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Advice about finding love online: try POF, "Costco of humanity"

Photo of Marianne Gagnon- Sirianni and her husband Anthony who met on Plenty of Fish in 2007 and married last year

"For some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about him. I had to write him back," Marianne Gagnon-Sirianni said about her dating experience on Plenty of Fish (POF), referring to the man she met online and felt she had known her entire life.

After receiving numerous inappropriate emails, Gagnon-Sirianni was prepared to give up on her short-lived online dating experience when a message landed in her inbox from a man who seemed genuine, and whose "message made me laugh". Four years later, they tied the knot and now are happily married.

Acting as a virtual matchmaker, online dating sites are one of the most popular Internet trends of the decade. Gagnon-Sirianni is far from alone in meeting her partner via an online dating site.

"My story is quite interesting: I only had my online dating profile for one week," Gagnon-Sirianni said about making the decision to delete her POF dating profile after speaking with her, now husband, only a handful of times.

"I had a strong feeling that I had met someone who I really wanted to spend time getting to know and didn't want to waste time speaking to anyone else on the site," Gagnon-Sirianni said.

And it seems her feelings were mutualAfter only a few months of dating, the man that POF paired her with gave her a promise ring and swore he would marry her one day.

"Four years later, we had the most incredible wedding and an out-of-this world reception with 200 of our friends and family. Now we are living happily ever after," Gagnon-Sirianni said.

Canadian online daters

 Canadians have experienced a major increase in online dating popularity over the past few years, and it is no longer uncommon to hear success stories such as Gagnon-Sirianni's.   POF claims a 40 per cent increase in membership holders over the past two year and 33 million registered users.

A cross-Canada survey conducted by Leger Marketing, found that 25 per cent of Canadians have tried online dating. If focusing on daters between the ages of 18 and 34, the percentage of young Canadians who have given online dating a try rises to 36 per cent.

With Canadians spending 74 minutes online per day, and 81 minutes a day on mobile aps, it's no surprise that people would turn to the Internet as a dating tool, particularity when considering that most young Canadians spend more time socializing online than in bars and clubs.

Advice from successful online dating grads: give it a try

"Would you rather compete with a room full of single girls, all after the same goal of finding a good guy at a bar, or form a personal connection with someone through one on one email conversations?" Gagnon-Sirianni said about her motives for joining Plenty of Fish.

"Online dating gives you the opportunity to spend weeks getting to know each other on an intimate level before even meeting," Gagnon-Sirianni said, favoring online matchmaking because of its no-nonsense dating process.

"I was able to ensure that the person I was speaking with was the right person for me, and worth going on a date with," Gagnon-Sirianni said about the beginning of her relationship with now-husband Anthony.

"The fear of initial rejection isn't as great when you don't have to see someone face to face," Rebecca Liu said about her experience with Match.com.

Online dating also offers a safe and more intimate avenue to explore varying relationship formats.  Liu explained that she gave  online dating a try because of a lack of dating resources in the analog world.

"I didn't really know where else to meet people," Liu said.

Liu is not alone: many find workplace romances taboo. Approaching a cute guy or girl at the library is almost more likely to creep people out than get them interested. 

Dating online continues to be more openly acceptable and utilized, particularly among professionals who have become less interested in night club hook-ups and wish to avoid inner-office romances.

"I was new to the city and thought it might be a legitimate way to meet some people and possibly find someone I really liked," Wilson said candidly about also giving Match.com a try after being transferred to Vancouver for business.

Online dating skepticism

Although comfortably classifying himself as an individual who is open to new experiences, Wilson admitted that he needed a nudge to him get started with online dating, even though he had been toying around with the idea for a few months.

"A friend of mine started putting a profile together for me actually. After that, I figured that it couldn't hurt," Wilson said casually.

The hesitancy to discuss online dating curiosity, even amongst the closest of friends, is extremely prominent. Take this article for example, the majority of these lovely online dating quoters wished to have their identity disclosed.   

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