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Risk versus reward: Does online dating really work as advertised?

How many times have you seen an eHarmony commercial or something from Match, along with a host of other sites, that promise just how wonderful and nearly flawless online dating can be?
The two heavy hitters, eHarmony and Match, talk to prospective customers about how well the matching up process is, the key characteristics and points they hit on and just how successful their marriage rates are for would be users.
Although those two and other online dating sites that chose to advertise try to make the process feel special, it reeks of robotic love, the kind that is cooked up in a laboratory in the hopes that someone in some sort of Weird Science type skew can find someone you'll compatible with for years to come.
But does it really work all that well or, quite frankly, is it really worth the effort?
For those who don't go out much or rarely involved in some sort of social scene (the working person, for instance) or just isn't comfortable meeting new people, online dating needs no sales pitch. It's a simple as creating a profile and waiting for matches to contact you.

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Call it the path of least resistance. No formal, in person objections or any face to face contact that isn't also wanted by the other in this equation. For that reason, online dating takes the guess work out of dating and wondering if someone is similar to you.
A lot of the fun, passion and romance, the not knowing, plays into the idea that love can't be formulated simply by filling in 13 key items or fields about yourself. Furthermore, online dating still isn't universally accepted as the norm for dating and often it isn't exactly the answer most want to the "how did you two meet?" question that often comes from friends and family. There's an impersonal feel to this entire process, and some just want to meet someone in the most serendipitous and perfect way possible.
The other issue with online dating is just how sincere or, in some cases, real this person is. Everyone is familiar with the term "catfished," which is a phrase that was created that means you met someone online but realize they're either not real or the profile, photo and everything else is fake. There's a good portion of the population that migrates toward online dating that tuck tail and run now that this practice is more prominent.
Choosing to do online dating isn't all bad, but if you head into it with the hopes that you'll be married in a year or two or with too high of expectations, you'll be disappointed as, despite what you're being told and marketed, is the exception not the rule of online dating and just how well the entire scope of dating in that medium works.

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