Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts love as man’s third most important need. It is no wonder that many look far and wide for it. Not only has the old fashioned dating been revised time and again, but trends have now led us to online dating.
Several years back, just a few sites such as africaonline.com existed for friendly chats and the like.
However, today, one might say that online dating is the in-thing, even in Uganda.
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project of 2013, 11 per cent of internet users (representing 9 per cent of all adults) say they have personally used an online dating site such as Match.com, eHarmony, or OK Cupid. The researchers add that compared with eight years ago, online daters are more likely to go out on dates with the people they meet on these sites.
Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa, a counselling psychologist, says online dating is on the rise currently due to the boom in technology.
“To begin with, the two people are free to write what they would not easily say to each other face to face,” she says.
She adds that since face-to-face dating is scary for some young people, many resort to online dating to find their soulmates.
Kharono says online dating is on the rise due to the changing world where people are glued to their work, internet, whatsApp and do not spare time to go to places such as church and weddings where they might meet a partner.
People are indeed making the most of the changing trends such as Deo Musiige, the founder of Eampenzi.com. He claims that unlike other dating sites a number of Ugandans use, his has legitimate profiles of people who are looking for serious relationships.
Indeed, you cannot blame people for getting creative with their search for love when the old fashioned methods fail.
As such, it is not just online sites aiding this new way of finding partners but also apps. Unlike a website where one may only create an account just to see what happens, downloading an app shows some form of seriousness.
An example is the Senga App, which makes sure you are surrounded with people of like minds. Apart from online dating, the app affords one sexual education with a goal to develop a personal, romantic, or sexual relationship.
The time factor
But what is causing the hype with online dating lately? According to psychologytoday.com, an online portal, the major factor is time. “Online dating presents an effective solution to a serious problem.
Browsing profiles is not nearly as time-consuming (or daunting) as mixing with people in a social context. Statistics suggest that about one in five relationships nowadays begin online,” the portal states.
While it is possible to find a significant other online, the people I talked to seem to think otherwise.
It is all about sex
Regardless of the category your profile may be placed, Estella Kamanzi has come to learn that a number of men are just looking for a one-night-stand.
“I made sure that I put my profile in the category of serious relationships but I was astounded when a man I had chatted with a couple of times before agreeing to a date said, “I am looking forward to spending the night with you. I almost chocked on my drink because I had agreed to this date so that I could get to know him better,” she says.
It was not you
The trouble is, regardless of how real you get, post real photos on your profile, people look different in person. That was Rose Mukasa’s dilemma.
“I had prepared for the date to the point of dipping into my pockets. I was glad that finally, after the acid attack, I had found true love because I had shared about it in our conversations.
I was appalled when, a few minutes into the date he said he had to leave for an urgent meeting. I had seen the shock on his face, so his little lie did not fool me,” she says.
Everyone has a picture coupled with a profile description and some try to say some truth in these profiles. But for many, it is castles in the sky. Patrick Kimora was in search of love when he came across a beautiful slim looking girl, as per picture who said she was 25. The 30-year-old man was elated and thought it was worth dating her.
“After four months of chatting, we decided to go on a date. However, I was shocked when someone who looked totally different introduced herself to me as my date. While I let that slide, for one who had been to university, her table manners were appalling. I was annoyed and did not even want to be seen with her,” he says.
As humans, we tend to build expectations about someone or things in our minds and once these are not met, we get disappointed. However, the truth is, it is impossible for one to meet all the other person’s expectations.
Striking a balance
Kharono believes that when people meet and talk face-to-face more often, they are able to differentiate between infatuation and true love.
The first meetings should be in open spaces where there are people for safety. Otherwise, the wisest decision would be face-to-face then continue online in case distance is affecting the relationship.