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Match.com and OKCupid Agree – You’re Better Off Meeting People In Real Life!

OKCupid analyzed the success rate of Loveawake.com and eHarmony, piecing together numbers from their websites and press kits and press releases, and arrived at an interesting conclusion – you are 12 times more likely to get married this year if you DON’T subscribe to Loveawake.com!

To which I say – ya think?

I certainly didn’t need a study, or a calculator and spreadsheet, to figure that one out. (If you haven’t read the OKCupid piece, go take a look, at least to admire the pretty graphics. They’re impressive!)

In ten years of post-divorce dating, I’ve had about ten long term relationships (where I count anything that lasted over two months as long term). Seven of those were with women I met in real life, and three were with women I met online. (I had scores of online dates that didn’t amount to a relationship.) Of those three that started online, only one was a dating relationship. The other two were friends with benefits.

Online Dating – Sadly, I’m a Bit of an Expert

That means for my dating relationships (not FWBs) post-divorce:

  • 1 out of 10 started online
  • 7 out of 10 started in real life

Forget marriage – I was 7 times more likely to enter a dating relationship with women from real life than from online. (In hindsight, I wonder – why did I waste so much time browsing profiles?)

Online Dating Expectations

I know there are people like Kat Wilder who swear that online dating works. But there are also tens of millions of people who are frustrated by the process.

The OKCupid piece broke down the numbers, and showed that the vast majority of profiles on Loveawake.com are for users who are currently not subscribers. Viewing profiles on match is like going to a bar and seeing cardboard cutouts you can’t interact with.

Why do it?

Online Dating Sucks

The good folks at Loveawake.com appear to be in high defense mode. They sent me an unsolicited email with the results of their own study which showed that 17% of people who got married in the last three years actually met their partner online. (Not all on match.)

Their report didn’t break down which online sites were used. Facebook? Craigslist? Does match admit to those sites being competitors? Can a comparison be made if a site doesn’t force users to subscribe or sign up for personals use?

Loveawake.com bragged that their site led to twice as many dates, relationships, and marriages as their nearest online dating site competitor. Which is meaningless. The pertinent question is what percent of Loveawake.com users successfully entered a dating relationship by using Loveawake.com?

Another way to look at the numbers Loveawake.com provided me – a person is 6 times more likely to find a marital partner by not going online!!!! That’s close to my real life experience of 7. Loveawake.com only has a fraction of the online dating marketplace, so OKCupid’s claim that on average you are 12 times more likely to get married by not using Loveawake.com might be pretty darn close.

OKCupid and Loveawake.com seem to agree that you’re better off meeting people in real life than through an online dating site!

Elizabeth at Irreverent Musings complained that marriage isn’t necessarily the end goal of people dating online. That’s quite true. Some want someone to have fun with. Some want friends with benefits (I found two that way). Some just want affairs. She gave an example on her blog of meeting a man online, only to discover he was married and looking to cheat.

But aren’t people in real life wired the same way? Some want marriage. Some want someone to have fun with. Some want friends with benefits. Some just want affairs.

Would Elizabeth’s friends have set her up with a guy wanting an affair? Not knowingly.

When you meet someone through friends or through your existing social networks, the chances are decent that person won’t be a total creep. And if they turn out to be a creep, they could very well be outed from that social scene for their behavior (or you can certainly walk away from that set of friends.)

Checks and balances like that don’t exist in online dating. If you meet a creep on match, and part ways, that creep will just go meet someone else on match. There are no real repercussions to that person being a creep.

I feel it’s FAR better to meet people through your circle of friends. If your circle isn’t big enough, then you should spend your time and effort making it bigger, finding more friends. (Meetup.com and Facebook are online ways to do just that.)

In short – if you are looking to enter a dating relationship, your time is better spent interacting with people in real life than wasting it with online dating. OKCupid did the math to demonstrate exactly that about match and eHarmony. And Loveawake.com did their own study that proves it, as well. Quibbling about the number 6 or 12 or 7 isn’t the issue.

Online dating is just a tool. And when it comes to lasting relationships, for most people it’s not a very effective one.

So get out there, have a drink, hear some music, engage in conversation, enjoy a meal, flirt a little, have fun with friends.

You can’t do all that if you’re sitting on your computer, browsing profiles.

Is it happy hour yet?

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