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Science

Study: Online Dating Makes People "Picky" and "Unrealistic" 630

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the i-really-love-computers-like-really-really-like dept.
New submitter garthsundem writes with this tale of digital love: "A newly published meta-analysis of over 400 studies of online dating (PDF) shows both its popularity (second only to meeting through friends) and its impact. More online daters report seeking a 'soulmate' online, and do so by searching through the wealth of available profiles. Unfortunately soul-searchers focus on faults, both in viewing profiles and then also once dating in person, leading to quick exits when relationships inevitably get complicated."
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Study: Online Dating Makes People "Picky" and "Unrealistic"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:01AM (#38965903)

    That online dating has made the average man behave like the average woman.

    • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bgat (123664) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:08AM (#38965987) Homepage

      That online dating has made the average man behave like the average woman.

      ... and both to behave like the typical adolescent.

    • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:17AM (#38966089)

      I think it has less to do with online dating and more to do with a sense of entitlement, period. People date online either because they're desperate or because they have unrealistic expectations to begin with, not the other way around.

      And, I've said this before, most dating sites are scams. Match.com was busted for actually sending their employees on dates with clients, and all online dating sites are are chock-full of fake profiles generated by the staff and/or spammers who will throw a bone every now and then for the sake of realism.

      I am considering performing an experiment - attempting online dating again, but this time inflating my salary. How long can I bullshit being an engineer, wearing my nicest clothes out for dates? Then, when I finally get 'er home to my studio apartment, I can say, "It shouldn't matter how much money I make, you goddamn gold-digger."

      -- Ethanol-fueled

      • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:36AM (#38966355)

        Match.com was busted for actually sending their employees on dates with clients, and all online dating sites are are chock-full of fake profiles generated by the staff and/or spammers who will throw a bone every now and then for the sake of realism.

        The reality is that it's almost impossible for these sites to maintain anything like a 50/50 female/male ratio without somehow gaming the system. Go to any real world dating event and you'll find something similar. Women are recruited, offered free admission, etc. just to get enough of them to show up--while guys are lined up around the block.

        It's a sad statement about a larger reality in society, there are always more desperate men than women. The good looking, rich, charismatic guys tend to juggle multiple women while the dumpy guys often get zilch. Meanwhile, the women are holding out for (and fighting over) Prince Charming (i.e. the good-looking, rich, charismatic guy) and all-too-often ignoring the nice but not-so-princely peasants.

        Not saying the same thing doesn't happen the other way around sometimes too (guys will often focus way too much attention on physical attributes, to their detriment). But it still usually results in more desperate men than women.

        • Re:Study shows... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:02AM (#38966733)

          The same old "Nice guys finish last" cop out. If you're older than 30 and still believing that crap, I feel sorry for you.

          • It's true... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:27AM (#38967937) Homepage

            ...but not just in the original meaning.

            We're ALL trained to find a mate of ultimate attractiveness/power. All the boys lust after the hot girls in high school, and all the girls like the adventurous/athletic/popular guys (all is an overstatement, but you get the idea). Somewhere in their 20's MOST girls re-arrange their expectations to marry someone who is good to them. The trick is being the first nice guy to come along after those expectations have been re-arranged. So, nice guys DO finish last... and when they finish that's one more girl off the market.

            This creates the illusion that girls are not interested in nice guys, as they may date 20 assholes and one or two nice guys, but it's the one or two nice guys that they marry (and don't divorce a couple years later.... there are girls who marry the assholes and then become the single-divorced-30's women with baggage.)

            That said, guys can be their own problem: There is NO shortage of women out there who would be more than happy to be with you. You probably just don't think they're attractive enough, so your own expectations are 50% of the problem.

            You can't expect the girl who exercises, eats right, and puts resources into looking attractive to be interested in you if you're not doing the same things. So if you're not peak attractiveness, and you're not revamping your diet and popping in the P90X to bring up your physical appearance, time to dial down your own expectations to "normal looking people".

            (As a handy side effect, getting rid of your rampant desire to associate with attractive women will also make you less creepy to attractive women.)

            • Re:It's true... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by misexistentialist (1537887) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:14PM (#38969517)

              The trick is being the first nice guy to come along after those expectations have been re-arranged.

              Some trick: you get a woman whose looks are fading at an exponential rate, and who frolicked in her prime with sexier men, so you'll be entering into a disadvantageous contract with someone with no real loyalty or passion for you.

            • Re:It's true... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by Spugglefink (1041680) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:16PM (#38971405)

              There is NO shortage of women out there who would be more than happy to be with you. You probably just don't think they're attractive enough, so your own expectations are 50% of the problem.

              Truer words were never spoken. What it comes down to for me is women fall into two categories: attractive, and accessible to me.

              I ended up marrying an unattractive one, who turned out to be an excellent wife and mother, but it has been difficult over the years to choke down the fact that I've never really found her appealing. I'm not sure if guys are better off to lower their expectations or not. It will get you laid, but is it worth it?

