Thoughts on Online Dating Success Rates

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Online dating success rates are often poured over by those trying to decide if online dating is a good choice for them. Most of the statistics that are available today suggests that online dating success rates are continuing to rise. Some of these statistics include:

online dating statistics

  • In a recent commercial, has claimed that one in five relationships today are now started using an online dating service
  • eHarmony claims “Today, an average of 236 eHarmony members marry every day in the United States as a result of being matched on the site”
  • Over 40 million singles in the US are using online dating services. While this may not reveal the success rates explicitly, no one would be using them if they didn’t work at all.

And yet, on many forums or journalists’ articles or on sites like Yahoo! Answers, you’ll find many who suggest online dating can’t work at all. Many of these complaints come from a section of society who, in my opinion, is still unable to accept online dating has a reasonable source for relationship success. This group seems to be shrinking every year and I’m amazed how much acceptance has grown for online dating in just the 3+ years I’ve been running this blog.

Still, it is not uncommon to see suggestions like this:

But who is right? The online dating services who obviously have a motivation to convince everyone that the online dating success rates are high or the people who reject online dating as an unacceptable way of finding dating success? As I discuss in the rest of this article, I really don’t think matters as to who is right. If you are considering online dating but are looking for some magic number to tell you whether or not you should pursue it, I encourage you to continue reading.

Online Dating Success Rates Shouldn’t Be Your Determining Factor

I feel like statistics are often thrown around without any real concern for context. Online dating success rates are no exception. It feels that those against online dating always find statistics to show that it can’t work while those for it are able to do the exact opposite.

For example, there are some dating services that may claim they’ve created more relationships than anyone else but when you look into this data you realize they’ve been around for years longer than anyone else and the statistic doesn’t mean as much as they are suggesting it does. Others will make claims based off on number of marriages but often the values that they provide, in my opinion, are a little bit dubious.

Now don’t get me wrong! I’m a huge fan of online dating: I’ve seen it work from myself, I have seen work for others and I believe that it can work for most of the people reading this right now. The thing is, how well online dating works for you is going to have very little to do with all the statistics that are thrown at you. Your experiences will be very specific, sometimes frustrating, and not measurable by any simple number. Your personal online dating success, in the grand scheme of things, is not going to be determined by a statistic.

Deciding if you should date online based solely on the online dating success rates of those who have come before you is like deciding if you should exercise based on the percentage of people who have successfully stuck with their exercise program. If only 15% of all people who want to get up every morning and run a mile are successful, that doesn’t make running a bad exercise and it definitely doesn’t mean that you should never consider exercising. Exercising will be difficult but the payoff can be priceless.

Likewise, online dating can be difficult. Maybe not as difficult as running a mile every morning but still not easy. Don’t let statistics convince you one way or the other of how successful it can be in your life. I believe that if you prepare and work hard at online dating, not only can you have success, you can also have fun.

If you only look at statistics to determine the value of online dating, you are in some way suggesting you have no control over your own success. I do not believe that this is the case. I failed miserably at online dating for longer than I care to admit but the best decision I made was not giving up. I discuss all of this in my online dating guide and really do believe that if you prepare and make a commitment to yourself, then you too can be successful dating online regardless how good or bad a particular statistic suggests your chances are. Don’t let a number convince you that you are or are not capable of doing something.



About the Author:

Brad initially struggled with online dating but over time became quite successful using it. He met his wife using online dating and has been giving advice and helping people improve their results since 2007. He has written a Free Online Dating Guide to help others find success with online dating. You can learn more about his personal experience using online dating and running this website here.


  1. dan  October 2, 2010

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and I think you have a nice writing style. The bit where I feel you could put more focus is into the meat of the articles. For example, this one on dating statistics reads really well as an introduction to an article but doesn’t ever develop into enything. You allude to stats etc but don’t give any. I know not everyone will want to be blinded with science but it’s just a suggestion to maybe make your articles have more actual content rather than basically listing some things you could talk about but then don’t.
    Please don’t take the above as too harsh a criticism, I think you have great potential 🙂

  2. Brad  October 2, 2010

    Hey Dan – I don’t think that’s harsh at all and I appreciate the feedback. I guess my point here was that the numbers shouldn’t matter but if more substance on statistics (or whatever) is what people would like to read, I’m more than happy to look into it. Sometimes the trouble for me is figuring out what people are actually most interested in.

  3. Keith  November 11, 2011

    I think what you run into with online dating is that at the end of the day it’s no different than meeting people like we always have before the Internet. For example, if you met some like we did before, say, 2001, through a friend or through work (the two most common places people meet), it all depended on how much chemistry you had with the other person on the first date. Well, in 2011, rather than through a friend or through work, people meet through a computer and, again, it all depends on how much chemistry the potential couple has, especially on the first date.

    The point I’m making is to say online dating “works” would be like saying through a friend “works” or through work “works”. It ultimately doesn’t matter HOW a potential couple meet as much as how much chemistry is cultivated, and that’s something an interpersonal communication professor at Ohio State once described as, “If I knew why two people had chemistry, I’d be a very wealth person.”

    Something to think about.


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