May 14, 2001 -- It's a marriage made in cyberspace.She had just returned from working abroad; he was a musician living in Manhattan."Just no sparks." Three months later, Goyer's search engine spotted her profile on "That first date we walked two or three miles," she says. Millions of people worldwide are matching and meeting through the comfort of their computers. "Most people say they're looking for a meaningful relationship," says Tom Chapman, founder of Singles She was a university professor in the Ukraine; he was divorced after a long marriage and not seriously looking. Others cater to specific religious or ethnic groups; for instance, focuses exclusively on the Jewish dating scene, providing "a clean and safe environment to meet others online," reads its splash page.
My college boyfriend had married someone he met on the Internet. ' It seemed like a good way to meet people." Shair wrote a brief paragraph describing herself and posted it on -- purposely minus a photo. I wanted to reach someone on a deeper level," she says.The next day her email inbox contained 35 replies -- and most of them were indeed on a deeper level."I was very pleasantly surprised by the caliber of men who responded -- artistic men, writers, lawyers, consultants, musicians," she says. "No bad experiences, no lies, no weirdos," she says. Will they bring you long-term happiness or just one-night stands? If you meet someone special, that's just icing on the cake." Chapman met his icing on the cake four years ago -- online, of course -- just before he founded his own dating service. "Men are very visual." Match.com, Matchmaker.com, Singles Online.com, and American are just a few of the virtual malt shops you'll find online.Now a deliriously content couple, Katherine and Don Winters were "Very Delightful" and "Gr8Alpha Male" when they met online two years ago.Both in their 50s, both divorced, each was looking for a soul mate. "Every single word she wrote was attractive to me," he tells Web MD. Please take a look at mine and get back to me." She -- getting 75 to 100 hits a day -- saw something interesting in his approach. "Let's do a five-minute walk-by," she suggested, when it was time to move beyond email. We couldn't say anything." They've been together ever since. When you respond to someone's profile, pay attention. One suggestion from Green: "I was taken by your profile because of your love of antiquing in the winter. Make it a short meeting -- coffee, lunch, a drink -- not a 10-course dinner or the theater.Some cases of false identity are also out there, as well -- people portraying themselves to be judges or lawyers when they aren't, says Chapman."The thing is, people can lie and deceive you if you meet them online or in the grocery store," he says.And while each site has its own bells and whistles, most Internet dating services work this way: You complete a questionnaire -- sometimes a lengthy one -- about yourself and the type of person you're seeking.Read several profiles before writing your own, Chapman says.And some things you don't want -- like sexually transmitted diseases.Studies have shown that Internet dates more frequently turn sexual than do traditional dates, and the sexual behavior is more likely to be unsafe.