Online romance keeps traditions alive

Dr Hazelwood has conducted a study looking at online dating, and has found that traditional and online dating are, in fact, very similar.

For example, she found non-verbal communication was also just as important in online dating as it was in traditional dating.

“Although online traditional nonverbal cues are not present, in our research we found people do judge potential partners on things aside from what they are saying,” she said.

“People form impressions online based on things like spelling errors, use of acronyms, amount of exclamation marks, use of grammar – things like that. They may not pursue a relationship with someone if they do not like their writing style, or feel they have poor spelling.”

Another habit that is present in traditional and online dating was the tendency to present ourselves as – just slightly – more interesting and interested than we actually are at the start of a relationship.

“Research suggests that, as I think we have all heard, people do stretch the truth about themselves online – but only slightly,” said Dr Hazelwood.

“However, this stretching of the truth early on in relationships is certainly not a new thing and many of the long-term couples I have met, who dated traditionally, have done it to a certain extent when they were trying to impress.

“Later on, if the other person starts to like them for a whole host of other reasons, these small things they may have lied about just aren’t so important anymore.”

Online dating has also allowed an avenue for people young and old to reach out and find connections, said Dr Hazelwood.

“One of the things I found pleasing was that online dating stretched across all age groups,” she said. “”In our research, one of the participants was a 76-year-old female.

She and her partner, who was the same age, met online and were getting married.

“It shows that everyone has the opportunity to use this technology and make the most of it. It also shows that people are willing to take the challenge, and believe in success and in it never being too late to find someone.”

Dr Hazelwood’s research found that traditional daters and online daters had roughly the same relationship success rate – despite many people believing that online dating was not as likely to be as successful as traditional dating.

“Basically, neither way of dating is better or worse. Despite all the differences, in many ways they are still very much the same,” she said.

Media contact: Sharon Thompson, QUT media officer – 3138 2999 or [email protected]