Banks are foreclosing on houses. Jobs are being outsourced. Popular retail stores are shutting down. Magazines like Domino are folding. Despite the economy being pretty much in the crapper, romance is on the rise. Popular online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony are seeing a spike in the number of people signing up looking for love; Match.com saw its biggest membership growth in seven years in November, and eHarmony.com registrations increased 20 percent in 2008. Yes, it seems people are dumping their change jars into Coinstar machines and flocking to online dating sites. But why would you pay for a gamble on love when the gas and electric people are sending you death threats? It boils down to one simple word… …LONELINESS.
It’s bad enough to be jobless, but no one wants to be unemployed AND lonely. However much these sites charge — and some of them do cost a pretty penny — for some, shelling out the extra cash is worth it. Is companionship really an extra expense or more of a necessity? We all want and need companionship and attention. Online dating used to be somewhat taboo. No one wanted to admit they had gone to the Internet to find a potential soul mate. But now the stigma is gone and online dating is so normal that I think I’m odd for not having tried it yet. There is a fear we all have of ending up alone. And this fear is what’s driving the online dating economy way up. People are willing to pay for the chance at finding true love. That chance is worth the flipping out that occurs when you peep your credit card bill; it’s worth getting the butterfly feeling when you go out on a date; and it’s so worth the risk to avoid being the crazy cat lady at the end of the block. IBN