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Those who engage in blatant misrepresentation were said to hurt their chances at forming an offline romantic relationship

Those who engage in blatant misrepresentation were said to hurt their chances at forming an offline romantic relationship

Ramirez and Wang ( 2008) revealed that modality switches can provide information that violates a person’s expectations regarding their partner and their potential relationship; however, this effect was also contingent upon the timing of the modality switch

Despite the potential for dishonesty and strategic misrepresentation, most online daters possess the goal of establishing a meaningful offline romantic relationship. Because they anticipate FtF interaction, daters realize that their online “image should be flattering and positive, such that it attracts potential mates, but also realistic, such that it makes it possible to develop and sustain relationships” ( Toma & Hancock, 2011, p. 49). Indeed, 81% of Toma and Hancock’s sample misrepresented profile aspects such as their height, weight, and age; however, these misrepresentations were of a very small nature. Similar conclusions were reported by Whitty ( 2008), who found that approximately 50% of daters admit to exaggerating or enhancing their qualities in order to appear attractive, yet most discouraged the use of blatant and malicious lies that would generate completely false expectations.

In sum, it appears that online daters might engage in strategic misrepresentation to cultivate positive yet realistic impressions that will not provoke distrust if they were to meet a partner in person ( Ellison et al., 2006; Toma & Hancock, 2011). Despite this growing body of research, considerably little work has attempted to understand the dynamics of online dating once partners shift toward offline interaction.

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