There has been an increase in receptivity towards online dating services or apps among the millennials. Research (YouGov SG, 2017) shows that 43% of millennials in Singapore have used an internet dating service or app at some point, while 55% of Singaporeans know at least one couple who met online. Of those who were surveyed, 75% of them did not think of a couple who met online any differently (YouGov SG, 2017).
This is indeed a shift in perspective, as compared to the early 2000s, when finding a partner online seems like a freakish thing to do (Rocca, 2019). Why is there a shift in mindset? Firstly, with the prevalent use of the Internet nowadays, where the ordering of food, booking of transport, shopping of clothes and necessities, and even connecting with our friends are done mostly online or through the various apps, it seems like a natural progression to find our partners online. Secondly, given the fast-paced society Singapore is in, most of the millennials are busy with work commitments (Choo, 2019). They just couldn’t find the time to date through the traditional method, where one is introduced to a potential partner through his/her friends or family members (Choo, 2019). For some, their social circle may be largely limited to their workplace. In certain cases, it may, hence, be difficult for a female to find a partner in a female-dominated working environment and vice versa. Dating apps, hence, make it easier for singles to connect and expand their social circle (Choo, 2019).
We may have heard of success stories, where couples met through an online dating app and eventually tied the knot. However, there are also cases where some were being scammed of their money; some met people who were only interested in hooks-up; some thought they found their perfect partners, only to find out later on that they were married with kids later. So, how can we get involved in online dating, knowing who is the true love of our lives?
Five stages of Relationship
Before answering that question, we need to first understand that all relationships go through 5 stages – romance, power struggle, stability, commitment and bliss stage (Muzik,n.d.). For this article, we will be focussing mainly on the romance and power struggle stage.
Stage (1) – Romance
This is the stage when we fall in love with someone. Some may describe this “falling-in-love” experience as heart-thumping faster; butterflies in the stomach; feeling extremely high doing nothing and excessively thinking and missing the other person when not together. This feeling of falling-in-love is euphoric. According to Chapman (2010), we often refer to this kind of love as infatuation, where we are “emotionally obsessed” with each other. When we are in this stage, we seem to believe that if we are really in love, this in-love feeling will last forever. However, Chapman (2010) points out that the average life-span of a romantic obsession is at most two years. Once the romance stage ends, the power struggle stage starts to kick in.
The average life-span of a romantic obsession is at most two years.
Stage (2) – Power Struggle
When the in-love state wears off, those little traits that we once overlooked when we are in love become huge mountains (Muzik, n.d.). We used to only see our similarities and may even find our differences as appealing and attractive. Yet, during this stage, our differences became obvious and we are confronted with the need to negotiate differences and resolve conflicts.
It is usually during this stage when a couple either breaks off or survives through (Muzik, n.d.). If the couple survives this stage, their relationship will have been strengthened. To survive this challenging phase in all relationships, it involves both parties being open-minded; able to assert oneself respectfully and yet willing to listen and understand your partner; being creative in seeking out new ways of resolving conflicts and forming new rules together. Love has matured from infatuation to real love, as it is no longer an emotional response but a rational choice and commitment to choose love daily (Chapman, 2015).
Love is no longer an emotional response but a rational choice and commitment to choose love daily (Chapman, 2015).
Stage (3) – Stability
This is the stage when there are stability and peace in the relationship where mutual respect of each other’s individuality helps to mediate through the differences (Muzik, n.d.).
Stage (4) – Commitment
This may not necessarily mean marriage. At this stage of the relationship, it is a commitment to your partner, whereby you love and accept each other, both the strengths and weaknesses. According to Muzik (n.d.), you can be authentic and tell your partner, “I don’t need you. I choose you, knowing all I know about you, good and bad.”
Stage (5) – Bliss
In this stage, the relationship matures beyond the couple as the focus and the couple can work together on a collaborative project, like consciously raise their children, doing business or charity work together (Muzik, 2015).
Bearing in mind the 5 stages of a relationship, as you search for your true love, it may be helpful to consider the following:
1. Have a list of qualities you look out for in your potential partner.
Take some time to think through a list of qualities you look out for in your potential mate. This is to understand your needs and your expectations towards relationships and marriage. Why are the qualities in your list important to you? How can you tell if the person you are communicatin