              Maybe.

          • If you're over 30? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:09PM (#38968495) Journal

            As someone well over 30, I think I'm somewhat qualified to comment here.

            The "nice guys finish last" thing is alive and well, and there's nothing about it that's a "cop out". Where you're correct is that as we get older, our priorities change (largely due to having more life experiences).

            Most men AND women I know are working on "climbing that ladder" throughout their 20's and into their early 30's. They score that first "career job" after finishing school (or dropping out with it partially finished, as the case may be?) and start obtaining things such as their first new car or truck, perhaps a home of their own (or even stepping up from a small apartment unit to a rental house or townhouse apartment counts).... and sooner or later, they're considering obtaining a life partner too. Still working from the angle of "I've got nowhere to go from here but up!", they're concerned with their appearance to their peers, and with selecting a partner who has the best possible combination of looks, intelligence and personality/character.

            When you're still in THAT stage of life? Yeah, dating is very competitive and you really can finish last in that area if you bring integrity and "character" to the table, but not much else. Without money and/or looks, you're short a couple of key items that help "sell" yourself vs. your competition.

            Where things change, IMO, is somewhere between the mid 30's and 40's. By that time, many people already TRIED a marriage that ended badly. Others just matured a bit (or even simply let life wear them down a bit, to where they quit trying to impress -- and resigned themselves to just getting up each day, going to their 9-5 job, and keeping busy with whatever chores and tasks life demanded of them). All of a sudden, they're no longer focusing time and energy on searching for someone. They're just being themselves, and are actually in a better position to stumble across someone else like-minded who likes them for them.

            BTW, I really think wealth serves as a huge barrier to one's self-awareness. Why do so many Hollywood celebs and pro sports athletes have relationship problems? Why do big-shot CEOs constantly get involved in sex scandals? When you have enough money, you're able to spend your way out of looking in the mirror and getting a true sense of who you are. Someone's always happy to stroke your ego, hoping for some sort of payoff. Doctors and surgeons will do all sorts of procedures to you, to make sure you physically appear younger than you really are. You can afford all the best/trendiest clothing items, vehicles, and everything else that distracts people from seeing who YOU are when they look at you. Every time you screw up in public, you can pay off someone to bail you back out of the situation.

        • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Informative)

          by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:04AM (#38966771)
          1. eHarmony is more than 50% female. A lot more, from my observation. (I married one of my eHarmony matches!)

          2. It changes a lot when you're over 30. Women realize there's no such thing as Prince Charming and it's time to settle for someone who treats them well and isn't going to leave.

          3. It depends a lot on where you live. I lived in a small farming town for a while and most of the young women moved to the larger cities to pursue careers and never came back. Most of the men stayed. The ratio was awful.
          • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:13AM (#38966885)

            2. It changes a lot when you're over 30. Women realize there's no such thing as Prince Charming and it's time to settle for someone who treats them well and isn't going to leave.

            Unfortunate what also happens is that those men become bitter. When you get spurned for so long you become used to being on your own, and you also see 'women settling' for what it really is.

            • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:05AM (#38967613)

              It changes a lot when you're over 30. Women realize there's no such thing as Prince Charming and it's time to settle for someone who treats them well and isn't going to leave.

              Unfortunate what also happens is that those men become bitter. When you get spurned for so long you become used to being on your own, and you also see 'women settling' for what it really is.

              This.

              I last had a date in the 90s. I was lonely for the first year or two after, bitter for the next four or five years, and finally got over it.

              Now that I'm in my 40s, I've actually been asked out on a date once or twice, and I've turned them down. There's no bitterness; it's simply no longer something I want to do. I've got a reasonably-fulfilling career in tech; I get up, play with computers for a few hours, come home, and flip a coin deciding whether to (a) cook something (and crack open a bottle of something) nice and spend the rest of the evening evening vegging out reading Slashdot, Reddit, and Fark, (b) tinker on programming and/or modding projects, or (c) play Skyrim. Sex? If the urge for sex strikes, there's an entire Internet full of pr0n out there, and then I can get back to whatever it was I was doing. I'm content in my lifestyle, and when every waking hour is filled spending something I do want to do, and I realized that when push comes to shove, there's simply no room in my life for a relationship.

              In the same way as the woman who settled for a good guy who'd be content to take care of her and help her raise the family, men can "settle" too. Sour grapes? Sure, there's a little bit of that. But on a risk-reward basis, I'm grateful that the human palate adjusts.

          • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:44AM (#38967293) Journal

            It is no doubt sexist but girls who reach puberty are very attractive to a large age range of men. Boys of the same age, only to Catholic priests. For women, it is looks that count. For men, it is success, power, confidence. Not saying that all women are gold diggers only after a wallet but confidence is something you gain overtime, with success, with power, with age. And when you couldn't get a 18yr old at 18, why would you date that girl who is now 40 when she has been used up and now desperate when with your status gain, you can get a nice young girl?

