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The topic of conversation on my favorite radio show this morning was the new-age approach to meeting and mingling with others: online dating. But they weren’t talking about any average guy or gal signing up for Match.com or swiping left and right on Tinder—they were talking about married guys and gals looking for potential mates. I thought to myself, “there’s no way!” But it’s true–everyone’s curious to see what online dating is all about. However, that’s not to say that the old-fashioned approach (or no approach at all) isn’t valuable. Fortunately, Media Personality JoJo Pastors is here to delve into and clear up these many facets of dating:

The New Normal

“With all the dating apps available today, it’s not uncommon for singles to be sorting through endless profiles of potential mates on several dating apps,” Murphy explains. “These apps make ‘traditional’ dating sites such as E-Harmony or Match look somewhat ‘old school’ and ‘so’ 1990s. After all, it’s no wonder so many people are giving online dating a try—it’s cheap if not free! But be wary fellow online daters, research by Michigan State shows that online relationships are not as likely to work out, and a large swapping majority of daters admit to lying on their profiles. Some are even married pretending to be single!

E-Harmony states that 40% of Americans are trying to meet someone online. Pew Research notes that about 60% of people think online dating is a good way to meet someone. Not to be left out, Match’s latest survey shows that 57% of millennials feel lonely and many daters feel “addicted” to finding their next date and the thrill of the chase itself. That’s right, people have become addicted to dating! While it may be hard to believe, married people even have their own dating websites, including Ashley Madison. And for those seeking a ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship there are sites such as Sugar Daddy and Seeking Arrangement.”

Out with the Old?

Not so fast! Just because there’s a new wave of digital dating doesn’t mean there’s no value in good old-fashioned dating: the kind that involves stumbling into your future partner at the coffee shop or asking an old friend to dinner. This is still an effective approach, not to mention a safer one! “There are surely scammers and con artists out there who prey on loneliness, and will ultimately ask their ‘target’ for money, a new bicycle, gift card, and even a new phone! So it’s wise to be skeptical of the ‘person’ on the other end, and their motives,” Murphy says of online dating. “Some may not even be in the United States or may be using fake profile pictures!”

She goes on to explain why we should keep our faith in cupid—the one with the bow and arrow, not the one you access using a mouse and keyboard: “Regardless of all this online dating, the far majority of relationships—about 80% of all relationships—still begin offline,” she explains. “Yes, it’s true. The far majority of relationships still begin in more traditional ways, with Cupid working his magic with an old fashioned ‘bow and arrow!’ So, it might be wise to get out there in person.” Here are a few possibilities:

  • Ask your friends if they know anyone you’d be a good fit for
  • Make connections through family or family friends
  • Go to a seminar of interest
  • Join a club (political, hiking, ski, etc.)
  • Mingle during a night out with friends

Or you might even try your luck at “crashing” your grocery cart into another! Murphy recommends staying open to the silly possibility. “It’s uplifting to see that last one still hasn’t lost its “Old World” charm!” she says. “And who knows, it might be fun to add a dating site or two to your dating “quiver” in case Cupid has gone digital too, and decides to make an electronic love connection. Cupid and love-goddess Venus usually work their best magic when we least expect it!” She adds.

Sitting the Bench

There aren’t merely two options: digital or nondigital dating. You can opt out of the dating world altogether—even if just for a little while—if you so desire! In fact, this is the popular choice, as explained by Murphy: “While many of us are searching for their ‘perfect’ partner and desire the feeling of contentment and security that comes with being in a good relationship, quite a few people today are opting to be single. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (and we know they really know their statistics), for the first time ever, more than half of U.S. adults are single—50.2%. That’s right, more than half of U.S. adults are single. Contrast this to the 1950s, when only 22% of U.S. adults were single. How things have changed! There is certainly less social stigma with being single today. Indeed, half of first marriages end in divorce. Not to be outdone, two-thirds of second marriages and 74% of third-time marriages end in divorce. Third time’s a real ‘tricky charm!’

While some studies say that married people live longer, other studies suggest that singles tend to be happier, drink less, and don’t tend to put on as much weight as marrieds. So, whatever you decide to do, either marry or remain single, above all things, be careful daters,” Murphy advises. “And take your time. It’s a jungle out there and be sure to “Exit Stage Left” if something or someone simply gives you a bad feeling.”

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