Due to the 2020-onwards event that you may be trying to forget, the world had to move everything to digital platforms, allowing (or, if you prefer, forcing) many people to become technology-savvier. For example, many Canadians started participating in internet culture more than they ever did, like playing video games during lockdown to pass the time.
There have been many more chances to socialize this way, whether giving callouts in a first-person shooter or selling your Animal Crossing villagers on the black market to other players (which I may or may not have done a couple of times). With this trend, being online now means you are bound to meet someone you get along with and form a quick and deep connection with them. (I met my closest friends while streaming myself playing Minecraft, with even some situationships coming and going over the last few years.)
But can you find love in the worldwide web—or is the web too easy to get tangled up in?
Intro to the convenient yet complex world of online dating
Dating is a difficult jungle to navigate: Every path is valid and none are the same. Online dating is just a new version of the same old struggle you can find in Jane Austen’s books—the human experience of finding love is universal.
You could argue that dating online shouldn’t differ too much from dating traditionally. But think about it: Isn’t it more difficult to strike up a conversation in person than to just swipe right? For many people, it sure is. According to ReportLinker, dating apps are huge contributors to the dating market. This suggests that they are replacing the need for a “middleman” to meet someone—over are the days of trying to small-talk a friend’s friend.
Unfortunately, since online dating doesn’t feel as nearly “real” as meeting someone in person, people who gravitate toward online dating may have avoidant or anxious attachment styles.
Having an avoidant attachment style means you tend to easily block people on dating apps and move on with your life (without ever meeting them in person), as if you never knew they existed in the first place. Personally, I really struggle with this—to protect my inner sense of self, I tend to be overly cautious with the people I let into my life. To avoid going on a personal tangent, all I will say is that I am glad that the BCIT Student Association provides free counseling ;).
On the other side of the coin, it may also be more acceptable to be clingy and “head-on” with your intentions on dating apps—actions that align with the anxious attachment style. This is where you obsess over your Tinder match, message them 24/7, and even trauma-dump onto them, not fully grasping that they are in fact a real person. Even if you did see a picture of them holding a fish. Yes, whether or not it’s a catfish (ba dum tss), there is always someone on the other side of the screen, with their own boundaries and needs for space.
Now that you know what these styles are, make sure to screen your matches for signs of those if you’re looking for love on a dating app. While it may not be a total dealbreaker if they show these signs, there may later arise difficult communication and imbalances in the relationship.
And while you’re here, check out these bonus reminders:
- Know what you are comfortable with and works for you in a relationship
- Connect with the other person as you would with a friend if you’re looking for a long-term relationship rather than a fling—bad pickup lines only go so far (and plus, love is basically friendship, just “set on fire” in the words of 17th-century author Jeremy Taylor)
- Communicate your feelings clearly with the people you are seeing as it would be cruel to lead them on and waste their time in the process
- Don’t stop searching—others are looking for love as much as you are and the romantic scavenger hunt will pay off eventually (or so I heard)
But maybe you already found your sweetheart over a dating app: a mysterious, broody European (still in Europe) who’s neither avoidant nor anxious. Good for you! Now let’s talk about how you can keep the flame alive while being apart.
Advice for dating over distance
Long-distance dating is more convenient than ever before. You no longer need to spend the money on transportation or the time to dress your best to go on a date—you can text your digital sweetheart while you commute on the bus or sit at home in your pyjamas. You don’t even need flowers when you can just send a GIF! You might also choose to fall asleep with each other on a video call, although I wouldn’t recommend it if you want your phone battery to last. But anything for love, right?
Plenty of long-distance couples do not form by choice, though. It’s rather due to the circumstances they are in, which can vary from work-related changes to something resembling a plot event from TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé. While it certainly can be a solution, diligence and effort are required to make living apart work, especially if you are in different time zones. Sure, it’s cute if they stay up watching Disney’s Ratatouille with you until 5 am, but it’s not sustainable (I know from personal experience).
So, if you are in this position, make a schedule that both of you or more of you—I don’t judge—can commit to. It can be something small, like talking on the phone while you get ready for school or work. For perspective, people in long-distance relationships typically call at least two times a week, with many mailing letters and gifts. It’s important to note that every set of lovebirds is different; these are just a few examples that work for some folks.
Whether you are dating virtually/in person or just focusing on yourself this year, I hope that all the advice I shared will help you in your love journey. If it does, can you put in a good word for me with Cupid and Aphrodite? A girl could use some love luck on her side as well.
Alvarez, Melissa. “Dating App Users Are Avoidant and Anxiously Attached.” Medium. Here’s The Thing, August 10, 2022. https://medium.com/heres-the-thing/dating-app-users-are-avoidant-and-anxiously-attached-e6c20bf4c8fd.
Guldner. Long Distance Relationship Statistics, 2023. https://www.longdistancerelationshipstatistics.com/.
ReportLinker. “Global Online Dating Market: Analysis by Platform, by Services, by Users, by Region, Size and Trends with Impact of Covid-19 and Forecast up to 2027.” Yahoo! Sports. GlobeNewswire, August 10, 2022. https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/global-online-dating-market-analysis-123100933.html.
Rosenfeld, Michael, Reuben J. Thomas, and Sonia Hausen. “Disintermediating Your Friends: How Online Dating in the United States Displaces Other Ways of Meeting .” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116, no. 36 (August 20, 2019): 17753–58. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1908630116.
Shashkevich, Alex. “Online Dating Is the Most Popular Way Couples Meet.” Stanford News, August 21, 2019. https://news.stanford.edu/2019/08/21/online-dating-popular-way-u-s-couples-meet/.
The Canadian Press. “By the Numbers: The Rise of Canada’s Online Dating Scene.” Global News. Global News, July 15, 2015. https://globalnews.ca/news/2111560/by-the-numbers-the-rise-of-canadas-online-dating-scene/.
“Two-Thirds of Canadians Have Taken up a New Hobby since the Pandemic Began, with Playing Games, Cooking and Baking Being the Most Common.” Narrative Research. The Logit Group, February 12, 2021. https://narrativeresearch.ca/two-thirds-of-canadians-have-taken-up-a-new-hobby-since-the-pandemic-began-with-playing-games-cooking-and-baking-being-the-most-common/.