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I found that those who met their partners via online dating sites became romantically involved significantly sooner (an average of two-and-a-half months) than those who met in other ways (an average of one-and-a-half years). Typically, they post old photos from when they were 100 pounds lighter and 10 years younger, or they post photos that hide their body shape, which is not just a physical attribute, but a commentary on their lifestyle.
This suggests that online dating sites don’t facilitate slowly finding love the way that we often do offline. As mentioned earlier, those who are introverted or shy may find online dating more palatable than other ways of looking for love. I've had more than a few claim to love physical fitness and healthy eating, only to confess upon meeting, at which point it becomes obvious, that they actually do neither.
In addition, when we read vague information about someone, we mentally fill in the blanks with specific details that may be incorrect (Norton & Frost, 2007).
For example, when you read in a man’s profile that he’s a movie buff, you might think that's something you have in common, but when you get to talking about movies on your date you realize that you’re a foreign film aficionado, while he’s obsessed with horror flicks.
There's pressure for things to turn romantic quickly.
One benefit of online dating is that you know those on the site are single and looking, which reduces ambiguity.
Research suggests that those who are socially anxious (Green, 2001) or introverted (Amichai-Hamburger et al., 2002; Rice & Markey, 2009) feel more comfortable communicating online.
Making a quick decision based on an online photo doesn’t allow for this slower development of physical attraction and may cause us to dismiss potential mates to whom we could become attracted.It is well documented that physical attractiveness is a major factor in romantic attraction, especially initial attraction (Sprecher, 1989).