Online Dating Grows Up: No Longer Taboo, But Courting Online Kind Of Sucks Too

Dating sites make fantastic claims about the number of users who find true love. But a closer look shows that online dating has the same pitfalls as conventional dating: men shy away from successful women and too many women care more about paychecks than

Online dating site Parship.ch
Online dating site Parship.ch
Bettina Weber

ZURICH - Online dating sounds so nice, efficient, and contemporary. So what if it's not romantic – what is these days? Everyone knows at least one couple who met online, and the stigma of the practice has all but disappeared. It seems like online dating allows us to be strategic about our love lives, leaving nothing up to fate.

The promises made by the most prominent and respected online dating platforms sound downright fantastic. Swiss dating site Parship.ch promises that lonely hearts will find companionship within just three months. In a recent survey of 1000 couples that met through the company, two-thirds said that they moved in with each other after just one year. Just as many said that they married within two years. "The consistency and speed with which Parship facilitates partnerships is a testament to the value of such dating services," the company boasts.

But it's not that simple. The Internet is by no means a Holy Grail when it comes to finding true love. Even with the help of a dating sight, the road to married bliss is bumpy. Especially for women.

Take as an example Andrea K., 38, a copywriter living in Zurich. She has been a member of Parship for three months, and many of her experiences have been sobering. Not because her email traffic sometimes stops, or because she's had a few embarrassing first dates. She expected that. Dating for Andrea has been difficult for entirely different reasons.

"Women my age are toxic," she declares. "For men who want children, we are too old. For those who don't, they're still wary when women say that they don't. But if we say we "maybe" want children, we scare away all those who either don't want children or don't want any more than they already have."

Another Parship member, Renate W., 36, feels the same way. The sociologist finds it fitting that she attracts older men – men of the same age tend to go for younger women, especially when they want to start a family. "However, at 36, I have no desire to date 50-year-olds. I want my partner to be my age, or even younger. If they're pragmatic, women should look for younger men since men die earlier."

In England, the dating website www.toyboywarehouse.com addresses this need, connecting older women with younger men. The site has 26,000 members, and an amazing 70 percent of them are men who are looking specifically for an older partner.

Elena R., 33, an economist, has also been disappointed by online dating. She had high expectations for the process, but has since come to the conclusion that it's just not for her. The whole experience is too time consuming, and she finds the task of clicking through profiles to be tedious. She also thinks that she just isn't what most men are looking for.

"They don't say it directly, but on many first dates men imply that they would prefer a woman who wants to move to the country and have two kids and a golden retriever. When I mention that I would never give up my job, I can tell they immediately write me off."

It is not clear if this has to do with Elena's profile or if men seeking a wife tend to be more conservative. Nevertheless, Elena sees a pattern that has been confirmed by many statistics: well-educated, successful, independent women are far less likely to find mates online. Men would rather marry their secretary than a department head.

Looking for love (and money)

The same rules often apply conversely: Urs Z. (44), a small business owner, changed his profession from "manager" to "sales clerk" when he realized that too many messages were coming from women who were only looking for money.

The online dating market, it turns out, is not so different from the usual dating world. The paradox that good-looking women are actually less likely to be approached in a bar also applies to dating websites, according to a recent survey conducted by the U.S.-based Okcupid.

The latest figures from America seem to confirm the impression that Andrea, Renate, and Elena all have of the online dating market: Women over 35 face the same difficulties there as they do in real life. Partner agencies specializing in 50+ singles are experiencing a boom. According to one study, 50-somethings are the most active on dating sites; their participation has increased 39% over the past three years. Given the number of divorces, this is no surprise. The study also indicates that women are more successful in the digital market after they have passed the child-rearing age.

The study also shows that younger singles, those 18-34, are increasingly conducting their search for mates on Facebook. Andrea, Renate, and Elena have also considered it – Facebook is uncomplicated, personal, and free. But even there, daters face the same problems. The Internet, after all, is still a mirror of what is in people's heads. Just because singles now search for partners with new technology doesn't mean that traditional images and expectations have disappeared.

Read the original article in German

Photo - Parship.ch

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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