Dating in the Digital Age: A road map to online love

Finding “the one” is a centuries-old quest; but neither Adam nor Eve had to log in to an app to make a love connection, and Tarzan found Jane without ever having to swipe left. And though Romeo and Juliet certainly had their share of obstacles, losing a WiFi connection was never one of them.

Dating in the digital era can be a rocky road, but in the forthcoming airing of “Inside Man,” Morgan Spurlock looks to redefine the road trip. In advance of the episode, here are a few street signs every traveler ought to take note of:

1. Where should you go?

Before setting out on the heartbeat highway, one must lock in on the ideal travel companion. As Spurlock learns in a visit with Dr. Helen Fisher — a world renowned love expert — determining who you’ll ultimately end up with comes down to identifying four main lanes, each of which is linked to a specific hormone:

1) “The Explorer,” a thrill seeker, linked to dopamine

2) “The Builder,” a traditional calm thinker, linked to serotonin

3) “The Director,” a competitive and analytical thinker, linked to testosterone

4) “The Negotiator,” the compassionate idealist, linked to estrogen

“We are all made up of a unique combination of all four different styles of thinking — but in different proportions. And this affects who is drawn to whom,” shares Spurlock. “Dr. Fisher believes certain hormone dominant personalities compliment others.”

2. Choose Your Vehicle Accordingly

The Internet is full of countless dating apps, but not all cars are comfortable to every driver. (If you’re looking for long-term love, steer clear of “Tinder.”) Before choosing which app to hitch your wagon to, navigate your way to CNN’s handy “What dating app is right for you?” flow chart, a go-to guideline that puts you in the drivers seat to love.

3. Keep Your Eyes on the Road (And Not On Your Phone)

Far too often a given driver is guilty of not paying nearly enough attention to his or her journey, instead burying a pair of eyeballs in an iPhone while a potential partner ends up in the rearview mirror like a missed exit. Instead of texting, try talking, and actually engaging. You know, like Tarzan and Jane did.

“I teach people how to meet people. What I’m working to do is to get people you know off their phones and engaging with people,” says Anthony Recenello, a self-described “Social Development Coach.”

While chucking the smartphone out the passenger side window is probably unrealistic, Recenello says going lo-tech can heighten ones chances of truly connecting:

“The ability to just be there present with another person is the thing that people are losing.”

4. Get Some Support from the Shotgun Seat

On a course as complicated as dating, there’s no reason to ride solo — especially with so many experienced travelers available for assistance. As a part of Thursday’s episode, Spurlock checks in with a professional “wingman,” several professional matchmaking services and multiple profile coaches, all of which boast an ability to keep daters on track.

“We do the work for you. We meet everyone,” explains Talia Goldstein, founder of matchmaking service “Three Day Rule.” “When we find a great match, then we set you up on a date.”

Of course few singles are as outgoing and charismatic as Spurlock, so an online dating coach may be a better way of staying the course. In “Money can buy you love — or at least make you dateable,” CNN breaks down a collection of sites offering everything from assistance with profile writing to live dating advice.

5. Stay up to speed

On a roadtrip of any length, falling asleep at the wheel is a cardinal sin; cruising for companionship is no different.

As the “Inside Man” explores individual landmarks this week, one constant theme remains: stay awake, and keep on coming. In visiting with “OKCupid,” one of the world’s premier dating sites, Spurlock learns of creating ones own path to a successful relationship:

“OKCupid’s philosophy is that you don’t need to wait for destiny to take its course when you could use a mathematical model instead to find your one true love.”

In the same way a safe driver crunches the numbers on an odometer or fuel gauge, an OKCupid member deals with data in the form of a relatively simple algorithm:

“We let people weigh an importance. So like if you really, really care about scary movies or whatever you could max it out or if you just don’t care then you could give it a zero basically,” details Chris Rudder, one of the site’s founders. “So the match percentage is actually really simple. There’s not like calculus or anything.”

And whether it’s virtually online, through “OKCupid,” or literally on line, like in a local watering hole, the secret to success is keeping one’s foot on the proverbial pedal. Behind the “OKCupid” curtain, it’s revealed that increased activity on the site — posting photos, regularly checking in — rewards users. Meanwhile, at Spurlock’s urging, the habitually single Raja steps outside of his comfort zone and buys someone a drink at a bar.

“Well that was nice … there is an interest that is for sure,” he reports, furthering the notion that while being overly aggressive will cause you to crash and burn, a squeaky wheel will almost certainly get oiled first. “I had a real connection.”

Alas, the road to true love has forever been a complicated one, often full of twists and turns. But with Morgan Spurlock at the wheel, the latest episode of “Inside Man” (airing Thursday at 9 p.m.) sets out to handle dating detours and lead even the most sour of relationship lemons out of their respective rut.

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