By 2005, 37 percent of single, American Internet users had used online dating sites, according to the Pew Research Center. It was second only to “meeting through friends” as a way of finding a partner.
The report by Finkel’s team, a meta-analysis of hundreds of studies related to online dating and relevant human behavior, says that in just one month last year, there were 25 million people using online dating sites.
And you’re less likely to commit to that option,” Finkel says.
Social scientists have confirmed what most singletons have known for years: Online dating is a crapshoot. But the sites also reduce daters into two-dimensional profiles and often overwhelms them with potential choices. It gives opportunities to singles who otherwise wouldn’t have them,” says Eli J.
A new analysis of 400 academic studies explores whether online dating represents a dramatic shift in the way people seek mates (it does) and whether it is ultimately a good thing for daters (eh . Some sites claim to have developed scientific algorithms that can help people find soul mates, an assertion the study’s five authors say is not possible and could be damaging. Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and the study’s lead author.
And the average online dater spends 12 hours a week at the endeavor.
“It really feels like a full-time job sometimes,” says Frances Correa, a 24-year-old reporter, who lives in Northwest Washington and stopped online dating after four years.
Monika Lupean, a 54-year-old yoga instructor from Maryland, has experienced that problem repeatedly in her four years of online dating.
“It seems like the more I have in common with someone on paper, the less I actually have in common with them in person,” she says.
But the bigger problem is that no profile can transmit the full essence of a human being.
“You get people online who think they know what they want in a partner, but that’s not going to dovetail with what actually inspires their attraction when they meet a flesh-and-blood person,” Finkel says.
When people exchanged e-mails for three weeks before meeting, the study says, they had a stronger attraction to their date in person, but if the correspondence went on for six weeks, the attraction level fell when they met.