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Should You Consider an Internet Romance?

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Dating
Carly's quest in finding a suitable partner for marriage seemed impossible. She found the singles scene at clubs to be uncomfortable and her social circle seemed to consist of more married friends with a shrinking amount of singles.

Although she had heard of internet dating and saw the ads, she had hesitated to take what she imagined was a rather drastic step. What would her experiences be like? How would she find someone online? What were the risks?

If you are in this situation then quite likely you've considered venturing into online dating to meet someone.

Our lives are increasingly dependant on technology as opposed to face-to-face contact. It is not at all surprising that millions have already ventured into online dating as a way to find a relationship rather than waiting for a chance meeting.

But what are some of the findings as researchers spend more time analyzing the behavior of online daters?

In a study reported on CBS News, 15% of Americans with internet access have visited an internet dating site. 27% of them were 18-29 years old. Obviously online dating is a popular pastime.

The same study showed that 33% of unmarried internet users thought that dating online was a safe way to meet people although 34% acknowledged knowing someone who had a bad experience.

In another study reported by BBC News, online dating was seen as a way for women to feel empowered in relationships. The conventional inhibitions that they had in face-to-face relationships were replaced by a more upfront and in-control attitude when given the anonymity of the internet. Could this improve their chances at finding a perfect relationship?

Professor Helen Petrie was quoted in the BBC interview as stating "There are people who lack interpersonal social skills and would find it very difficult to meet people in bars. They may find it easy to meet in an internet room, but they still have the problem of meeting them face to face and if they have gone too far with the internet relationship, they may find that traumatic."

The truth is, many individuals find the anonymity of online dating encourages a certain amount of exaggeration or lying. While some claim that we always hide things at the beginning of a relationship, trying to put our best foot forward, the internet makes it easier to hide such things as facial expressions, income, marital status and even criminal records.

So while you may find, like Carly, that finding a relationship in the 'real' world is difficult - if you are still considering online dating it is wise to use caution and common sense. Be careful what you say about yourself and try to verify as much information as possible before meeting or personally contacting anyone you've met online and never meet them alone.