Despite its challenges and the risks involved, online dating appears to have taken over, creating rather easy opportunities for romance and closing up distances.
In the past, relationships depended on proximity of the partners, distance was so much of a problem as letters took weeks to get delivered- in some cases they even get lost in transit. The available phones were few and possibility of queuing regularly for long hours to hear the voice of a loved one was almost impossible, reducing such opportunities of the “sacred” phone call to rare weekly or even monthly ceremonies. But all that appears to have changed with the advent of mobile telephony which has taken Information and Communication Technology, ICT, to heights hitherto thought impossible.
Today, distance is no longer much of a problem as the entire world is interconnected through several available social media sites, and mobile telephony including video calls and electronic conferencing. So weather you are somewhere in Africa, and your loved one is in far away Australia, you both could communicate as often as you chose to, and keep a tab on each other through not only through regular phone calls and text messages, but also through social media chats, video calls like Skype, and constant picture sharing. Welcome to the new phase of romance- e-romance as it is called.
Little wonder that online dating has left many young men and women on a never-ending hunt for romance and love. For Adekunle Samuel, it is a rare opportunity to get connected with any girl of his choice in any part of the world. “Today, I have at least four different girlfriends that I am yet to meet physically. I have one in Texas, one in the UK, a Philipino and one in Ghana, plus a few others in Nigeria that I am yet to meet too. We discuss regularly, and are fond of each other. Its real fun,” he says.
Sometime ago, the social media was flooded with the story of some young ladies who were lured by a man through an online connection basically through a Blackberry community chat to attend a birthday bash in Lagos, only to end up being gang-raped. Another is the case of a young girl who was lured into prostitution by the man she met online. But despite the frequency of occurrence of such mishaps related to finding a lover online, the cyberspace remains, to many, the ideal love nest.
Granted, unlike these girls in the above mentioned stories, some people have actually found their missing ribs, as well as their knight in shining amour online. For instance, Tunde, a banker and Lola, a Lawyer, owe their love to the social media. According to Lola, she met Tunde online after suffering from several break-ups and since then they have been able to keep their relationship secure. Her words: “It has been 4 years since I met Tunde. Then I was in pain and feeling frustrated after my fiancé dumped me for another lady. It was quite tough for me. In a bid to forget my sorrows, I spent so much of my free time on the internet, chatting on different social media sites. I even joined a couple of online singles chat-room groups to pass time, have harmless fun, and flirt. I thought it was perfect as I would not get emotionally attached to anyone I have not met physically.
“One fateful day, after logging online I got this friend request from Tunde. He said he wanted us to be friends. I agreed because I was feeling lonely then and needed company. Tunde turned out to be my saviour. In fact, in time I discovered we had a lot in common. We started chatting every day.
“After about a month of chatting online, Tunde suggested that we meet physically. Luckily enough we were both residing in Abuja. After our first date, we began to spend more time together until we became inseparable. I must tell you, he is the husband every woman would wish for.”
There are, in fact, several other successful marriages that began online. Lola said online dating is good for those who can handle it because, according to her, the internet provides you multiple choices. “Online dating provides many benefits too. The internet provides a wider selection of men and women. With the various profiles shared online, and which you can gain access to, you can now prune it down your choice to suit your needs. You will be able to get to know your dream date even before you have met them. Several websites offer online dating services you can take advantage of. This is one way of increasing your chances of meeting your dream date,” Lola pointed out.
Those who subscribe to it have argued that most of the close relationships that form on the internet do so because of emotional attachment rather than sexual gratification. But research has shown that people who share aspects of their “true self” are more likely to have a successful internet relationship, and not those who give false profile and information online.
There is no arguing the fact that the social media has been a great invention turning the world into a global village, but many argue that one needs to apply caution while using it especially when looking for a partner. They base their argument on the fact that so much uncertainty has been ascribed to online dating, as many who indulge in it have been deceived by their partners who lies about almost everything.
A typical example is this story of a 28-year-old young man, Roland who met and fell in love with this lady, Juliana only to discover later that she was a mother of three. Roland told Nigerian Pilot that he was willing to take this girl to the altar only for him to discover she had lied about her status. Roland said the relationship which started online took a different dimension when they met. “She was the best thing that ever happened to me. What played to our advantage was the fact that we both lived in Abuja. Before I had that shocking revelation, I noticed that she was usually acting strange when her children were around. She will not allow me to come to her house. She kept making excuses until I got to know the truth through a friend who lived close to her.”
Dan Winchester, founder of dating site ‘Free Dating’, predicts that the future will see lots of relationships, but more divorce. “I often wonder whether matching you up with great people is getting so efficient and the process so thrilling that marriage will become obsolete,” he says.
This view is also shared by Greg Blatt, global head of, another dating site. “Historically, commitment has been the goal,” he says, adding that: “You could say online dating is simply changing people’s ideas about whether commitment is desirable.”
With online dating being big business, it is easy to see why the websites, many of which charge joining fees or monthly subscriptions, have a vested interest in not wanting people to settle down. But the transient nature of internet dating is of huge concern to relationship experts.
Agony Aunt and counselor Dr Pam Spurr says there has been a change in people’s attitudes towards finding love. She cautions that, despite its popularity, there is a dark side to logging on to find love. “The internet has opened up this sense of ‘where do I stop?’ In the old generations, people met a partner and accepted they wouldn’t be perfect in every aspect, but internet dating is like a chocolate box that never stops giving with dishonest profiles.”
Today, millions log on to look for love, a trend that could change the very nature of romance and turn long-term commitments into a thing of the past. Reports say, people who use the internet excessively tend to neglect responsibilities and relationships in the real world. Marriages also have been strained by excessive internet use, particularly when the time that was spent online was dedicated to their virtual partner. Internet affairs also distract people from dealing with problems that may exist in real world relationships because time and energy that could be spent fixing the relationship is spent enjoying these online relationships.
Internet dating has become so common that it is having a noticeable effect on social behaviours worldwide. Although some of this effect has been positive, one area of concern for many is the effect that internet relationships are having on existing relationships. Internet infidelity is relatively easy to hide and easy to thrive. It has become an easy medium for a partner to seek outside gratification while being discrete.
And with Valentine just around the corner, the trend has naturally increased, especially for those looking forward to flirt a little and to explore new grounds other than their existing partners or spouses. This accounts for why even the older generation has taken to online dating, most times just to have what many consider “a harmless fling”. And so, whether it is face book, 2go, badoo, google+ or several other dedicated dating sites like,, PlentyOffish, or okcupid, or even our own, both young and old, men and women are glued to their computers or other mini devices like tablets and Smartphones, either in search of love, or to seek to close up the distance between partners.
With adverts like: “We’re not another dating site where players go to take advantage of serious minded unsuspecting singles. No one night stand. No games. We offer the real deal. We only accept singles looking for marriage, which is why we’re connecting more singles with their soul mates; and faster too than any other Nigerian dating site. Find your better half fast and be engaged within a few months. You get to try us for one whole month completely FREE!” it is easy to get really hooked.

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