Making a Match

In the majority of non-human animals, “mating” typically refers to sexual activity specifically for the purposes of reproduction. In humans, mating is much less simple, and can involve anything from casual dating to meaningless sex to long-term romantic relationships.

Many people—though certainly not all—desire and seek out “mating” in some capacity, whether it’s a one-night stand or a lifelong spouse. Regardless of what each individual is looking for, how does one go about finding their “perfect match”? The process of meeting new people (and forming a connection with them) can be challenging for anyone. Though the rise of online dating in the past decade has certainly increased the quantity of potential mates, many users still wonder if it has had any measurable impact on the quality.

One of the biggest questions of the mating game is whether or not “soul mates”—or one person who is the only possible match for another—exist, or if they’re simply a romantic fantasy. Most psychological research is unable to find any existence for soul mates, and though many find the idea comforting, there is some evidence that searching for a soul mate (or viewing one’s partner through a “soul mate lens”) can lead to unhealthy relationship behaviors like ghosting, and may damage satisfaction in the long run.

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