Online dating has come a long way from its less-than-positive association with the personal ad. But is it actually a better way to meet that special someone?
In some ways yes -- and in others, maybe not, according to a study on online dating released by the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.
"Romantic relationships can begin anywhere. When Cupid’s arrow strikes, you might be at church or at school, playing chess or softball, searching for a partner at a party, or minding your own business on the train," the authors write. "But sometimes Cupid goes on vacation, or takes a long nap, or kicks back for a marathon of Lifetime original movies. As a result, people go through stretches of time when desirable potential partners seem out of reach."
Many dating sites, like Match.com or eHarmony, purport to have an advantage over random real-life encounters in that they employ special "algorithms" that can help people find their "match" -- weeding through all the people who wouldn't be compatible in the first place. But this practice might be grossly misleading and even counterproductive -- especially since none of these formulas has undergone rigorous scientific review -- according to the study.