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Online Dating By The Numbers


Keep these statistics in mind when you’re online, searching for cyberlove. They can help you meet your match!

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

nline dating can truly be as easy as one, two, three (i.e., create a profile, search for matches, send an email “hello”). But there are some other numbers you might want to think about when seeking a true cyber-connection. Though each person’s online process is as unique as his or her profile, check out the following by-the-numbers guidelines. Because with the right numbers in place, your online success ratio just might turn out to be a positive equation.

87 million = the number of single people in the United States.
And guess what? According to the U.S. News & World Report, nearly 40 million
Invest the time needed to create a top-notch profile.
of those are dating online (or have at least visited an online dating site) at any given time in the last year. That kind of number definitely increases your chances of meeting someone (and should encourage you that you’re not the only single person left on the planet).

120,000 = the number of marriages per year that result from Internet matches.
In other words, the stigma is gone, gone, gone. “If you are looking for lasting love, work on your online dating program,” says Dr. Diana Kirschner, author of Love in 90 Days. Invest the time needed to create a top-notch profile, search often and reply to promising profiles.

2007 = the year midlife men and women made peace with online dating.
Dr. Kirschner says that 2007 is the year it all changed for people over 45. “More of them found lasting love through online dating as compared to the traditional method—through their network of family, coworkers and friends,” says Dr. Kirschner. “So if you are in this age group, your chances are now better online.”

100 = the maximum distance (in miles) in which you should search for serious matches.
Unless you own a private jet, emailing people 3000 miles away is just silly. “You want to keep looking within a certain mile radius and should start close by,” says dating guru David Wygant (www.davidwygant.com). “Don’t waste time with people when they say they want to meet somebody within 10 miles and you live 500 miles from their hometown… it’s about being efficient, and the more people you find that you can actually meet in person, the better your chances of finding a match!”

20 = the number of words you should use to describe your match.
“You don’t want people to feel they can’t measure up to a long list of qualities… you want to cast a wide net and gather many types of potential partners,” says Dr. Kirschner. “Love almost always comes in a surprise package!”

15 = the number of profile compatibility matches you should seek.
You know that thing about oil and water not mixing? Yeah,
Commit to searching at least three times per week.
that’s why Match.com has mutual matching. You don’t have to be identical to your date, but knowing that there is some degree of compatibility in what you are seeking is a really good start. So before you email, check this little tool on the right-hand side of every profile you view and see how your compatibility odds add up. Shooting for (at minimum) 15 of the 25 criteria in common is a good gauge.

6 = the maximum number of potential dates you should chat with at once.
If you’re serious about finding a match online, keep in mind that chatting with more than six people at a time can get seriously confusing! Do yourself a favor and be a little discerning. This isn’t an all-you-can-date buffet.

5 = the number of emails you should exchange before giving out any personal information.
Remember, we live in the age of online searching, so if you give out too much info too fast, you may be giving away more about yourself than you realize. But after a couple of nice emails, feel free to move forward. “Two emails between the two of you, and by the fifth, you should say you’d like to chat over the phone,” says Laurie Puhn, J.D., author of Instant Persuasion. “It shows confidence, and there is no reason to email for weeks.”

5 = a good number of photos to post.
“You should aim for three body shots and two head shots; every single one of them has to be current,” suggests Wygant. “They need to be clearly defined and showcase who you are and what you are about.” The absolute minimum number of photos you should post? Two—one headshot and one full-body photo. Otherwise, people will think you’re hiding something.

4 = the number of weeks you should wait to contact someone again.
“Just because you contacted somebody a month ago or two months ago or three months ago, that person may not have responded because he or she may have been dating somebody else and just happened to have a picture/profile still up online,” says David Wygant. “So, it’s okay to re-contact, but don’t do it with the exact same email… type something different or ask a question. Remember, online dating is about starting a conversation!”

3 = the number of searches you should conduct per week.
You don’t have to be a fanatic about online dating to find a match, but being proactive helps. Commit to searching at least three times per week, since you never know when Mr. or Ms. Right will post a profile—and you don’t want to miss out!

3 = the maximum number of weeks before you meet in person.
“Why waste time in a fantasy email relationship with someone who turns out to have absolutely no chemistry with you?” says Dr. Kirschner. Better to find out sooner rather than later (and then have to plan an awkward escape!).

2 = the length of time in months that you should give a relationship to develop once you’ve met.
“Give promising connections at least two months to show consistently improving contact,” says Dr. Kirschner. “This is an indication, although not a guarantee, that this relationship is not just a hot encounter that will fizzle out.”

1 = the number of matches you are ultimately seeking.
Before you get frustrated or overwhelmed, keep in mind that the ultimate goal is finding just one person who is your match, whether you’re searching for a lifelong partner or just some to get to know in the weeks ahead. And the odds are in your favor… just look at the numbers!


Kimberly Dawn Neumann is a New York City-based dating/relationship writer/expert whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Health, Maxim as well as online. Her first book, The Real Reasons Men Commit: Why He Will — or Won’t — Love, Honor and Marry You, is now available. For more, visit: www.KDNeumann.com.
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