Are committed relationships going extinct? For those of you who have read Dan Slater's article in The Atlantic, "A Million First Dates," you might think so. He makes the case against online dating, claiming that the sheer availability and access to singles make it that much easier to leave someone if a relationship isn't working out.
Another way of saying this: you can easily meet someone hotter than the person you're with right now, so why bother making a commitment to anyone? The rise of popularity of online dating means an overall decrease in commitment.
Slater interviewed many experts and online dating CEOs, and featured one young single man named Jacob in his own pursuit of love. According to Slater, they all agreed to some extent that online dating "has made people more disposable." Jacob admitted he probably would already be married to a past girlfriend if online dating didn't exist.
While Slater backs up his claim with some research, I think it's a pretty superficial look at the motivation behind dating in general. There are many people (men and women) looking for a serious relationship who join online dating sites. And for someone who's focused on commitment, the idea of going back to online dating over and over again because maybe there's someone who's even better than the awesome person you met, just doesn't ring true.
It makes me wonder if Slater has spent any significant time online dating. After all, if he had, he would know that it can be a very frustrating and time-consuming process as well - with all different personalities and physical types to sort through - not just a supermarket of hot men and women waiting to be asked out.
Behavior is driven by a person's motivations, not by his access to dates. If you tend to be a player in real life, you will also be online. The same way men have gathered at bars over the decades to hit on women, now they are also congregating online. But players aren't the only ones dating.
As Alex Mehr the co-founder of Zoosk told Slater, “Online dating does nothing more than remove a barrier to meeting. Online dating doesn’t change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or whether I’m going to be a good partner. It only changes the process of discovery. As for whether you’re the type of person who wants to commit to a long-term monogamous relationship or the type of person who wants to play the field, online dating has nothing to do with that. That’s a personality thing.”
I think Mehr summed it up quite nicely. If you're looking to commit, then you will. If you're not, then you won't. Online dating can't change people. But it makes for a good excuse.