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What is eDating? | All Your Online Dating Questions Answered

Everything you wanted to know about eDating, and then some! Like... The History of eDating and What's the Future of Online Dating?


Kenneth Erickson


Feb 25, 2023

eDating and Answers To All Your Online Dating Questions

  • What is eDating?
  • How does Online Dating work?
  • What's the history of eDating or Online Dating?
  • eDating vs. Traditional Dating
  • Best Online Dating Sites
  • The Future of Online Dating

What is eDating?

"eDating" refers to online dating, or the practice of using dating websites or apps to find romantic or sexual partners. It's a shortened form of "electronic dating," much like "email" is short for "electronic mail."

eDating encompasses a wide range of activities, from setting up a profile on a dating website to messaging potential partners and arranging to meet in person. It can also include virtual activities, such as having a date over a video call, especially in times when in-person meeting might not be possible or convenient. This is typical with long distance relationships and what was experienced in 2022 during the Covid pandemic lockdown.

eDating has gained significant popularity over the past few decades due to the rise of the internet and smartphones. It's a super convenient and efficient way to meet potential partners from the comfort of your own home or whenever you have a little free time at work! eDating is especially for individuals who may have limited opportunities to meet new people in their day-to-day lives. You busy bodies you!

How does eDating work?

Online dating involves the use of internet platforms or applications (apps) to meet, interact with, and potentially form romantic relationships with others. While each platform may have its unique features or target audience, most follow a process like this:

1. Create a Profile

Users start by creating a profile on the online dating platform. This typically involves providing some basic information about oneself such as age, location, gender, and interests. Some platforms may also ask for more detailed information or have users answer specific questions to help with the matching process.

2. Add Photos

Users usually upload photos to their profile. These photos often play a significant role in first impressions and attraction on these platforms. For more tips on photos and profile that work best, check out our other articles on all things dating!

3. Matching

Depending on the platform, users might be matched with potential partners based on various criteria. Some platforms use algorithms to suggest matches based on shared interests, location, or responses to questions. Other platforms allow users to browse through profiles and choose who they want to interact with based on the information provided.

4. Communication

Once matched, users can communicate with each other through the platform. This usually starts with text messaging, and some platforms also offer voice or video chat options. This stage allows users to get to know each other better and decide if they want to pursue a relationship or meet in person.

5. Meeting in Person

If both users are comfortable and interested, they may choose to meet in person. This is usually done in a public place and can be considered the first formal date. However, the timeline for meeting in person can vary widely from one pair to another.

6. Ongoing Relationship

If the in-person meeting goes well, the two individuals might decide to continue dating and potentially form a romantic relationship.

While these are the typical steps in the online dating process, everyone's online dating experience is unique. Some people might use online dating platforms simply to meet new people or explore casual relationships, while others might use them with the specific goal of finding a long-term partner. Safety, both online and when meeting in person, is also an essential part of the online dating process.

How did eDating Begin?

The history of Edating and online dating actually goes back to the late 1950's if you ca believe it! Here's a timeline that traces online dating from it's roots to the present:

  • 1959: The origins of computer dating services trace back to the late 1950s, with the invention of the "Happy Families Planning Service" by two Stanford students using an IBM 650 mainframe computer.
  • 1965: "Operation Match," created by Harvard students, becomes the world's first computer dating service. Participants filled out a questionnaire, mailed it in, and received a sheet of potential matches some time later.
  • 1980s: As personal computers and the internet became more accessible, a few dating services, such as "Great Expectations," which actually started out as a video dating service, began to migrate online.
  • 1994-1995: The first modern dating websites were created, with launching in 1994 and in 1995. These sites allowed users to create personal profiles and browse the profiles of others.
  • 1998: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan star in "You've Got Mail," a film where the two characters fall in love via an online relationship. It helped to normalize the idea of online dating in popular culture.
  • 2000: eHarmony is launched, introducing a new approach to online dating where an extensive questionnaire is used to match people based on compatibility.
  • 2002: Social networking site Friendster is launched. While not a dating site per se, it paved the way for integrating social networking and online dating.
  • 2004: OkCupid is launched. It became known for its use of algorithms to match users.
  • 2007: The launch of the iPhone revolutionizes the mobile industry and sets the stage for mobile dating apps.
  • 2012: Tinder is launched, introducing a popular "swipe" feature to indicate interest or lack of interest in another user. The app popularized location-based matching, which has since become a standard feature of many dating apps.
  • 2013-2014: More niche dating apps, such as Grindr (2009, for gay men), Bumble (2014, where women make the first move), and others targeting specific communities, start to emerge and grow in popularity.
  • 2015-Present: Online dating continues to evolve, with virtual reality, augmented reality, live video chats, and other features starting to be incorporated. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many dating apps added video chat features, and "virtual dates" became the norm.

How Does eDating Compare to Traditional Dating These Days?

