By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

Oh, the times, they are a-changing! This refrain is from a very famous Peter, Paul, and Mary song. And the truth is, people are finding love in different ways than they did is year’s past. Online dating is a reality today.

According to recent estimates – and we think they are pretty credible – one in eight couples who got married last year met online. Some think the number is closer to one in four. However, we see no evidence that this is the case. One in eight is much more likely to be true.

So here is the important question – is it appropriate and safe to meet online? Here is what we have learned.

First, there are lots of on-line dating services on the Internet. Try this experiment – Google “online dating” or some similarly related notion. You will be astounded by the number of services available on-line. Be you Christian, Jewish, Muslim, African-American, Russian, Asian, Caucasian, or any other ethnic or religious group of your persuasion, there is a dating service for you! Check it out. There seems to be something for everyone. Judging which dating services would be okay for you is not a simple thing to do.

Which leads us to the second major issue regarding online dating that may lead to marriage. Is it safe? Are there some basic “rules” you should follow when engaging in this activity? The answer is YES! If you were to Google “on-line safety tips,” you will find many sources of information regarding the do’s and don’ts of online dating. Some of these websites are very good. Others – not so much.

While there are many good ones, we have found the insights provided at www.onlinedatingmagazine.com to be particularly compelling. Reviewing the safety tips that are outlined is important as adherence to them could make the difference between a good and bad experience with online dating – between a safe experience and a dangerous one.

The third notion is, perhaps, the most important. Namely, can you find a better potential mate by online dating versus the more traditional ways of dating? Without a doubt, this is the toughest question of all, and there is not a simple answer.

Your answer to this question depends more on you and your interests, personality, and desires, than it does on anything else. On the one hand, have you reached your “wit’s end?” – have you given up on finding Mr. or Ms. Right in the “traditional” ways? Are you, out of some level of desperation, willing to choose an alternative route to find your true love? Or, perhaps, you simply don’t have the wherewithal or time to date in the traditional ways?

If any of the aforementioned reasons apply to you, online dating may be a possibility you should consider. The point is, you have to discover for yourself why online dating is FOR YOU and is preferable to other means. Only you can answer that question.

The simple truth is, the jury is still out when it comes to online dating, especially as it relates to marriage. And frankly, since the phenomenon of online dating is too new to determine it’s efficacy – its success rate as a means to marriage is still without a bonafide research base. In other words, there is no credible research one way or the other that suggests whether online dating leads to marriages that last – that stand the test of time – or those that do not.

“Do not go blindly into that good night” without some verification that the path you are choosing to follow is the right one for you. Having someone to love for a lifetime is a great place to be. Finding your way there requires much thought and reflection.

However you find your lover, however you find the one you choose to marry, you must do so deliberately, with much thought, and with an eye towards what will make you happy. Whether you get there through online dating or through more traditional means, it is most important that you get to a place you want to be, that makes you happy, that gives you fulfillment.

Perhaps, you can find someone to share your Golden Anniversary. There is nothing like finding your love for a lifetime. It doesn’t matter how you got there!

Love well. The simple things do matter.

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

Authors of Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
2009 Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships

Author's Bio: 

Now you can order the Doctors' multiple award winning marriage book, Golden Anniversaries: The Seven Secrets of Successful Marriage at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or www.GoldenAnniversaries.com, the 2009 Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Medal Winner for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book. With 26 years of research experience on successful marriage and their own 42-year marriage, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz know what makes marriage work. From their hundreds of interviews with happily married couples, representing 15,000 years of marriage, they've discovered the seven pervasive characteristics present in all successful marriages. Their book exposes the secrets for success through these poignant, real life stories.

Get started with America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts by taking their Marriage Quiz or asking them a question at Marriage Advice or downloading their FREE eBook at Salad Recipes For Love and Health.

During their distinguished careers the Doctors have received some 65 local, state, and national awards; published nearly 350 articles and manuscripts; delivered over 1000 speeches, workshops and public presentations; traveled throughout the world; and appeared on radio and television and in the print media. Dr. Charles D. Schmitz is Dean and Professor of Family and Counseling Therapy at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz is President of Successful Marriage Reflections, LLC.

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