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“We will reach a point when people don’t distinguish between meeting online and off-line,” he says.
“We won’t refer to online dating; it will just be dating.” And we aren’t far away.
Today, online dating sites peddle a radical vision: a new future for love as we know it; a more efficient, more targeted way to meet a compatible mate. Forget about hanging out in bars, or volunteering at community functions, or awkwardly asking friends if their friends are single.
Many of the biggest online sites are marketing themselves not just as places to get a date, but as a place to find a lifelong mate.
“The other side is there will be more breakups, because people won’t feel imprisoned in relationships that aren’t right.” And that, Slater and others predict, could erode the values of commitment.
As the story goes, the first-ever matchmaker made his first match in the city of Haran, in what is now Turkey.
Why settle down when a better match is just a click away?
And where is the incentive to work through relationship difficulty when it’s so easy to access alternatives?
A quarter of all Canadians have tried Internet dating, and 16 per cent have had sex with someone they met online.
Slater doesn’t think that online dating will necessarily destroy monogamy, but he does think that monogamy will change and become more transient.
“The bar for what people consider to be a good relationship will go up,” he predicts.
By 2009, that number had grown to around 20 per cent for heterosexual couples, and 60 per cent for same-sex matches.
An estimated 30 to 40 million North Americans now use online dating sites.