Couples, and the Websites They Meet On, Overcoming Stigma

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SACRAMENTO-

Sacramento couple Lesley Ingles and her husband Mike have quite the love story.

The two have been together for more than five years, but considering Lesley was born and raised in Sacramento and Mike was raised in Virginia, the chances of them meeting were slim.

What brought the couple together is that they were both signed up for the online dating site Christian Mingle.

The pair are part of a growing number of people who have met their spouse thanks to online dating, and those numbers are impressive.

Shayan Zadeh the CEO of dating site Zoosk cites recent research that found one out of every three relationships started online.

Along with Zadeh FOX40 spoke with representatives from Match.com, eHarmony, and Christian Mingle; all have seen membership and success stories go up.

“I was at eHarmony when we first started in 2000. I would be at dinner parties and when I told people where I worked everyone would just laugh at me. They’d say, `You know that`s not what online dating is about.’ (Online dating) was not something you talked about in polite company,” eHarmony’s Grant Langston said, on the industry’s impressive growth.

There was quite a stigma.

To see if it really had shifted, FOX40 went to Arden Fair Mall and asked people what they thought about online dating. The results were 50-50; some thought online dating was normal and others said they would never do it.

Those results don`t matter to the Ingles. Lesley didn’t think twice about signing up for Christian Mingle nor having her friends know.

“Nobody thinks negatively about it,” Mike said of the reaction to how he and his wife met.

Lesley feels the same way.

“A lot of them are like, ‘It’s really neat that it actually works’ because some are really skeptical about it,” she said.

The success doesn’t stop with them, one of Lesley’s best friends found her husband on Christian Mingle.

One of the reasons online dating enrollment is going up is because of our culture.

“Our lives have become such a part of the internet,” Whitney Casey, with Match.com, told FOX40. “If you’re doing all that banking online, bill paying, why wouldn’t you also go online to find a date?”

Back at Zoosk headquarters, another reason why online is overtaking the old single hot-spots is easy to spot.

“There`s nobody that`s focused on, ‘How can I make the bar experience better so singles can meet better singles?’ Or ‘How can I make house parties better so they can meet people?’” Zadeh said. “Here a group of smart people are looking at what can we do to make Sabrina’s life easier if she was looking for dates.”

For anyone still on the fence about trying online dating Casey said, “I would say 1 in 5 have some disaster, hilarious story (about online dating). The others, it’s like two people that you know, your neighbor or friend. They’re normal people,” Casey said.

Normal and for the Ingles, they say they’re very happy.

“(We) feel like we’re growing every day,” Mike said.

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