            Dating sites reflect this. I have worked on two and the database clearly showed that the women tended to be more experienced (read: many failed relationships) and fed up with it and now trying to find something more longterm. Generally these women show little self-awareness of why they are this situation, 30 something with just as many boyfriends and nothing permanent.

            Men are slightly more realistic but to negative. A lot of 30yr old men who now feel they have power/money to pretend to be confident are really hateful to women who they believe are now only interested because of their cash.

            When these two groups meet, mis-communication is rife, a lot of men are simply not prepared to accept that a women their own age has more experience, they don't want second hand goods or even 30th hand goods. The women on the other hand don't quite get why men they turned down for years are not falling over themselves like all the guys that came before. They don't see that the guys they had before were only there for the sex and nothing else.

            The men might not have much experience with relationships but neither do the women. Being used as a booty call is after all not a relationship. The only thing these women are good at is failed relationships. Think of it like this: If you try a race circuit a thousand time and crash everytime at the first corner you are NOT more experienced at racing at that circuit then someone who never even been there. It is a complex concept but an essential one if you want to understand the dating scene. A one-night stand when he never calls again does NOT teach you how to make a relationship work. In fact, if that is your history for the last decade, it seems likely you will never learn.

            A lot of people approach online-dating and other dating aids with this screwed up mind set, men who hate all women because they never had the guts so ask them out, girls who been used all their life thinking it is the fault of men that none of them saw how wonderful a person she really is, people with expectation that just don't exist in this world.

            Real romances? Try this, do a poll among married couples for valentine gifts and on a dating site. The results might be very different, the married couples are realistic, the dating site will have stuff that even Spielberg couldn't make up.

            It is true after all, normal people don't need dating sites. That does NOT mean you will only find freaks on dating sites. It means if you are using one, you are a freak. Accept this, take a long hard look in the mirror and ask yourself: "What is wrong with me that I have to use this". It is not wrong to use dating sites but if you think you are perfect when you have to use one... you are in for a disappointment.

            • +6 Informative for you. And not being "sexist" but cruelly realistic, most women only wants rich and attractive men, and kick any applicant who does not fit these requirements. The "scoundrels" do not bother with the kicks, but the good guys give up.
            • by smellsofbikes (890263) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:30AM (#38967969) Journal

              It is no doubt sexist but girls who reach puberty are very attractive to a large age range of men. Boys of the same age, only to Catholic priests.

              Not to disagree with many other excellent points in your post, but I was reading a book a while back about reproductive strategies in different animal/plant/bacterial species, and one thing it mentioned was that with humans, men are looking for 25-year-olds. Heterosexual men look for 25 year old women, homosexual men look for 25 year old men. They'll settle for stuff on either side of that point, but that's roughly the high point on the desire curve. In contrast, women look for partners who are a few years older than them, whether hetero or homosexual. This isn't the case at all with most other animals, because they generally don't experience menopause, so there's much less age selectivity towards females; whatever switch controls hetero or homosexuality appears to just change which sex you're interested in rather than your attractiveness filter for that sex.

            • by wienerschnizzel (1409447) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:40AM (#38968089)

              For men, it is success, power, confidence. Not saying that all women are gold diggers only after a wallet but confidence is something you gain overtime, with success, with power, with age.

              Surprised to see that many opinions of this kind modded up here.

              First of all - there is a lot of traits that women find attractive besides raw confidence or power. Here's a little list of them:
              humorous/ witty
              creative
              adventurous
              artistic
              mysterious
              classy
              original
              social
              entertaining
              inspiring
              charismatic

              There is also another way to put it:

              Anything but boring and predictable!

              Of course, the problem is that the 'not boring and not predictable' group has a high ratio of older (successful) men and jerks in it. But that's not women's fault.

            • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:10PM (#38969435)

              It is true after all, normal people don't need dating sites.

              Why is this accepted blindly as a fact, when there's in fact no basis for it?

              Where do "normal people" go to find people to date anyway? Maybe "normal people" just isn't supposed to include men who are in male-dominated professions like engineering. When I was in college, there were frequently zero women in my classes. After college, it was worse: not only were most of my coworkers male, but almost everyone (male and female) were already married. So where are you supposed to meet single women in that situation? Stumble across them at the grocery store? Meet friends of friends? That's not so easy when all your coworkers are married (married people don't socialize with single people as a general rule), and all your friends live 1000+ miles away because you moved to a new city for a job.

              Every time I've brought this up, it seems like the standard answer is that you're supposed to meet your life partner at a bar or club while you're both completely drunk. No thanks.

        • Re:Study shows... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by AdamWill (604569) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @03:13PM (#38971363) Homepage

          Note: good-looking and charismatic are, mostly, both qualities you can cultivate, not god-given attributes you must bemoan your lack of.

