Online Daters Are Swinging (Way Out) Of Their League

Photo: Manuel Breva Colmeiro (Getty)

It seems as if almost everybody, at one point or another, has attempted online dating. Most of those “dates” don’t usually work out in the long run, but a new study might shed some light as to why. Could it be that online daters are trying to get with people who are too out of their league? No way, not possible.

Alright, it’s a little possible. And very funny.

online dating

A new study, published in the journal Science Advances seems to think so. It concluded those who are online dating seek out partners they deem to be more desirable than themselves, which kind of tips the scale out of balance when it comes to the actual act of dating.

If this were a baseball field, you’d have pitchers swinging for the fence.

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“What does it mean, scientifically, for someone to be out of your league? How can we figure out who’s in and who’s out?” study author, Elizabeth Bruch, an associate professor of complex systems and sociology at the University of Michigan, asked.

Just how “out of their league” are people going? According to Bruch, people tend to pick out others who they deem to be at least 25 percent more attractive. That’s like a Division I athlete who thinks he’s the next Lebron.

“Intuitively, I expected to find some sort of desirability gap,” she said, “but I was thinking more on the order of 5 or 10-percent range, not 25 percent. That number for me was really striking.”

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The study collected data from 187,000 people in Chicago, New York, Seattle and Boston who were all using an unnamed but popular, free online dating service (it’s got to be Tinder). But is it because people in cities have more fish in the sea to choose from?

Research also seemed to suggest that those who seek out more attractive partners on the web, do so because the fear of rejection is far less than if one was to make the same attempt in-person. That, or a virtual slap to the face hurts a whole lot less than a real one.

Not that I have first-hand knowledge or anything.