There are at least three reasons we so often message and eventually mate with the similar. Before we even meet, myriad forces guide us away from people who are different from us – work, schooling, eHarmony’s algorithm. When we are exposed to matches, we tend to pursue people who are similar. In the face of these forces, it’s perhaps small wonder that the dimensions along which opposites attract hide in the statistical shadows.
But even believers in algorithmic approaches to love acknowledge these shadows exist. The scientists I spoke to at eHarmony and OkCupid agreed. As rich as their data sets are, the uncertainty of that first meeting remains.
Correction (April 10 6:35 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misidentified eHarmony’s website for same-sex dating; it is Compatible Partners, not Compatible Couples. Continue reading