          One thing in particular: go to any mid-range restaurant and look around at the straight dating couples. There's quite a lot who follow the same, depressing pattern: woman in a clearly carefully-selected and maintained outfit, good hair, nice shoes, decent perfume, matched accessories etc, guy in cargo pants two sizes too large, unironed $20 shirt and sneakers, with 5 o' clock shadow.

          For Pete's sake, if you're going to go on a date, make a freaking effort. Buy a good suit, that fits, and wear it. If you're not going to do that, at least get some decent pants and a shirt that fits. And iron it. Shave. Get your hair cut more than once a year (and pay more than $10 for it). You know that stereotype that men look at appearance and women look at character? I wouldn't rely on it if I were you. If women go for good-looking, charismatic guys then maybe you could take a shot at being good-looking and charismatic, rather than wondering why no-one seems to see your wonderful personality past your mysteriously-stained sweatpants...

      • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:05AM (#38966777)

        I am considering performing an experiment - attempting online dating again, but this time inflating my salary. How long can I bullshit being an engineer, wearing my nicest clothes out for dates? Then, when I finally get 'er home to my studio apartment, I can say, "It shouldn't matter how much money I make, you goddamn gold-digger."

        Thats why you don't do the engineer thing but instead the hipster trust fund baby thing. "I'm too rich and cool to wear a suit". Better buy an iphone first.

      • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:44AM (#38967287)

        I did just the opposite on dating sites (one of which gave me a free membership, so might as well use it.)

        I had my occupation IT related, and I kept getting gold diggers.

        So, I changed it to "actor at a renaissance faire", something I do for a hobby as it gets me outdoors.

        The result: More interesting bites on the line. The ones looking for a sugar daddy go elsewhere.

      • Bitter much? (Score:5, Informative)

        by raehl (609729) <raehl311&yahoo,com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:56AM (#38968307) Homepage

        Most people try online dating because they have exhausted the pool of potential partners in their work/social circles and prefer the online environment over forced social situations like bars.

        I've done the online dating thing, and help some friends do the online dating thing, so here's some thoughts/advice:

        Most profiles on the major websites are in fact real profiles of women who would like to date. The ones that are spam are also pretty easy to detect.

        Most women don't care about salary. They DO care about drive. So if you make poop for cash because you're an under-compensated social worker, no problem. If you make poop for cash because your life plan is "bartender", that might be an issue.

        Approach is key. Men on online dating sites tend to be indiscriminate, sending lots of messages to lots of women. This means women tend to get lots of messages from lots of men - but lots of poor, unspecific messages. For success, less is more. Pick a FEW profiles of people you find interesting, and take the time to write them something specific and interesting. Understand that 2/3rds of the time, you're not going to get a reply even from real people for various reasons.... they never read your message because there's too much crap in their inbox from all the indiscriminate men, they procrastinate, or something about you just isn't interesting to them.

        There are other tricks. Start having your friends take pictures of you when you're out doing whatever, and post pics of you doing things to your profile. Talk about what you do and why you like doing it... or what you plan to do and what you're doing to get there.

        Overall, you want to come across as looking for the right person, not just looking for any person.

        And, certainly, if you approach dating with the same jaded attitude you display here (women are just after money!) you're not going to have much success. Approach dating as a fun activity in-and-of-itself and you might also find someone you really like on accident.

    • Re:Study shows... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by one cup of coffee (1623645) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:17AM (#38966103)
      This is actually very insightful, female dating behavior was based to a large part on having an abundance of potential mates to choose from, they were essentially buyers, whereas men traditionally acted as sellers trying to impress women ( I know I'm oversimplifying). Now with online dating, the market has basically evened out somewhat for men as women are openly competing for mates, thus they have become more like sellers, allowing men to start behaving somewhat more like buyers.
      • by Synn (6288)

        Not really. Online dating means a few women that photograph well are bombarded by the vast majority of men.

        • Not really. Online dating means a few women that photograph well are bombarded by the vast majority of men.

          This is really no different from real life. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say that the top 30% of women (by attractiveness) get 85% of the male attention, the next 20% get 10%, and the bottom 50% get 5%.

          For women, being ugly or over age 45 means you're essentially invisible.

        • Not really. Online dating means a few women that photograph well are bombarded by the vast majority of men.

          So let's say the top 10% of women by photographic attractiveness get 90% of the attention.

          For men, the solution to this problem is simple:

          Contact women in the 11th to 15th percentile.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo (196126)

        That would be true if it were not for most dating sites having a 20:1 or worse ratio of men to women. For true equality look at the gay dating scene.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:25AM (#38966209)

      I just got a picture in my head of a man telling his girlfriend "I shouldn't NEED to tell you that I want to watch football, you should KNOW it."

      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        Can we make an exception and give this guy "Score: +infinity, Funny and Insightful"?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:03AM (#38965925)

    Life is series of compromises. Online or not, there is certain group out there who thinks they
    need (worse, deserve) "soul mate". Good thing with physical world is, these people will be
    notorious in the town, friends circle and lose any chance of meeting decent folks.
    But in Online world, they have luxury of keeping going through profiles and waste their
    money, time and other peoples time. How else these "dating sites" make money ?

