Knowing the results of recent scientific studies on dating and relationships can help you in your pursuit of love. Studies without science to back them up don’t inspire much confidence otherwise. And in a lot of cases, the biases of the people conducting unscientific research will taint the results. That makes it hard to believe the conclusions.
So, what does the latest scientific research tell us about how to find love?
Don’t give up!
Dr. Elizabeth Bruch, the professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, analyzed thousands of messages on an online dating site between more than 186,000 heterosexual men and women. The research was confined to only four metropolitan areas:
- New York
So, what did the results find? The takeaway was that the key to dating success was two fold:
- Your perspective on dating
- And your persistence
Personally, I interpret the results the same as Dr. Bruch; that persistence pays off.
I know some of you will interpret the results differently, but I still felt that sharing the study with you was important. There were a few indications in the study that, on the surface, may seem discouraging.
For example, the study found that, according to the number of messages she receives, a woman’s desirability goes down with age and also with more education.
I know you may feel discouraged by this news, but you can still find love. People who are older and who hold advanced degrees find love everyday, and there’s no reason why you can’t either if you fall into one or both of these categories. You want to feel optimistic rather than discouraged, and having a positive perspective on dating is critical for your success.
How will you stay motivated to reach your dating goals if you feel that it’s hopeless?
So with that in mind, let’s look at how the study measured desirability, because the devil is always in the details.
How did the study measure desirability?
Desirability according to the study was measured via how many emails someone received, and how much someone wrote in an email. It wasn’t clear what the sender’s intentions were, i.e., if they were looking for a long-term relationship or a casual fling.
While it’s true that the more men who contact you will give you a higher chance of finding the right one, this kind of desirability that the study measured might only be relevant if you want casual flings.
But the study isn’t saying you’re undateable if you are older or have a doctorate. The study only measured how many emails people received and how much was written in the emails.
Please don’t shoot yourself in the foot and make the mistake of thinking that you’ll never find a partner if you’re over 40 and can boast an advanced education. There are plenty of eligible men looking to date women like you. The issue is that the eligibility pool shrinks after you reach a certain age. Plus, the more educated you are, the less you’ll have in common with people who don’t hold advanced degrees. These are the facts. They aren’t value judgments against you as a person.
After all, you’re only looking for one man, not hundreds of them.
How can you overcome these challenges?
There are different factors that determine how big or large your dating pool is. Some are structural and are out of your control, like your age, or where you are located. Some are within your control. One of the things that can either shrink or expand your dating pool quickly is your list of criteria you want in a partner.
The most effective and quickest way you can expand your dating pool is by adjusting ‘the list’. Try to be more discerning between your ‘must haves’ and your ‘nice to haves.’ The man who is right for you can’t possibly meet every requirement on your checklist. You are, after all, looking to date a person, not a product you can put together from an assembly line. Remember, casting a wide net will catch more fish. Does he really have to be six feet tall? Isn’t it better to date a guy who is shorter, but crazy about you?
It might be in your best interest to consider responding to men who make sincere efforts to get to know you and date you, even if you aren’t blown away by their looks, charisma, or perceived success. You’re doing yourself a favor by casting a wider net and giving yourself more chances to find the right person for you.
What else did the study find?
The study found that men make the first move in the vast majority of cases, over 80% of the time, to be exact. This is consistent with the idea that it’s usually in the woman’s best interest to wait to hear from a man. If he’s interested in you and attracted to you, it makes your dating life a lot easier. You’re not in the position to have to convince him to like you.
Also, Dr. Bruch’s study found that women only responded to 20% of the messages they received. The study also found that most people tended to contact partners who were perceived as being ‘more desirable’ than themselves.
What does this tell us?
If you’re a woman who wants a man who’s a step up from you, you might improve your chances of success if you respond to messages from men whom you perceive to be at your level. It will improve your chances of dating success if you’re communicating with and meeting a man who is on the same level as you. The two of you are more likely to be compatible.
The key takeaways here for women are to cast a wider net, be patient, optimistic, persistent, and give men a chance to contact you and convince you that they are the right partner.
Please keep in mind that the research only studied online dating in a few select metro areas. The study’s conclusions may not hold sway if you meet someone at work, through friends, or through serendipity. Remember, only 5% of committed couples meet online.
So, please take from this study the advice that will help you, instead of feeling bad about yourself. Be honest, and realistic about the kind of partner you want and need so you’re open to Mr. Right when he comes along. There’s absolutely no harm in giving a good man a chance to treat you well. You deserve it!
What’s your experience been with online dating? Are you giving good men a chance? Let us know in the comments!