The Hidden Truths of Self-Presentation, Self-Disclosure, and Deception on Online Dating Profiles: A Call for Change
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The way in which individuals seek romantic partners has changed considerably in the past decades, most notably through online dating sites (ODSs). Despite the possibility of misrepresentation amongst client users, such sites continue to grow in popularity because ODSs provide a large pool from which individuals can select and attract potential partners. While much research has been undertaken on ODSs, little empirical research has examined postsecondary students’ use of ODSs. Therefore, this study sought to investigate why postsecondary students have become involved with and how they present themselves on ODSs. The researcher surveyed 20 postsecondary students and conducted in-depth interviews with 2 participants who use ODSs. Although the limited sample prevented results from being generalized, quantitative and qualitative analyses suggest that participants became involved with ODSs for various purposes, such as seeking long-term relationships and/or marriage partners, or simply exploring or visiting ODSs out of curiosity. Findings indicate that ODS users’ physical appearance and/or “attractiveness” is considered the strongest predictor of relationship success. The study discusses how participants’ self-presentation affects outcomes of ODS usage, particularly when negative self-identification and presentation corresponding to factors such as individuals’ weight and age are taken into account.