She said the profile of the dating agency customer had changed completely since the 1970s.
"At that time it was the loner and the loser who went to the marriage bureau."Now we only take on someone who has an interesting job and good relationship history.
Five south-west counties are in the "top 10" areas where the dating market is thriving: Dorset, Wiltshire, Cornwall, Somerset and Devon.
Mary Balfour, director of two personal introduction agencies, Drawing Down The Moon and Only Lunch, plus author of Smart Dating (how to find your man), said: "There are a plethora of ways to meet a partner now, including gimmicks like dating in the dark and silent dating."Speed dating could be "great fun", she said.
However, as communication has become more real-time, and our reliance on being constantly connected grows, the ways in which we date and go about pursing new relationships has inevitably changed.
With technology weaved into the fabric of our day to day lives, online dating is no longer an exclusive realm for oddballs and is now viewed as a legitimate, if not natural, a place as any to look for love.
You are just deciding whether you might like to e-mail them."Even Ms Balfour acknowledges, however, that there are sometimes more women looking for men than the other way round.However, a third of visitors to online dating sites are between the ages of 25 and 34 and live in London and the South-East.The site was launched in Denmark several years ago and has since opened in several countries including Britain, the United States and Japan.Paul has many online girlfriends in Thailand mostly younger women although quite a few are middle aged.'I just like to chat and see photos, there are maybe three or four that I have got to know quite well and that is why I am going on my holiday to Thailand next year.I'm a bit excited by it now.' Paul tells us his life has become comfortable and he doesn't feel as lonely.Money can't buy you love but controversially, in today's world, maybe it can.The links between money, love, loneliness and the attraction between western lonely hearts and Thai women throws up some interesting findings.As the internet plays an ever greater part in our social lives, with sites such as Facebook helping us to keep in touch with our friends, it's inevitable that we also use it to help us run our love lives as well. No matter what our age, background or relationship status, we’re all connected by one common theme – our quest to find love.What is not in doubt however, is that a dramatic shift in society all over the world means loneliness is an issue to be confronted.A spate of surveys in western countries including America, Australia and the United Kingdom has consistently shown a figure of 9 to 10% of the population being acutely lonely.