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Today, nearly half of the public knows someone who uses online dating or who has met a spouse or partner via online dating – and attitudes toward online dating have grown progressively more positive.To be sure, many people remain puzzled that someone would want to find a romantic partner online – 23% of Americans agree with the statement that “people who use online dating sites are desperate” – but in general it is much more culturally acceptable than it was a decade ago.Anna Wilkinson has been married for seven years, has two young children, and – although exhausted – is delighted with her lot.

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Here are five facts about online dating: Online dating has lost much of its stigma, and a majority of Americans now say online dating is a good way to meet people.

When we first studied online dating habits in 2005, most Americans had little exposure to online dating or to the people who used it, and they tended to view it as a subpar way of meeting people.

And some sites, like Plentyof and Ok Cupid, offer basic membership for free.

But most subscription sites automatically renew until the customer cancels, and those fees can add up.

I filled forms about my interests, my opinions and my personal goals – which was having a family – something I’d been too frightened to mention to my exes in the early days for fear of scaring them off.

“But the men I was introduced to were told what I wanted and shared those dreams. From the off we were on the same page and then it was only a matter of finding someone I also found physically attractive and that was Mark, the third man I met.” Wilkinson is far from alone.

One in five relationships in the UK starts online, according to recent surveys, and almost half of all British singles have searched for love on the internet.

Just today, nine million Britons will log on looking for love.

The result is that, rather than being someone that defies all calculation, love is now big business worth an annual billion internationally and growing at 70 per cent a year – with high-tech venture capitalists, psychologists and software engineers reaping vast rewards.

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