More Iowans are hunting for dates on this Valentine’s Day than ever before — without leaving home. Social science researcher Heather Haberman says the number of users on a popular on-line dating service has ballooned from 500 people in 1999 to literally millions today. Haberman says “People are very resourceful, because the Internet was not developed with the forethought of being a place for developing romantic relationships. It’s people who found a way to adapt the technology to be useful for them.”
Haberman says it’s impossible to determine how many Iowans are using on-line dating services, given the many services available and the use of pseudonyms. She says there is a certain convenience of getting to know someone via computer before taking the relationship off-line and in person.
Even if you feel comfortable, Haberman still urges common-sense for that first date. She says “Take the precaution of meeting in public areas. Don’t meet someone alone for the first time. Just some of those very basic things that we should be very careful with off-line as we are on-line.” Don’t let uncertainty deter you, either. Haberman says research finds relationships with cyber-beginnings are just as successful as those with more traditional courtships.