Looking for Something Serious On Online Dating Sites: Us Too

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Online daters reveal what they're looking for when they log on.

Thanks to its rising popularity, and a whole new slew of demographics-specific websites to choose from, online dating sites has become less taboo in recent years. And though it's a more convenient way to find potential dates—who has time to actually go out and meet people, anyway?—there's still a lot to stress about the process.

In an effort to help alleviate the stress of online dating, U.K.-based dating platform WhiteLabelDating.com surveyed its users to determine what daters are looking to get out of the experience. The survey was conducted over two different networks; one aimed at mature daters (ages 40 and up) and one aimed at the general market. Here are some of the results:

At first glance. When deciding whether or not to contact someone, 42 percent of mature daters and 37 percent of general daters deemed a person's profile description to be the most important factor. Other aspects that led to initial contact: location, appearance (based on photos) and age, in that order.

To wink or not to wink? Many online dating websites let users send "winks" in lieu of actual messages as a way to show interest without having to actually write anything. But although the wink is a cheeky way to say hello, only 38 percent of daters are using it. More than half of users in both groups send introductory messages. Making the extra effort to type a brief "hello" could actually help in the long run; more than half of those surveyed prefer receiving a message over a wink or an instant chat. Among the general population, 52 percent agreed that a short message was best, while about one-quarter liked longer notes sprinkled with interesting facts about the person.

Commitment. It may be tough to determine a potential match's intentions via an online dating website, but the survey results reveal that most online daters are interested in starting a serious relationship. Only 21 percent of the general population is looking for something casual; the other 79 percent are in it for the long haul. Meanwhile, only 44 percent of mature daters are looking for something serious: We're a bit surprised this number is so low. Those frisky seniors!

Results. After the grueling process of weeding through potential matches, deciding whether to wink or message, and establishing a flirtation, about one in five members find success.

Of course, that begs the question: How do you define success? They didn't say. We're guessing it means getting off the site and into the real world of a relationship.

Do you think it's possible to find a serious relationship through online dating?