Afraid of rejection? Avoid dating sites that offer most matches, study finds

CATONSVILLE, Md. — If you can’t handle rejection, it’s probably best to avoid dating sites that provide the greatest amount of “matches” to connect with, a new study finds.

Researchers at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania created a theoretical model of a dating service for straight individuals, finding that while it could be seen as a positive to have more members to choose from for daters, there were also significant drawbacks to such platforms.

People using hands to make "Love" sign
A new study finds that people who use online dating sites that offer the largest number of “matches” are putting themselves at a much greater likelihood of being rejected.

Namely, the largest and most common platforms provided the allure of more members and matches, endowing users with the feeling of more choice — but at a greater risk of being rejected. Conversely, platforms with fewer matches for daters were less likely to lead to users feeling ignored or snubbed.

The researchers specifically shared the examples of and eHarmony as being existing paid services that provide a relatively large and small number of matches, respectively.

Since Match users can be paired with any number of other users, there is a greater probability of rejection due to increased competition, they explain. On the other hand, eHarmony users are more likely to encounter a match who is both suitable and more willing to settle down.

For that reason, the team found that eHarmony users were willing to pay an average of 25 percent more than Match members.

Ultimately, it’s not as much a matter of one type of service being better than another, but an exercise of personal preference, much like dating itself.

“Online dating platforms that restrict choice, like eHarmony, exist and prosper alongside platforms that offer more choice, like,” says researcher Hanna Halaburda in a press release from The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. “On a platform that offers more choice, agents also face more competition as their candidates also enjoy a larger choice set.”

As online dating sites and apps become more prevalent in the lives of many Americans, it helps to know whether it’s worth paying a premium for a service — if shelling out any cash at all.

The study’s findings were published in July in the journal Management Science.

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