Single people are reminded that there are many others out there looking to connect and willing to try new ways of doing so.

Generally, all these online activities create a wide web of connections, even if no actual relationships are developed.

Many of the online sites provide a way to match one's own profile with qualities that users are told will likely result in potential partners -- what many describe as a "relationship algorithm." Rather than randomly clicking on just anyone, these sites suggest that there is a greater likelihood for long-term romance if compatibility is sought.

For example, a virtual "wink" that expresses interest in someone's profile can be less anxiety-provoking than real-life flirtation.

Often, there is less emotional risk or investment involved and therefore a lower likelihood of feeling hurt or rejected.

Online sites also offer a mode of communicating that until now required stepping into public arenas -- bars, parties and other settings where singles gathered -- which create anxiety and inhibition for some.

From a computer or smartphone, there are now opportunities to interact privately, right from one's home and with people who span the globe.

With the breakdown of social structures that once ensured connection to others -- like families and religious affiliations -- a romantic partner is viewed as the primary way to counteract isolation.

Without one, celebrations -- like the most recent Valentine's Day -- can feel like a very long 24 hours.

The common experiences that I am talking about are like this: a woman goes online to find a partner and receives a message from a man, usually short but they are now beginning to range from one sentence to several paragraphs.

The guy represents to the woman that he is interested in a relationship and after talking (in most cases up to two weeks, but that would be at the high end and closer to an outlier) via messages through the site, texts, e-mail and sometimes phone calls, they agree to meet.

Online daters tend to spend a great deal of time texting, messaging or having back-and-forth phone interactions before ever setting eyes on each other.