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A couple years ago, I went on the most awkward date of my life — and that includes a handful of middle-school dates chaperoned by my mom or my brother.

Taken as a whole, my online dating experience wasn’t all bad, but when a 27-year-old student (my friends know him as “Boring Ben”) messaged me, it hit rock bottom.

You can search, like, connect, and message for free — without any hampering features holding back your dating game.

Instead of assuming a formula can work out who’s best for you, this dating site puts users in the driver’s seat of choosing a love interest.

But with 87 million singles in the United States and nearly 40 million dating online, it seemed a good way to meet someone.

"No one is going to respond to someone who says they are a couch potato and likes to stay home."I was lucky. (I have friends who have been on dating sites for years.) I corresponded with 50 women and met 15 for drinks, which is recommended over meeting someone for dinner. Because if after 15 minutes you don't like the person you are stuck; and for men that means the bill as well.

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Emily Bartz, dating content manager for Next (which provides independent reviews and research of online services for consumers and small businesses), told me that online dating sites are becoming better at matching you to potential dates and online dating is increasingly being done on mobile phone dating apps."The biggest complaint people have about online dating is wasting time with people they have nothing in common with.Central to this effort has been the development, over the past two years, of an improved matchmaking algorithm. "If you say you want a guy between 30 and 35 in New York who has a master's degree, you're going to get thousands of matches."Codenamed "Synapse", the Match algorithm uses a variety of factors to suggest possible mates.While taking into account a user's stated ­preferences, such as desired age range, hair colour and body type, it also learns from their actions on the site.It was getting serious with one of my Tinder matches.After a witty opener (he, having studied at Oxford, asked if I was British because I somehow looked it) and exchanging our jobs and educational background, we were discussing our favorite Delaware beach destination.

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