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Can you find love online?

By Ghanamma

With the net ruling our lives, and most of us spending many hours in front of our PC's, is finding love online a good way to find a soul mate?

You may exchange spit with the odd stranger in the wee hours of the morning in a dark club and think he or she is the one, but usually it's just chemistry, or the alcohol talking... And besides, what conversation can you really have to the background music of '... hit me baby one more time'?

The advantage of Facebook also adds safety and credibility to the online dating equation — it's usually always safer to meet through friends — ok usually...

I know one example of two people who went to school together and never really clicked, but now have been dating for more than a year after they found each other again on Facebook.

So how dodgy is it?
South Africans in general are a bit suspicious of online dating. Most of us think that dating online involves a dodgy stranger posing as a Pamela Anderson lookalike, when in actual fact they end up being more similar in looks to Kelly Osbourne. But that may not necessarily always be the case.

Of course, the stranger in question might accentuate their good points and forget to mention the obvious negatives like the birthmark between their eyes, but then again you won't judge them by their birth defects, and instead take personality into consideration above looks.

I'm sure you have heard a fair amount of horror stories, like falling for someone online who neglects to tell you they have a criminal background before the actual physical meeting. But it can't all be bad — can it?

The popular dating site www.datingbuzz.co.za has a few success stories. Says Sean on the site, "I have met my match, she is a beautiful, gorgeous, caring, compassionate and wonderful person who I have been seeking for all my life, I have always wondered what love would be like and after 21 years I know I have found the answer. For anyone that doubts the ability of findings their partner by having to make use of an internet site then doubt no longer."

Good marketing tool or true life story?
Is this just a good marketing tool or a true life story? Well apparently, in 2006, 15 percent of American adults (30 million people) said they knew someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone he or she met online, according to a survey by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

And in troubled times, the internet may be your easiest option. It seems even young Iraqis in Baghdad are surfing the internet to search for partners to tie the knot as violence and sectarian tensions take their toll on more traditional forms of socialising.

And with the rate of inflation, price of petrol and so on, in South Africa it may be that browsing for lovers online with your one-gig-a-month contract is the cheapest way of finding love — it's a hell of a lot less pricey than a night out on the town in any case, and the bonus is you don't have to spend money going on a date until you decide it's time to meet.

Another advantage of online dating is that you can meet someone with the same interests and religion as yourself. Christian Connections for example, is an agency reserved exclusively for born-again christian singles, who are looking for friends, romance, love, fellowship, companionship, excitement and yes, even marriage.

There is the opinion though that people are looking for love online because there is seriously something wrong with them or they have issues. But with everything from shopping, buying electricity, paying your bills and sending presents to friends through the internet becoming a norm, then why not dating?

So should I go for it?
If you would like to meet through a trusted source, then there are plenty alternatives to dating sites per se, like forums and online common-interest sites, where you could potentially find a mate, without actively looking for one.

For instance, say you're into waterpolo, you could join or even create a group on Facebook for all waterpolo enthusiasts in your area, and you never know who you may meet.

Or how about online gaming? Sure your identity is probably secret in the virtual world of Second Life, but after a little while you may find someone you click with, and who says you can't meet?

But if you must join a dating site, then:
* Go mainstream. Check out a mainstream site, as larger sites are well-established and have a larger pool of members which ups your chance for meeting a mate.

* Screen profiles. If you're not sure which large site to choose, most sites will give you a trial period and allow you to screen profiles of other online daters. Compare the profiles and see which site has more of the kinds of people you'd most like to meet. You want to go where you think you'll feel most comfortable.

* Join a niche site. Once you're comfortable with the online dating world, go ahead and join a site that's tailored to your specific interests and personality.

So it's definitely possible to find real love online, but quite likely you will meet some freaks along the way.

There's also a good chance that online dating is going to become a more accepted way to meet the 'love of your life' as time goes by, but as in 'real' world relationships aren't easy, and so just as love often fails in conventional meetings, so it will in virtual ones, but that isn't a reason to hold back and not put your love online, now is it?

# Do you think that meeting the love of your life online is possible? Have you done so, or has it failed you miserably? Post your comments below, we'd love to know.

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USER COMMENTS »
Internet dating
After a few years of mainly unsuccesful dating (good fun most of the time nevertheless), I met my current partner ten months ago and we are both very happy and in love. Didn't think it would happen to me again in my late forties.. Vic

Online Dating
Been on an off the datingbuzz site for 2 years met a girl and date for about 6 months, but after that ended i tried the site again,and it seems that regardless of your personality or charm the picture tells the first story,so often a downside is if you dont picture well you dont get "pictured" well! anyways its not a bad thing the site I mean, just seems there is a dodgy underbelly especially with people posing as things they are not!. Gareth

Con Man
I tried this and was conned by someone called Nosh Naidoo on the dating site as well as facebook for many thousands of rands - he ran a car scam finding vulnerbale females on these sites. People should really be careful on who they meet and trust from such sites. . Des

Happy
I met someone on an internet forum 2 and a half years ago, recently met him (he's in the states, thats why it took so long to meet) and he was everything and more that i had come to know and love during those 2 yrs!. Anon

It could happen...
I met my wife thru a dating site.
I was on the site researching for an article and she had received a 10 gift subscription from a friend as a gag. The funny thing was that we had passed each other in various places at various times prior to actually meeting thru the site. Upon further investigation it was discovered that we actually had common acquaintances.

