October 06, 2015 18:34 UTC

Science & Technology

Finding the Right Match With Online Dating

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Couples who met through eHarmony were photographed in New York City as part of the the company's 10th anniversary celebration in 2010Couples who met through eHarmony were photographed in New York City as part of the the company's 10th anniversary celebration in 2010
Couples who met through eHarmony were photographed in New York City as part of the the company's 10th anniversary celebration in 2010
Couples who met through eHarmony were photographed in New York City as part of the the company's 10th anniversary celebration in 2010


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This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
Ten or fifteen years ago, online dating was too new to be socially acceptable. But now, many people search for a partner online.
Online dating is very different from traditional dating, in which people spend time with one another, slowly learning about each other. With online dating, people learn a lot about a potential partner before even meeting them.
We spoke with Mario, who had recently moved to the city of Baltimore, Maryland. His friends paid for him to use an online dating site. He thought he knew just what he was looking for.
MARIO: "A non-American, non-scientist, nothing related with Latin. And I ended up with the completely opposite."
"Opposites attract" is a popular saying. But online dating companies say the more similar two people are, the more likely they are to have a relationship that lasts a long time.  
One of the largest online dating sites is eHarmony. It asks people who want to meet someone using the site to first answer more than four hundred questions. A secret mathematical algorithm then uses the answers to match people. An algorithm is a step-by-step process for solving a problem.
Gian Gonzaga is the director of research and development at eHarmony. He spoke to us on Skype:

GIAN GONZAGA: "We like to say that opposites attract and then they attack. And it's not that you have to be similar on everything. It's only those things that are most important to you."
Makon Fardis is a clinical psychologist who works with couples. He does not believe in using mathematical algorithms to match people because, he says, only seven percent of people tell the truth when describing themselves. 
He says even if people don't decide to lie or mislead, the way we see ourselves is different from who we really are. He says there are many examples of couples that seem like they would be compatible, but are not when they meet.
Remember Mario? A woman named Tamara was his online match. She had some worries about online dating, but also saw the good, as well.
TAMARA: "One is that you just meet a lot of people and, you know and people you may not encounter regularly. And the other thing, it was almost easier like, if you didn't have a connection, it made it easier to say, you know I'm just not, this isn't what I want and you move on."
At first, Mario worried that Tamara was too similar to him. But he suggested they meet for coffee.
MARIO: "But then she ordered another drink, another drink. And let's order something to eat. And it was like 'OK.'"
TAMARA: "It was very natural -- we were just blah, blah, blah the whole time. And it ended up being five hours later that we had dinner and everything."
That was a year ago. Last month, they got married.
And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report. We'll post a video about Mario and Tamara and online dating at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Christopher Cruise.
Contributing: Tala Hadavi
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Bom from: Myanmar
08/29/2012 3:33 PM
At first i though that online dating is dangerous because we don't know about the person properly. That person might be a liar or a murderer. But when we really don't have time to meet someone or U can't find the match one,U might need this online dating but check that person every time. IMAO

by: Don Smith
08/29/2012 3:40 AM
One online dating site that uses the old fashion method of letting your friends match you is Hookwink.com

by: Jean
08/27/2012 10:18 PM
My parents and their friends of the same age don't believe in online dating and think it is dangerous because they could always see bad news about it on TV. My opinion is online dating is just one kind of methods to meet and learn other people. It is not definitely more dangerous than traditional dating. We are used to saying no to new things, aren't we? It might be safer or more efficient especially because we have the social network - Facebook for example. Let me pretend that I'm the member of eHarmony and I'm looking for a partner. Before I meet the guy chosen by a secret mathematical algorithm, I could learn his family, friends and everything he shares on his Facebook. It's so interesting, isn't it? Thanks.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
08/24/2012 1:21 AM
Yes, online matching seems one of the ways to find potential partners. This business may be niche work reflecting getting less chances for people to come to know each other face to face due to IT age. I'm interested in the mathematical algorithsm used in this matching program. How does this algorithm choose partmers most ajusted to applicants? Is it impossibe to include choice of opponents attract?

by: ngoc from: vietnam
08/23/2012 9:56 PM
this is a interesting subject. i aslo want to have a dating online. but i am scared of swindling and a lot of other things.

by: Tuck from: S.Korea
08/23/2012 2:38 AM
I think Online dating is one of ways to find the right match.
In this information age, that is not weird.
That opens more possiblities to many people.

by: Anonymous
08/22/2012 9:26 PM
It is a good subject , I saw it too important to me as an immigrant in future ..

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