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*Names have been changed to protect identities En español She wrote him first. In the summer, when the trees leafed out, you couldn't even see the road or the neighbors. She'd grown up here, in a conservative pocket of Virginia. When it came to meeting new people, however, her choices were limited. The holidays were coming, and she didn't want to face them alone.A short message sent on a Thursday evening in early December 2013, under the subject line: Match? She signed up for a six-month subscription to Match.com, the largest and one of the oldest dating services on the Web.successful, spiritually minded, intelligent, good sense of humor, enjoys dancing and travelling. In those first weeks, she exchanged messages and a few calls with men, and even met some for coffee or lunch.But nothing clicked — either they weren't her type or they weren't exactly who they said they were.

It would have been easy to burnish the truth, but she presented herself honestly, from her age (57) and hobbies ("dancing, rock collecting") to her financial status ("self sufficient").And she was full of questions, about him and about online dating in general."It is kind of a strange way to meet people," she wrote, "but it's not as cold as hanging around the produce department at the Kroger's." She also mentioned the deception she'd already encountered on previous dates — "lots of false advertising or 'bait and switch' folks," she wrote.This seemed to be one of the problems with online dating.She resolved to be pickier, only contacting men who were closely matched — 90 percent or more, as determined by the algorithm pulling the strings behind her online search. Back in college, she'd studied computer science and psychology, and she considered herself pretty tech-savvy.Web-based dating services first popped up in the mid-1990s and are now a billion industry.As of December 2013, 1 in 10 American adults had used services such as Match.com, Plenty of Fish and e Harmony.The mainstreaming of online dating is a revolution in progress, one that's blurring the boundaries between "real" and online relationships.(AARP has joined this revolution, partnering with the online dating service How About We to launch AARP Dating in December 2012.) But the online-dating boom has also fueled an invisible epidemic.I really like your profile and I like what I have gotten to know about you so far.I would love to get to know you as you sound like a very interesting person plus you are beautiful. In fact it would be my pleasure if you wrote me at my email as I hardly come on here often. Some of the other men she'd met on Match had also quickly offered personal email addresses, so Amy didn't sense anything unusual when she wrote back to the Yahoo address from her own account.

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