Cupid’s Arrow Strikes in Cyberspace
The stereotype that only sexual predators and pedophiles score dates online no longer holds true. In fact, over the past six years about 17 percent of married couples met through online dating sites, according to recent survey findings. In this day and age, most women struggle with the balance of work, hobbies and social life—who has the time and energy to go out and find Prince Charming anymore? This Valentine’s Day, instead of wallowing over the men of your past and dissecting reasons why relationships didn’t work out, hop online and focus on finding the compatible man of your future.
Online dating sites bring suitors straight to your desktop, making it a successful industry for clients and companies alike: According to one study, one in five serious relationships started online and the annual revenue from the online dating industry is a little over $1 billion. Popular sites like Match.com and eHarmony boast 20 and 29 million users respectively, while more unusual sites such as Equestrian Singles and Farmers Only focus on smaller, specialized groups. It’s safe to say that in cyberspace, there really is someone for everyone—and it doesn’t take long to find a match who shares your interests and preferred characteristics.
About 64 percent of online daters claim that common interests are the most important factor in a relationship. Users create profiles by answering extensive questions about their backgrounds, beliefs and preferences so that each site can play Cupid and calculate matches based on shared inclinations. Some, including Christian Mingle and JDate are meant for finding religious and spiritual soul mates. Others target partners according to age—like OurTime, meant for single men and women over 50, claiming to “honor the freedom, wisdom and appreciation for life that only comes with time.” Some sites, including Plenty of Fish and Blendr, are well-known for their casual attitude toward hooking up.
But those are just the basics. There are also much more particular avenues for finding your soul mate online. Chances are, if you have a specific interest that isn’t exactly mainstream, it doesn’t always come up casually in conversation when you meet someone at a bar. There are myriad sites out there that allow users to skip the small talk and get down to the nitty gritty, from bizarre fetishes to quirky pastimes.
For example, some people love their Apple products and would never consider dating someone who uses a PC. The founders of Cupidtino believe that Apple fans typically share personalities traits, creative professions, a sense of style and taste, and a love for technology—and they thus create virtual partnerships accordingly. “Love Long & Prosper” is the mating call for Trek Passions, the social networking site for science-fiction lovers, especially “Star Trek” aficionados. Sci-fi fans can bond over their favorite characters, TV Shows and books, and possibly meet up to fulfill their whimsical fantasies.
There is no longer a reason to hide whatever it is that tickles your fancy. Take love life into your own hands this Valentine’s Day and start browsing your potential soul mates online. Signing up is easy as most websites offer a free trial for the first few months of membership, and you still have plenty of time to set up a promising date for February 14!