Kismet or just six degrees of separation? . Publius

not convinved
I joined an online date scene,datebuzz infact,and found that at least 85% of the men that approached me are nothing but scoundrels.They were mostly married men seeking discreet sex,DUH!!.The other 15% were genuine and I did make a few very good friends,I have met 2 of them and they are fabulous guys.I do think anyone who wants to join a site like this MUST at all times scrutinize anyone who invites them to chat.Tak care to protect yourself online,because no matter what ,we have real A'holes prowling the date and chat sites looking for people to take advantage of.. anon

wary
I have been on and off onthe dating web but my last experience put me off. I met an alleged widowerand for 4 months he strung me along, we met, he bouht me gifts, I thoughtit was a mtch made in heaven,. Then the alarm bells rang and I discovered his whole story was fiction, he was married, lied about his job, his kids his free time....but what a charmer. Girls just be carful, ask all the right questions - and if he can't see you weekends - look for the wedding band hidden in his pocket!!!. tigger

Two Success Stories
I have two friends who found love online. Both couples are married now (one for three years and the other for four). While you do need to exercise caution, you can meet just as many con men and fraudsters face to face! But then, I met my husband in a nightclub, which is probably even more dodgy than meeting somebody online....

Online dating
Yes, meeting online is indeed a possibility! Especially for those in their mid 30's and 40's. After finding myself single at 39, what better place to start meeting people than online. I did it for about 6 months and met my match - he's awesome - but in doing that, I also made some fantastic friends along the way - and NO weirdo's - at all!!It sure beats sitting at home waiting for that "Knight in shining armour" to come and carry you off into the sunset!! And a whole lot better than grabbing a bar fly!! So if you're single and have not tried the internet scene - you don't know what you are missing!!!. Sally

Online Dating
I think online dating has two sides to it.I've tried it out, was on for quite some time but never actually met a girl in person.Maybe it's because I'm still young, 22 now but was 20 at the time.The worst part is,that as a guy it will always be hard to find someone online.A friend of mine even made a test, set up a profile with a random pic of a girl, within 10 mins there were 85 messages.It's no wonder that you hardly ever get a response.

As a female I think it's okay, but you have to be really careful.There are so many loveable losers out there who just want one thing.And the real good guys don't even get a chance.

. Ruger
Can work...
Online dating sites can work, although there are a lot of chancers as well. I met someone at the beginning of 2005 and next month we celebrate our second wedding anniversary.... Alison

Datingbuzz.com
Ek is 'n professionele persoon (regsgeleerde) wat vroeg vanjaar geskei is. 'n Baie goeie vriendin ('n prokureur) het my van Datingbuzz vertel. My idee was aanvanklik om net te korrespondeer, maar ek het gou agtergekom dat 'n ontmoeting nie uitbly nie. Ek het vir ongelooflike interessante mans geskryf, en wonderlike mans ontmoet. Daar was die een of twee kansvatters (getroude mans op soek na 'n buite-egtelike avontuurtjie), maar dit was maklik genoeg om die kaf van die koring te skei. Binne 3 maande het ek 'n baie spesiale man ontmoet. Glad nie die stoere boer waarmee ek graag wou korrespondeer nie, maar 'n regte Engelse stadsjapie! Ons eerste ontmoeting het in Johannesburg in 'n coffee shop plaasgevind, en alhoewel ons mekaar nog nie lank ken nie, praat ons reeds van trou.

Daar is wonderlike eensame mense op Datingbuzz. Ek kan dit vir enige enkellopende persoon aanbeveel.

Nicolene Erasmus
Potchefstroom
. Nicolene Erasmus
internet dating
seriously, it could be good if the men are authentic. i met two guys, both from cape town, both gutless and manipulators. They were after my money and sex. Of course, they were also friends. luckily, i avoided their claws, and saw their shallowness. Watch out girls, there are many frauds.. Sasha

it can work if they open their eyes
I think if distance is involved, men ought not be afraid. I paid for one guy's visit to my country - shame he couldn't get past his virtual issues, they are there, whether he is online or not. Anyway, I suffered as a consequenece with his friends tormenting us. Guess he needed to be open, truthful, honest. i hope it can work, makes our ocean global on this blue earth of ours nd that is exciting. Sasha