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A recent survey of 19,000 people who married between 20 found that 35 percent of these new couples met online, with about half of those meeting through an online dating site (Cacioppo et al., 2013).
How can these sites help you find romance, and what pitfalls should you be aware of?
There's pressure for things to turn romantic quickly.
One benefit of online dating is that you know those on the site are single and looking, which reduces ambiguity.
Romantic relationships often do develop slowly, rather than taking off from instant mutual attraction. While I think the sites have gotten better about identifying and booting scammers, I have been "scammed" more than a few times by miscreants, usually foreigners, who prey on lonely hearts, particularly those who list their professions and incomes.
It is well documented that physical attractiveness is a major factor in romantic attraction, especially initial attraction (Sprecher, 1989).
Not surprisingly, physically attractive people are more successful at online dating (Hitsch et al., 2005).
In the quest to find romance, more of us have turned to online dating.
Once stigmatized as a venue for the desperate, online dating has become a normal part of the mating game.