The days of speed dating may seem like a million years ago. Most people would probably cringe at the thought of being set up on a blind date, but there is a new way to meet that special someone that has made communication between singles easy and comfortable. Online dating is sweeping the nation and has become a phenomenon that has taken the

World Wide Web by storm.With sites such as Match.com claiming 15 million singles and Chemistry.com and Eharmony.com with 7 million each.

Users can create an online profile and also develop a list of features they would want in a partner. They are then matched with a stranger. Whether they wish to pursue the individual or not is completely up to them.

The real question is if these online match-making sites really work. According to www.top10bestdatingsites.com, the top five online dating websites hosted over 55 million users in 2010. The industry is expected to gross over 9.3 million dollars in 2011.

Some think that the path to love is anything but traditional these days anyway, but others remain skeptical.

“I think they find somebody, but I don’t think they find love,” said TJC sophomore Ruben Espinoza. “I just think it’s better if you actually meet the person. They can say they’re this or that, but you won’t really know until you meet them in real life.”

While some may find it misleading, Internet dating is seen by others as an easy choice, solely based on the amount of convenience it has to offer. Critical traits such as goals, religious back- ground and political views may be harder to find for an individual just based on their circumstances. Sometimes it is location, age, work or children that are holding an adult back from being able to go out and find a partner.

“When I moved to Frisco, the majority of the population was and still is families. If there are any singles in this little corner of DFW, they tend to be older and/or divorced. Not that that is a bad thing, but having never been married myself and in my early 30’s, it just wasn’t what my preference was in a significant other. This allowed me to see others like me, either in the immediate area, or nationwide if I had so desired,” said Jill Breitung, who was ultimately led to her fiancé through an online dating service.

Jill has chosen online dating as her mechanism to find a partner and although she has found the wrong men a few times, she stayed persistent and is happy with her choice to find love online.

“I was well beyond my college years, where a person is around a lot of other people of the same demographic and even others with commonalities. ‘Friends of friends’ typically only goes so far before the well is dry, and dating within the office is one of my general ‘no no’s’ that I abide by. Unless you are 100% certain that it’s your soul mate, it usually doesn’t lead to anything good,” added Breitung.

The scientific approach used by the online site eHarmony is what sets them apart from many other online sites.

eHarmony is home to over 20 million registered users and is one of the most successful online dating websites and they have their 29 Dimensions model to thank for that. The model specifically matches couples based on 29 compatibility features that are found in thousands of successful relationships. This approach has been proven to work in numbers alone. 542 eHarmony users are married everyday, which accounts for over five percent of marriages in America.

To avoid what many refer to as “serial dating” or people who excessively use online dating sites to find multiple partners without commitment, eHarmony is more expensive and has limitations on who can and cannot join the site. For instance, an individual going through a divorce must have the divorce finalized before joining the site. The amount of rigorous questioning that comes with obtaining a membership with an online dating service helps the process of the first encounter happen smoothly and naturally.

“We took our time in the initial contact phase, because we knew of all the things that could be or go wrong. We emailed back and forth through the site a bit, then in personal email, sending more photos of each other. This gave us the security of knowing for sure what

we were going to get once we did finally meet. Then we spoke on the phone and finally, we met. We were both cautiously optimistic, given our past experiences with dating in general, but we are now getting married next June,” said Breitung.

While online dating could seem like more of a long shot for college students, many young adults are finding their mates through the Internet in other ways.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace offer an easy way to communicate with people all over the world and can provide a gateway for singles that may not know each other to create relationships.

“It’s easier for some guys to talk to girls over the computer, maybe it’s just be because they’re shy. If they’re not shy though, they probably don’t really worry about it. I’d rather go out and meet somebody, go out to the club or some thing,” said Espinoza. 

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