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True, print media personals ads and offline dating services existed for some time before the emergence of online dating sites, but neither of these means of meeting potential partners became “mainstream” nearly to the extent that online dating has today.To those who began dating before the rise of online dating sites, then, finding a date or a mate usually meant seeking possibilities for face-to-face contact with one or more potential eligibles.Indeed, although there is substantial variation in the age of individuals who visit online dating sites (com Score, 2003; Madden & Lenhart, 2006), younger cohorts (e.g., Internet users between 18 and 29 years of age) are more likely to report accessing such sites than are older cohorts (Madden & Lenhart, 2006).Thus, while Internet dating appears to have fairly wide appeal across age ranges, individuals in some age groups appear more likely than others to seek opportunities to meet romantic partners online.

Shifts in time perspective are not the only changes that accompany aging.That same year, the number of new unique visitors to online dating sites was estimated at 40 million per month in the U. According to the 2006 Pew Internet and American Life Project survey (Madden & Lenhart), 74% of the approximately 10 million American Internet users who are single and actively seeking romantic partners have used the Internet as a means to meet potential dates, with online dating sites serving as the core of these users' online dating-related activities.Users' experiences with Internet personals ads and online dating may not all be uniform, however, and age may be an important dimension along which such experiences vary.Importantly, such declines appeared as early as age 30 and thus well before old age.With respect to the pursuit of romance, if we assume that individuals who use the Internet for this purpose are either single or dissatisfied with some aspect of their existing intimate involvements, Socioemotional Selectivity Theory has important implications for understanding whether and how age will affect their approach to the opportunities that Internet dating offers.

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