  • by ISpeakfortheProles (1904054) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:04AM (#38965943)

    FFS. There are /.ers who are capable of rewriting the entire Linux kernel in three lines of Perl, and yet cannot differentiate between "it's" and "its".

  • by madhatter256 (443326) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:08AM (#38965981)

    If you wanted a hook-up, you went to a bar.

    If you wanted a girl you could marry and bring to your parents, you went to church.

    Now it's like this....

    If you want a hook-up, go to match or similar (free) websites

    If you want to find a girl you might marry go to eharmony

    If you just want a hooker you go craigslist...

    • by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:17AM (#38966113) Homepage

      Hah! So true.

      On a serious note, I know several people in real life that have used eHarmony before. Most of them ended up getting married after their first or second date using the service and shortly after a year or so of meeting each other for the first time. That tells me two things. First, eHarmony has got the system down to a science with regards to their list of questions they ask members to take. Second, (and most important) members of eHarmony are already taking a serious and mature attitude with regards to finding a mate for life. When two people make it a serious effort to make a relationship work, I'm not surprised that eHarmony has what I think is the best success rate of them all.

      • by Cruciform (42896)

        This could also be interpreted to mean that these are people with unrealistic expectations of what relationships are, and they happen to rush into marriage because that is what tradition demands of them.
        There are lots of sexually repressed religious folk just champing at the bit to get married so they can actually start having sex. Or just continue doing so without the fear of eternal torture.

      • by ShavedOrangutan (1930630) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:14AM (#38966899)
        If I looked at 10 profiles sent to me by Match/Yahoo/Whatever, one or two seemed like someone I'd actually enjoy talking to. That's probably about average out in the real world. If I looked at 10 profiles on eHarmony, 7 or 8 seemed like someone I'd actually enjoy talking to. So their survey does a pretty good job of increasing the odds.
      • by TheABomb (180342) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:43AM (#38967273)

        I know one person in real life who tried to use eHarmony. He spent an hour and a half filling out that fscking personality test, only to be told that I — I mean, "he" — wasn't even worthy trying to match up. And he actually WANTED to give them money!

      • Have they changed it, or does anyone with an INTP personality type still get automatically rejected?

    • by Ihmhi (1206036) <i_have_mental_health_issues@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:24AM (#38966187)

      eHarmony and certain people have a difference in opinion [randomfunnypicture.com] as to what's really important in a relationship.

    • by bryanp (160522) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#38966251)

      If you want a hook-up, go to match or similar (free) websites

      If you want to find a girl you might marry go to eharmony

      YMMV. I met my wife on a free site after getting diddly for results on a pay site.

      We did get a pretty good laugh when after meeting online we discovered out that we have the same employer and I'm her network administrator. Coincidence is a bizarre thing. (It's a big employer - we work in different buildings a couple of blocks apart, so we'd never met)

    • by holmedog (1130941) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:34AM (#38966321)

      I realize you're joking, but let me throw some anecdotal evidence around.

      I got divorced 2 years ago. A few months after that I decided I would try the dating scene. Hooked up a few times at the bar, went on some dates with friends-of-friends, the works. Decided to try online dating, because my life is busy and I thought it would increase my chances of finding someone who had free time similar to mine (weekdays, not weekends):

      eHarmony: Too expensive. I can go to the bar for what I would spend to meet someone on there. I did fill out the free profile.
      eVow: 3 dates from here, 2 ended in sex on the first night. "Long-term" my ass
      plentyoffish: 4 dates from here - 2 ended in sex on the first night. 2 lasted 6+months (including my current girlfriend)
      facebook: 3 dates - all ended in sex within the first week

      I'm hardly a "playboy" at 215lbs 6'1 and an average build. But, I have to think you are right that the people on the "cheap" sites are looking for hookups and not investing in long term.

    • by vlm (69642)

      If you want a hook-up, go to match or similar (free) websites

      So, the free online dating services are more like a cloud service

      If you want to find a girl you might marry go to eharmony

      The paid services are more like traditional colocation plans

      If you just want a hooker you go craigslist...

      OK and thats the "shared hosting" plan.

      So, whats my Beowulf Cluster then?

      I'm sure theres a joke in here somewhere about every guy knows a chick just like "IIS and frontpage" but I'm not quite seeing it.

  • It's unrealistic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:10AM (#38966009)

    I can think of a couple reasons why this happens. As a male who spent a few years online dating myself, and seeing both sides of the fence.

    Guys terribly outnumber women on these sites. Women get many many many requests, and it's pretty much pick of the litter for them. Even if they don't get picky, they get jaded due to the idiots trying anything to get a woman interested. It's akin to trying to find an email from your family while sifting through endless penis enlargement emails.

