Mate preferences and matching outcomes in online dating

Online dating provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to observe both requited and unrequited overtures at the scale of entire populations.

As data from online dating websites have become available, a number of studies have explored the ways in which mate choice observed online can inform the debate about matching versus competition.

Hitsch and colleagues reported that 36 percent of men and 39 percent of women with online dating profiles were "hoping to start a long term relationship." Take the time to explore the different sites, as there may be a new world of potential suitors that you would not otherwise meet in your everyday routine. If you have been trying to meet new people and have been unsuccessful, then something is not working.

It likely has little to do with you, and everything to do with where you are going and whom you are meeting.

Strategic behaviors can improve one’s chances of attracting a more desirable mate, although the effects are modest.).

One possible explanation for this is the matching hypothesis, which suggests that men and women pursue partners who resemble themselves.

Take time for yourself and do things that make you happy.

If you look like you are having a blast out with your friends, laughing at the dog park when your dog rolls through the mud, or reading an interesting magazine in the bookstore, you may find you're a magnet for people that are seeking out a partner who looks happy, confident, and can have a good time.

In recent years, however, the advent and vigorous growth of the online dating industry has provided a rich new source of information on mate pursuit.

Paradoxically, this can also produce couples who resemble one another in terms of desirability, as the most desirable partners pair off with one another, followed by the next most desirable, and so on.

To the extent that desirability correlates with individual attributes, the matching and competition hypotheses can, as a result, produce similar equilibrium patterns of mixing ().

These studies typically focus on how specific attributes of individuals shape their browsing and messaging behavior.

The results indicate that, with respect to attributes such as physical attractiveness and income, people tend to pursue the most attractive partners ().

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