Going Online Makes it EasierAVERY MACK
Americans are staying single longer these days. Instead of marrying in our early 20s like in the 1960s, today we’re more likely to be upwards of 27 before committing. Careers and family obligations are among the factors causing delays, allowing couples to learn what really matters before they walk down the aisle.
“A good partner is someone that encourages you to be your authentic self,” says Jill Crosby, host of the online dating website NaturalAwakeningsSingles.com from Mount Shasta, California. “There are always some compromises, but similar core values and respect for each other make a good relationship even better.”
Online dating isn’t just for the unmarried, post-college crowd. Widowed and divorced singles also find it a good way to ease into a renewed social life. According to a Northwestern University study, typical benefits include access to professional matching, a wider range of singles and better communications with potential partners.
Identifying CandidatesDates can still spring from chance meetings, fix-ups by friends and family or workplace encounters, but these generally have the same success rate as finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. Adding must-have characteristics such as an eco-friendly lifestyle might land an aspirant in the shallow end of the dating pool unless it is pre-screened by a conscious dating site.
Discovering a potential partner via a dedicated online site enables members to refine their list of desired attributes versus deal-breakers, modifying their own profile accordingly. Elements of success stories usually include both prospects keeping an open mind while exploring a mutually compatible dating site. Honest communication is the most vital link in this get-to-know-you venue, but the goal is to meet, not become pen pals.
When interest proceeds beyond onsite messaging, texting may follow, which tends to diminish fears of saying the wrong thing that could delay or prevent a more in-depth reply. Textpert, a free app that crowdsources text messages, comes to the rescue with suggested responses by other members to help anyone encountering writer’s block.
Distance HurdlesLong distance isn’t often a deterrent when love is right. A California vegan that spent four years on multiple vegan dating sites found her match thousands of miles away in New York through NaturalAwakeningsSingles.com. When an eventual first meeting is more than a quick coffee date, prior Skype or FaceTime chats can confirm that the photo is current and messages were more than pickup lines.
“Technology has made a tremendous difference in price, accessibility and reach,” says Crosby. “Members now post selfies as headshots, shoot their own videos and can access potential matches anywhere in the world.”
Discerning Kindred SpiritsNot all online relationships are love matches. Sometimes it’s enough to find like-minded people. “Natural AwakeningsSingles.com is a safe place to talk about spiritual awakening without someone looking at you like you have three heads. I’ve met a number of people who speak my language,” says Sharmaine Monteith, a sales manager in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “When people care about the environment, it changes who they are and how they live. My profile maps my beliefs and my heart.”
A University of Chicago study asked 20,000 people that married between 2005 and 2012 how they met. One third said online; half used another kind of dating service. An other telling statistic showed that those that met at work, in a bar or by blind date were 25 percent more likely to divorce. Researchers think this is because online daters know each other better before meeting. When folks fudge a bit in their profile, it’s mostly about weight and height.
Green Hot Spots“It’s easier to find a vegan date in the produce aisle of the grocery store than at the beach,” advises April Masini, a New York City author of four relationship books and the AskApril.comadvice column. “Whether you’re looking in person or online for dates, focus on the areas where you’d naturally find others who are green like you.” Community gardens, river cleanups and Earth Day celebrations spring to mind.
Make a green impression by wearing clothing made of sustainable fabrics and offering a small gift of a fair trade item, organic chocolates or native wildflower bouquet. The choice of going to a locally sourced restaurant will include an eco-friendly ride to get there.
A 2014 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 50 percent of Americans over the age of 16 are unmarried—yet most believe marriage is extremely important. With all the people still looking for love, online meet-ups can dramatically improve success.
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