From a computer or smartphone, there are now opportunities to interact privately, right from one's home and with people who span the globe.
With the breakdown of families, religious affiliations and other social structures that once ensured connection to others, a romantic partner is currently viewed as the primary way to counteract isolation.
Because they sometimes have millions of participants, online dating sites offer users a comforting sense that they are not alone.
Single people are reminded that there are many others out there looking to connect and willing to try new ways of doing so.
Often, there is less emotional risk or investment involved and therefore a lower likelihood of feeling hurt or rejected.
Online daters tend to spend a great deal of time texting, messaging or having back-and-forth phone interactions before ever setting eyes on each other.