Dear Nicole: Is Online Dating Ruining Relationships?

is online dating ruining relationships

Dear Nicole,

I hear about all the success cases for online meetings from time to time. Even 2 of my friends found their current partners through online services, and quickly at that. But I have personally had a hard time being happy with a girlfriend or anything long term. Is online dating ruining my relationships and my chances of finding love?


Note: The question has been edited for length and/or clarity.

Hi Jaded! 

Ask yourself this question before we go any further, do you have a fear of intimacy?

If you think you do, read that first and come back here. If you don’t, please proceed.

Okay, so I have two answers to your question.

1) Online Dating Apps Are Ruining Relationships

If at the disposable of your fingertips you have an endless choice of who to date, wouldn’t you keep trying for THE BEST?

Being picky is good, right?

We shouldn’t settle for anything less than what we think we deserve.


My ideal man is 3 years older than me, 5’10-6’2, has a fulfilling career, is compassionate, can cook, drives, can sing, is fashionable, is charitable, speaks 3 languages, texts me everyday, will go to concerts with me, loves to travel and will invite me on said adventures, drinks socially, loves his family, buys me flowers just because, etc.

(This is just an example, I’m not unrealistic in my quest for love)

If I think I can find this person on a dating app, then why would I settle for someone who only has 15 out of the 16 qualities I’m looking for, right?

If the grass is greener on the other side, then I’m sure as hell going to jump to the other side.

Online Dating Apps Are Ruining Relationships

And yes, sorry to be that person who included a screenshot from someones Hinge, but this is a very accurate representation of online dating!

Let me offer a correction

A girl/boy who meets my unrealistic superficial expectations because I feel entitled to them even though I don’t have much to really offer.

The pessimist in me believes that online dating has tarnished our chances at building relationships.

Relationships Take Work

Relationships are not just about having common interests and a connection.

If I went out and decided to date someone who was “just like me” based on the fact that they love hotpot, went to university, are career driven, and love The Office, I’m not sure how long we could sustain a relationship based off of those things alone.

You need two people who share a common goal – making the relationship work.

Relationships only work when there is loyalty, trust, respect, and communication.

Of course, you should find each other attractive and genuinely love being around the person, but the reality of the matter is that relationships require effort.

I don’t believe in soulmates or in a love that lasts forever.

I believe that it’s possible to maintain a relationship that lasts forever if that is a goal that both partners share.

If only one of you is willing to put in the work, it’s not going to last.

If only one of you is willing to communicate, check in, ask tough questions, be uncomfortable together, and continue to actively love one another, then it won’t work.

The Spark versus The Slow Burn

We all know what “the spark” is – you meet, you feel a sudden rush, and you’ve fallen “in love.”

I don’t agree with “the spark.”

Been there, done that, and had it crash and burn.

I think a good relationship takes time to build. There doesn’t need to be an intense feeling at the beginning. It should be something that gradually builds as you get to know each other.

If you’re one of those people who thinks it’s either I get this butterfly feeling or I’m out, then I feel really bad for the people who you end up dating because they don’t actually have a chance with you!

match spark


If you only go on a date with someone once a week, you might not know them all too well 5 months from now.

Some people might take this as a sign that the relationship is dead, it’s not going anywhere, we are missing “the spark.”

But life isn’t a fairytale.

How many days did you actually spend together before you called it quits? Now imagine you do this with every relationship you get into?


There are people who meet and after 1 date fall in love, but that’s not how online dating generally works out for people.

You’re going to have to put in a bit of work.

If we’re constantly looking for something better, chances are we’re going to miss the great thing that was right in front of us.

By holding out for someone better, you can’t be surprised in the end if you up with nothing.

I’d just like to point out that I’m not condoning abusive or unhealthy relationships. If there’s more bad moments than good in your relationship you might want to reconsider staying together.

2) Online Dating Apps Aren’t Ruining Relationships

I think online dating provides people with a chance to meet people they otherwise wouldn’t have met.

I work from home so the chances of me meeting someone in person are slim.

Especially as someone who isn’t actively going out and trying to meet someone organically. Not that we should be doing that at this particular moment in time. #quarantinewoes

This other side of me finds that online dating is great!

Even if nothing comes from the apps, I’m glad to have met people who I never would’ve crossed paths with otherwise.

The Exceptions

Online dating isn’t completely hopeless. We all know someone or know of someone who met their significant other on Tinder, Grindr, Hinge, or uhhh Facebook Dating.

And now they’ve been together for years or are happily married.

If you’ve watched He’s Just Not That Into You, you know that “There are exceptions to every rule.”

Unfortunately, I’m not Gigi, I’m just the rule.

But just knowing that there are successful cases out there gives me hope and encouragement!

Now is a great time to connect with people, especially if those people are willing to put in the effort to make that connection.


Are online dating apps ruining relationships? I think it’s what you make of it.

I know my pros list wasn’t as long as my cons, but I see the good and bad.

Trying to find a connection and love is a journey, and whether or not it works out for me on these apps is a risk I’ll always be willing to take.

After all, love is the biggest risk we can take!

to love and be loved in return

Do you feel like online dating is ruining relationships? Comment below! 

Read more Dear Nicole advice!

Need advice, ask me! It’s totally anonymous!

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