Tons Of Guys Go For Taken Women In Online Dating
Here’s some depressing news: A surprising number of men on online dating sites are interested in cheating women, according to a recent experiment published on the website Recovery.org.
Writer Jon Millward, who designed the experiment for creative digital agency Fractl, created 40 fake profiles on OkCupid to determine how people respond to different relationship statuses online. Of those 40 “people,” half were men and half were women. Millward also split the profiles up based on relationship status: One-fourth were single, one-fourth said they’d met someone but hadn’t deleted their profiles yet, one-fourth admitted in their bios to being married but were ambiguous about whether their relationship was open or not, and the final fourth declared openly that they were in a relationship but wanted to cheat and didn’t want their partner finding out.
After a month, the aspiring cheaters had gotten the most messages for both genders. But there was a big difference between the sexes: Most of the 998 messages that men sent to women who wanted to cheat were from interested guys, while the majority of the 78 messages that women sent to the cheating men were criticizing them or inquiring about their relationship status.
You might think that the takeaway here is pretty bleak—or even that more men than women are on online dating sites to find sex. But while some men (and some women for that matter) do use online dating sites to connect with new hookup partners, the findings don’t necessarily have such a grim takeaway. Here’s why:
Men Are Usually the Messengers
Just like in offline dating, men are typically the ones to make the first move. Women, on the other hand, are much more likely to be on the receiving end of initial messages, says Laurie Davis, author of Love At First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating, who was not involved in the experiment. So the fact that the cheating women received 998 messages while the cheating men received only 78 isn’t all that surprising—or all that telling. Rather, it just confirms what online dating experts already know: that women are more likely to receive messages than men are.
This Wasn’t a Controlled Study
In the experiment, the four relationship statuses each had an equal number of profiles (five men and five women). But in the real online dating world, the vast majority of profiles are for single people, says Davis. And since this wasn’t a contained experiment, the 40 fake profiles Millward created were in the mix with all of the other legitimate (and predominantly single) profiles on OKCupid.
So while the cheating group may have gotten more messages in the experiment, all of the single people on OKCupid probably got way more total messages during the experiment’s timeframe than all of the cheating people on OKCupid. In fact, even in the experiment, single ladies still got the second-most messages of the four female groups: 890. So that’s encouraging!
The Men May Not Have Realized They Were Cheating
Just in case you needed a little more reassurance, there’s no hard proof that all of the guys who messaged the cheating women actually read their profiles and knew that they were interested in being unfaithful. It’s entirely possible that the men in the experiment saw pictures of the women and maybe a couple of details in their bios, decided they were interested enough to message them, and didn’t bother reading their profiles all the way through before making their move, says Millward.
The bottom line: Yes, there are some slimy (or at least unobservant) guys on online dating sites, and that blows. But this experiment is no reason to get jaded and convince yourself that the majority of men on dating sites have suspect motives. “Dating sites are meant for people who are single,” says Davis, “so while this experiment is very interesting, it’s not something that I would base your decision to join or not join a dating site on.”
More from Women's Health:
Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater?
Cyber Cheating: Would You Forgive Your Partner?
What If Your Partner Pulled an Anthony Weiner?