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By Nikki Judge

Does online dating really lead to committed relationships?

Cupid and technology have combined to create new ways of making romantic connections with people from all over the country and around the globe. With online dating sites and mobile apps, no longer are the opportunities for finding that special someone limited to the next door neighbor's cousin's brother, or, hopefully meeting someone at an upcoming wedding or family dinner.

Commercials for online dating sites make claims that would have the consumer believe that each is a going to find "true love" by signing up today. With claims like "25 percent of all relationships start online" and being "responsible for over a million marriages," it is easy to believe that that special someone can be found in just a few clicks of a mouse. Very nice, but does online dating stand up to real life scrutiny?

Thirty-three percent never meet someone face-to-face

The Pew Research Center reports that 59 percent of U.S. adults believe that online dating is a good way to meet someone for a relationship.[1] Seniors and young adults have had the highest increase of virtual dating, but dating sites or mobile app use has increased across the board and numbers are expected to continue to rise.

However, 33 percent of those who used online dating never actually met the person they had begun a virtual relationship with.[2] For those seeking a true relationship, that drops the availability of serious potentials by a considerable margin.

Ten percent of American adults use online dating sites

Online dating sites now have a registered user rate of nearly 10 percent of American adults, with the more affluent and college graduates commanding a higher usage.[1] Those who have taken part in the romantic gold rush of online dating have mixed views about the experience, but tend to have a more positive attitude about it than those who have not given it a try.

However, both experienced users and non-users felt that dating online kept daters away from making real emotional commitments for romance. Other negatives noted by a sizable minority of online dating users were that it is more dangerous to meet people over the web rather than being introduced, and that there is a negative stigma against people who have to go online to find love.

Only 5 percent of couples surveyed actually met online

Yet, for all the glowing praise online dating receives, only 5 percent of surveyed Americans in a committed relationship (marriage or otherwise) reported meeting their sweetie through an online dating site.

A full 88 percent of surveyed couples who have been together five years or less met their true love by means other than the virtual cupid of online and mobile app dating. These statistics (from The Pew Research Center) seem to belie claims made by the virtual purveyors of romance.[1]

Be aware before you buy-in

The reasons for why people sign up for virtual dating are wide-ranging. Not everyone who signs up is looking for that "forever and ever amen" kind of love. Not all people on dating websites are single. Not every profile tells the truth. Not every participant is well intended.

Some are just lonely and looking for some idle conversations. Some are there looking to find a true love, their twin flame. In that respect, online and mobile app dating is not that different from real life dating. The term "caveat emptor" applies either way.

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