You’ve probably given online dating a go at least once (read this true account on online dating). Even if you haven’t, you must know people who have. In this day and age where we can shop for groceries without leaving the house, it’s hardly strange we can also look for love without having to put on pants.
Not that it’s always been so easy – online dating (oh and, please don't fall for these four online dating scams) has come a long way since the first Internet dating service (match.com) was created in 1995. There was a stigma attached to it for many years, but as our dating patterns have evolved, it’s become a norm. So what has changed, and what sort of power has online dating given us?
The results are optimistic
So how successful is online dating here (unless you're guilty of all these annoying traits)? According to CMB, pretty good. This dating service alone has made 28 million introductions among Singaporeans and enabled more than 13 million chats. And while we may still be more conservative than our American counterparts (Singaporeans are generally said to be lousy flirts) when it comes online dating, there really isn’t any significant difference in our preferences. “I see more similarities than differences,” says Dawoon Kang, Co-Founder and COO of CMB. “The Singaporean community is a [cultural] melting pot, and certain segments of users are looking for a particular ethnicity or religion, which is something we also see in the US.
Happily ever after is possible
If you feel that online dating only sets up relationships that are doomed to fail (maybe you're more suited for an offline get-together), know this: a study by Harvard University and the University of Chicago found that marriages of couples that met online were “slightly less likely to result in a marital break-up and were associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction”. It’s entirely possible for long-term unions that started off as Tinder hook ups to be happier than that of a university romance. At the end of the day, the fact remains: it’s not how we meet him that matters, it’s how we take it from there that does.
It's easier to meet our requirements
Online dating platforms are now able to accommodate all sorts of specific requirements, so that even the fussiest singles have a shot at love. In Singapore, Muslim singles can connect with one another on platforms such as LoveHabibi, Muzmatch, and Mat & Minah, and Christian singles can use Christian Connection and Christian Café. If it’s salary and ambition you care about, which, let’s admit, is pretty reasonable, there are platforms like Ivory, a “members-only dating app for ambitious, outstanding singles”.
The stigma is diminishing
“There’s still some stigma involving online dating in Singapore. However, this stigma is slowly [subsiding] with more coverage of online dating,” says Darryl Liew, Regional Brand Marketing Vice President of dating app Paktor. For a long time, the belief was that online dating is only for people who can’t get a date in real life. But as frenzied millennials with so much on our plate, we have come to understand that turning to the web for romance says nothing about our eligibility (unless he's a total douche). “With the emergence of many new apps on the market, [Singaporeans are] starting to realise they’re spoilt for choice,” says Darryl.
There are lots of options available
Besides Paktor, we also have Tinder, Badoo, OKCupid, Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB), and a whole host of others (but make sure he is not just a Whatsapp boyfriend). Most are free to use, which is naturally a huge draw. While the type of people they each attract varies to a certain degree, singles can usually be found on more than one platform. It’s not uncommon to connect with someone on Tinder, only to also see him on CMB, which prides itself on being a “highly curated dating service”. You might even meet him again on LunchClick, which doesn’t allow users to chat and instead sets them up on a date. People are big on increasing their odds.
This story first appeared on CLEO, 23rd June 2017.