Imagine never having to squirm through a cringe-worthy first date again. Picture this: You type out your heart and soul in a questionnaire, zap it off to a database where others have done the same, and—voila!—an algorithm plays Cupid and matches you with someone who’s supposed to tick all your boxes. Just set up a date, and you’re good to go.
Sounds pretty much like what a bunch of dating apps are doing, right? People throw in some details about themselves and what they’re looking for, and they’re off to the races. Sometimes, it even works out and boom! Love is in the air.
But hold up, is it really the smarty-pants algorithm that’s making these love connections stick? Not so fast. A study popped up in Psychological Science back in August 2017, and it threw some cold water on that idea. Turns out, the things we say we want and who we’re actually into don’t always line up. Even after folks detailed their personality and their dream date’s personality, and got set up on speed dates, the sparks didn’t fly any higher for the matches than they did for the random pair-ups.
The catch is, this study only peeped at that first blush of attraction, not the kind of love that can go the distance. Plus, it stuck to the usual online dating playbook of trusting us to know what we want. Spoiler: We’re not always the best at that.
If the standard way of doing things is a bit of a flop, then how do we figure out who’s going to be our ride or die? Personality profiles might not be the magic bullet, but maybe if we mix and match that with some lessons on how to keep the spark alive, we might be onto something.
There’s other research that backs up the idea that the secret sauce for long-term love has got to do with a bunch of things like having similar values, getting those good vibes from being around each other, and finding the other person, well, hot. And it’s not just about them being into you, but also about fitting into each other’s worlds and meeting each other’s needs. Sometimes, love even thrives in weird or risky settings, or when there’s just something about them that you can’t get enough of.
Here’s a quick rundown of the things that could make you fall head over heels (and stay that way) with someone:
- Being alike in what you believe and think.
- Spending a bunch of time together or just knowing you will.
- Finding each other good-looking or having those personality traits you just love.
- Mutual crush vibes.
- Getting the thumbs-up from your social circle.
- Checking off each other’s “need to have” list.
- Sharing some risky or wild experiences.
- That one little thing about them that just gets you.
- Really wanting to be in a relationship.
- Getting some one-on-one time.
- A little bit of mystery to keep things interesting.
So yeah, maybe tech can sort out a decent match here and there. But in the end, it’s the human stuff—how we act and react when we’re together—that lights the fire. And as for keeping that flame burning bright? Well, that might just take some practice and patience, way beyond what any algorithm can cook up.