According to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, online dating services reached 366.6 million active users worldwide in 2022. And $2.86 billion in revenue was be generated globally through internet dating services in 2022.
Today, top online dating sites and matchmaking services use complex algorithms to match millions of users together from a sea of prospective candidates.
However, only a small percentage of dating sites and app users find true relationship success. Only 39% of users have gotten into a serious relationship or married from meeting someone online, meaning that most people who use these platforms do not end up finding love.
There are around 1,500 online dating sites and applications worldwide. Many of them are highly specialized. While some focus on interracial dating, others serve niches like highly-religious, nonbinary, hook-ups, serious relationships, etc.
When asked whether online dating platforms made them feel frustrated or hopeful, 45% reported that it made them feel frustrated, 28% answered that it made them feel hopeful, and 27% said that it made them feel neither hopeful nor frustrated.
HOW SAFE IS ONLINE DATING?
Although more and more people are turning to online dating to find love, the risk to one’s safety can be quite high, especially when meeting up alone with total strangers. There are inherent dangers when meeting someone who you don’t know or have very little knowledge about, since it is easy for someone to set up totally fake or misleading accounts. Therefore, when meeting someone for the first time, make sure that you meet during the day in a public space, where you can easily get away if necessary.
I’ve always believed that whether you meet someone online, in a church, synagogue, mosque or health club, you still need to go through an in-depth assessment process, using my “Never Make a Mistake in Love Again” 10-step formula, based on my research and book, For Better for Worse Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, in order to find out who someone is and is not.
My research found that this assessment process takes approximately one year to complete. However, if you find that the minuses outweigh the pluses, don’t ignore the red flags. Give yourself permission to exit your relationship ASAP.
WHO ARE THE ONLINE DATING USERS?
According to the Pew Research Center, while usage of online dating sites is generally the same for different races and genders, the LGBT community has far more users than any section of the population. And interestingly, it is this section of the population that has the greatest number of successful relationships.
Nearly a quarter, 24%, of partnered LGB adults under 30 say their relationships began online and went on to marriage or at least become a committed long-term relationship. The biggest users when it comes to age range are those in their 20s.
Almost 40% of all men have used online dating as a way to find a partner, as compared to 27% of women. Even if the idea of sitting at your computer or on your phone and swiping right or left has never been your cup of tea, are you willing to be open to exploring the possibility of finding love online?
WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL MATCHMAKING SERVICES?
ConsumerAffairs says that matchmaking services can cost between $5,000 and $50,000 per year. In New York City, there are a number of upscale matchmakers. If you are considering a matchmaker, make sure that you do your homework and come prepared with lots of questions before signing a contract. Ideally, it would be great if you could speak with a couple of people who have already worked with your prospective matchmaker.
SUSAN AND JASON
Susan is a 52-year-old divorced, single parent. Several months ago, she arrived at one of our sessions and told me that she was ready to begin to date and made the decision to join a couple of online dating sites. She spent several hours every day looking for her online love and recently told me that she thinks that she may have found her perfect match.
Susan and Jason had been Zooming, texting and sexting for almost six months, but had yet to meet. Since they both live in East Hampton, I was surprised that they hadn’t made a date to meet in person and encouraged Susan to do so as soon as possible.
The big day finally arrived. They decided to meet at Nick and Toni’s — a fashionable local restaurant for dinner. The next day I received a phone call from Susan who told me that the date was a disaster. She was devastated. They had little to talk about and after just an hour their fantasy date came to an end.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Since the majority of my single patients are looking for love online, I encourage people to meet in person after a few conversations, if they feel that there may be a real life connection. It’s better to know sooner whether there is a possibility for a relationship or not, rather than spend weeks or months living in a fantasy world.
HOW MUCH TIME ARE PEOPLE SPENDING ON THEIR DEVICES?
The average American spends seven to 10 hours looking at a screen each day. Most people check their phones 58 times a day — 30 of those times are during work hours. Teens spend up to nine hours every day on their phones or devices.
There are obvious advantages of staying connected — but our devices can also be communicating a strong “stay away from me” message, especially when you’re out in public. Think of how many missed opportunities you may have had to meet someone because your head was buried in your phone! Be open to meeting people in a variety of venues!
Beatty Cohan, MSW, LCSW, AASECT is a nationally recognized psychotherapist, sex therapist, author of For Better for Worse Forever: Discover the Path to Lasting Love, national speaker, national radio and television expert guest and host of the weekly “Ask Beatty Show” on the Progressive Radio Network. She has a private practice in NYC and East Hampton.