Special Report: Love At First Site

Published: Feb. 13, 2017 at 10:42 AM CST
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It's no secret that millennials are waiting longer to commit to one person.

"If you're spending more of your years in education and getting established in your career, people still want companionship, they still want to date, they still want to have sex, they still want to do all of those things, without being married. And so, technology has just enabled that, online dating has enabled that," Assistant Professor of Sociology at Western Kentucky University, Dr. Lauren McClain said.

"I'm still going to go get my Masters and kind of further my teaching degree so it'd be nice to have that together first before I have somebody else with me," Kristina Johnson said.

So much so, that online dating has become mainstream over time.

"It was kind of like 'Oh, did you hear they set up a dating profile?' And now it's kind of like, everybody has three or four dating profiles," Will Kronenberger said.

The 'digital age' has changed the way people date.

"I might not have face to face interaction with everyone that passes by. Going onto a dating site or something like that would give me an opportunity to start up a conversation with very little risk," Krononberger added.

"If you're in Bowling Green that lives in Nashville, that you might not have interacted with before. So I think that does in some ways allow you to open up your net, cast a wider net, but then on the other hand, there's online dating sites that allow you to really zero-in on 'I want this type of person," Dr. McClain said.

"You can have that thought going into it, like 'I'm not going to use those' but then you can also have that weak moment where you're like 'oh man, I'd like to have someone to hangout with tonight, let me get online and see who's on."

Allowing someone to be more specific than ever before on the type of person they want to date.

"When you think about traditional dating, if you are going to go on a date with somebody that is a friend of a friend or a friend of a family member, or that you have some connection to through an organization or a church, or something like that, you know a little something about them," Dr. McClain said.

People even tend to open up more while talking through a screen than in person.

"There's research that shows that email communication through people that use online dating sites disclose more about themselves quicker than they would face to face," Dr. McClain said.

"Telling them about something you're not okay with. It's easier to text them instead of calling them and talking to them on the phone," Johnson added.

One dater says you can't help but be different through texting than in person.

"I just feel like in order to convey things, you kind of come up with this alternate personality, that you hope is like you or you maybe think is like you. But especially when you first meet that person and it's kind of an awkward face to face interaction," Kronenberger said.

You have so much time when you're texting someone to think about what they just sent you.

"I've done it many times, where you just write out a whole paragraph, where you're like 'no that's too long, that's too needy," Kronenberger said.

Digital age daters even purposely wait to respond.

"I sometimes get a message in and it's a weird feeling to know that hey, I got a message, I want to respond to it, but I probably need to give it a few minutes because I don't want to sound to eager," Kronenberger added.

Rather than responding immediately in person.

"There's a little less of a bruised ego. You're not being rejected face to face. If you read it online you can go cry in your room and nobody knows, where as if you get rejected at a bar, all your friends see it," Dr. McClain said.

"Somebody like an ex or something will text me and be like 'hey, saw you at the bar the other night.' And I'm like 'okay? you didn't come up and say something to me so," Johnson said.

Millennials are the product of a generation where divorced flourished, so the fear of divorce is prevalent but they want to find the perfect person to commit to forever.

"I mean look at every Disney movie ever made. it definitely portrays that there is a perfect prince out there for the young girl and they're going to live happily ever after. And we know, that marriage is harder than that and life is more complicated than that," Dr. McClain said.

It's all a quest to find 'love at first site.'