When people sign up to a dating site, they might do so for certain reasons, but these can easily evolve depending on their experience of interacting with other website users. Some will be looking for casual encounters, treating their partners like the one-night stands which might have once dominated their social lives in the days before they could meet singles online. Others will be locked in a serious mission to meet ‘the one’ – the special individual they might eventually tie the knot with.
People gravitate to either relationship, seeing the pluses and minuses as far as they suit their own situation. But what might some of the considerations be when it comes to choosing one type of relationship over the other?
Short term relationships obviously allow the participant a much greater degree of freedom and flexibility with romantic partners. Particularly popular with younger couples or students, a short term relationship is all about the here and now. Rather than intense discussions about the politics of the day, or which building societies are currently offering the best mortgage deals, there is always an air of superficiality.
Some of the participants take this informality to whole new levels, completely removing any emotional attachment from the equation. Students away from home might enter into arrangements – friends with benefits relationships, or NSA (no-strings-attached) partnerships, where the emphasis is on fun, and fulfilling basic human urges, without any of the potentially awkward fallout which can accompany a derailed relationship.
When you find yourself in a relationship with someone you can sense is not going to be a longer-term partner, breaking up with them seems less of a traumatic event. Both of you appreciate there will be a replacement waiting for you around the corner (inside the student union bar, especially with happy hour Friday approaching.)
The downside to short term relationships is there is a higher instance of imbalanced feelings. One of the parties might feel more affection, whereas their partner has itchy feet and can’t wait to move on. Also, if you’re being intimate with different people over a relatively short period of time – people whose own sexual history is a mystery to you – then you must take precautions in order to avoid sexually-transmitted disease. Or unwanted pregnancies.
There comes a time in the love lives of even the most promiscuous singles, when they will meet someone who makes more of an emotional impact than any of the superficial encounters they’ve been enjoying. Those cliches might well apply – imagining a direct hit from Cupid’s arrow and finding themselves thinking about this person all the time. But the reality is, most people who spend their lives trawling singles bars or nightclubs don’t envisage themselves carrying on with this sort of behavior as they get older. Programmed to want to settle down and start a family by the time they reach their late 20s, they’ll secretly be longing to abandon the short term lifestyle and get-together with more of a soulmate than a one-night stand.
Long term relationships bring stability. The more you get to know a partner, moving in with them, then planning a future together, the greater the rapport and sense of chemistry you can cultivate. Settling down to ‘go steady’ will not only work wonders for your self-esteem and confidence, but it will also benefit your physical health. Studies have demonstrated married couples enjoy a much more stress-free existence than their single friends. Free from the rat race of chasing down one-nighters every weekend, they can actually relish the experience of relaxing in the company of someone they might even fall in love with.