Technology has #changed the way #people fall in #love – and created #new #hurdles for future #generations

From apps to websites and matchmaking services, it’s never been easier to find a date.

It’s been predicted that by the year 2025, a majority of couples will have met through some sort of online dating site or app.

Most Internet-based dating sites and apps use extremely rudimentary screening criteria to help filter out possible love interests. While the exact elements used in the secret formulas that powers online matchmaking at dating sites are kept closely guarded, experts offered a brief glimpse into the inner workings of their craft.

Things such as height, weight, religion and preferences pertaining to appearance (are you looking to date blondes or brunettes?) are all considered. However, and possibly most surprising, one of the biggest criteria weighed by online dating services is simply your geographical location.

“It’s more about providing people with the opportunity to meet others who are relatively nearby,” said Viren Swami, a professor of social psychology at Anglia Ruskin University in the England. “What online dating sites do very well is they remove people who are too dissimilar from you. They present you with a pool of people who are more similar. From that pool you are more likely to find someone who’d be a good match for you.”

Some online dating services aim to hyper-focus potential partners through personalty tests, the level of education completed, employment status, career and even life goals. While Swami quickly points out that, scientifically, this level of vetting hasn’t proven to be any more successful than simply “swiping right”, the sites that use these types of enhanced matchmaking techniques argue otherwise.

Zoe Coetzee is a relationship psychologist with online dating website EliteSingles. She says, EliteSingles puts its members through a comprehensive 200-question personality test. It then collects information about a person’s relationship goals, lifestyle, age and location.

“(We) then use exclusive algorithms to match you with three to seven tailored partner suggestions a day, connecting you to someone with suits your personality, relationship goals and personal preferences,” she said. “As we adhere to a strict privacy policy and success rates fluctuate seasonally, we prefer not to put a finite percentage on success. However, what I can tell you is that, every maonth, we have thousands of members taking the time to let us know that they met on EliteSingles. … I personally also read love stories every week that couples write in to tell us about their relationship.”

Regardless which avenue or service a single person chooses to use, Coetzee said that internet-based dating has ushered in an evolution in the way people meet.

However, according to experts, the ease with which people can find a date is fundamentally changing the way that people meet potential partners.

Some people, confronted with an endless supply of potential suitors, are choosing to date in perpetuity.

“What we know happens on online dating sites is, it gives people the impression that there are lots of people out there waiting to meet you. People refer to it as “relation-shopping” — you go from one person to the next, hoping to meet the ideal individual or the magic partner,” said Swami. “It doesn’t exist in reality. So, you’re kind of going from one relationship to another not really ever willing to consider long-term potential.”