Study: Online Dating Causes People To Lower Their Standards

BRISBANE — Dating apps are an extremely popular way to socialize and pick up others these days, but recent research suggests they might actually lead people to lower their standards as well.

According to researchers at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, singles tend to have a clear idea as to what’s on their dating wish lists, but are actually more likely to go out with people they met online who don’t actually meet those requirements.

A recent study finds that using online dating apps may cause people to lower their standards when choosing potential mates.

Behavioral economists Stephen Whyte and Professor Benno Torgler were behind the research published as “Preference vs Choice in Online Dating” in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking. They watched the behavior of nearly 42,000 people between the ages of 18 and 80 who were using an Australian dating site called “RSVP” from Jan. 2016 through April 2016. About 78 percent of the participants were men.

Whyte explained the intentions of the study.

“We looked at whether or not people actually contact people who match what they say is their ideal partner in their profile, and our findings show they don’t,” he says in a university release. “Stating a preference for what you are looking for appears to have little to no bearing on the characteristics of people you actually contact.”

Participants’ “wish lists” were comprised of seven categories for an ideal mate: hair color, eye color, body type, education level, personality type, political view, and religious affiliation. The authors determined that instead of searching until they found someone who met their dating wish list criteria, participants were likely to communicate with people who had only some of those characteristics.

In fact, the study showed that more than 65 percent of the contacts the participants made with potential dates on the site had one or less category that matched their wish list. About one in three contacts had zero matching attributes.

“Disclosure of ‘ideal’ partner preferences is a widely offered and commonly-used option for people creating a profile on online dating websites, but whether it’s effective or useful in helping people find that special someone is unclear,” says Whyte. “This study provides quite unique findings in that people may state a preference for an ideal partner but they are more than happy to initiate contact with potential love interests that bear no resemblance whatsoever to that ‘Mr or Mrs Perfect’ they initially think they prefer over all others.”

In addition to their main findings, the authors also noted that men tended to be more open-minded than female in contacting potential mates with fewer matches — except for men in their 60s or older, who were more selective.

The study is limited in the sense though, that it’s hard to say how many people hold out for their perfect person when socializing in real life as opposed to online.


  1. Those that pray together, stay together. How bout looking for love at church? You’ll find good girls, clean girls…

      1. And someone once said that there’s always room for another hypocrite in the pews, meaning that the younger women who still go to church aren’t the ‘good girls’ you’d expect them to be. Exceptions exist, of course, but they are as rare as hen’s teeth, and just as rare as a truly good woman.

  2. The media is limited linear thinking–If your standards are unreasonable (thus keeping you single), how is lowering them bad?

  3. It’s true. I’ve done online dating and dated people I met in real life. The people I have dated from meeting in real life were always much closer to my ideal than people I’ve met online. Even the comparatively attractive ones online had glaring defects that I couldn’t look past and so those relationships didn’t last longer than a few months.

    Not to say that love is impossible to find online. I know it’s worked for some. I’ve just personally had more success in the real world. If anything taking a gander at the online dating pool often leaves me thankful for what I have now.

  4. The mere fact that folks go online to find a date/fbuddy/or spouse says it all doesn’t it?
    If the people you know, and who know you aren’t interested, why not try a stranger?
    Says something in my mind about anyone using these services.
    All damaged goods I suspect.

      1. Oh, I don’t have to worry about a date, been with my bride for going on 47 years.
        Do you have something against eating, farmers, or Ag equipment?

        1. That’s good to know. No, I like eating, farmers and Ag equipment. I just think that after 47 years of being out of the loop in dating you aren’t in a good position to know what dating is like now-a-days.

          1. LOL perhaps not Ken, but, I do know I would stay with folks I know, and who know me. I guess I’m old fashioned.

  5. Lowering their standards? REALLY!? They’re trolling the internet wooking po nub…I’m betting their standards pretty much started…low!

  6. You are fucking idiots. The only person who is in control of your ‘self-esteem’ or ‘standards’ is yourself. NOT a website. You are either confident and secure or you are a co-dependent POS.

  7. Not only do men outnumber women ten to one on dating sites, the real women on those sites (as opposed to fake women the sites use to lure and rip off men) are generally in the bottom 25%.

  8. “Online Dating Causes People To Lower Their Standards”

    I guess that’s what Hillary supporters hoped would happen in the election.

  9. I met my husband onine, I think it just depends on your location and goals. I lived in a small town where most of the guys I knew didn’t have a job, or had “baby mamas”. I didn’t want to go to a club, and meeting someone at work hadn’t panned out either.there are plenty of people just looking for a hook up, but I think online dating let’s you rule them out pretty quickly.

  10. Wait until the sex robots improve in both performance and appearance. No drama, no STD. Say goodbye to human interactions and birth rates. The truth is that people don’t not feel they have something to look for in the future and are not thinking of dumping the sour outlook on their potential offsprings.


  11. When has anyone, ever, in the history of man, found someone that fits the full list of their narcissistic wants?

    If you are arrogant enough to demand perfection, you god-damned well better be able to deliver it.

    …and you can’t

    The only criteria in a relationship are extreme kindness and wonderfully torrid sex.

    Don’t agree? Enjoy your misery.

    God, I feel my brain cells dying of atrophy as I reply to this. (Yet I do it anyway. Perhaps I am lowering my standards…)

  12. Excellent detective work, Kate Ferguson. I appreciate these rare articles where investigative journalism is actually practiced. This is great “In fact, the study showed that more than 65 percent of the contacts the participants made with potential dates on the site had one or less category that matched their wish list. About one in three contacts had zero matching attributes.”

  13. This problem has been going on for a long time. Online dating attracts an inordinate number of out of shape and/or antisocial people. Others that fall in wind up “dating” these people, and they often literally don’t even know or want to “date”. They won’t take up social or physical acivities, and then you have a recipe for disaster. Years ago people went out dancing, or found places to hangout and have fun. You don’t see that too much anymore. The bar scene is still going, but most people in bars are alcoholics. Someone needs to make dating great again!

  14. When I was using online dating sites, I found that lowering my standards
    didn’t work at all, I was still ignored and rejected pretty much 99.9%
    of the time. I would hazard a guess that there are a lot of guys in the
    same situation. The problem is that you have tons of women using OLD
    sites who have low sexual market value but still have very high
    standards and won’t relax them in the slightest.

  15. You have drawn conclusions without assessing the overall attractiveness of the chosen dates. Women will always go for the guys who are attractive regardless of whether they meet their preferred physical attributes. That is not lowering standards. In fact, the illusion of limitless options makes women raise their attractiveness standards significantly as shown in OKC’s study.

  16. Preferences, shmeferences. Men are looking at the face and body, women are looking at the clothes, jewelry, and any vehicles that may be in the picture in order to get an idea of the size and girth of the wallet.

  17. Women have all the power in the dating world. This is why I have to keep the dream of being a rock star alive!

  18. On-line dating upped my standard. After dozens of dates it was clear I needed someone who I was compatible with and I found her. More than 11 years ago. This article is stupid.

  19. This is a flawed study. Men may list all the attributes they seek in a woman, but once they start to search, then find a woman with a big chest, their “wish list” goes out the window. Men are men…..when you survey 78% men you’re not going to really get at the truth. Sorry, thats my theory….a big chest always trumps a sensitive woman who may have a good job, eats healthy, and is education. sad…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *