02/11/16

Why it doesn’t (really) matter how you met your partner

Why it doesn’t (really) matter how you met your partner

When new couples mention that they met online or via an app, most people tend to think that this type of dating is of a lower quality in comparison to the ‘we met in the park’ version. Why is that?

Consider chatting with this smitten couple.

After the necessary small-talk you spontaneously ask them the question usually single people ask “So... how did you guys meet?” Suddenly, the two love-birds seem more like rabbits caught on headlights. They smile but you can tell they are feeling startled about revealing this ‘classified’ information, however, they reluctantly reply: “Tinder!”.

 It is a fact universally known that when things appear staged, they feel a little unnatural. We tend to dismiss them as not the real thing. And yes, the majority of people tend to be rather skeptical towards arranged and orchestrated situations. Society, the cinema, art and literature seem to agree. We all know numerous songs and movies that placing higher value on serendipity. The contingency of love is the ingredient that we all, regardless age, gender or sexual preferences are getting hooked on and enables us to make an effort pursue a new lover. When we are meeting people randomly on the street, the subway, the bus, the train, the local groceries it feels less orchestrated, therefore we tend to be more spontaneous and we repeat this thought: “Perhaps it was meant to be!?”

Meeting a new potentially interesting significant other via an app is exactly as random and (can be) also magical as meeting them on the street.


But, why is it that we keep on looking down on couples that have met via an app or online?

Why are we skeptical still towards this kind of romance? Is it because we think it is not validated by luck? Shouldn’t we be more open to it as after all, most of our daily activities are done via digital media and social apps these days!? What’s wrong with choosing for the right partner via a digital pool?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing is wrong. It simply depends on your generation and your technological literacy. Think about it. Meeting a new potentially interesting significant other via an app is exactly as random and (can be) also magical as meeting them on the street.

The difference is the medium. It is done via a small device but that is only half the job. Choosing, chatting up and whether or not physically meeting the person is a result of a series of decisions one has to make, by himself. Depending on the dating experience once has in combination with social skills and digital know-how one can be more -or less- welcome towards the idea of meeting someone via the assistance of a digital application. The decision though happens based on human logic, a taste or preference. The algorithms behind the mechanisms of the dating apps are merely there to generate possibilities. We are the final decision makers. We get to give it a shot or call it a day. So, even in principle, the mathematical possibility of meeting a super amazing match is as equal. Chances are if you were to talk to every single man on a cafe or bus ride, and ended up dating them all (consider this as a social experiment) most of them would end up being rather boring for you, some totally crazy incompatible and only a handful might drive you crazy. We are talking ‘good crazy’, madly happy or in love. The point in dating life and finding happiness is to keep moving forward. Don’t stay still and waste your mental energy on pointless dead-end situations. Allowing yourself to open up to meeting new people is more likely to prove useful in the end. Dating apps offer this exactly comfort, of the possibility pool. Yet, you get decide who is in and who is worth your time.

Why do we tend to prefer corny narrations about how we met our lover, when it doesn't really say much about your level of happiness after all!?


Back to our dinner party and the lovely couple. I find it very brave when people tell the truth about the way they met. To be fair, they could have said that they have met via a common friend, usually a synonym for “we met online and we would rather not scream too much about it out of fear of coming across desperate”. 

Consequently, depending on our personal and social openness we might throw a cheeky smile and say ‘cool!’ and might actually be genuine. Besides, people with specific taste in music, gaming aficionados and niche film buffs, have been for decades now communicating and making new friends online. This is not something new. Decades back, the same happened yet via another medium, the print media, newspapers and magazines, etc. Most homosexual people and the youngest among the adult crowd of our times, the millennials, think that and is perfectly acceptable. Let us not forget or neglect the shyer individuals among us who are actually being hugely encouraged to get out there and meet someone new, even if it is via the cyber world or a digital app.

However, it is more likely that deep inside you, you smirked and thought “Oh I see!”, as if suddenly the Tinder-couple’s loving portrait got pixelated. Why do we tend to prefer corny narrations about how we met our lover, when it doesn't really say much about your level of happiness after all!?

Isn’t it unfair to value the quality of relationships based on whether they started online or offline? Their duration and eventual success is more connected to us, and only us, rather than the way it started. Some people consider dating apps as more dangerous or prone to failure based on the very fact that they connect us with strangers. Again, a rather debatable element as it is very unlikely not to have at least one common friend or acquaintance. This is particular true to small, busy cities, college campuses and areas where people with common interests are gathering. So, the idea of stranger-danger is a little outdated nowadays or let’s agree that it is easier to leave a pretty good impression of your identity via your digital footprint.

Synthetic happiness is when we make the best of what we have, or can have, when things do not come our way, when we have to compromise with the reality of things.


There can be many examples but the principle remains the same. We assume that when we compromise or accept a loss or a failure, we are cannot be “as” happy. We assume it is not the ‘real thing’ when someone settles for the second best option, for example, because he decided to choose happiness instead of crying over a broken dream or a rejection. Just because one did not get what he wanted originally but proceeded with something else, a second option, their happiness is somewhat phony, untrue, delusional or just of a lower quality.

One may argue with the above but the ability to accept or deal with an unexpected circumstance or a series of unpredictable variables is one of the most amazing capacity of the human brain and it has inarguably an evolutionary value as well. Synthetic happiness is when we make the best of what we have, or can have, when things do not come our way, when we have to compromise with the reality of things. It is expected to value hard work as it is assumed that we have tried hard for something and we cannot settle for less. But shouldn’t be equally amazing the ability to make something out of a less preferable situation when things don’t come our way, not the way we planned it ?! if you choose to pick from a specific pool, it is still a matter of luck where you are going to end up. Nothing is set on stone. You still have to make your effort and show your best self. All it takes is the right attitude and mindset to want to try.

It is not the dating app we shall demonize or blame but the user and let’s face it, the moment!


Dating apps seem programmed and not random due to their digital nature yet, they provide as random and surprising options as anything else. This lack of ‘superficial’ luck is what puts people off and makes them skeptical towards meeting partners online. It is, nevertheless, possible that you might end up in the same spot, despite the route you might choose to take. What matters in the end is to reach an end destination, instead of the means used to reach it. It is not the dating app we shall demonize or blame but the user and let’s face it, the moment! It is actually...potluck! If we are choosing poorly or being immature in a follow up interpersonal relationship, it is nobody but our human nature to answer and not a bot behind a funky dating app!
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