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Internet Dating as a Matchmaker

There was an insightful article recently in Sci-tech about the similarity of internet dating to a matchmaker or the formal society of Regency England about which Jayne Austin wrote two centuries ago. Think for a moment of internet dating as a matchmaker. Historically a matchmaker is someone who brings two people together for the purpose of marriage. The point of using a matchmaker was and is to use marriage to strengthen political unions, to assure that a woman is marrying a man with sufficient wealth to support her comfortably or to find someone who is part of the same religious faith or ethnic group. Astrologers and tarot cards are used for this purpose in some cultures with the belief that they can predict a happy and successful marriage.

The practical aspect of using a matchmaker is to think a bit about whom one will be happy with and to limit one’s search for a mate by a given set of criteria. Now enter the internet. Internet dating as a matchmaker works like the matchmaker of old. The individual submits his or her resume and joins an online dating service. He or she then searches for that special someone using a defined set of criteria. Many speed dating events work the same way in that they are set up so that one can meet many people, all of whom meet a certain set of criteria, in a short time.

Social events like more or less formal dances are meant to bring individuals together in a neutral setting. Think in this case of online chatting for a version of internet dating as a matchmaker. The criteria are not as strict as using a matchmaker but chatting online has some of the qualities of a large social event at which one can meet and greet many potential mates without having to commit to anything.

Part of the value of the matchmaker in older times was that one could meet people and allow a relationship to grow without a great deal of pressure. Using internet dating as a matchmaker can work the same way in that one can simply be friends online with someone for an indefinite period before agreeing to a date in person. Many believe that relationships that are allowed to grow without undue reference to physical attraction may end up being happier and more successful than relationships based on a strong initial physical attraction.

Although matchmaking can be used for very practical reasons such as looking for men with money (spouse or father of bride) it can be used to find romantic love. Internet dating as a matchmaker works this way as well. It allows us to meet a wider range of people that we might otherwise meet. It allows us to avoid those whom we do not like. And, it allows us to immerse ourselves in romantic relationships with the goal of a long and happy life together. Many times the thoughtful approach of using internet dating as a matchmaker is ideal for those of us who have been in unsuccessful relationships and want to proceed more carefully this time.




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