However, I do think that online dating has devolved quite a bit. Currently, these sites de-emphasize compatibility issues. True story: a friend of mine ended up. Dating websites have changed the way couples meet. Now evidence is emerging that this change is influencing levels of interracial marriage. What the data actually say about what online dating is doing to us.
Today, more than one-third of marriages start online.
Clearly, these sites have had a huge impact on dating behavior. But now the first evidence is emerging that their effect is much more profound. The way people meet their partners has changed dramatically in recent years For more than 50 years, researchers have studied the nature of the networks that link people to each other. These social networks turn out to have a peculiar property.
The tangled web of online dating | Sonia Sodha | Opinion | The Guardian
One obvious type of network links each node with its nearest neighbors, in a pattern like a chess board or chicken wire. Another obvious kind of network links nodes at random. But real social networks are not like either of these.
Instead, people are strongly connected to a relatively small group of neighbors and loosely connected to much more distant people. These loose connections turn out to be extremely important.
Loose ties have traditionally played a key role in meeting partners. While most people were unlikely to date one of their best friends, they were highly likely to date people who were linked with their group of friends; a friend of a friend, for example.
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Indeed, this has long been reflected in surveys of the way people meet their partners: Online dating has changed that. Today, online dating is the second most common way for heterosexual couples to meet. For homosexual couples, it is far and away the most popular. That has significant implications. And when people meet in this way, it sets up social links that were previously nonexistent.
The question that Ortega and Hergovich investigate is how this changes the racial diversity of society. The researchers start by simulating what happens when extra links are introduced into a social network.
Their network consists of men and women from different races who are randomly distributed. In this model, everyone wants to marry a person of the opposite sex but can only marry someone with whom a connection exists. And online daters are 28 per cent more likely to split from their partners within the first year.2TUTV - Online Dating - Discussions
Even the CEO of Match admits that online dating cycles are shorter because people are more willing to leave unsatisfying relationships. In that way, sexual attraction is similar to hunger.
And the chances of opposites attracting? In other words you are looking for a clone. In fact, the most compatible partner genetically would be the one who is the least like you. In terms of evolutionary biology it is easy to see the benefit of having one partner who is less susceptible to getting colds or flu while another has greater immunity to measles.
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But how does this translate into dating? Yet there is increasing evidence that, in face-to-face meetings, the body is subconsciously picking up clues about the suitability of future partners based on their DNA and our own. Face shape, height, body size, skin tone, hair quality and even smell are all indicators on whether the person we just met would be good to mate with.
We emit pheromones which give valuable clues about our genetic compatibility to someone else.
The tangled web of online dating
To put it another way, meeting someone we fancy sparks a whole cascade of biological triggers. After all, dating is mating. And mating is governed by millions of years of evolution.
By relying on dating profiles we may be writing off dozens of individuals who would be suitable, while wasting time on those that aren't.