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And a study from the Pew Research Center reported as recently as April of 2015 that only 5% of Americans who are in a marriage or committed relationship report they met their significant other online.Interestingly, newer dating software has gone back to a more traditional model of dating – evaluating looks first.We concluded that online dating had produced one immense benefit for singles: It expanded the pool of potential partners.But there was also a big problem: The industry’s two major ideas about how singles should get access to one another were misguided.
In 2012, before Tinder existed (and before smartphone-based dating went mainstream), I worked with a team of researchers to publish a comprehensive assessment of the industry.
One study (which I worked on) demonstrated that such information was highly ineffective at predicting initial attraction; another study found that such information was nearly useless in predicting satisfaction in long-term relationships.
As almost a century of research on romantic relationships has taught us, predicting whether two people are romantically compatible requires the sort of information that comes to light only after they have actually met. But the rise of smartphone-based dating has made me more sanguine. It doesn’t let people browse profiles to find compatible partners, and it doesn’t claim to possess an algorithm that can find your soul mate.
So have we learned anything since the first dating site was launched in 1995, 20 years ago?
Or is internet dating just a new medium for the same old behavior?
As recently as 10 or 15 years ago, online dating was marginalized in most circles.