Helen Fisher, PhD

Happy Birthday, Match.com

We’ve been together for 10 years and now it’s your 20th birthday.  Bravo.  So let’s tip a glass of bubbly together; reminisce about the past; and think about the future.  

Foremost, you have transformed human courtship. Twenty years ago, Internet dating was perceived as something for, well, “someone else.”  Now, it’s the top way we find romance.  And your online daters rock:  they have more education than offline daters; they are also more likely to be employed full time and they are more interested in marriage.   No wonder you’ve made more than a quarter of a billion matches.  

You’ve covered the airwaves with your magic, too.  Match members have sent over a billion winks and emails; 20 million men and women have tuned in to Match through a mobile device; you’ve created more than 10 million relationships; and you’ve produced more than a one million babies.  You have even made dating fun.  An evening making pizza or sushi in a Singles group; outings to the theater or a concert; wine tastings and much more—your “stirs” have begun to offer us dynamic new ways to meet and flirt.  Indeed, we may soon need to delete the word “online” from “online dating.” 

What’s next?  Will a Match baby be the CEO of Match.com twenty years down the road?  Will our president have introduced himself to the First Lady with a Match wink?  It’s likely.  But I think you will have made an even greater impact by 2035.  

Why?  Because you have begun to break down the geographical barriers to romance.   You will soon enable a woman from Iowa to fall in love with a man from Beijing, Johannesburg or Buenos Aries.  Indeed, one of your sister sites recently matched two people in Antarctica!  You are making the world your coffee klatch.  As the years unfold, you will most likely transform the traditional “first date” too, with more and more couples meeting via virtual encounters.  Perhaps even language barriers will dissolve, as would-be lovers use translation devices to converse.  And gone will be the stagnant profile, with a few still photos and a list of one’s basic interests.  Instead, singles will use a host of audio and video devices to display their charms.  You will also be offering us concrete ways to ensure that potential partners are who they say they are.   But most important: Singles will no longer wonder how they’ll meet their match.  Their only issue will be when.

You’ve been busy, pal.  And like you, I’m optimistic about the future of relationships.  Today some 84% of American men and women are projected to wed by age 40.  And 89% of those queried in our 2014 Singles in America study believe they will stay married to the same person forever.   I believe they will:   As you know, when you and I did a national study of married people in 2012, we found that 81% would remarry the person to whom they are currently wed.    Certainly this is, in part, because today bad relationships can end.   But I suspect you are playing a role in this emerging marital bliss:  Today men and women know they have a powerful alternative to a bitter partnership. You.  They can go on Match and find the love they truly want. 

So, my friend: here’s to thee.  I tip my glass to the largest and most effective dating site in the world.  You deserve it: take a bow.