Time was, if you met your mate online, you developed a cover story: If anyone asked, you'd say you met in a bar or at kayaking lessons. Whether it's the fact that many of us already conduct so much of our personal and business lives online, or the proliferation of online dating sites touting their successful matches, it's perfectly acceptable to say, with pride, that you met the love of your life with your fingers on a keyboard, not wrapped around a cocktail at a singles event.
Here, five women who found their mate (or were found) online, and went from email to walking down the aisle: A divorced mother, Anna, 46, looked into the future and saw a time when her kids wouldn't need her around quite as much—and she'd end up alone.
Instead of interacting with the people around her, she chose to search for a companion elsewhere online.
I felt a deep sense a rejection -- not personally, but on behalf of everyone at the bar.
But the fear that online dating is changing us, collectively, that it's creating unhealthy habits and preferences that aren't in our best interests, is being driven more by paranoia than it is by actual facts.
"There are a lot of theories out there about how online dating is bad for us," Michael Rosenfeld, a sociologist at Stanford who has been conducting a long-running study of online dating, told me the other day.
Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.
Few Americans had online dating experience when Pew Research Center first polled on the activity in 2005, but today 15% of U. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.