In many ways, online dating resembles offline dating — the resulting relationships are no different. So why do so many millions turn to the Web to find love?While many dating sites claim the ability to find your perfect match, social scientists aren’t buying it.

But even if algorithms aren’t the answer, there’s no doubt that online dating has led to successful relationships — my own included.

The question is: Are those first dates and relationships really any different from connections made in more traditional ways? Even though the number of budding Internet relationships is increasing, the overall rate of partnership is not increasing at all.

The same rules apply,” said Steven C., a yoga instructor who met his partner on [email protected] (a dating site that’s no longer active) 15 years ago.

The majority of the daters I interviewed (and Slater, too) at some point referred to online dating as a tool, and that’s just what it is.

With some goading from a friend — who somehow convinced me that the stigma against online dating was no more — I joined Ok Cupid and started scanning the thousands of matches that popped up on my screen.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my Valentine’s Day depression-induced hunt for Prince Charming.Of the 13 online daters I talked to for this article, only one believes algorithms can make successful matches. “I don’t believe that an algorithm can match me up, and I don’t want to match me up,” said Jason Feifer.A senior editor at Fast Company, Feifer met his wife Jennifer Miller, a freelance journalist and author, through Ok Cupid after narrowing his search criteria to two requirements: "Jewish" and "journalist."Feifer and Miller told me they didn’t start using Ok Cupid with the hopes of finding their soulmates.“I think there is a possibility [that these algorithms] could evolve to better predict long-term compatibility.There’s just a disconnect between what social science says is actually possible, and what the sites say they can do,” said Slater.Instead, both joined the site after ending long-term relationships and moving to a new city without many friends.