Advice From Liz Pryor: Can One Find Love Online?

Many of us are both curious and torn when it comes to trying online dating services.

It has become nearly impossible not to notice the growing trend that has become an industry that rakes in $4 billion per year in the United States alone.

Stories of people meeting and marrying, along with stories of failures on a grand scale, have become a part of the new fabric of societal talk.

The question on the minds of many readers is, "What do you really think of online dating?"

According to the most recent statistics, one in five singles have dated online, 17 percent of couples married in 2010 met online and the numbers are increasing astronomically each year.

It does appear we are heading in the direction of online dating becoming as commonplace as being set up on a face-to-face date.

If we were to guess, what would be the answer to why and how the idea of finding an intimate loving relationship came to land at the doorstep of technology? We might answer, that people simply don't have enough time in their lives to put in the physical effort it might take to meet someone.

Life has amped up to a speed and production rate that has many of us with too little time to search for love. Thus, we can now go on the computer at night and surf through possible prospects, dispose of the ones we find unattractive and focus on common moral stances and interests to kick-start the process.

However, progress, growth, advancement -- all of the positive buzz words referring to the fast-changing times -- have left some of us reeling, or even frozen with indecision.

If indeed the online dating system were devised to accommodate the fast-paced, over productive lives we're all living, it is indeed a success.

However, might it also be perpetuating the pace at which we're all stammering to keep up with anyway?

What if we didn't have the option of finding online the person who, at the end of the day, makes it all worthwhile? Maybe we would have to find the time. Maybe our core desire for finding the inexplicable greatness of connection would in fact force the adjustment our lives really need.

A reader wrote to me recently saying she feels "bullied" by progress. That if she doesn't conform to the latest technology, she then wonders whether she might be missing out on some of the opportunities out there for her in work, dating and life.

She wrote a long dissertation on her all-too human, knee-jerk reaction against online dating, but ended the letter with the idea that she may have to do it.

The dilemma for more people than we realize, and even they realize, may be the idea that, as a result of all this change and opportunity, we actually have fewer places to turn for the kind of big-arrow life direction we so crave.

Yes, the moral, seemingly life-changing decisions and choices we meet feel more difficult to make for people today than ever before.

The irony? In the face of all this opportunity and development and accessibility, we feel more lost.

Together with our great minds, and leaders and experts and scientists and technologists and venture capitalists we have effectively created a new floor, a new base for life and the result is that our relationships are changing. Some of us feel we are slipping more than we are finding traction on this new floor.

Online dating has to be a choice you feel comfortable choosing. Period. Amen.

There is no right or wrong. This is the new world.

Online Dating a Personal Decision

If online dating sites work for your life and your heart and your hope for love, simply sign up and give it a shot.

If you feel it really isn't what you had in mind in terms of finding that kind of relationship, don't do it and commit, instead, to focusing on keeping yourself more open out in the world and adjusting your life to make time for something so important to you.

If you care what people think about your choice, stop caring. Yes, right now stop caring what other people think about the choices you make for your life. No matter how much time we have, we should not make time for concern over what other people feel about our choices.

What technology is never going to give us is the acknowledgment that, at the end of the day, the single most important tool in life is the ability to trust yourself to make the right choices.

That message is so simple that it doesn't even read properly, but it's the greatest truth we know.

Our most effective tool for productivity on any level is to know who we are and to be able to trust in that. The more choices made available to us, the more important this becomes.

So, take a moment and look at who you are and what you really want for your life. Then begin to work on knowing yourself better. Your ability to guide yourself will improve beyond what you can imagine.

Online dating? Decide for yourself.

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