Since the 1990s, the social stigma attached to online dating has declined; indeed, in recent years, it has been turned altogether upside-down. It is now entirely common for a couple to have met online. Several experts predict that, within a few years, 50% of all relationships will have begun in this way.

The rise of dating apps, many of which are conducive to more casual, shorter-term relationships, has led to a decline in monogamy being the norm amongst young adults. It could be argued further that dating apps have warped people’s expectations of what romance even is – how it manifests, how it plays out in reality – leading to millennials in particular believing that monogamy is somewhat outside the norm.

Numerous relationship studies conducted since the advent of dating apps have shown time and again that, all variables being equal, single people who are not on dating apps have greater life satisfaction and wellbeing than do single people who are. Dating app users are exposed to what is known in philosophy as the tyranny of choice: too many potential partners can create an indefinite (and therefore harmful) expectation of each partner being ‘more perfect’ than the last.

What does this all mean for the future of online dating?

Portrait of young man in white shirt smiling, using phone

There is a danger that, when people actually do begin a relationship to which they wish to commit, the normalisation of short-term, emotionally-void relationships will lead to an inability – or even unwillingness – to patch things up when the situation goes awry. After all, in this age of quickfire happiness, why waste time flogging a dead horse when an even better (and, one might daresay, less needy) partner may be but a single swipe away? This state of affairs is not only conducive to a path away from a monogamous lifestyle, but perhaps even a path to thinking of monogamy as boring, fuddy-duddy, unmodern.

Seeing as dating apps will be around indefinitely, it leaves me as a matchmaker unsure of what the love lives of tomorrow will look like. That said, two things give me hope. One: there really is no substitute for the feeling of a genuine human connection. Two: the fact that you have found and read this article shows that there is hope still for long-term romance – you may just need to look a little beyond your phone screen. Some of that hope lies in matchmaking.

Matchmaking and online dating represent the bookends of the spectrum of outsourcing one’s romantic wellbeing to a third party. Where online dating can be impersonal and liable to inducing sore, swipe-happy thumbs, matchmaking offers a personable, human approach. For one, whilst there is no denying the importance of physical attraction, the matchmaker will consult their client first with the backstory of the potential match: what are their values, principles, beliefs, and how well do they complement those of the client? In doing so, a client will form a more realistic image in their head, and get to ‘know’ the person. Many studies have shown that people who moved online in the search for love became increasingly concerned with partner traits they had not previously held in such high regard, particularly regarding appearance, in comparison to those who did not use online platforms. What was proved to be much more important to the offline daters was what values were held by their matches.

One thing that both online and offline dating services have in common is the conundrum of being, in essence, a one-use service – at least, if users are seeking a long-term relationship. This means that both have to be manned by people who are not just natural matchmakers, but adept businesspeople, who understand market growth, advertising, recruitment of fresh clientele. As more and more entrepreneurs realise the potential monetisation of romance, the US Dating Services Industry expects revenue to slow down, reaching only moderate growth in the near future as the market becomes saturated. How does a matchmaking company combat this?

At Maclynn (formerly Vida), we remain distinguished within the industry of love by providing our clients with a unique approach, combining psychological principles and assessments with character-driven profiling and business expertise, creating a personable and warm framework in an increasingly cold, impersonal world. A matchmaker is a friend, a concierge, a therapist, a coach, a counsellor, a confidante, a person who can make your dreams come true, find you that special someone – and help heal that broken heart. Contact us today and see that, whilst futuristic technology is all very well, you cannot beat the human touch.