    There's always someone better looking or more interesting out there and dating sites make these people known to you .Be it through contact with them or the mere presence of their profile online. It's almost a carrot and stick game. It's so much easier to stop seeing someone who doesn't completely interest you when there are other potential mates out there.

    • Even if they don't get picky, they get jaded due to the idiots trying anything to get a woman interested.

      You're forgetting the most annoying thing: you get endless amounts of penis pictures and "u want sexx?!" - messages in your messagebox. Well gee, OF COURSE you get jaded after a while when you keep getting stupid crap like that and then you sort of get accustomed to the idea that more-or-less all guys are like that. The only way to get over that is for guys to appear well above the average, which is easier said than done.

      In other words, guys themselves -- atleast the annoying, horribly irritating and horny

  • by LikwidCirkel (1542097) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:10AM (#38966011)
    The ability to be picky with online dating is the whole point! You can put all of your cards on the table before ever even meeting someone. In this busybody world, people don't want to have to go through traditional dating, only to find out months into a relationship about some strong deal breaker like wanting kids. That's just a disappointing waste of time and people are starting to realize it.

    If you're looking for someone to spend your life with, you damned well should be picky. For the record, I met my partner online many years ago on a niche dating site, so maybe I'm a little biased.
  • Theory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:11AM (#38966027) Homepage Journal

    My theory is that since online dating has a lower barrier to entry, it attracts people who wouldn't otherwise be "ready" to find their soulmate. It's like PHP; it can be a powerful tool, but because it's easy there's a lot of crap code out there.

    Disclaimer: Met my wife and soulmate on OkCupid. :^)

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Wow, you met both your wife, AND your soulmate through OkCupid? Do they know about each other?

      • by vlm (69642)

        Wow, you met both your wife, AND your soulmate through OkCupid? Do they know about each other?

        Its that old joke where the wife thinks I'm with the soulmate, and the soulmate thinks I'm with the wife, so they both leave me alone so I can get the time to post here on /.

    • Disclaimer: Met my wife and soulmate on OkCupid. :^)

      They didn't find out about each other, did they? That would have been awkward...

  • Picky (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aladrin (926209) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:12AM (#38966047)

    Why not be picky? Have you seen the stats for divorce lately? Anything is better if it helps people have good relationships instead settling for whatever came along when got fed up.

    True love is unrealistic. That doesn't mean it's a bad goal.

    I'm currently dating a wonderful girl I met online after many years of not finding anyone I would spend my life with. Had I not been 'picky' I could have settled for any number of other women that wouldn't make me happy. Why would I do that to myself?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The problem is that marriage is viewed as a commodity by most people. That's why the divorce rate is so high.

      You should never get married to someone unless you spend the time to get to know them fully and really commit to marriage, which, you know, should be for the rest of your lives (til death do you part and all that).

    • Re:Picky (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CMYKjunkie (1594319) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:30AM (#38966279)

      True love is unrealistic. That doesn't mean it's a bad goal.

      With respect: you, sir, have not then met the proper woman! I'm 33 and have been with that "unrealistic" true love woman since I was 18. It isn't a "bad goal," it's THE goal.

    • Re:Picky (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:41AM (#38966413) Journal

      Human brains lose plasticity as they age. The longer we wait to pair off, the less we are able to adapt to our mate, and them to us.

      Human lives have chapters in them, like a story, and everything has to happen in its proper time. If you fuck with that timing, like we have by driving people to stay single till later in life so they can pursue education and career, you fuck the person up. Forever.

      It's just like all those studies that show teenagers are much more vulnerable to drug addiction than mature adults. Pheremones are the drugs kids are supposed to get addicted to.

      • Re:Picky (Score:5, Insightful)

        by flirno (945854) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:54AM (#38966617)

        The present culture is not synchronized to our biological realities. I am sure someone will try to fix it with synthetic pheremones when it becomes enough of a problem.

      • Re:Picky (Score:4, Informative)

        by SemperUbi (673908) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:19AM (#38966951)
        I disagree. It takes a while for people to learn their own nature, what works best for them, and what they really want. 'Adapting to' a mate means knowing how to take the measure of a person, knowing how to tell when the 'fit' is right -- whether for a life together, or just for coffee. You're not born knowing that; you have to learn from experience. And it gets much easier with age. Neuroplasticity is a lifelong phenomenon [stanford.edu].
    • Re:Picky (Score:5, Insightful)

      by brainzach (2032950) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:03AM (#38966751)

      True love isn't unrealistic, but the expectation that it will solve all your relationship problems is. Relationships require compromise if they are going to be successful long term.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Why not be picky? Have you seen the stats for divorce lately?

      Wait, you think the divorce rate went up because people got less picky?

      Having a good relationship does not result from finding the perfect person. There aren't any. (Including yourself, no offense). Does that mean you just pick somebody at random? No, of course not. But if you've dated a few dozen people and the same patterns keep occurring, it's not them, it's you. Trying to have a good relationship by being picky upfront is like trying

  • by TWX (665546) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:13AM (#38966049)

    ...it's television, movies, glamour magazines, and many other forms of "art" and "culture" that are very heavily pushed upon a market.