"Edating," has become increasingly prevalent, especially among younger age groups. The COVID-19 pandemic, which began in early 2020, also accelerated this trend, as many in-person social activities were restricted and more people turned to online platforms to meet and communicate with others.

A study by the Pew Research Center in 2020 found that 30% of U.S. adults have used a dating site or app. The usage was even higher among certain groups, such as young adults: approximately 48% of Americans ages 18 to 29 reported using a dating site or app.

However, traditional dating methods—meeting through friends, at work, in school, or other social settings—are still very common. Many people use a combination of online and offline methods to meet potential partners.

Online dating may be less common in rural areas or among older age groups and, cultural factors can greatly influence the prevalence and acceptability of both online and traditional dating.

Do People Still Get Embarrassed to Admit They Met Online or Through a Dating App?

If you are old enough to remember the early years of online dating, it was often stigmatized and seen as a last resort for people who were unable to find partners through traditional means. There were a few reasons for this stigma:

Perception of Desperation

Some people believed that using online dating services implied a person couldn't find a partner through 'normal' social interactions. This unfairly tagged them as "desperate."

Traditional dating norms implied that individuals should be able to meet potential partners organically through shared interests, mutual friends, work, school, or social gatherings. Therefore, turning to a digital platform to find a partner was often seen as an act of desperation, implying that the person was somehow inadequate or incapable of finding a partner in the "real world."

These perceptions were reinforced by popular media and societal attitudes, which often depicted individuals who used online dating services as desperate, socially awkward, or unable to form relationships in traditional ways. This narrative may have discouraged some from openly discussing their use of online dating services.

Safety Concerns

In the early days of the internet, there was a lot of skepticism and fear about online interactions in general, including concerns about privacy, scams, and meeting strangers with ill intentions.

Lack of Authenticity

Many people felt that online relationships lacked the authenticity and depth of connections made in person. They believed important elements of human connection, such as body language, couldn't be replicated online.

Unreliable Representations

There was also concern that people could misrepresent themselves online, using outdated photos or lying about their age, job, or other aspects of their life, also known as "Catfishing".

Cultural and Social Norms

Traditional societal expectations and norms around dating and meeting people were deeply ingrained. Breaking these norms through online dating was often frowned upon.

These attitudes have significantly changed over time, especially with younger generations. As the internet has become an integral part of our lives, online dating has gained more acceptance. The success stories and the convenience it provides have contributed to reducing the stigma.

By the 2020s, meeting a partner online had become one of the most common ways that couples meet, and the stigma associated with online dating had significantly decreased. Nevertheless, attitudes can vary greatly depending on the individual, cultural, and regional contexts.

How Does Online Dating Compare For Hetero vs. Same-Sex Dating?

According to a study conducted by Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, the percentage of heterosexual couples in the United States who meet online has seen a sharp increase since the advent of the internet. His analysis indicates that the internet surpassed all other places to meet a partner, with meeting online becoming the most popular way U.S. couples connect since 2017.

In the case of same-sex couples, meeting online is even more common. A vast majority of same-sex couples meet online, largely due to the fact that most societies still do not accept or provide opportunities for LGBTQ+ people to meet in traditional face-to-face social settings.

As online dating continues to grow in popularity, we can expect these trends to continue. But traditional methods like meeting through friends, at work, or social gatherings will undoubtedly remain significant as well. The balance between online and offline dating will likely vary based on individual preferences, societal changes, and the ongoing evolution of technology.

What are the best online dating or eDating sites?

Here's a list of the largest online dating platforms, along with their approximate user base:

1. Tinder

With over 50 million users worldwide, Tinder was one of the most popular dating apps. It is famous for its "swipe" feature, and it's available in 190 countries and 40 languages.

2. Bumble

Bumble, which requires women to make the first move, reported having over 42 million monthly active users in 2020.


As one of the oldest online dating services, has millions of users, although the exact number is hard to pinpoint. As of 2019, they reported having 9 million active users worldwide.

4. OkCupid

OkCupid has been popular since its launch in 2004. As of 2021, it was estimated to have over 50 million registered users worldwide.

5. PlentyOfFish (POF)

This dating platform reported having over 100 million registered users globally as of 2020, though it's important to note that this doesn't necessarily reflect active users.

6. eHarmony

Known for its comprehensive personality questionnaire, eHarmony reported having over 10 million active users as of 2020.

7. Hinge

Marketed as a dating app "designed to be deleted," Hinge saw a surge in popularity in recent years. Exact user numbers are hard to estimate, but the app is a significant player in the market.

What are Discord Dating Servers?

Discord is a communication platform originally created for gamers, but it has since expanded to include a variety of communities. It allows people to communicate through voice calls, video calls, text messaging, media and files in private chats or as part of communities called "servers."

A "dating Discord server" is a community within Discord specifically created to help people meet and connect with potential romantic partners. These servers often have various channels for different topics of discussion, which can range from general chit-chat to specific interests, allowing users to interact and get to know each other.

