We used to meet in person - America's crush on online dating

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 | 12:46 AM ET
Tom And Steve | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

There has been a dramatic shift in attitudes towards internet dating sites in the U.S., according to new research, as the process of searching for love online quickly loses its stigma.

Almost 60 percent of internet users in the country agree that online dating is a good way to meet a romantic partner, up from 44 percent in 2005, according to a telephone survey of 2,252 adults, age 18 and older, by the Pew Research Center.

When asked whether people using online dating sites come across as "desperate", just 21 percent of respondents believed so, compared with almost 30 percent eight years ago.

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One in 10 Americans have used an online dating site such as Match.com, eHarmony, or OK Cupid or a mobile dating app, the study found. Those using the internet in their search for love are most commonly in their mid-20s to mid-40s or college-educated.

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"Compared with eight years ago, online daters in 2013 are more likely to actually go out on dates with the people they meet on these sites," the study noted. Over 66 percent of online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through an online dating site or app, up from 43 percent of online daters in 2005.

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Beyond dating, almost one quarter of online daters said they had entered into a marriage or long-term relationship with someone they met through a dating site or app, up from 17 percent in 2005.

While opinions towards the process of digital dating are largely positive, 54 percent of online daters said they have run into a situation where an individual has seriously misrepresented themselves in their profile.

What was more concerning is that 28 percent of online daters said they had been contacted by someone through a dating site or app in a way that made them feel harassed or uncomfortable.

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But in spite of the hang-ups involved with finding a partner on the internet, online daters told CNBC they continue to view dating websites as a valuable tool.

—By CNBC's Ansuya Harjani; Follow her on Twitter: @Ansuya_H

  • Matt Hunter is the senior technology editor at CNBC.com.

  • Cadie Thompson is a tech reporter for the Enterprise Team for CNBC.com.

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