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The Internet allows users to form relationships with strangers whom they did not know before, whether through online or offline channels.
For individuals who are difficult to find potential partners through offline channels, such as homosexuals and middle aged and elderly heterosexuals, the Internet provides an ideal platform for them to meet their partners.
According to a recent survey, nearly 40 million single people (out of 54 million) in the U. have been trying online dating, and about 20% of committed relationships began online .
Although some psychologists have questioned the reliability and effectiveness of online dating , recent empirical studies using the tracking data and survival analysis found that for heterosexual couples, meeting partners through online dating sites can speed up marriage .
Some other scholars also studied the mate preference from the economic perspective [37, 38]. found that male selectivity is invariant to size of female group, while female selectivity is strongly increasing in size of male group .
Computer scientists usually study online dating from the perspective of user behaviors [39,40,41] and recommendation systems [4, 42,43,44]. found that there exists distinct difference between preferences of men and women , and there also exists difference between users’ stated and actual preferences. also proposed a reciprocal recommendation system for online dating based on similarity measures .
We find that for women, network measures of popularity and activity of the men they contact are significantly positively associated with their messaging behaviors, while for men only the network measures of popularity of the women they contact are significantly positively associated with their messaging behaviors.
Another research found sex-related differences in communication patterns in a large dataset of mobile phone records and showed the existence of temporal homophily .
Although the research on mate choice, both offline and online, has been extended to many fields, the following problems still exist: (i) online dating sites are a special kind of social networking sites, but the most previous researches focus only on the users’ demographic attributes, and have not considered users’ network centrality in dating sites, which can be potential important factors associated with users’ mate selection; (ii) most studies focus on male and female preferences in mate choice, but they do not properly examine the compatibility of the two parties’ preferences; (iii) with the advent of big data era, the methods of machine learning, such as ensemble learning, have been widely applied to diverse fields to achieve good prediction performance.
In other words, men tend to seek young and physically attractive women, while women pay more attention to men’s socio-economic status [9, 10], which is consistent with the Chinese saying “lang cai nv mao” for the choice of long-term partners .
In fact, analyzing gender differences of online identity reconstruction in an online social network revealed that men value personal achievements more while women value physical attractiveness more .Besides, one survey found that marriages initiated through online channels are slightly less likely to break than through traditional offline channels and have a slightly higher level of marital satisfaction for the respondents .