Successful internet dating

Posted on: 26 March 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Internet dating is proving a much more successful way to find long-term romance and friendship than was previously thought.

A new study of online dating site members has found that when couples who had built up a significant relationship by e-mailing or chatting online met for the first time, 94 per cent went on to see each other again.

Perhaps surprisingly, the study by Dr Jeff Gavin of the University of Bath, also found that men were more emotionally dependent on their 'e-partners' than women, and more committed to the relationship.  Old-fashioned romance isn't dead, however.  Among the survey's findings were that exchanging gifts was the best way to ensure commitment in the relationship.

Dr Gavin's research comes at a time when the numbers using internet dating agencies have steadily increased with around six million Britons are now believed to have signed up.

The online survey was carried out on 229 people, aged 18 to 65, who have used UK internet dating sites, asking them about their main relationship that they had had online.  They found that 94% of those surveyed saw their 'e-partner' again after first meeting them, and the relationships lasted for an average of at least seven months, with 18 per cent of them lasting over a year. 

The more the couple engaged in simultaneous online chat before meeting rather than simply e-mailing one another, the more they were found to depend on one another emotionally and the more they understood one another.   Those who exchanged gifts before meeting had a more committed and deeper relationship and that the more the couple talked on the telephone before they met, the deeper the relationship. They also found that people using the internet rarely used webcams, which allow computer users to see one another, because they preferred the greater anonymity of writing and using the telephone.

Of the relationships, 39 per cent were still going on at the time of the survey, and of these 24 per cent had been going for at least a year, and eight per cent for at least two years. Of the relationships that had already ended at the time of the survey, 14 per cent had lasted over a year, and four per cent had lasted over two years.

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