The Future Trend: Combine Online Dating With Counselling Service
According to consumer rankings data (consumer-rankers.com), 17% of couples married in the last 3 years, met each other on an online dating site. 1 out of 5 single people have dated someone they met on a dating website. More than 20 million internet users visited the matchmaking sites in December of 2011. This number is going to increase in the next 20 years.
In 1998, with the release of the movie “You’ve Got Mail,” internet dating become an accepted cultural phenomena. Though the movie didn’t focus on internet dating, it did put meeting someone on the Web in a positive light. It showed that the Web can be used as a tool for bringing people together, whether through matchmaking sites, or traditional social networks. Finding a significant other online is no longer the unusual access as it once was; it is becoming increasingly common.
After 12 years of internet-transformed dating, we would like to know more about online dating. For example: Do we know who goes on dates with whom and how these dates turn out? What is the success rate of internet marriages? Are these couples living happily ever after, or are they more likely to meet with divorce lawyers?
Martine Zwilling from the Forbes Insititute (2013) pointed out that the success rate of online dating is a mere one percent. However, Science Resources (2005) indicated that internet dating is much more successful than had been thought. An online survey was carried out by Dr Gavin and Dr. Scott by the University of Bath, says that of 229 people interviewed, 90% go on for the first date, of which 94% go on for the second date.
According the Canada’s statistic data: in 2011, 46.5% of the population, age 15 and over, were legally married, while 53.6% were unmarried (never married, divorced, separated, widowed). Compare within 1981, 60.9% of the population aged 15 and over was married, while 39.1% was unmarried. Within 30 years the marriage rate decreased about 14% and each year more than 70,000 people are divorced.
The data indicate that the increasing number of unmarried rate is a modern social phenomena. With the easy accessible web dating available and with an increasing number of dating sites emerging each year, we would have hoped that the divorce rate would decline. While in North America, about 40 to 50 percent of married couples end up in divorce and for subsequent remarriage divorce is even higher.
All of this could lead us to draw some assumptions: maintaining a good couple’s relationship is harder than 20 years ago. Secondly, no matter what kind of approach each a person chooses — either through traditional network or online dating — only some of those couples will enter a long-term relationship, or find their way down the aisle to marriage.
All of those data and assumptions lead us to ask: what we can do to help dating services increasing not only the dating rate, but also the successful marriage rate? I think the answer lies in education about the Succusseful Couple’s Work. In order for a relationship to work and grow, both parties need to do thorough work. Let us discuss some exhibiting characteristics of a successful couple, so that we can understand what kind of work that a successful couple should do:
Frist, the couple knows who they are and what they want: they consciously understand their personality, temperament, goals, and principles. Self awareness will help a person to build up healthy boundaries in the future relationship. The boundary is the key to a good life as a couple.
Second, the couple would have discussed and formed common ground about what marriage is about: responsibilities, duties and rights. Since family is not just a place about feelings of love, it is a place two people work out tasks cooperatively. Marriage is an organization, it has its own agenda, tasks, and priorities. Understanding the tasks will help couples to be well prepared for the different roles that a family requires: such as husband/wife and father /mother.
Third, the couple also obtains the skills of how to connect and communicate with each other. They explore the emotional triggers, baggage from the past, also the hidden agenda either in health, money, or other areas with appropriate approaches. It is through the process of knowing, understanding and accepting the whole person that the two are able to build up a strong intimate tie that will give them the resources to face challenges in the future.
Fourth, the successful couple also exhibits cooperation skills, conflict-solving skills, anger management skills, and relationship enrichment skills. All of those skills and knowledge can be learned or develop during the courtship period, which will build up a strong foundation for the future marriage.
Many of current dating sites require participation to fill in criteria such as income, height, color of hair, eyes or skin, political stands, religious background, habits, and whether they have children or not. This information is too general for a seeker to make a decision, therefore, much more relevant questions need to be explored. For example, what are the lifestyles, communication styles or even deeper, what are the emotional triggers? What is the old baggage that needs to be dealt with? What are the emotional wounds that need to be healed? Are they really ready to get married? And maybe a healthy lifestyle needs to be developed in order to enter a long-term productive and enriched relationship.
Education in these skills will help to improve the dating quality and lead to the likelihood of marriage success. Even if a relationship does not work out in the end, a conscious knowing, learning and growing process will benefit both candidates. It will help them prepare for the next relationship, and be confident about who they are, what they want and how they should handle themselves in the future.
Some people from dating companies may be concerned about losing the customer, because, as someone in this field has said: “When you succeed, you lose. Because a happy customer is a lost user.” I think a successful business should rely on a group of services they can provide for customers, so the customers will become successful in their relationships, their marriages and their life, instead of the companies relying upon people’s failure to get business. If people come back again and again to the sites for other resources and advices that not only focus on the first stage of a coupe’s relationship- matchmaking, but also enhance couple’s intimacy, parenting, social networking, midlife crisis, empty nest syndrome, grieving; then the site is able to provide multiple services, and the client will come back again and again.
Not long ago, we had to go to different stores shopping for different services or products, now we just go to one stop – a plaza to fulfill our all kinds of needs, since a plaza would include a grocery store, restaurant, bank, movie theater, barber shops, clothing stores etc. This same concept could be adapted to the matchmaking industry. The matchmaking industry could go hand in hand with a counselling service. For the counselling services can provide long term services, multiple services other than dating. The services they provided could include healing the past wound, developing the necessary skills. Marriage is not the end of the story, it is just the beginning of a couple ‘s life. Quite soon the couple will face upcoming challenges: parenting issues, teenage challenges, empty nest syndrome, mid life crisis, grieving, and the end of life meaning issues.
Education about a good couple’s life is important. If we take 16 years of education to prepare for a job, should we not spend some time and energy on one of the most important issues in life: the couple’s relationship?
Finding a significant other online is becoming increasingly common and seems destined to grow. “Users are hooked, but not happy. Many of our online personals users have limited time and limited patience.They want more than just hope.They want service.” (Matchmaking Institute)
The quotation explains well the need for extra services for the clients of the dating sites.
Hailing Huang, MTS, MA
January 2, 2014
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA