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Between 20, the number of people using online dating sites doubled, from 20 million to 40 million, and about one third of America’s single people participated in some sort of online dating last year.

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The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.A dating site is not a magic “fix” for your dating problems.“If you don’t have a personality, it’s going to come across in an email, a phone call, or across a table,” said Larry K., 46, who met his wife on nine years ago.This suggests that online dating is proving to be no more effective at creating lasting relationships than the old standards.“I really didn’t see it as any different from the way that people met each other for decades past," said Feifer. creates a relationship, is not the Other daters agreed, and so does Alex Mehr, a co-founder of the dating site Zoosk."Online dating doesn't change my taste, or how I behave on a first date, or if I will be a good partner.With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.

Research suggests that, while it is possible to predict whether two people could enjoy spending time together in the short term, it’s (nearly) impossible to scientifically match two people for long-term compatibility.

The strongest predictors of a good, functional relationship are how a couple interacts, and their ability to handle stress — two things that science says current dating website algorithms can't predict and online profiles can't demonstrate.

It only changes the process of discovery," says Mehr in Dan Slater's new book "Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating." (Slater notes that Mehr was the only dating exec he interviewed who felt this way.)It’s the efficiency of this “process of discovery” that’s appealing to many daters.

“I guess maybe the promise of online dating is that it allows you to get out and have those experiences and make those mistakes and hopefully learn a lot from them,” said Slater. is to get [them] out there and get them to socialize.” Sure, you might encounter some horrific experiences — but hopefully you’ll learn from them and those lessons will benefit your search for a partner in the long run.“Even if I had married someone that I had met through a friend or whatever, online dating still would have been fun,” said Feifer.

The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.