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Stigma Of Online Dating?


For all of the people who are involved with online dating, here’s a quick question for you:

Are you embarrassed to admit to friends and family that you are using an online dating service?

I think this is an interesting question to pose because for whatever reason, online dating still seems to hold some sort of stigma with people. Many people who use online dating and realize the benefits of it are embarrassed to tell others what they’re up to.

It’s not uncommon for couples who meet online to come up with a “story” on how they met, as opposed to telling people they met online. It’s easier for them to concoct a lie about meeting as opposed to just telling the truth. Funny scenario, isn’t it?

This may have to do with the fact that people assume the only normal way to meet other singles is through the traditional channels, such as work, church, social groups or through friends. If someone resorts to alternative methods, friends and families have preconceived notions that the person must have become desperate in their search for others.

Estimates on active members of online dating sites vary, due to the vague nature of the term “active”. Let’s assume active to mean someone who has logged into their online dating account within the past month.

Estimates of active online dating accounts in the United States are around 20 million people, but let’s cut that number in half, to 10 million people. The United States has a population of 300 million people, so 1 in every 30 United States citizens (3.3%) uses online dating. That looks like a pretty small percentage.

Let’s adjust the number to give us a more reflective number of singles. After a quick glance at Wikipedia, we see that approximately 25% of the population (or 75 million people) are under the age of 18. We’ll eliminate the minors from our starting figure of 300 million, to give us a pool of 225 million adults.

Married couples make up approximately 25% of the population (or 75 million people), so we need to exclude them from our figures as well. That now brings our pool of 225 million adults down to 150 million eligible singles.

Going back to our original estimate of 10 million active members of online dating sites and you’ll see that almost 1 in every 15 eligible singles in the United States is using online dating.

The number of people who uses online dating sites has increased every single year, so expect the ratio to decrease over time. Also bear in mind that I estimated my figures on the conservative side with 10 million current online users.

Online dating is a growing trend. As hard as it is for many to fathom, 10’s of 1000’s of people log onto the internet for the first time each and every day. It’s an every growing market place that isn’t going to disappear.

I believe that the stigma of online dating will disappear over the next few years. It’s incumbent that users who have found success with online dating share their stories with others. I know that if I find something that works for me, I am willing to share it with all of my friends in the hopes that they can benefit as well.

Meeting people is a difficult thing to do, and it would be foolish not to look at all of your available options. The more we can get people to discuss the merits of online dating, the quicker the stigma and embarrassment will disappear.

jim mcmenamin is the webmaster and creator of macsdatingsite.com, a blog dedicated to the various issues of online dating. for a limited time, jim is giving away two free ebooks, 10 tips to writing your online dating profile as well as 101 steps to a happy relationship, when you sign up for his newsletter.

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Listed: May 7, 2008 12:11 pm