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Love on the line: The social dynamics involved with people meeting other people using New Zealand online dating sites

The intention of this thesis is to explore whether New Zealand trends in online dating parallel those identified by overseas studies, or whether patterns are emerging that are unique to New Zealand society. The Internet Windows Messenger instant messenger service (MSN) was used to interview 32 subjects about their experiences with online dating, covering areas such as motivation for using online dating; types of relationships sought; barriers to online dating; online rapport and offline chemistry; online infidelity; and managing 'difference'. Drawing on these responses, this thesis presents findings pertaining to a diverse group of New Zealanders' attitudes towards and uses of online dating. Some of the key findings show that online rapport does not guarantee offline chemistry; that there are gender differences in attitudes towards appearance, age, and receiving sexually explicit material online; and that sexual experimentation and infidelity are being facilitated through online dating. The issue of 'difference' as it relates to online dating has been largely neglected by overseas researchers, and for this reason was extensively included in this research. Key findings relating to 'difference' show that there is a clear split between those interviewees whose 'difference' impacted positively on their online dating experience (those with sexual 'difference' falling into this category), and those whose 'difference' impacted negatively (those with physical or mental 'difference'). In addition, those interviewees with a sexual 'difference' have been able to connect with other like-minded people through online dating, contributing to the 'normalization' of previously considered deviant behaviours. Based on the research presented in this thesis, it appears that New Zealand online dating activities are consistent with overseas trends, although there are indications that some behaviour may be more specific to New Zealand society, such as gender differences in relation to bisexuality, and covert same-sex encounters involving men who are either married or who state in their profiles that they are 'straight' or heterosexual.
Type of thesis
Marsh, M. M. (2007). Love on the line: The social dynamics involved with people meeting other people using New Zealand online dating sites (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2326
The University of Waikato
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