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Why Online Dating Doesn't Threaten Monogamy

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A response to Dan Slater's article "A Million First Dates."

An article in the Atlantic Monthly written by Dan Slater claims that monogamy is on the decline because online dating makes it so easy to dump your relationship and find a new one. Oh really, Dan? Seems like you haven't talked to any of my over-40 dating coaching clients. For them, finding a new relationship online isn't so simple.

Men and women in mid-life complain equally about how difficult it is to find decent partners online. My dating coaching clients struggle to connect with enough appealing prospects to find one for a relationship. Both sexes grumble about how the other gender hardly responds to emails when they try to start a conversation.

While Dan relies on "his friend Jacob's" Internet dating experience, that hardly seems like a large enough sample to draw any proper conclusions. I have found that singles tend to develop arbitrary criteria for comparison of potential partners, causing them to become pickier. This limits possibilities rather than increasing them. For example, for many women, good spelling is crucial. Meanwhile, I bet not one of my dating coaching clients has put "good spelling" on their list of qualities for an ideal mate. After all, being a good speller doesn't make you loyal, loving or even smart.

A little perspective on the issue reveals that online dating is merely a method to help people meet people; it is not to blame for lower levels of monogamy, if they even exist.

In a follow-up article about online dating, Harry Reis, a professor at the University of Rochester, refutes much of Dan's commentary. I loved his subhead, which promised that monogamy is safe even with the advent of new technology. Reis' piece says that no researchers have noted a change in the breakup or divorce rate since online dating came into being when Match.com launched in 1995. Turns out, marriage statistics have not changed much since that time, although people are waiting longer to marry. Keep reading ...

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