The evolution of finding love over the past 10 years has seen us go from sending love letters via email and text messages to scrolling through the latest profiles on your phone and deciding instantly whether or not you are compatible with each other.
In fact, dare I say it is more socially acceptable to chat to a complete stranger through a Facebook message rather than actually ask them out for an innocent coffee while waiting in the queue?
But while we may have more ways to communicate and reach all these glittering new options there are also certain restrictions that can come with the change. Overall, however, dating sites and apps have broken down many barriers that may have hindered us from finding true love, such as distance, career demands, time restraints or lack of confidence.
Love, it would seem, has now become easier to access and is attainable even for those who had thought about giving up and living with 27 cats.
As a dating and relationship expert I get to see the pros and the cons of the cyber world of dating. In the past I have even searched for my Prince Charming among a sea of profiles on several different sites (because, let's face it, we rarely ever stick to one!).
So here's my take on how the online dating culture has changed the way we do romance:
1: Our attitude to relationships have changed
Technology has not only given access to more people but it has also shown us the possibility of what could happen and how we can achieve it so easily. What might have restricted our chances of finding a suitable partner has now been removed, simply because discovering an ideal date has become portable, manageable, less time-consuming and so convenient in our daily lives.
We live in a world where we are constantly updating our statuses, phones, cars and everything in between, so it's no wonder that this disposable attitude can start to leak into our relationships as well.
Dating sites may have given us a glimpse of what is possible in love, but we also have to remember that the success of the actual relationship is not based on how popular or functional a site is, but rather our own attitude and mentality.
2: We have unlimited access to so many fish in the sea
Before, our chances of finding a suitable date was pretty much limited to our social life, work acquaintances and maybe a friend of a friend who wanted to set us up on a blind date (which usually ends awkwardly for all involved)!
Now, thanks to online dating sites and apps, we have instant contact with thousands (even millions) of possibilities with just the click of a button or a swipe of the finger.
Dating sites have given singletons hope that finding 'the One' is not just some Disney fantasy but an actual reality.
In a way, dating sites and apps have given us this "golden key" to finding love. However, this can sometimes have two negative effects: a) we date every single person we fancy until we burn out and swear to a life of solitude; or b) jump from relationship to relationship without having the proper amount of time in between to heal.
3: We are able to narrow the playing field
We all love a time-saving solution, but when it's coupled with the possibility to skip the frogs and just end up with the Prince, it becomes a new found beacon of hope.
Online dating has not only given us more candidates for future dates but it has also made it possible for us to actually narrow down the choices and find someone more compatible. Through profile and compatibly searches we are now able to get beyond just the smiling pictures and find out what really matters about a person and if they are someone who you could connect with.
This has to be my most favourite feature of any dating site; the fact that one can actually research and get to know someone before you invest time and emotion into them really does save...well, time and emotion.
Some sites have even taken it one step further and thrown in scientific and psychological aspects and features so your chances of finding someone suitable is actually a lot more refined. It would appear that Fairy Godmothers do exist...
4: We are learning to be educated in love
Dating sites are no longer taboo, they are now thriving online communities where new friendships as well as relationships are being made. Jump on any well-known dating site and you can not only see all your new prospects but you are also able to join forums, like-minded group chats and even tap into a wealth of knowledge with their advice on relationships and dating blogs.
This is fantastic, because we are now recognising the importance of educating ourselves and understanding the core fundamental values of what it takes to maintain a healthy and happy relationship.
It's not hard to see why the online dating industry is thriving and growing daily, as there is now an even more acknowledged need for people to find a real and lasting love. Whether you are 20 or 80 years old, dating sites don't discriminate and can really offer a new chance at finding that love you have been searching for.