The Donald Trump Effect On Dating

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Last month eHarmony’s CEO Grant Langston said the 17-year-old company — one of the original online dating hubs — noticed a 35 percent jump in activity since election day. Bernadette Libonate, the director of brand partnerships at online dating service OkCupid, mentioned a similar trend: Between January 20 and 31 this year, the number of photo uploads on the site increased 37 percent from the same time period in 2016. What’s going on here?

The answer may become clear when you look at TrumpSingles.com, a dating site for — you guessed it — Trump supporters and their admirers. The site has seen an increase in membership of over 200 percent since early December, even after raising its monthly fee from $4.95 to $19.95. On the other side of the dating aisle, Maplematch.com, a site that aims to connect Americans and Canadians, also noticed the trend with an increase the day after the election.

Call it the Donald Trump bump — or whatever you want — the election of the current president has a nation divided and single people looking to unite. Some blame an increased fear of ending up alone, others see the opportunity to finally find a partner with similar political views, but clearly it’s a good time to date. 

Whatever the case, dating apps and services are including new politics-focused features. Last month OKCupid added 50 new personality-matching questions that addressed current political issues such as climate change, Russian hacking, and the immigration ban. The biggest deal-breaker for users was the nation’s Commander-in-Chief. According to senior editor Jane Reynolds, “Trump, we found, trumps all other deal-breakers,” she wrote on the company’s blog. This might have led to the boom in single people in the first place. Stanford economics professor Paul Oyer, author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating, was surprised to learn the Trump presidency meant a boost for technology-assisted matchmakers, but offered a hypothesis that could explain the phenomenon. “The election has led to the breakup of relationships, so more people had to go look for new [ones].”

That can help explain why Democrats and Republicans are dating less across the aisle, a clear reflection of the nation’s current political state. People’s political affiliations are playing a larger role in finding a partner, according to Helen Fisher, Match.com’s chief scientific advisor. She says that research from the website suggests that the old idea that “opposites attract” might no longer apply to these very divisive days. Red singles stay on one side, blue on the other. Fisher, who’s the author of six books on the evolution and future of human sex, love, and marriage, adds that liberals are even more rigid when it comes to selecting a partner. Data from another dating app, CoffeeMeetsBagel, seems to agree: A poll of 1,320 of its users saw that 70 percent of Democrats “said politics are impacting their dating lives ‘slightly’ to
‘profoundly.'” For Republican singles, 43 percent felt the same way.

One thing we know for sure: Hooking up is back, and it’s stronger than ever. And not only for deep, meaningful connections. Ashley Madison reported that, since January 20, sign-ups were up 10 percent across the nation, when compared to the same period a year ago. And within about 62 miles of Washington D.C., they were up by almost 20 percent.