 48% use matrimonial sites to find their life partner.
In Canada, 1.1 to 1.2 million people patronize the services of online dating websites.
Nearly 38.2 million European internet users visit online personal sites in a month. 50% of Europeans date online and this may translate into an exponential growth for the European web dating market, slated to grow by 30% this year.
China too expects dating patrons to grow in huge numbers. With 64 million singles residing in the nation, the market is expected to double in the present year.
To find the perfect mate is a common dream. With the rise of online dating, there has also been a steady growth of dating websites. As millions log on to click with the right soul mate, the online dating portals offer a host of services to engage people. The dating portals are equipped with a 'double blind' protective mechanism to safeguard identity. It also offers a convenient, safe and stress free environment with ample time and space to understand the prospects.
Some of the well known dating websites are:
OkCupid is a fun and interactive site that boasts of a unique matching method. Singles seeking friendships will first need to answer incisive questions before getting to the next step.
Lava life can add the punch to dating enabling users to register under different personae. The paid subscribers have access to video chats enabling a better picture of the prospect.
Plenty of Fish with an enviable user base is known for its fantastic design and versatility of features right from forums, match making questionnaires and an easy way to connect with just about anybody in the world.
Match.com and Yahoo personals are also touted as 'must visit' dating sites which promise reliable ways to meet singles.
Dating Trends - Serial Dating, SMS Chat, Text Dating
For some, exclusivity is alien, preferring to go with 'the more the merrier'. Such personalities have trouble with commitments. Known as serial daters, they thrive on fleeting relationships. For such people, online dating is a comfortable haven. However, it would pay to exercise caution in weeding out such people, for whom the trip is just one among the many.
Mobile dating seems to be a handy way to find company, with mobiles being a compulsory accessory in the present day. Today buddies text each other, flirt and find ways to mobile chat and indulge in a heady exchange of love.
A healthy relationship is all about communication and sharing based on trust and honesty. In this respect, counselors warn against fantasy relationships, especially in the virtual world. They advise discretion while screening information about a prospective date. Clearly, one should avoid impulsive and hasty actions. One can suspect foul play if seekers are dodgy about their identity, do not wish to share photographs or register under dubious names in online portals. Further, those who seek online sex are not worth the time.
Dating will continue to be a part of our society, as every relationship, no matter how it turns out, almost always begins with a date. Dating is here to stay, perceived as a healthy and positive way to understand relationships and nurture the most fulfilling ones.