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After a rough breakup last January, I was sad and single in the Big Apple.Valentine’s Day was approaching, and this city of more than eight million people was feeling oddly lonely.“Maybe it’s not the best means to the end of finding the best relationship, but it gives people a way to do something about their situation.It may or may not be the best shot at finding what you want, but it’s doesn’t mean it will never happen.A dating site is not a magic “fix” for your dating problems.“If you don’t have a personality, it’s going to come across in an email, a phone call, or across a table,” said Larry K., 46, who met his wife on nine years ago.Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.But despite these numbers, it’s unclear if online dating is any more effective than, or really any different from, meeting someone offline.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.The majority of the daters I interviewed (and Slater, too) at some point referred to online dating as a tool, and that’s just what it is.Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.
A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: "Jewish" and "journalist."Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.But even if algorithms aren’t the answer, there’s no doubt that online dating has led to successful relationships — my own included.The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.Instead, both joined the site after ending long-term relationships and moving to a new city without many friends.