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Digital technology and smartphones in particular have transformed many aspects of our society, including how people seek out and establish romantic relationships.

Few Americans had online dating experience when Pew Research Center first polled on the activity in 2005, but today 15% of U. adults report they have used online dating sites or mobile dating apps.

Avid Life Media called it “an act of criminality.” Many people are looking for love online, and some — even those who are already married — are looking for hook-ups, but even those who are looking for love should be aware of what lies ahead. Roughly 30 million unique users, or about 10% of the U. population, visit dating sites every month, according to market researcher Nielsen.

And many of them pay a hefty sum for that chance to meet their perfect match.

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Today, 12% of 55- to 64-year-olds report ever using an online dating site or mobile dating app versus only 6% in 2013. “Finding a soul mate can cost you.” As the data breach of the adultery website, Ashley Madison.com, has shown, online dating doesn’t come cheap — in terms of monthly fees and, in extreme cases, public embarrassment and lawyer’s fees in divorce court.Hackers alleged late Tuesday that they had dumped account details and log-in information of around 32 million users of the website, revealing millions of street addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and credit-card details.Being able to grow and maintain your relationship offline is critical as you go through the different phases of a relationship.As one who believes in casting a wide net, I tell singles that you really need to do both. In reality, online dating, if done correctly, is just a method or service that will get you out there in the real world to meet someone offline and meet more people.With an unlimited number of other people on offer via the internet, there’s little incentive to work it out if things get tough.

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