Everyone knows someone who met their spouse online.
“No, because I couldn’t stand him when I first met him,” she says of her husband.She thought he was full of himself and rude during their first encounter.They’re happily married, just moved into a new house, and are now talking about starting a family.When I asked her if she thought online matchmaking was a better way than offline dating to find guys who were more compatible with her — and, therefore, better husband material — she laughed.These observations have been borne out in a new study by social psychologists collaborating across the country.
The extensive new study published in the journal sought to answer some critical questions about online dating, an increasingly popular trend that may now account for 1 out of every 5 new relationships formed: fundamentally, how does online dating differ from traditional, face-to-face encounters?
“You can’t look at a piece of paper and know what it’s like to interact with someone,” says Reis.
“Picking a partner is not the same as buying a pair of pants.” (MORE: Online Dating Enjoying a Boom Among Boomers) Making things harder, many sites now depend on — and heavily market — their supposedly scientific formulas for matching you with your soul mate based on similar characteristics or personality types.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as profiles can help quickly weed out the obviously inappropriate or incompatible partners (who hasn’t wished for such a skip button on those disastrous real-life blind dates?
), but it also means that some of the pleasure of dating, and building a relationship by learning to like a person, is also diluted.
The industry has been successful, of course — and popular: while only 3% of Americans reported meeting their partners online in 2005, that figure had risen to 22% for heterosexual couples and 6% for same-sex couples by 2007-09.