Researchers studied the impact of online dating on relationships. Here's what they found.

Millions are swiping left, but it won't ruin your chances for love.

Being single in our society can really suck.

Especially if you don't want to be. It feels like there's pressure from everywhere to settle down — and fast. People just expect that you'll end up one half of a couple (or else something's wrong with you). And the pitying stares from family members year after year during the holidays? Yeah, that doesn't help, either.

You know what sucks even more that being single? The endless string of articles declaring that dating is dead (and all single people are doomed).

OK, they don't say that exactly, but after reading the recent Vanity Fair story "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse'" by Nancy Jo Sales, it's hard not to come to that conclusion. Sales paints a bleak picture of young people using Tinder just to have sex while other users begrudgingly settle for it even if they want more. She concludes that dating is dead. Even though I know better, the panic was still starting to set in.


And live alone, too. GIF from "New Girl."

But wait! Before you throw in the towel and buy that sad story, hear this: The data says that Tinder has not actually killed dating.

No, really. Let's be honest. Dating has lasted all these years. Do we really think the smartphone will lead to the demise of humankind? If you're hoping to settle down, take comfort in knowing that dating isn't going anywhere.

Don't believe me?

Recent studies of technology's effects on dating and relationships reveal some promising things.

1. Relationships that start online do just as well — if not better — than ones that start "in real life."

One 2012 study from Stanford University found no difference in the strength or quality of relationships that began online. Why? Because online dating has replaced old-school ways of meeting a partner, like school or church. Why would a couple be less committed just because they first started talking behind a screen?

Another study found that meeting online was actually better. Researcher John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago found that married couples who met through online dating were happier and less likely to be divorced. There are a few theories about why that might be, one of which is that when people communicate online, they tend to self-disclose more, which can lead to a stronger bond more quickly.

2. Online dating sites can help your chances of finding "the one" because it widens the dating pool.

That same 2012 Stanford study also found that online dating can be a huge asset to people who have "thin dating markets," such as LGBTQ people. Overall, the Internet offers the opportunity to meet people you would otherwise never have had the chance to meet. And because you established what you were seeking online, you already know they're looking for the same thing.

Researchers from Northwestern University seem to agree: Having more people to choose from really is a huge benefit of online dating, not a disadvantage.

What if I told you that all of these dates are happening ... because of the Internet? Photo by Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

3. The Internet is not killing marriage.

I know marriage is not the goal of every person looking for a date. But marriage rates can give us insight into whether having an exponentially bigger dating pool makes people more reluctant to settle down.

And guess what? Andriana Bellou of the University of Montreal found that as more people used the Internet, marriage rates actually increased. That doesn't mean that more online dating caused the higher rates of marriage. But it's probably safe to say that the Internets are not killing monogamy as we know it.

4. "Hookup culture" is not a new thing created by online dating.

The same people who proclaim the "death of dating" often blame the advent of no-strings-attached sexual activity. Errrr, I hate to make folks clutch their pearls, but casual sex has been around long before the first computer was invented. Also: A 2013 University Portland study found that today's college students actually have less sex and fewer sex partners than those who dated before the age of OKCupid.

Fellow singles looking for a partner: Join me in a collective sigh of relief.

And the next time someone sends you a trend piece telling you that dating is dead, think about what Samhita Mukhopadhyay, author of "Outdated: Why Dating Is Ruining Your Love Life," said on Al-Jazeera America in response to the Vanity Fair article:

"Tools such as Tinder (or Grindr, Bumble, Hinge, etc.) have opened up space for people that traditionally didn't have the greatest access to sex or relationships. ... These tools have had a powerful effect on our ability to be choosy. You no longer have to marry the guy next door. These are benefits for all daters, not just entitled, sexist stockbrokers."

Turns out we're not all doomed. Phew. So if you live in the Philly or New York City area, hit me up for a drink — since maybe there's hope for us after all.

Just pretend it's me doing this seductive wink. GIF from "All in With Chris Hayes."

Heroes
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Netflix

How much of what we do is influenced by what we see on TV? When it comes to risky behavior, Netflix isn't taking any chances.

After receiving a lot of heat, the streaming platform is finally removing a controversial scenedepicting teen suicide in season one of "13 Reasons Why. The decision comes two years after the show's release after statistics reveal an uptick in teen suicide.

"As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we've been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we've decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one," Netflix said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At Trump's 'Social Media Summit' on Thursday, he bizarrely claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had 'died' and he had witnessed said death. Wait, what?!


He didn't mean it literally - thank God. You can't be too sure! After all, he seemed to think that Frederick Douglass was still alive in February. More recently, he described a world in which the 1770s included airports. His laissez-faire approach to chronology is confusing, to say the least.

Keep Reading Show less
Democracy

Words matter. And they especially matter when we are talking about the safety and well-being of children.

While the #MeToo movement has shed light on sexual assault allegations that have long been swept under the rug, it has also brought to the forefront the language we use when discussing such cases. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of using varied wording, but it's vital we try to remain as accurate as possible in how we describe things.

There can be gray area in some topics, but some phrases being published by the media regarding sexual predation are not gray and need to be nixed completely—not only because they dilute the severity of the crime, but because they are simply inaccurate by definition.

One such phrase is "non-consensual sex with a minor." First of all, non-consensual sex is "rape" no matter who is involved. Second of all, most minors legally cannot consent to sex (the age of consent in the U.S. ranges by state from 16 to 18), so sex with a minor is almost always non-consensual by definition. Call it what it is—child rape or statutory rape, depending on circumstances—not "non-consensual sex."

Keep Reading Show less
Culture