Truth in online dating

e Harmony likes to stress how many members get married as a result of being matched via the service (236 every day, according to data gathered in the US in 2008.) did a survey last year indicating that an impressive 58,500 people found a partner on the site over a 12-month period – and they still offer a six-month guarantee of "finding love", albeit underlined (understandably) by a 500-word list of conditions. When Time Out magazine recently ran a cover story offering free online dating for every reader, it was dangling a huge metaphorical carrot. But you rarely hear from those who, having failed to find a partner online, back away from the computer shaking their heads at the way the process distorts social conventions and leaves you slightly shell-shocked.Those 58,500 lucky members of were vastly outnumbered by the 286,000 unlucky ones.

A quick disclosure: I have a couple of dating profiles online. But this isn't therapy masquerading as a self-pitying article by some bloke in his late-thirties – well, not much, anyway.

It doesn't approach the horror of being told by a partner that they don't love you any more.

But despite our inclination to present ourselves as optimistic – verging on an almost deranged bubbliness, in some cases – we enter the process on the back foot. It's just that thin skin isn't compatible with internet dating.

After all, when I meet someone in real life that I like, I tend not to say, "Hi, I'm Rhodri, and here's a list of food I don't like eating." The rules of attraction are just too complex to be held in a database and analysed by a computer.

Thomas: "The idea that someone likes to spend weekends mountain biking or, I dunno, shaving lions – that's the kind of thing that would send me up the nearest bell tower with a sniper rifle." But we're forced to filter the mass of potential datees, and we do it savagely.

Search for truth in online dating:

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But that very abundance is also why the rapid cycle of rejection can feel so disheartening.

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