Much of the early literature on e-dating (Rose, 1999; Edgar, Jr., & Edgar, II, 2003; Greenwald, 2003; Silverstein & Lasky, 2004; Orr, 2004; Berry, 2005; Culbreth, 2005, and so forth) can be described as “prescriptive” because of its focus on instructing readers on how to conduct their e-dating careers effectively.

Still, given that not much formal research is available in the area of e-dating, these works can be credited for a number of important contribu­tions, including: describing the various tasks that need to be undertaken by e-daters (Rose, 1999), offering advice on the technological features of the e-dating services (Silverstein & Lasky, 2004), highlighting the potential dangers of e-dating and explaining how one can protect one-self from the dangers that e-dating entails (Orr, 2004; Berry, 2005). Furthermore, the prescriptive literature can be credited with explaining the strategies that work best for certain “specialized” segments of the e-dating population, such as men (Edgar, Jr., & Edgar, II, 2003), women (Rose, 1999; Green­wald, 2003), or baby boomers (Culbreth, 2005).

Even though these publications have not fol­lowed formal research methodology, the insights that can be derived from them, particularly on the behaviors that e-daters typically adopt, are impor­tant and have influenced our initial formulation of the stages in our e-dating theory.

Thus, without exception the prescriptive publications agree that e-daters (irrespective of gender) start their e-dating career by creating an online profile. They also agree that this is followed by “search” activities that involve consideration of other e-daters’ profiles, and that eventually, e – daters initiate or respond to contacts from other e-daters. The above sources are also in agreement that while all e-dating contacts start in the online environment, eventually some e-dating relation­ships evolve to telephone and/or face-to-face contact. All of these assumptions are central to our e-dating theory.