Ah, the holidays. Trimming the tree, hanging the stockings by the chimney, updating your online dating profile—the traditions are endless. Sure, that last one’s a little new, but researchers at Indiana University say the winter holidays also bring us peak online dating season in addition to tinsel and trimmings.
Specifically, that peak happens around mid-December through mid-February—the height of all the holiday happenings we’re likely to see for the season. On average, dating sites see a 25 to 30 percent jump in registrations. According to the study, which surveyed more than 1,000 match.com clients, the winter months make them feel “more romantic” than any other time of year.
But don’t get too excited. There’s also a lot of breakups, with about a quarter of respondents saying they’ve experienced a split during the holidays. But, says researcher Justin Garcia, Ph.D., the reason for that is a no-brainer:
“If we think of what happens with many Americans this time of year, we’re traveling, we’re spending more money, we’re often getting to see family and friends. As much as this can bring a lot of joy and excitement, it can also bring a lot of stress. This combination can be tricky to navigate.”
An evolutionary biologist by trade, Garcia also made several observations about our dating habits that are unique to the human animal. “Holidating,” for example, refers to the practice of pairing up with someone simply to have someone with which to enjoy the holidays. Our ape brethren certainly aren’t worried about bringing a girl ape home to ape dinner for the ape holidays, so this is a behavior unique to us hairy hominids.
Beyond that, though, Garcia also noted that more than 25 percent of respondents said they have dated someone they met online. So, in that sense, dating sites are slowly but surely taking the place of the humble bar as a place to see faces and meet people.
And you thought people drank more around the holidays because of stress.