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More Americans are turning to computers and smart phones to find love

More Americans are turning to computers and smart phones to find love (WKEF/WRGT)

MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Each year, more and more Americans turn to their computers and smart phones to find love. According to the latest PEW Research Center survey, 15 percent of U.S. adults have used online dating websites or apps.

But some people who find love on the Internet, like Rachel Golem, weren’t even looking in the first place. She met her now-husband Dan Golem on Twitter when he randomly decided to message her.

“If he hadn’t have had this way to communicate with me,” Rachel said, “I don’t know if I ever would’ve met him or would’ve gained this this type of partner let alone a best friend. I don’t know if it ever would’ve happened if it wasn’t for technology.”

Rachel and Dan talked online for six days and then decided to meet in person.

“Most people don’t believe in love at first sight but I think I loved him from the second I met him,” Rachel said.

For most people, this is nothing new.

“You can’t just go outside and meet people,” Stephanie Calhoun, a Dayton-area millennial who has tried online dating, said. “It’s almost more of a stigma to meet someone as a stranger than meeting them online.”

Andrew Kimball, another Dayton-area millennial, agrees.

“I don’t think people meet up in bars anymore," he said. "I think that’s over with.”

With thousands of websites and apps to choose from, singles have options from the more traditional E-Harmony and Match.com to niche sites, which include everything from one just for sea captains to clowndating.com.

Then there’s Tinder, an app you use on your phone. Swipe right if you like what you see; swipe left if you don’t. If two people swipe right on each other, it’s a match, but as you’re swiping away, you don’t really know who’s on the other side of that screen.

“I could be talking to one person and somebody else shows up,” retired police officer Bill Parsons said. “Almost anybody can put on a social face long enough to deceive us and if we’re talking to somebody really dangerous, a sociopath, they can be incredibly charming.”

Parsons said if you’re going to do it, at least make sure you’re taking as many precautions as possible, which means looking out for red flags:

  • Wanting to move too quickly
  • Using words like “destiny” and “soulmate”
  • Talk about money
  • Refusing to speak on the phone
  • Incorrect grammar – the person probably isn’t in the country

But even with all of these safety tips in mind, online dating might not be for you.

“There’s no real matching happening,” said Kimball. “It’s just like here’s everyone – GO.”

That’s where Abby Glendenning comes in – the Miami Valley Matchmaker. She created Gem City Dating, an online website that helps singles in the Miami Valley find each other.

“I offer events in person that apps just don’t offer,” Glendenning said.

One of her main services is speed dating, which allows singles in the Miami Valley to meet several people in a short amount of time – in a safe setting.

“Bringing people together is so fun because sometimes you do see the spark in the eye when they meet,” Glendenning said. “Sometimes with speed dating the three minutes is up and they won’t stop talking and you just know it’s going to work out and it feels fascinating.”

She also hosts singles mixers and a variety of other services that you can find on her website by clicking this link.

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