Just like any other online dating platform, dating Discord servers usually have rules and guidelines to ensure respectful and safe interactions. Some servers may also use bots to manage activities and interactions.

However, it's important to be cautious when using these servers, as they may not have the same level of moderation, safety measures, or user verification processes as dedicated online dating platforms. Users should ensure they're aware of Discord's privacy settings and should be careful not to share sensitive personal information.

Discord itself is not designed to be a dating platform, but its flexible nature allows it to be used in this way among many others. Always be sure to check the most up-to-date safety guidelines and community standards set by the platform.

What's eDating Look Like in the Future?

It's a little tough to predict the exact future of online dating, but several trends suggest possible directions it could take based on advancements in technology and ever evolving social attitudes:

Increasing Normalization and Integration

As more people use online dating, it will continue to be normalized and integrated into regular dating practices. This might include a wider age range of users and increased acceptance across different cultures.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

As VR and AR technologies become more mainstream, they may be incorporated into online dating. This could allow people to engage in shared experiences, like virtual dinners or walks, despite being physically apart.

Video Dating

Video chats have become more prevalent in the dating scene, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend may continue, allowing potential partners to have "virtual" dates before meeting in person.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI and ML could be used to create more sophisticated matching algorithms, which could improve the compatibility of matches and offer a more personalized experience.

More Focus on Safety

As online dating platforms receive criticism for how they handle user safety, there will likely be increased efforts to prevent harassment, fraud, and other issues. This might include better verification methods, more responsive user support, and resources to educate users about potential risks.

Increased Niche Dating Platforms

There may be an increase in dating platforms catering to specific communities, interests, or lifestyles. These niche platforms can offer a more tailored dating experience for individuals seeking partners with particular traits or backgrounds.

Data Privacy

Given growing concerns about data privacy and digital security, future online dating platforms will likely need to provide clear policies on how user data is used and protected.

More Inclusive and Diverse

As societal attitudes continue to evolve, online dating platforms will likely become more inclusive and diverse, providing more options for people of different gender identities, sexual orientations, and backgrounds.

Are There Large Language Models Under Development for Romantic Partner Matching?

AI, including large language models like GPT-3 and GPT-4, have seen applications in various areas but haven't been widely publicized or popularized for romantic partner matching in a significant way.

AI and machine learning have been used in dating apps to improve user matching algorithms based on users' profiles, behaviors, and preferences. Some platforms have also used AI to improve the user experience, such as moderating content, detecting spam or abusive behavior, and offering personalized recommendations.

The specific use of large language models for romantic partner matching presents both interesting possibilities and complex challenges. Such models could potentially analyze user communication to gauge compatibility or offer advice on relationship building. However, the personal and nuanced nature of romantic relationships would make this a particularly challenging application.

There are significant privacy and ethical considerations in using AI in this context. People's conversations and interactions in the context of a romantic relationship are deeply personal. Using AI to analyze or guide these interactions could raise concerns about privacy, consent, and the potential misuse of data.

As technology continues to develop, it's possible that we may see more nuanced and advanced applications of AI in the realm of online dating and relationship building. However, this will likely require careful attention to ethical guidelines, user privacy, and the reliability and fairness of AI systems.

Are We Closer to Cracking the Code of Love?

The "code" of love, if there is such a thing, is complex and multidimensional, involving intricate emotions, personal experiences, cultural norms, biological factors, and more. As such, it's unlikely that we'll ever fully "crack the code" on love because it's not a single code but a rich tapestry of human experience that varies greatly from person to person.

Scientific research, including studies in psychology, neuroscience, and sociology, have offered valuable insights into various aspects of love and relationships, such as the neurochemical processes associated with love, the impact of attachment styles on relationships, and the role of shared values and experiences in long-term compatibility. Technologies like AI and machine learning are also starting to play a role in helping people find potential partners based on various factors.

These insights and tools should be seen as pieces of a much larger puzzle rather than definitive answers. Love is a deeply personal and subjective experience that can't be reduced to a formula or algorithm. While science and technology can help us understand some aspects of love and aid in finding potential partners, the nuances of human emotion, the magic of personal chemistry, and the journey of building a relationship can't be fully quantified or predicted.

In short, while we're making progress in understanding some aspects of love, the full "code" is likely far too complex and individual to ever fully crack. And perhaps, that's part of the beauty of love itself.

Related Articles:

Tinder for Beginners | The 5 Steps for Successful Online Dating

Swiping On an Ex | 6 Things To Ask Before You Swipe Right

No Likes on Tinder? | 6 Reasons Why This Happens

Does Bumble Notify Screenshots?

Disclosure: This article was not written by a medical professional, unless specifically stated otherwise. Advice or support content is not intended to be either professional medical or mental health advice or recommendations. All support and advice is from direct and/or anecdotal contributor/author experiences and topic research. If you are experiencing a physical or mental health emergency or mental or physical abuse, please seek professional support. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to us, at no cost to you when you decide to purchase a reviewed product.



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