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You want her to be athletic, humble, find your jokes funny, and have a semi-normal family. You’re done with the high-maintenance girls who aren’t worth the frustration.
So why are they the ones you keep reaching out to on dating sites?
This is a common trend people fall into, according to research from Queensland University of Technology. Despite having very clear standards—or at least an idea of a “type” that they’re looking for—dating site users often reach out to people who have next to nothing in common with their ideal.
And here’s the thing: That’s not necessarily bad.
In the study, aptly named “Preference vs Choice in Online Dating,” researchers analyzed the preferences and behaviors of about 41,000 Australians between the ages 18-80 who were using the online dating website RSVP. In all, researchers sifted through more than 219,000 contacts made by the users in a four-month span.
The results indicated that users casted a wider net than even they’d expected. Instead of searching for the proverbial foot to your glass slipper, you might create an acceptable threshold that encompasses your preferred qualities and characteristics in a mate with some wiggle room—rather than wallow in your loneliness. Even if you don’t go on a date, you’re still more apt to initiate a conversation.
“How people go about finding a partner is changing dramatically thanks to the internet,” study co-author Stephen Whyte said in a press release. “Where once we were limited to settings such as school, work, social gatherings, or local night spots, there’s a much wider choice at hand online.”
And that’s definitely not a bad thing. In fact, the research, published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, suggests online dating can help connect more people than ever before.
“Our study reviewed the interactions of people whose ages ranged from millennials to octogenarians, which in itself demonstrates how widespread online dating is and how it is changing traditional ways in which people find potential love interests,” Whyte said.