EHarmony asks users to fill out extensive psychological questionnaires, many based on established personality scales.
Ok Cupid asks quirkier questions (e.g., “wouldn’t it be fun to chuck it all and live on a sailboat? The idea that we can use reliable tests to identify appropriate partners is certainly seductive (forgive the pun).
Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.
To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.
Joining e Harmony, which matches couples based on a detailed personality questionnaire, says Anna, "was my backup in case I didn't meet anyone the 'regular' way." It took six months of being matched with other e Harmony members before she met Sam.
"His profile struck a chord—he was very spiritual, for one thing, which was important to me." Those other matches had interested her, but fizzled once they got past initial communication. Six months later, Anna and Sam were engaged; they got married in April 2010.
The share of 18- to 24-year-olds who use online dating has roughly tripled from 10% in 2013 to 27% today.
Not so with Sam—whom she agreed to make a date with after six weeks of emails and hour-long phone calls. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is a real man, not just an email! Lesson learned: Keep expectations low; it can take a while to find a match.