First there was the matchmaker. Then there was the bar scene. Now’s there’s online dating. In the 15 years or so since its inception, online dating has displaced family, school and the office as the most common way to meet other singles.
Internet dating services boast an enviable track record. They’re used by more than 40 million Americans, according to the Statistic Brain website. Seventeen percent of last year’s brides and grooms met each other online.
A 2005 British study of online dating site members reported at http://ScienceDaily.com found that 94 percent of couples who spent time chatting and emailing before meeting for the first time went on to see each other again. Those relationships lasted an average of seven months, with 18 percent of them continuing for more than a year.
Each dating service comes with a hook. One service, eHarmony, claims to take a bold, scientific approach to helping couples find their soul mates. Cougar Life purports to be the place where sophisticated, mature women meet younger men. Christian Dating for Free pretty much defines itself.
Not all Internet dating sites are equal. Consumer-Rankings.com ranks Zoosk, Match.com, OurTime, eHarmony and Mate1 as its top choices based on features such as integrated chat systems, understanding members’ preferences and online dating via cellphones.
Regardless of the site, the ultimate success of online dating rests with the user. When daters take the process seriously and do their best to identify and connect with potential candidates, they’re more likely to make meaningful connections. If not, they’ll continue to be single.
HOW TO MAKE ONLINE DATING WORK FOR YOU
Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit http://lindalewisgriffith.com.