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These sites can serve as a way to practice those skills and build up self-confidence, too.“[Sites like] Ok Cupid give people a mechanism to combat the anxiety of being single,” said Ana B., 24 of New York City.Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.It doesn’t help that these algorithms are closely guarded trade secrets.The majority of the surveys, studies, and reports evaluating online dating sites’ efficacy are paid for by the companies themselves, leading to some possibility for biased results.“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.There’s just a disconnect between what social science says is actually possible, and what the sites say they can do,” said Slater.
Slater believes that, as the popularity of mobile dating apps increases, sites will learn how to gather more valuable information.
But even if algorithms aren’t the answer, there’s no doubt that online dating has led to successful relationships — my own included.
The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.
Research suggests that, while it is possible to predict whether two people could enjoy spending time together in the short term, it’s (nearly) impossible to scientifically match two people for long-term compatibility.
The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can't predict and online profiles can't demonstrate.
Instead, both joined the site after ending long-term relationships and moving to a new city without many friends.