10 tips for online dating
Internet dating has come a long way. It's not for the socially inept or the desperate. There's no longer a stigma to finding love online In fact, it's one of the most popular ways of meeting a partner.
The most recent research from the University of Rochester in the US suggests online dating is the second most common way for couples to meet - beaten only by being fixed up through friends.
It's big business too. There are hundreds of different sites in the UK and in 2012 their value to the economy was nearly £170 million, up 6% on the year before.
An annual study by industry experts Leading Dating Sites found nearly 30% of all relationships were formed online in 2012.
It definitely works, but to make the most of online dating here are the experts top 10 tips:
1. Choose your site wisely
Just choosing a dating site let alone for a date can be quite daunting as there are so many options.
Some match you with potential partners, while with others you have free rein to browse and pick your own.
Two of the biggest sites are Match and eHarmony. With Match, which has millions of members, there's plenty of choice but you may have to go through hundreds of profiles to find your ideal date whereas eHarmony suggests dates for you based on compatibility.
If you prefer having control over your choices, or know which qualities will or won't suit you, you might prefer sites that let you choose who to contact.
2. Pick someone with similar interests
If you have an overriding interest or outlook, there are plenty of niche sites out there. There's uniform dating for people who work in uniforms, vegetarian dating, sites for older people or for those with children.
There are also online agencies specifically for Christian, Jewish or gay singletons.
There's a dating site for art lovers and, if you are outdoorsy, there are a number of suitable sites.
"If you are looking for a partner with a similar outlook and interests as yourself, the best place to start is with a niche dating website," says co-founder of Muddy Matches Lucy Reeves.
"Muddy Matches, is aimed at people who live a 'muddy-boots' lifestyle, so attracts people who enjoy an outdoors lifestyle."
3. Don't be too choosy
When you are going through the reams of potential partners on the internet - or when you meet them on a date - it's all too easy to have a shopping list mentality. 'He's too short, I don't like her eyes, or he doesn't make enough money'.
eHarmony's relationship advice expert Jenni Trent Hughes suggests not being too judgmental. "Try turning down the volume on your inner critic on a superficial front, you may just discover you're a better judge of character, and are better able to decide if your date is someone that you connect with on a new level," she says.