Fashion

I nearly missed out on the love of my life because I was fixated on the idea of meeting IRL, rather than on an app

On top of this, the same study referenced that marriage breakups were reported in about 6% of the people who met online, compared with 7.6% of the people who met offline, and those who met online were more likely to experience higher relationship satisfaction. 

So why, with all this positive data, and many of us knowing people with glowing dating app reviews, is there still a stigma around meeting online? Why did I, like many others still do, see it as a ‘lesser’ form of dating? In fact, so prevalent is this stigma that many daters lie to family members (or avoid telling the full truth) about how they met their significant other if they matched online. 

The question is though, why?

“Despite the most recent stats which suggest that 70% of couples now meet on a dating app, many people are loathe to admit this to friends and family,” dating coach Kate Mansfield tells GLAMOUR. “Why the stigma? For many, dating apps still evoke the idea of hook ups, affairs and only for the desperate and lonely.”

In fact, there are hundreds of threads of forums like Quora that show members’ asking, ‘is using a dating app desperate?’. It seems that we are a society so concerned about how things look to the outside world that we are willing to forgo true love in order to maintain a perceived perfection. 

“I have had many clients in the past who are worried about telling their friends – and particularly older family members who might not understand modern dating – that they met their partner online,” founder of TS Therapy, Tami Sobell explains. “And several who refuse to touch dating apps at all due to their own stigma around them, even if they are struggling to meet someone they connect with in their day-to-day lives.”

“We seem to live in a world that feels that it isn’t ‘cool’ to be looking for love, that it should just find you, and if you are in search of it, you are somehow desperate or not ‘attractive enough’ to be ‘wanted’ in your offline life,” she adds. “We need to reframe the idea that meeting online is a confession that you can’t find anyone offline. 

“There are myriad factors that stop us from meeting people out and about: perhaps we’re really busy or feel uncomfortable when we are approached in bars or restaurants and so shut the conversation down. Maybe all our friends are in relationships themselves and so we have less opportunity to meet new people as our social circle ceases to expand and fluctuate in the same way it did at school or university.”

And the thing is though, beyond this stigma and perceived judgement, the love of your life might be waiting to take you for beers on Primrose Hill (or the equivalent wherever you live). “If you can put aside these outdated judgments, online apps are quite simply the most effective way to find and keep a suitable partner,” Kate says. “90% of my clients meet a partner online, once they find a strategy that works. Dating apps nowadays cater to many niches, interest groups and bypass the terribly embarrassing faux pas of approaching someone in a bar, only to find out that they are already married.”

“My advice is this,” she concludes. “Before you embark on looking for a partner, either online or off, make sure that you are clear what you’re looking for. Do some work on yourself if needed, have good boundaries and learn to communicate clearly and honestly. Dating apps provide an endless pool of all kinds of people – the good, the bad and the crazy ! But if you keep going you’ll eventually find ‘the one’ for you.”

So, I wish you love at first swipe, or love at first sight, whichever is going to leave you happiest, most-fulfilled and loved-up.