Online dating is becoming increasingly popular among Americans who are apparently viewing it in a more positive light in recent years though some still hold negative views of the relatively new phenomenon, according to the Pew Research Center.
According to the survey, the amount of Americans using online dating forums to meet people has nearly quadrupled since 2008, with 59 percent of individuals who use the internet considering online dating to be a "good way to meet people."
"Online dating is especially common among the college-educated and those in their mid-20’s through mid-40’s," Pew writes in its report. "Thirty-eight percent of Americans who are currently single and actively looking for a partner have used online dating at one point or another."
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The positive trend is welcome news for those who invested in the online dating business, such as Gina Stewart, a California-based dating coach who owns the site ExpertOnlineDating.com.
"Every dater should put online dating into their bag of tricks," Stewart told FloridaToday.com
. "There are so many free online dating sites, and there are also premium options for those so inclined. Online dating is the best way to gain access to large numbers of single people."
A June 2013 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that 35 percent of couples who recently married met online
. The study was based on a survey of 19,000 people.
One of those people who met their current spouse through an online dating site is Joshua Lee Maynard of Melbourne, Fla.
"I’ve never been the kind of guy who could go up to a woman at a bar and say, ‘What’s your sign?" Maynard told FloridaToday.com. "In my opinion, a bar is not the kind of environment that’s conducive to getting to know someone."
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"She just stood out to me," Maynard added about his wife Jill. "I felt empowered by the anonymity of the Internet, and I told her that she was pretty."
Of course not all online dating experiences are positive.
In January of last year 51-year-old Las Vegas woman Mary Kay Beckman filed a $10 million lawsuit against Match.com
claiming her brutal, near-fatal beating on Jan. 21, 2011 came at the hands of a man she met through the online dating site. The outcome of the lawsuit was not reported.
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