Spoiled for Choice
A unique aspect of online dating is that the site presents the client with a sea of possibilities—far more apparent choices than they are ever going to be presented with in most other situations. Every other person is there for the same reason: to find a romantic and/or sexual partner (typically a long-term romantic partner). The goal is not ambiguous, which as stated above has certain advantages and disadvantages. Being presented with so many options has been compared to being in a sweet shop (Whitty & Carr, 2006). However, the problem with this set up is that not all persons on the site are real potentials. The same type of person with the same type of physical attributes that one normally attracts off-line is realistically the only type of person who is going to reciprocate attraction. What online daters tend to do is to raise their expectations as to what they can realistically attract (Whitty & Carr, 2006).
The other problem with being presented with so many choices is that the online dater feels they can be hyper-critical of a person when they meet them face-to-face. Given they have a record of that person’s claims if their date does not match up with their profile they can easily be discarded given that ‘there are plenty more fish in the sea’.