The movies make it look easy, but research shows how difficult it is to meet ‘the one’ in real life.
First, the bad news: a UK study found that the chance of finding love is just 1 in 562 (0.17%) if you leave it all up to fate.
Now, the good news: there are lots of things you can do to improve those odds, including office happy hours and using online dating apps.
Chatting it up with that hottie at the gym will improve your odds by 15%. Attending the office happy hour will increase odds to 16%. Dating apps actually give you the biggest boost to your odds, with a 17% jump. Meeting through friends (4%) and being fixed up by family members (1%) were the least effective ways of finding love.
The odds of falling in love were calculated with the assistance of mathematician Rachel Riley. Calculations were based on 18 key factors, including your location, desired age, physical attractiveness and relationship status. Unfortunately, they found that just 84,440 people in the UK fit the average person’s requirements from an adult population of over 47 million. This gives you the odds of one in in 562.
Riley said: ‘When it comes down to it, love really is a numbers game. ‘Obviously, the more people you make the effort to meet the higher your chances of romantic success. ‘But, as our data suggests, the odds of love can drastically diminish when we get too prescriptive about age, location, looks, and even pet preferences!’
Digging deeper into the results, researchers found that the biggest impact on your chances of finding love is age. The average single is most likely to be looking for a partner between ages 35 and 47. According to data from the UK Office of National Statistics, that leaves just 17% of the population as an option.
Physical attraction was second in importance, which was uncovered by a photo experiment. Researchers asked people to rate images of a variety of people based on physical attractiveness. Disregarding other factors like gender and age, the results showed that the rate of mutual attraction is 18%.
The research also found that while 33% of people in the UK are single, 15% of those who classify themselves as in a relationship also admit they’re on the lookout for a new one. This suggests that a lack of romantic compatibility is a common issue for many couples.
While it may feel harder to find love as you get older, researchers found that the age group with the best odds were 65-74 year-olds, who have a one in 304 chance. The age group with the toughest odds is 18-24 year-olds, who face odds of just one in 1,024. The results also revealed distinct differences between UK regions – those in more urban areas like London had much better odds (one in 394) than people in rural areas like Wales (one in 649).
Professor Andreas Kyprianou, a researcher in probability theory at the University of Bath, said: ‘This is a fascinating piece of research which takes into account the many different variables that can contribute to the odds of finding love.’
On the bright side, researchers also identified several things you can do to increase your chances of finding love. Saying yes to after work drinks was found to open up a pool of around 75 new people, increasing your chance of finding someone compatible by 16%.
Using online dating apps was also found to be a successful tactic, increasing the number of suitable people you meet by 17%. Couples that meet online are also proven to be in much stronger relationships, for a variety of reasons. Dr Steve Carter, Chief Scientist at eHarmony, said: ‘We always encourage singles seeking a relationship to socialize and expand their networks. ‘The reality is people meet and fall in love all the time “in the wild”.
– Your Big Bro