Is Online Dating Overhyped? One Third Of Online Daters Have Never Met Up In Person

BEIJING - FEBRUARY 14: Chinese young lovers take a stroll on Valentine's Day February 14, 2008 in Beijing, China. Valentine's Day has become one of the most popular Western festivals celebrated in China. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)
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Online dating is getting more and more common, especially with the rise of apps like Tinder that take a loose approach to the definition of "dating," but the romance revolution might not be as sweeping as you think. In fact, among people who using dating sites and apps, one third have never gone on a date with someone they met online. And that isn't the only reason to think online dating might be a bit overhyped. 

According to the Pew Research Center, online dating isn't as popular as you'd expect. It is most popular among people 25–34, but even in this age group, only 22 percent of people say they have used dating sites or apps. (Though fascinatingly, free percent of people 65 and over say they have — who are these OKCupid-ing grandmothers?) And despite all those eHarmony and Match.com ads about people meeting the love of their life online, only five percent of people in a committed relationship or marriage say that they met their partner online. 

Interestingly, this information comes at a time when online dating is more highly regarded than ever. Currently, 59 percent of Americans think online dating is a good way to meet people, compared to only 42 percent in 2005, and only 21 percent think people using online dating are desperate, down from 29 percent in 2005.

So what gives? Well, it might all come back to the previously mentioned fact that one third of online daters never take a relationship offline. Whether you're looking for a soul mate, a one night stand, or anything in between, online dating sites and apps are great at providing you with potential partners and giving you the opportunity to connect with lots of different people. So, by the numbers, you'd expect them to pay off big and be suitably popular. But in between the matching up stage and the actually getting together stage, something seems to be getting off track. 

So why don't people meet up with the people they meet online? Here are a few possibilities (although of course bear in mind that #NotAllOnlineDaters fit these molds).

1. They Might Be An Ax Murderer

The first thing any woman is going to think of when she contemplates meeting someone is if this is going to be safe. I am told men do not think this way, which frankly seems foolish. You think an ax murderer can't pose as someone else online to lure victims?

2. Scheduling Is Hard


Sometimes the reason you never meet someone is a lot more mundane and frustrating, namely the fact that you are both busy, busy people. It's one thing to message someone throughout the day while doing other things, but finding a chunk of time when you are both free to meet up can be challenging. 

3. The Dropped Text

You know that thing when you mean to message someone back and then forget for a few days? Yeah, when you don't actually know the person, this creates a horribly awkward situation where you don't think you can text them because it seems weird to start messaging them out of the blue again. Meanwhile they don't know if they should text you because maybe you just moved on and don't want to keep chatting. The two of you will never speak again. Hopefully you weren't soul mates. 

4. Actually... We Live Way Too Far Apart

Yeah, on second thought, now that I actually know where you live, there is no way I will be able to meet you anywhere close. Fighting your way through magic curses and/or rush hour traffic is for princes in fairy tales.

5. Is It Worth It?

And here in lies the real obstacle to online dating's ultimate success: Often times, it just doesn't seem like any of these people are worth it. Whether you're being mobbed by shallow people with minimal social skills or you're just not finding someone who seems all that interesting, sometimes it seems like too big a hassle to actually go through the process of meeting up with someone. Especially when you could instead just curl up with Netflix and pizza. After all, what are the odds that this person will be more fun than Netflix and pizza? Sadly, they are slim.

Or maybe that's just me. 

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