Online dating. A whole new way of meeting prospective partners - instead of picking up someone at a bar, you're checking out their dating profile and trying to decide if they might be your cup of tea. A common assumption about online dating - and one that I used to hold - is that it's a place for social recluses and freaks who can't or don't want to go out and date in the 'real world'.
But the fact is everyone is online now, from young children to older generations. And if you're reading this, you're online too. The way we use the internet has also dramatically changed - from shopping to banking, we rely on it for many things. So why not date online?
Online dating and relationship sites have boomed in popularity, offering more and more people the chance to discover their perfect approach to love and romance.
So if you're an online dating skeptic, as I used to be, here are some facts about the fun, friendly and easy-to-use world of online dating that I found out. If you think you understand all there is to know about the world of online dating, think again.
Online dating is the new norm
You may have realized the popularity of online dating, but you might be surprised to see exactly how popular. One in four Aussies know someone who has used an online dating site, and one of the most exciting things about online dating is the sheer volume of success stories, with a massive one in 10 users having found love online.
Online dating is ideal for people who are searching for long-term, meaningful love. It may sound too good to be true (I assure you it's not), but the site eHarmony Australia, for example, is responsible for a remarkable one in 50 Australian marriages.
Who it works for
Online dating works for just about everybody, not only for us middle-aged singles. It might surprise you to know that many students use it to find dates, choosing to save their limited cash by staying in and dating online rather than blowing their money on beer. Of course, online dating can also be great for single parents and professionals with little time.
It’s not just for the younger crowd - it's reaching older generations as well. The over 65-year-old demographic is well represented, with one in six people in this age group knowing somebody who has tried online dating before.
The internet is helping with all aspects of dating, from finding a partner to planning the perfect date. In the 55-64 age bracket, 60% of people surveyed rely on the internet to search and plan their ideal date night. Many singles use social networking sites like the eHarmony Australia Facebook page to network with other singles and read up on dating tips and date ideas. There is a wealth of information at our fingertips when it comes to dating, and it seems it's increasing people's confidence when it comes to dating and how to go about it.
The internet is also shaping the way we express ourselves in relationships. When you look at the Sydney dating scene alone, one in 10 people have been told ‘I love you’ for the first time via email. It may be argued this isn't a phrase to be said in such a way, through an impersonal written message, but let's look at it another way: So much of our communication these days is via texts or e-mails. Aren't we simply adapting to how communications are changing?
There you have it. Now you know a little more about it, let's hope that any skepticism you had is subsiding and giving way to a better understanding of the world of online dating. I'm not saying you have to go for it all the way and dismiss more old-fashioned ways of meeting people - that can be fun too. But with all the success stories, the booming popularity and the fact you can save so much time and money, it's got to be worth looking into, isn't it?