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Online Dating Stories: Why You Have A Less Than 20 Per Cent Chance Of Finding Love Using Internet Apps

What Internet dating sites do not tell the single men and women who use their apps is that the range of intentions different online daters express effectively reduces the probability of singles finding their match to 20 per cent or less.

By Ben Arogundade. November. 01, 2019.

ONLINE DATING MAY BE the way most single people now meet, but statistically very few have found long-term loving relationships within the apps, as I discuss in my new guide to Internet dating. One of the factors that make this difficult is that while most of us believe all online daters are looking either for sex or a relationship, in reality there are in fact FIVE different levels of user, each of whom have different objectives. They are:

1. Those who look, swipe right, match, text and meet (for a relationship).

2. Those who look, swipe right, match, text and meet (for sex).

3. Those who look, swipe right, match and text only.

4. Those who look, swipe right and match only.

5. Those who look and swipe left only.

Each of these levels represent different degrees of fear within the psyche of online daters, with level 5 being the most fearful group, and level 1 the least. The difficulty is that all five levels are present within dating apps simultaneously, existing within one massive, unsorted cocktail in which each category is totally unidentifiable from another. When an online dater first interacts with someone, they have no idea whether they are connecting with a level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, despite what the person might say. What is clear though, is that a match can only happen with someone who is in the same category as you. A level 4 doesn’t work with a level 1, and a level 2 doesn’t work with a level 3, and so on. If the online dating apps could separate each of the five levels into their respective groupings, everyone would have what they wanted. Instead, what we have is, by definition, utter chaos.


Level 1s — those seeking love and a relationship — are a very frustrated group, as they are perpetually exerting energy into trying to meet people who don’t want to be met. Without realising it, they are interacting with those from all the other levels who are clogging up the network with their various intentions, none of which is to actually date. Their frustrations are understandable when one considers how many of these non-daters there are online. Research by America’s Pew Research Centre reveals that a third of US online daters have never actually been on a date — and this figure is even higher with younger digital daters. Another survey by LendEDU polled 3,852 US college students who had online dated, revealing that 71 per cent had never been on a date. Figures from research conducted by Queen Mary University are higher still. According to their study 10 per cent or fewer of matches on ‘Tinder’ resulted in an actual meet-up. When the numbers are this high, the primary objective that the Internet dating apps had at start-up — to help people meet — becomes critically eroded. Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, who has studied the field, seems to agree: “Given how few actual face-to-face dates seem to be obtained through Tinder and the phone dating apps, it is possible that the main utility of phone dating apps for heterosexuals is for flirting or for browsing pictures, rather than for dating or for hooking up,” he says.


This is all bad news if you are looking for love on the Internet. Put more simply, if all five levels were equally represented online in terms of numbers, each person in each group would have a 1-in-5 chance (20 per cent) of connecting with someone with the same intention. However, in practice, the size of each group is not equal, which means that those who seek to actually meet someone for love, or even a hook-up, may have a significantly less than 20 per cent chance of success. With odds like these, it comes as no surprise then, that for many people, online dating does not work.

To add even more complexity to it, the intentions of those within the five categories are constantly shifting. All levels are fluid rather than static positions, with people constantly teleporting between categories with changes in their emotional states. How long does it take for a level 5 to shift to a level 1, or vice-versa, for example? The answer is — it could take a microsecond, or a lifetime.

Ben Arogundade’s new guide to online dating is out now. (£9.99/$12.99)

Internet date book, My Terrifying, Shocking, Humiliating, Amazing Adventures In Online Dating


My Terrifying, Shocking, Humiliating, Amazing Adventures In Online Dating

Author Ben Arogundade recounts his journey as an online dater, during which time he was stood up, verbally abused, propositioned for sex and asked to be a father to an unborn child. Along the way he offers singles the secrets and best practices they need to know to boost the quality of their matches, and presents the latest strategies, research-based guidelines and innovations to take their online profiles to new levels of excellence. Get it now at Amazon, £9.99/$12.99.

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