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The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.The majority of the daters I interviewed (and Slater, too) at some point referred to online dating as a tool, and that’s just what it is.

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In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?

While many dating sites claim the ability to find your perfect match, social scientists aren’t buying it.

Plus, many big sites have been hesitant to allow independent researchers to look at their matching algorithms in depth.

Whether or not the algorithms work, it's perhaps even more important if online daters they work.

But even if algorithms aren’t the answer, there’s no doubt that online dating has led to successful relationships — my own included.

The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.There’s just a disconnect between what social science says is actually possible, and what the sites say they can do,” said Slater.This suggests that online dating is proving to be no more effective at creating lasting relationships than the old standards.“I really didn’t see it as any different from the way that people met each other for decades past," said Feifer. creates a relationship, is not the Other daters agreed, and so does Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk."Online dating doesn't change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or if I will be a good partner.Miller agreed, saying: “And it accomplished what I wanted to do, which was go on a lot of dates."While online dating sites give people another tool to find potential mates, the dates themselves are not very different, other than maybe knowing a bit more about the other person before officially meeting.

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