Online Dating Sites

The Path to Romance or Not

If you have been dating online for a while, have come across potential singles who seemed promising, even personally met up with a few, but the ideal partner of your dreams continues to elude you, then it might be time to look at internet matchmaking as an option.

For most single people, match making services may be an alien concept because they have only seen people choosing their own mates. So, even though some singles may not put any stock in matchmaking, the fact that the online matching process seems to have a scientific basis can be reassuring.

Internet relationship websites work on the simple premise that if happy couples are scientifically studied, their characteristics and mental make-ups evaluated and the resultant scientific statistical evidence compiled, it may be possible to ferret out the reasons why some matchups work and others don't. In this way, these sites claim to have boiled down the traits which can be matched between prospective singles to figure out whether they have the makings of a truly lasting relationship.

As a recent article points out, what such web personals services like do is to have their subscribers fill out a personality test questionnaire and then uses the responses to determine the "right" compatible partners for them.

eHarmony members are sent the scientifically determined matchups based on an algorithm created out by Galen Buckwalter, a psychologist who had been a research professor at USC. The matches are delivered right to the members' inbox. But unlike similar relationship sites like, eHarmony members may not search the database for more suitable partners. And even though this maybe a deal breaker for some people, the eHarmony service claims to have been responsible for about 2 percent of the marriages in America in the year 2007.

The academic community that invests itself in the study of human relationships has not yet validated the methods used by these types of internet personals sites simply because these services do not publish their formulas and algorithms publicly for peer review. Although this is due to professional reasons, it has the unwanted side effect of not being able to gain legitimacy in academic circles because a scientific paper or finding is not considered acceptable till it is reviewed by accomplished peers in the academic circles.

But then again, these web personal ads sites have a huge database, and a proportionately large amount of research and statistical data, a fact that cannot be ignored by the scientific elite at large. A large number of testimonials on these websites bear witness to their success, as does the large number of new subscribers that join up every day.

It is only a matter of time before the science behind online matchmaking would throw off its cloak of confusion and illegitimacy and emerge as an even bigger player in the marriage industry.

Posted at 3:47 PM on Feb 16, 2008 By

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