Finding the perfect mate has never been easy, but modern technology makes it all the more complicated. Sure, you theoretically whip out your phone and set up a date with a stranger as quickly as you can order a pizza, but that doesn’t necessarily mean wedding bells are in your future. Here are 11 disappointing facts about the modern dating world:
1. ONLINE DATING INVOLVES MANY MESSAGES BUT FEW MEET-UPS.
Online dating has surged in popularity, but turning those digital connections into offline dates is still tricky for some users. A full third of professed online daters have not actually met up with someone they met through a site or app.
2. ONLINE DATING STILL HAS A STIGMA.
A 2015 survey found that about 23 percent of U.S. adults think people who use dating sites and apps are “desperate.” On the plus side, at least that’s down from 29 percent in 2005. Oddly, 16 percent of dating site users agreed that it’s desperate. However, the joke’s on the haters—in 2013, a third of all marriages began online.
3. PEOPLE DON’T ALWAYS SWIPE THOUGHTFULLY.
Research has found that the dating pool sways your decisions when looking through online dating profiles. In one study that mimicked the quick swipes of dating apps, women found men’s faces more attractive if they came after other attractive faces. The reaction times were so short that the brain couldn’t process individual faces, blending together qualities of previous profiles.
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4. IT CAN BE A LONG PROCESS.
Love at first sight may exist, but most daters have to give it a few tries. A 2014 survey of 2000 UK residents found that before finding their life partner, women will date an average of five other people while men will date six others. Both men and women have an average of four disastrous dates, two long-term relationships, and one live-in partner before meeting the person they call “the one,” the survey found.
5. YOUR PLACE IN THE ALPHABET MAY AFFECT YOUR FORTUNES.
A 2015 survey of 86 online dating studies found that people whose names on dating sites started with a letter early in the alphabet were seen as more attractive. A person whose name started with the letters A through M had an edge over someone in the N through Z range. If you can make your username “FunTimes86,” great, but if you’re using “Zachary,” too bad!
6. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY WANT.
Research has found that what people think they want in a romantic partner and what they actually want aren’t always the same. A study of speed daters found that people’s stated ideals in a partner before the event had nothing to do with whom they actually liked when they met them. Furthermore, other research has found that the characteristics people say they find attractive in theory don’t usually match up to the people in whom they become romantically interested.
7. PEOPLE WANT TO DATE PARTNERS WHO ARE LIKE THEM.
In a 2014 data analysis of 1 million matches on an online dating site, women were far more likely to message men with whom they shared demographic and other traits, including age, ethnicity, attractiveness, religion, income, creativity level, and even how many pictures each had on their profile. When the same statistician analyzed surveys submitted to a genetic data company, she found that couples were likely to share 97 percent of the traits the survey asked about. People who are athletes tend to date other athletes, vegetarians want to date other vegetarians, and people who are consistently punctual usually end up with someone who knows how to show up on time. Opposites attract? Not so much.
8. EVEN IF YOU’RE LOOKING, YOU MIGHT NOT BE DATING.
In 2006, a U.S. survey found that 49 percent of singles who wanted to be in a relationship (around 7 percent of the U.S. adult population at that time) had only been on one date in the previous three months. Luckily, there’s an app for that now.
9. MEN STILL REALLY WANT TO PICK UP THE CHECK.
Sociologists who surveyed more than 17,000 American singles find that 75 percent of men feel guilty accepting women’s money to pay for a date. Another study of 1000 people found that 77 percent of people in relationships think that guys should foot the bill for a first date.
10. BEFORE YOU MEET UP, YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN SEARCHED.
In a 2015 survey of Australian online daters, 69 percent said they did some sort of background check before meeting up with another user. A national U.S. survey in 2013 found that 41 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds and 30 percent of all adults use social media to gather more intel on a potential date. Face it, your date is only pretending to wonder what you do for a living or how many siblings you have—they’ve probably already read all of your social media profiles.
11. IT’S NOT OVER WHEN YOU GET MARRIED.
According to a 2014 survey, the majority of U.S. adults have been married at least twice. Remarriage is particularly popular for older adults, with 63 percent of 45 to 54 year olds remarrying and 67 percent of 55 to 64 year olds. Among those 55 and older, 33 percent of newlyweds have been married three or more times. Lifespans are long and divorce common, so finding your first spouse may not save you from the horrors of the dating pool forever.
Still not convinced that romance is dead? To get the truth about love, plus more misconceptions related to the everyday stuff we take for granted, tune in to an all new episode of Adam Ruins Everything, Tuesday, August 23 at 10/9C on truTV.