Here in the UK, we spend one in every twelve waking minutes online. It is not surprising that love and dating is now a big part of the digital landscape and never ceases to grow in that direction. One in five relationships in Britain begins online, so our efforts are well-placed – online dating is really working.
We live in a time of ever expanding dating opportunities by virtue of our interconnectivity. One particular benefit is the ability to choose from an exponentially larger network of singles always at your fingertips. Over nine million of us are now registered with a dating site, meaning that from the hottie next door to a jetsetter just in town for the weekend, you can find most anyone online. And the way we initiate contact has never been more dynamic. Phone, tablet and computer work in harmony to provide a method of getting in touch on every portal – instantly. (And just in case we get caught in brief moments of technological deprivation, we can say hi in person too.)
Another development in the dating scene is that every type of desire is now catered for, giving singles the chance to explore what they really want. This is evident in the rise of niche dating sites that often deal with less conventional types of relationships. A prominent example, Toyboy Warehouse, specialises in older woman younger man relationships and has seen an unprecedented rise in popularity in recent months. The site aims to improve the perception of niche dating and empower its members, in particular women, to explore their sexuality – a progressive and vital change.
Dating has been revolutionised too by the interplay between technology and real life. Apps like Tinder are particularly useful to streamline the dating experience. Matching singles based on their shared location at the time they log on means that every moment has the potential to develop into a date.
Technology is adapting and enhancing our experiences – but how are we changing our own habits as singles? It seems the answer is just as exciting. A recent study by the University of Michigan (http://tinyurl.com/kwx4fkh) concluded that while the amount of people we have access to for dates has greatly widened, so too have our ideas about who we can date. Observations of a major international dating site reveal that there is often a big difference between what someone is looking for when they sign up to a dating site and their actual dating behaviour.
What will the future of dating look like? It is clear that technology will continue to play a very important part. This Valentine’s Day will see the release of Her in UK cinemas, a film set in future-day Los Angeles, exploring the relationship that develops between a man and his operating system. Perhaps it is far from how our relationships will eventually look, but there are certain metaphorical similarities developing on the dating scene right now. As individuals we are exploring the exciting role technology plays in our personal lives. Our minds and our opportunities are widening constantly and, as a result, we have never been closer to finding exactly what we want.
James Preece – The Dating Guru
The UK’s leading Dating Coach