    It's been my experience that many women that met the physical/appearance standards that are promoted to us were at minimum highly narcissistic, and at worst bat-shit-fucking-crazy. It took me awhile to understand this, and on a techie note, to understand how damaged the former-BBSer women of the early to mid nineties at the tail end of the craze were. Generally damaged, each and every one, and we're not talking scratch-and-dent here either.

    People, the dating pool is the pool of people who like to do the same things that you like to do. If there are no eligible people in your social circles, then you need to expand your social circles somewhat. That doesn't mean doing masculine or effeminate things if you don't want to, but you have to do something that you like to do that those you seek also like to do.

    In my case it was swing and ballroom dance. It worked so well that I married and MIT graduate.

    • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:36AM (#38966353)

      then you need to expand your social circles somewhat. That doesn't mean doing masculine or effeminate things if you don't want to

      Why the heck not? That is so wrong advice. You die when you stop learning. If you're not comfortable with your own orientation such that you can try the "wrong thing" once in awhile, get that all figured that out before trying to add another person to the mix.

      I used to troll scrapbooking stores and fabric stores and crafty stores and ask hot chicks without wedding rings for help picking out a gift for my mom (or sister, or aunt, or grannie, you get the idea). Supermarkets and "gift stores" too. I'd get teased by some coworkers about being seen going to "chick stores" because they were not sure of their own masculinity (I was sure, so I had no problem doing this kind of stuff), to which I'd respond with something brilliantly witty like "F you I'm getting some" (ah the intelligence and wit of youth...). Married over ten years to a scrapbooker chick now.

      Also, aside from getting any, its interesting to try new stuff. I have no interest in using a sewing machine as a lifestyle or hobby, but I'm glad I tried it once. Those things are amazing little mechanical precision jewels. Sewing two pieces of fabric together didn't make my nads fall off, anymore than a chick playing a video game automatically grows chest hair.

  • Giant virtual bar (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crowemojo (841007) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:17AM (#38966097)
    In my experience, the most popular dating sites (listed as type 1 in the article, like OKCupid and Match) are like giant bars. The women are hounded from all directions by men, and the men seem to have to fight to distinguish themselves. Every good friend I know that is female and on one of these sites is constantly bombarded and things quickly devolve into shallow initial impressions. I'm willing to bet most relationships started at bars are often shaky when things get real as well.
  • Reality slap... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:17AM (#38966109) Homepage

    Regular dating makes people "picky" and "unrealistic"

    I have friends that ,"I can only date a HOTTIE" and they are too freaking ugly, fat, etc to even get the attention of a normal girl. One friend is nearly 400 pounds and looks like the dough boy and thinks he will get a hot chick.

    The REALITY is that many people are not only unrealistic, but they are shallow and have a twisted sense of the world.

    Also remember, All Hot chicks are insane, but not all insane chicks are hot.

    • Re:Reality slap... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#38966241)
      Watch just about any sitcom from a few years ago. Fat guy with hot chick. (King of Queens, Family Guy, The Flintstones, The Honeymooners)

      It's actually getting better. Ray Romano and Tim Allen seem to be matched with an actresses of equal "hotness".
    • by Kjella (173770)

      Also remember, All Hot chicks are insane, but not all insane chicks are hot.

      No, but all single hot chicks who'll take an average flirt from an average to poor looking guy are probably bat shit insane, that's why they're single. Of course there's a match of personalities too, but a great looking body doesn't come any easier to them than it does to us, if they're willing to invest a lot in diet and exercise to look fit and you're not at all interested, that's a huge clash of interests already. Of course they say opposites attracts but that goes for interests that fill each other out

  • by vlm (69642) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:23AM (#38966177)

    What is the story with slashdot personals?

    I "remember" this from something like a decade ago, but I don't remember much but the name and a couple anecdotes. The Mighty GOOG has failed me, or at least I'd have to wade thru more junk than I'm willing to.

    I could swear we were doing something like a dating site linked to /.. I even remember a kuro5hin article flaming it for not being LGBT compatible, as if a site thats not even UTF-8 compatible is going to have that too.

    I don't remember if it was serious or a joke or what. Probably because I was already married (still am, to the same chick even)

  • by tekrat (242117) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:26AM (#38966225) Homepage Journal

    #1) Women don't actually want to go out with you. What they want is a male "pen-pal". They want you to write long emails to them which they can read in Starbucks while sipping their lattes.

    #2) Avoid any woman who's profile claims she isn't seeking anyone who plays games or has baggage. Because she's the one who's playing games and has baggage.

    #3) Yes, yes, yes, we all love wine, good food, long walks on the beach. Tell me what's unique about you, not what makes you the same as everyone else!

