Meeting a brand-new partner online has become quite common these days, especially since the pandemic has made it difficult to meet people the old-fashioned way. A study from Stanford University supports this claim, indicating that the number of people looking for partners online has skyrocketed since the early 2000s. Rosenfeld, a lead author of the research and a professor of sociology in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, used a nationally representative 2017 study of American adults and found that about 39 percent of heterosexual couples reported meeting their partner online, compared to 22 percent in 2009.
Despite the prevalence of online dating in our culture, certain groups may be wary of online dating, particularly older generations who might not be as familiar with technology as their younger counterparts. This potentially puts some people in a difficult spot when it comes to telling their family they met their new romantic interest online.
Safety is the main issue, and some parents would rather stay out of their adult children’s love lives entirely. They may not be as concerned about how their kids meet new romantic interests because they don’t want to guide them in any particular direction. Instead, they insist they’re only showing concern because they want to ensure their loved ones are safe.
To put your family’s concerns to rest as early as possible when introducing this topic, here are a few ideas:
- Share any evidence of mutual friends: If you and the person you’re pursuing have any shared friends, it’s an excellent way to bolster your family’s confidence that they are who they say they are. They will see this as something that shows some connection to people you already know and trust, which will ease their minds at least a little.
- Show pictures: You should have several pictures of your interest to show your family before moving forward, even if it’s just a few PG pictures from their online dating profile. Even if the relationship is casual, your loved ones will feel better if they at least see a photo of the person you have been socializing with. After all, they don’t want you to end up in a “Catfish” situation, so seeing that this is a real person can help alleviate their concerns a bit.
- Present your family with the facts: Try to make your case as concise as possible, but present them with information about why meeting people online is far more common than it once was. It’s the primary way people meet in modern times and far safer than it was in the early stages of online dating.
No matter how much information you provide about the normality of online dating, your family might still have concerns about it. Many of those concerns are legitimate, and you should listen to them even if you ultimately don’t take their advice. Just respect their feelings and understand that they’re trying to do what they believe is best, even if you don’t always agree.
Assure them that you know what you’re doing. Your family will naturally want to protect you from such dangers and will likely ask many questions about the people you’re meeting. Let them know that this isn’t your first rodeo and you know how to thoroughly vet potential partners before you meet in person.
Mutual respect goes a long way. If you have met someone online and want to take the relationship to the next level, meeting your family in the middle is crucial. That shared respect will ensure they are accepting of your new romantic interests, which will make bringing them around a lot easier.