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The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships.
(AARP has joined this revolution, partnering with the online dating service How About We to launch AARP Dating in December 2012.) But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic.
Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.
As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.
Amy was charmed — Duane was nothing like the local men she'd met so far.
"You certainly have a great sense of humor and a way with words," she responded.
*Names have been changed to protect identities En español She wrote him first. In the summer, when the trees leafed out, you couldn't even see the road or the neighbors. She'd grown up here, in a conservative pocket of Virginia. When it came to meeting new people, however, her choices were limited. The holidays were coming, and she didn't want to face them alone.
A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web.
"It is kind of a strange way to meet people," she wrote, "but it's not as cold as hanging around the produce department at the Kroger's." She also mentioned the deception she'd already encountered on previous dates — "lots of false advertising or 'bait and switch' folks," she wrote. Two sharp blows that had left her alone in her late 50s. His cancer took him swiftly, before she had time to process what was happening. It had been over two years since the death of her husband of 20 years; four, since she had lost her mother.This seemed to be one of the problems with online dating.She resolved to be pickier, only contacting men who were closely matched — 90 percent or more, as determined by the algorithm pulling the strings behind her online search. Back in college, she'd studied computer science and psychology, and she considered herself pretty tech-savvy.