Finding Love, Traditional and Less So, Online | NBC Connecticut

Finding Love, Traditional and Less So, Online

From cougars to dog lovers, you can find a match.

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    You can find just about anything you're looking for at online dating Web sites.

    If your'e single and looking for love this Valentine's Day, it might be time to log on. You can find just about anything you're looking for at online dating Web sites.

    Nancy Aborn-Wuenneman found herself single again after her first marriage ended.  After a few years of single life and unsuccessful dating, she turned to Match.com to find a match. She logged on the day after Valentine's day in 2003.  Three months later, at 37, she met Ron. Seven months after that, they were married.

    "It was after Valentine's in 2003 that I decided I was going to tip toe in, go online, and see what it was all about," Aborn-Wuennemann said.

    After meeting Ron on  they are now happily married.

    Larry Busacca/Getty Images/Paramount Pictures

    This kind of love is the new nuptial norm.  Ronnie Ann Ryan, known to her followers as "The Dating Coach," and author of "MANifest Mr. Right," says 12 percent of today's marriages start in cyberspace. Ryan often sends her clients to Web sites like match.com and plentyoffish.com.com, where millions longing for love look for a mate.

    "Twelve percent of marriages are from online, 12 percent," she said. " And I have to believe that the numbers are even higher. If you're just talking relationships, it could be 25, 30 percent."

    But web entrepreneurs have stepped up specificity in finding a love interest.  Web sites now cater to lifestyle choices, such as those that target vegans, religious groups -- like jdate.com and catholiccupid.com, dog lovers, and even political affiliation.  Web sites are also catering to tastes, such as cougarlife.com, which connects older women with younger men.

    "According to a study done by AARP, 30 percent of women 40 and above are dating younger men," Ryan said. "So it's not just a cougar thing."

    There are also websites that may spell out a new reality in the online dating world.  Ashleymadison.com claims to be the largest dating resource for married people who are looking for affection outside of their vows.  Their motto is "Life is short.  Have an affair."

    The site has drawn the ire of critics who say it opens the door for cheating even wider.  The Web site's creator tells NBC Connecticut his site doesn't increase infidelity. The Dating Coach agrees.

    "There are people like that, there have always been people like that, there always will be people like that," says Ryan. "And so there are business people that are willing to cater to them. Why not."

    Ashleymadison.com and its sister sites generate $30 million a year in an industry that made nearly $1.1 billion last year.  As web entrepreneurs fight for their slice of the online dating pie, you can expect more sites looking to cater to specific tastes, even if some find them distasteful.

    Still, for most people who put their hearts on the line online, it's a quest to find that one person to answer one simple question.  It's the one Nancy Wuenneman asked when she found her husband Ron.  "Where have you been all my life? He is the embodiment of what I think love is."