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Hopeless romantic or just plain hopeless?

Online dating in 2020 can prove fruitful. Don’t give up on finding what you’re looking for if you haven’t had any success or continue to run into the negative stigmas associated with the online dating world. EN Photo by Julia Bonavita.

By Justin Raffone
Contributing Writer
Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Plenty of Fish, Grindr, Her– these are just a handful of popular dating websites and apps. A negative stigma had been placed on online dating, especially among college students, that these platforms were just part of the “hook-up culture.”  These apps and sites provide service to millions of people trying to find a relationship in what used to be a non-conventual way. 
I had a successful relationship that started online. Even though we are no longer together, it was a 3-year relationship that changed me as a person and helped me grow and evolve. I’ve had relationships that have lasted six months online then you meet once and one of us wasn’t up to the other’s standards.
In online dating, you’re going to get what you put into it. Like any relationship, if you truly want to make one happen, you must make time for it. Online dating isn’t perfect, but it’s a good way to find a relationship. It might take longer to find what you’re looking for in a college town, but it can be done.
There was also a stigma that people who were part of the online dating community were “losers” who couldn’t find dates in person. 
According to Axios, a news outlet founded by the former Chief White House Correspondent at Politico Mike Allen, the negative stigma following online dating seems to have dwindled recently. 
A poll that Axios published in February 2019 stated, “More than half of Americans who have used dating apps or sites said they had a positive view of online dating, and 72% said they think relationships that begin online are just as or more successful than those that begin offline.”
Online dating is at the point where there’s not much difference in the type of people you meet online or in person. The stigma that users are just wanting to hook up is no truer than what you run into at most bars. Dating online can be just as hit or miss as it is trying to find a relationship in person. 
Josh Candelmo, 30, is a proponent of online dating, having been one of the many success stories out there.
“I met my wife on Plenty of Fish in college,” Candelmo said. “We dated for two years before we got married. We’ve now been married for four years and have a beautiful 2-year-old daughter and a happy family. I wasn’t finding that at any bar. Sometimes you don’t find the type of person you’re looking for out in person.” 
However, Axios does state, “The stigma remains among those who have never used a dating app or site. 65% of them had a negative view of online dating, and almost half said they think relationships are less successful if they begin online.”
Scott Smith, 24, had given online dating a try but did not have the success he had hoped, so he carries that negative stigma that many who have not tried online dating have. 
“In college, it was all the same,” Smith said. “I wanted to try to build something serious even if it wasn’t going to lead to marriage. I didn’t want to play games, but that’s all it seemed girls online wanted to do.”
Smith said it was hard to find anyone who took the apps as seriously as he did.
Unfortunately, not everyone online will have the same intentions as you. But the same thing can happen when you’re trying to find someone on campus, at a party or a café. Some users are purely online because of boredom and use it as a source of entertainment or a way to drive up their ego.
That doesn’t mean it can’t work for you, however. Online dating is a viable option for someone searching for a relationship if you’re true to yourself, honest with the people you are talking to and have the patience to weed through the less serious options.  
After all, the poll conducted by Axios showed that 47% of adults aged 18 to 24 held a positive view of online dating sites and dating apps. That percentage was the most of any age group.
Don’t give up on finding what you’re looking for if you haven’t had any success or continue to run into the negative stigmas associated with the online dating world. It is possible to come out of the experience with a positive relationship. 
Online dating is something I feel will become more of the norm as our digital age progresses. Not everyone thinks bars or parties are great places to look for a relationship. In college you can hope to find someone in a class or club, but with so much focus on homework and other commitments, it can be easy to overlook a potential partner. 
It’s not true for all users but dating online does make it easier to see who is looking for a romantic relationship or something platonic. It is a place where, when all parties are honest, you know what you’re looking for and don’t have to feel embarrassed or unaware of the intentions of another individual. 
Don’t give up on trying to find someone in person; human interaction is a beautiful thing. But if you are shy, don’t know where to go out or want to give something new a try, it won’t hurt to turn to an app or website. 
Online dating doesn’t only involve “losers” and “hook-up culture.” Online dating is now a real option. 

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