THE BLOG

The Rise of the Armchair Dater

09/10/2014 11:25 BST | Updated 08/12/2014 10:59 GMT

According to a recent study it is predicted that in a decade from now, half of all new couples will have met online. This should come as no real surprise given the increasing amount of dating sites and apps available to singles these days. What used to be a rather 'suspect' way of getting a date, has now become the norm and a perfectly reasonably and socially acceptable way of finding love.

Despite this, online dating is not without it's troubles. The main complaint being that, on a platform which is essentially unmonitored, a degree of, how shall we put it, creative license is often used. Men most commonly lie about their height and income, women about their weight and age. Both use old pictures which show them in the most flattering, albeit somewhat out-dated, light.

More surprising, however, than a white lies about a few inches here and there, is the revelation that some people are now creating a hobby out of connecting with people on online dating sites with absolutely no intention of ever meeting up with them.

Perhaps it's an age thing, or the fact that I feel like I've been online dating since before the invention of the wheel but, personally, my patience for extended email 'banter' with somebody I have never met before is a little thin on the ground. I dread the question 'So what are you into?' roll my eyes when I'm asked to 'tell me a bit about yourself' and the longer an email exchange becomes the more rapidly my interest wanes. In an age overrun by the internet, smart phones, online networking and grown adults queueing for the latest phone handsets, I've become so grateful for human interaction that the idea that somebody would actually want to spend time exchanging small talk online with someone who they are never going to meet is quite beyond my realms of comprehension.

Surely life is too short?

The only possible conclusion I can draw from this is that 'the armchair daters' in question, either have a partner already - and are doing it because they're bored or an arsehole, in which case, they need to take a long hard look at the relationship they're in and get the hell out of it. Or, they're not in a relationship, in which case they need get the hell out in order to pursue some kind of life /confidence coaching /internet addiction self help group. 

To imagine that someone would choose to make small talk with a total stranger under the pretence of potentially dating them (or not) makes me want to weep - or track down the first boyfriend I ever had, tell him all is forgiven and exit the dating scene for all and eternity.

The odd thing about online dating sites is that the majority of people on them actually want a date. Crazy, I know. With this in mind, it would be respectful, would it not, to avoid wasting hours of their time with nonsense about favourite holiday destinations and most recently watched films, only to then disappear into cyber space never to be seen again.

When it comes to online dating there are basic rules of etiquette one should abide by and being a 'real' person is one of them.

I'm quite sure you don't need me to suggest something as fun and stimulating to do in your armchair should you find yourself at a loose end without your creepy little habit.

Cheaper, quicker, far less of an infringement on other people's time and much more likely to leave you with a fuzzy glow about your person - and no, I'm not talking about The Great British Bake Off.