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But at 44, I started to realize that if I want a companion before Social Security kicks in, I have to leave the couch.

I needed a trainer, someone who could help me focus—only instead of getting defined abs, I’d get a mate (hopefully, with defined abs).

Online dating is the way to go—you just have to learn to work the system.” So take heart: Whether you’re a first-time player or a seasoned contestant who wants to up her game, our troubleshooting guide is here to help, with advice from both experts and survivors on how to search strategically, handle setbacks gracefully, maintain sanity, and enjoy the ride—with minimal agony and maximum ecstasy. Seven years ago, I signed up for Match.com, but I never took it seriously.

For me, online dating is like exercise: At the end of the day, it’s easier to watch TV.

Fully 22% of 18- to 24-year-olds now report using mobile dating apps, a more than fourfold increase from the 5% who reported using dating apps in 2013.

Some 53% of women who have used online dating agree that it is more dangerous than other ways of meeting people, substantially higher than the 38% of male online daters who agree with this statement.

Once upon a time, internet dating was a vaguely embarrassing pursuit.

One in ten Americans have used an online dating site or mobile dating app; 66% of these online daters have gone on a date with someone they met through a dating site or app, and 23% have met a spouse or long term partner through these sites.

Public attitudes toward online dating have become more positive in recent years, but many users also report negative experiences.

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