Jane and Andrea Palikira are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a night in.
They met 10 years ago through the online dating site, Match.com, and went on to become one of the company’s first marriages.
They now have twin daughters, Alessia and Sophia. Jane says:
“It was my mum who suggested that I go online, because she was sick of hearing me complain about all these awful dates that I used to go on with men I met in random places like bars and so on. So I wasn’t really that nervous.”
Her husband, Andreas Palikira, says:
“I was very excited, but I was quite nervous, I didn’t know what to expect in a way. A photo is all well and good, but a lot could have gone on since that picture, the hair could have changed, whatever. So I was very relieved when she eventually walked in.”
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Match.com was one of the first internet dating site, setting up shop in America in 1995. It’s now in 25 countries and has many competitors.
Last February, it saw six million visits during the month – with the most in the week up to Valentine’s Day.
eHarmony also claims to be responsible for 5% of all marriages in the United States.
And one in three internet users regard the web as a good place to find a partner.
Karl Gregory is Match.com’s Managing Director for the U.K. and Ireland:
“Online dating has changed hugely in the last 10 years. Certainly, we know there was an embarrassment factor. Today, that embarrassment factor has crumbled away. We’ve got millions of people using online dating sites and recently, the Office of National Statistics have added online dating to their basket of goods and services just to calculate inflation, which is indicative that online dating is a pervasive part of human life today.”
In Britain, it’s estimated that almost half the singles population has tried internet dating – and romance is a valuable source of income. A recent survey showed that U.K. singles spend around £3.4 billion a year on dating.
Andreas and Jane say many of their friends have tried internet dating since their successful attempt and have gone on to find love.
Not all of them are married with children, but online dating is clearly a growth market – and in the current economic climate that’s worth celebrating.