One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked at LearningtoFindLove.com is if online dating is a viable option. With the new release this week in the U.S. of Facebook’s new dating app, I thought I’d add my opinion about the opportunity and challenges this might bring to social media users. Facebook Dating has actually been available in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Surinam, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam since last year. Facebook users in Europe will have to wait until 2020 to gain access. Before I get into the pros and cons let’s explore what Facebook Dating is and how it differs from apps like Tinder, Match, or Grinder.
Facebook Dating is not really a separate app but an app within the Facebook platform- it will essentially be a tab you can access from your main Facebook account. Over the last few years Facebook has increasingly integrated their mega-popular platform with Instagram which they own. Facebook Dating will soon be part of Instagram so that stories and pictures can be added to both simultaneously. One of the biggest differences is that Facebook has is it owns a plethora of data on you already, unlike dating apps which do not. They use your location and interests in their matching algorithm. You can choose to have your dating profile available for viewing by existing Friends using the dating app or you can prevent your Friends from viewing it. Another cool feature is something called Secret Crush which allows you to pick up to nine people and if one of those crushes indicates that they have a secret crush on you, Facebook will notify you both. One of the safety features allows you to notify Friends where and when you’ll be on a date in case things go wrong.
So far so good, right? Well yes, but before you jump into using it I’m going to invite you to consider a few things first. All online dating apps are the same in that your first hit on a potential partner is triggered by what I will call chemistry, “Do I like the way this person looks?” In the LearningtoFindLove course we call this leading with the Hollywood Model of finding a partner and unfortunately it’s only 1/3 of the equation for a long-term successful happy marriage. It’s not that chemistry isn’t important (it absolutely is) however it needs to be tested only after other factors are considered. The second part of evaluating a potential partner in these online dating programs has to do with shared interest for example you both happen to like playing tennis. In LearningtoFindLove we call this compatibility items. Think about the happily (happily is the operative word here) married couples you know well. They are likely to be people who may not share common interests at all and that has little effect on how much joy they provide each other. If my husband likes to play tennis and hates knitting but I hate tennis and love knitting, then we do those things separate and apart from the relationship. I promise you that it doesn’t change how close we are.
Again, compatibility items play a part in our selection process but it’s an even smaller percentage of the process than chemistry. If chemistry and compatibility were the only ways to select an ideal partner for life then the divorce rates from those meeting through online connections would be better than the divorce rates from couples who have met in other ways- the sad fact is that the odds are the same! The two determiners in our unique system which are overlooked by dating websites have to do with how well you are treated by your potential partner and the behaviors that are innately to them. If I adore and respect a behavior, such as generosity, then I will end up less than satisfied being with a cheapskate. If I end up settling for a cheapskate, then over time I will likely try to change him or resent him or feel unfulfilled in some way. Nearly as bad is that he will feel that he isn’t enough for me and he would be correct.
One of the features in Facebook Dating that has the potential of being a great tool for mate selection is what they call Icebreaker Questions. This section of the Dating app will allow you to ask questions like, “What does your perfect day look like?” When armed with a well-defined list of behaviors that round out the process we use in LearningtoFindLove then the answers a potential partner provides to the Icebreaker Questions can reveal whether they are even worth bothering to go on a coffee date with. Our program graduates have used similar tactics on online dating app profiles as a self-selecting process to help them before they end up on a bad date.
So for us the bottom line is, the potential is there for Facebook’s new Dating feature to unearth your ideal partner. Just go about it with eyes wide open and don’t forget to be extremely discerning when it comes time to committing to a date.