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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?

But this also creates pressure quickly to turn your online connection into something romantic, rather than letting romantic feelings develop more slowly.

When you meet someone in the context of an online dating site, the stage is set to look for an immediate romantic connection— and to abandon the effort if there’s no spark.

One study of online daters found that most viewed each other as similar, and liked each other less, after than before their offline dates (Norton et al., 2007).

The sites can put too much focus on physical attractiveness.

This is only exacerbated by the emphasis on physical attractiveness created by online dating profiles. “How Couples Meet and Stay Together, Wave 3 version 3.04.” Machine Readable Data File. I have been using online dating sites for several years now.

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.

And even though men generally contact women more than vice versa on these sites, research has shown that a sizable minority of women do reach out to men they find desirable online, suggesting that these sites allow some women to overcome traditional gender norms that cast them in a passive role of waiting to be approached (Scharlott & Christ, 1995). Shy or socially anxious individuals often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships (Alden & Taylor, 2004; Davila & Beck, 2002).

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.

Stanford University’s “How Couples Meet and Stay Together Survey” queried a nationally representative sample of adults to determine how and when they met their current romantic partner (Rosenfeld & Reuben, 2011). Less is more: Why online dating is so disappointing and how virtual dates can help. They can be quite sophisticated AND PATIENT in hooking unsuspecting victims, before trying to reel them in.

In my own analysis of this data, I examined the age at which survey respondents met their current partner and compared this to the age at which they became romantically involved, to get a rough sense of how long it took couples to go from first meeting to a romantic relationship. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society for Social and Personality and Psychology, Memphis, TN. Luckily, I learned to recognize them before falling prey, but sometimes it's difficult to know. Moreover, as in the world at large, there are A LOT of "players" online--people who are extremely dishonest.

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