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Another guy claimed to be 38 but was at least 60,” says Kate, a 33-year-old government analyst from Washington, D. “Sometimes I will go on a date to see how bad it’s going to be.” The fact is that online dating is, well, complicated.

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But as we explored the possibility of taking on this investigation, we discovered that 20 percent of our subscribers are either divorced or have never married, and might benefit from what we found.

Our survey included many people who at some point had used a dating website or an app, as well as a subset of 9,600 respondents who used them in the past two years.

The more recently active group rated specific sites. On the one hand, the numbers indicate that these sites are helping people find mates.

A whopping 44 percent of respondents who tried online dating said the experience led to a serious long-term relationship or marriage.

So when Roberta Caploe was ready to start dating again after a divorce, she didn’t ask her friends to fix her up or feel the need to frequent bars or health clubs.

She signed up for JDate, an online dating site for Jewish singles.

They are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how. So Consumer Reports decided to survey almost 115,000 subscribers about online dating and their experiences with it.

Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment. Given that we usually rate products (like refrigerators) and services (like banking), this is new and fairly unusual territory for us.

“Sometimes whatever chemistry we had just fizzles out.”Perhaps being in the market for a mate can’t be compared with using other services. D., a professor at the Harvard Business School who studies consumer behavior, thinks so.

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