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The couple met on e Harmony after a friend persuaded her to sign up, believing it was the best way for a busy single mom to meet a mate.But even though their early email matchup went smoothly, and they began dating quickly, their brand-new relationship was tested when Crissy's dad became very ill.Tonya, 34, was a classic online-dating skeptic, but when her parents pleaded with her to try—and offered to pay for six months on e Harmony.com, she relented—though she bargained it down to three months."I thought, 'What the heck, it's not like I'm going to meet the love of my life!Time was, if you met your mate online, you developed a cover story: If anyone asked, you'd say you met in a bar or at kayaking lessons. Whether it's the fact that many of us already conduct so much of our personal and business lives online, or the proliferation of online dating sites touting their successful matches, it's perfectly acceptable to say, with pride, that you met the love of your life with your fingers on a keyboard, not wrapped around a cocktail at a singles event.Here, five women who found their mate (or were found) online, and went from email to walking down the aisle: A divorced mother, Anna, 46, looked into the future and saw a time when her kids wouldn't need her around quite as much—and she'd end up alone.If you like each other, set a date to meet." (Just be safe: Meet in a public place, bring a cell phone and be sure someone else knows where you are.)Keren Bernard and Peter Mannes, Brooklyn, New York Keren Bernard, 35, signed on to the dating website JDate (which matches Jewish singles) mostly for fun back in 2005. "He was standing near one of my favorite architecture books."A friend of mine was on it, and it was free back then, so I figured why not? There were all these things he wouldn't do, like eat after 8 p.m., and after our first date he sent all these weird emails. And we went out to eat at my favorite Japanese restaurant," says Keren.
"His profile struck a chord—he was very spiritual, for one thing, which was important to me." Those other matches had interested her, but fizzled once they got past initial communication. Six months later, Anna and Sam were engaged; they got married in April 2010.
Not so with Sam—whom she agreed to make a date with after six weeks of emails and hour-long phone calls. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, this is a real man, not just an email! Lesson learned: Keep expectations low; it can take a while to find a match.
Even with a system like e Harmony, whose detailed matching process saved her from "kissing a lot of frogs," you still have to feel that chemistry.
Lesson learned: If you're thinking of Internet dating, do it.
Says Keren, "The lifestyles we all lead these days mean we're always online, so it's more natural.