    #3) After more than a decade of online dating, I've decided I'm happier by myself anyhow. When I crave "companionship", there are services for that.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:31AM (#38966283)

    An interesting article originally posted by OKCupid (until they were bought and it was pulled down) explaining why you should never pay for online dating:

    http://interestingreads.posterous.com/why-you-should-never-pay-for-online-dating-ok [posterous.com]

    Worth a read.

  • by Colourspace (563895) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:32AM (#38966293)
    Divorce coming through this week. HTH.
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @09:39AM (#38966385)
    I think it's more likely that "Picky" and "Unrealistic" people eventually gravitate towards online dating because it allows them to be "Picky" and "Unrealistic" over a much larger selection of people they can eventually reject on superficial grounds. The majority of the people I know that are using these services are Fat, over 50, have bad jobs, and they want to meet people that are slender, under 30 and make good money. The few people I've met that have gotten a relationship off of one of these sites are usually nuts, and the relationship ends up being the kind you read about in the paper eventually.

    If you want to meet a romantic interest you have 2 options:
    1. Pick your favorite hobby, take classes, go on retreats, workshops, do the hobby with large groups of people... you will run into someone eventually.
    2. Go to a bar, get drunk, hope you wake up next to someone you find attractive. (This has the highest probability of success.)
  • Save your money (Score:5, Informative)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:19AM (#38966949)

    Save your money. Online dating is for poorly socialized basement dwellers.

    Want to meet somebody nice? Try going out into the real world, and outside your comfort zone. Travel. Study something new. Change jobs. Move to another country. Then you'll meet lots of people; some may be date material, some will become lifelong friends, and a few will be special enough to share your life with. And that person, odds-on, will look nothing like what you imagined your partner to look like in your mind's eye.

    Me? On a whim, I quit my job, moved to the other side of the world with nothing but the clothes on my back and my savings, and decided to start afresh. Six years later, I'm happily settled down with my lovely and very sweet, Spanish fiancee, only a few short years after I thought I'd be single forever.

    It's what pickup nerds call "inner game". Work on growing as a person and being a balanced individual, and eventually everything else will fall into place.

    Get out there, be bold, and have the courage to do something new and different. Don't waste your time on seedy websites.

  • Advice for women (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @10:29AM (#38967091) Homepage
    The simplest, best, way for a woman to use an online dating service is to NEVER respond to emails.

    Instead she should initiate contact herself.

    This way she:

    1. Eliminates any douchebag that doesn't let a women initiate contact.

    2. Ignores all the douchebags emailing everyone.

    3. Is less likely to be fooled by someone customizing their email to her profile.

    Note, this only works because other women are not emailing men. Everyone wants to be pursued - even the woman that call themselves dominant. But that idea simply works BADLY online. Too many men doing the pursuing.

    It also takes a woman smart enough to realize that emailing a guy doesn't make her overly aggressive. Hell, even if you are a kinky submissive on an "adult" web site you can still email a guy in a submissive way. It's about what you say, not who wrote first.

  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:13AM (#38967731) Journal

    Most times, it seems so capricious why anyone (ok, why any man) gets rejected. Stephen Hawking doesn't understand it. Everything sounds great online, you correspond for weeks, and then in the first face to face meeting she kills the relationship. She won't say why. Maybe she can't, if the real reason is something biological. He didn't smell different or musky enough. Or he's not tall enough. Or she's no gold digger, not consciously, yet the car he pulled up in was too cheap, small, and old. Or she's testing him with mind games, wants to see if he can figure out when no means no, and when no doesn't really mean no, maybe looking for persistence from him, seeing in that an indication that he is serious. What does "let's just be friends" really mean? Or despite professing a desire for a smart man, she didn't really mean that, and actually wants the big dumb infatuated ox who is easy for her to manipulate and mentally dominate.

    Really baffling is seeing what some women choose. She rejects a bunch of great guys and ends up going with a total cad, the most shallow, superficial, lying, hypocritical loser and fool available, the kind of guy who abuses women and cheats even as he preaches about morality. You know, guys like Newt Gingrich except without the wealth and power. Well, maybe he has cute interns working for him as well as money, power, and fame. Maybe it's because she's selling herself short, doesn't believe she deserves better. Sometimes she comes to her senses, and can't understand herself why she ever dated or married a guy like that.

    I also wonder if the larger climate makes dating even harder. There are too many people in the world. It's too hard to raise children and maintain the high standard of living people have grown to like. Women are more independent than ever, don't need any man. And employers subtly pressure women not to have children, as that would of course take them away from work. Queen Victoria found the biology of it all icky and disgusting. Didn't like the "horror" of breastfeeding. Maybe she was merely ahead of her time? What's with calling sex "the nasty"?

    The only way I've ever been able to make much sense of it all is through a biological view. We're even more enslaved to our hormones than we realize. Men's lot is to ask and ask and ask, and be rejected almost every time but not quite, and the reason why it's like that is the biological fact that the effort of producing offspring falls almost entirely on women.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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