Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior. Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life. According to Sapolsky, humans are somewhat in the middle of this spectrum, in the sense that humans form pair bonds, but there is the possibility of cheating or changing partners. These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating. However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction. In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transgender couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate. Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.
Most heterosexual singles search for a match close to where they live, according to a new paper in Sociological Science by Elizabeth Bruch and Mark Newman, both of the University of Michigan and Santa Fe Institute. Their study is based on a big-data analysis of interactions on a major online dating platform. (The researchers were required not to identify the site as a condition of conducting the research.) Specifically, the study analyzes some 15 million two-way exchanges between heterosexual users on the site. Bruch and Newman use these data points to assess the roles of age, gender, race, and proximity in heterosexual dating markets.
The same cannot be said for other kinds of relationships. When it comes to work colleagues, or friends, we are not especially interested in dealing with people who are very unlike ourselves. We are most comfortable with those who have similar interests and perspectives, and we do not show a lot of motivation or patience for dealing with our opposites.
As for the temptation to do some light detective work to contact them and give them a piece of your mind, just don’t. "A 'no' answer is an answer. You’re still getting information," Fields says. If you still need to let out your frustrations (fair), vent to your friends about their awfulness, and then move on. It really is the most direct route to get over the sting.