• Using a values-based approach to your profile will act as a natural selection process. (Pexels)
Tales of failed dates and fleeting flings aside, if you’re being honest, online dating can lead to a lasting romance.
By
Jody Phan

1 Mar 2016 - 9:08 AM  UPDATED 12 Jan 2017 - 1:29 PM

There are plenty of fish in the sea, but who has the time to weed out the bigoted, boring, homophobic or immature fish?

That’s where online dating sites come in. While some may be deterred by the horrible first date stories they’ve heard from friends, others have met their long-term partner thanks to a digital cupid of some sort. According to a 2014 study by the University of Chicago and eHarmony, a third of marriages began online.

One of the advantages of online dating is arguably the increased number of options for potential partners. I, for one, am certain I never would have met the love of my life through traditional means. While I quickly realised on our first date that he shares the same dry sense of humour as me and he was far from boring or elitist as his job would suggest, I’d be kidding myself if I thought we would have had any chance of meeting through mutual friends or at a bar.

“Using a values-based approach to your profile will act as a natural selection process, attracting people with similar values and repelling people who are not aligned with you.”

Friends’ tales of failed dates and fleeting flings aside, if you’re being honest, online dating can lead to a lasting romance.

In order to attract like-minded people, you first need to spend quality time setting up your profile. Melanie Schilling, Psychologist and Dating Coach, advises, “Spend some time pondering your three highest values; the things that are fundamental to who you are and how you live your life. For example, if you value family, health and adventure then make sure your profile reflects this.

“Using a values-based approach to your profile will act as a natural selection process, attracting people with similar values and repelling people who are not aligned with you.”

It sounds like a drag, sitting down and answering a lengthy questionnaire just to secure a date who you may not click with anyway, but it's worth it. 

Anne*, 30, met her fiance through an online dating site and says the time spent answering questions about herself was worth it.“You have this whole bunch of questions about everything – politics, sexual preference, religion, whether you want kids – and you can go into as much detail as possible. And it helps the algorithm find better matches for you." Your dating profile allows you to be honest and upfront about topics that you might otherwise be too shy to bring up on a first or second date.

According to a 2014 study by the University of Chicago and eHarmony, a third of marriages began online.

With online dating, you can discover fairly quickly whether you’re on the same page as someone before even meeting in person. As Anne recalls, “It was straight forward, and you didn’t have to go through that stage where you’re not really being your true self in case you and your date weren’t a good match.”

Just as kids are high on the priority list for some, sharing similar political views, or not, can be a deal breaker for others. “I’m open to other people’s political views but I don’t think I could spend my life with someone with completely different ideals to mine,” says Anne.

Rick, 29, says he isn’t scared off by women who scope out his views on marriage soon after matching online. “It shows maturity and self awareness when a woman asks me how I feel about marriage — to be clear, asking someone if they see themselves getting married one day is different than saying ‘do you see us getting married?’ on a first date.”

While it’s great to take your time getting to know a prospective partner online, Melanie emphasises the importance of moving to “real life” as soon as possible. “When you communicate online for an extended period of time, you run the risk of developing unrealistic expectations about the person and this often leads to disappointment,” says the expert. “I recommend not longer than four weeks as a guide.”

So if you’re looking for a lasting connection with someone like-minded as opposed to a casual hookup, success will come from being honest about what you want and not being afraid to let go of the matches who don’t share your same values. It’ll save you the heartache.



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Undressed debuts Monday 16 January at 9:30pm on SBS. The first four episodes are available to watch now on SBS On Demand. Join the conversation: #Undressed  

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