Can Dating Websites Really Find You the Perfect Match?

Can Dating Websites Really Find You the Perfect Match?

Putting your likes and dislikes into a computer system can be helpful, but that’s not all it takes to find what you want.

Many people have met their partner on the Internet. And some have even married them. It’s a system that can definitely work when it comes to dating and finding a long term (or short term) mate.

But can those computer algorithms really work miracles?

Some sites make promises. They claim to be able to find you the best partner based on your input regarding the personality traits you’re looking for, and the preferences you have.

But a study done at the University of Utah has found that pairing up dream partners based solely on information you put in a computer might not be entirely possible. Dating, it seems, is a bit more complicated.

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As Samantha Joel, a University of Utah psychology professor and the study’s lead author puts it,

“Attraction for a particular person may be difficult or impossible to predict before two people have actually met.”

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, had participants complete personal questionnaires and go on ‘speed dates’. They were asked questions about 100 traits and preferences they were looking for in a partner. Participants then met a series of potential mates on 4-minute dates, and rated their interactions afterwards, focusing on the level of interest they had in the person and how sexually attracted they were to them.

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Dating websites can't predict who you'll be attracted to.

Researchers found that it was possible to predict if someone would like others, or be liked by them. But it was, well, simply impossible to foretell who was attracted to whom.

“We found we cannot anticipate how much individuals will uniquely desire each other in a speed-dating context with any meaningful level of accuracy,” Joel said.

“I thought that out of more than 100 predictors, we would be able to predict at least some portion of the variance. I didn’t expect we would find zero,” she added.

Yes, zero. Sadly, none of the researchers’ predictions came true.

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So, is it a losing battle? Not entirely. Computers can help in your search, and there’s more to dating than speed dates. That great match certainly could be waiting for you on a dating site. Heck, that’s where I met mine.

But it is a bit of a guessing game, and it involves ingredients that are kind of hard to pinpoint.

As co-author Paul W. Eastwick of the University of California comments,

Romantic desire may well be more like an earthquake, involving a dynamic and chaos-like process, than a chemical reaction involving the right combination of traits and preferences.”

So, be patient. Keep track of those invisible seismic shifts.  Go with your gut, take your time, and consider my simple piece of advice: meet your dates in person, as soon as you can.

You’re match is out there, somewhere. It’s true. But the computer might not know exactly who it is.

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