21 February 2005 Study Says Internet Dating Best For Long Term Romance
A 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 percent went on to see each other again. Internet dating is proving a much more successful way to find long-term romance and friendship than was previously thought, said researcher Jeff Gavin, of the University of Bath. Surprisingly, the study also found that men were more emotionally dependent on their 'e-partners' than women, and more committed to the relationship.
The study, to be presented at an international psychology conference next month, comes at a time when the numbers using internet dating agencies have steadily increased.
Key points in the research showed that:
94 per cent 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.
Men online were significantly more likely to be committed to the relationship than women and were more dependent on their 'e-partner'.
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.
People using the internet rarely used webcams because they preferred the greater anonymity of writing.
"This study shows that online dating can work for many people, leading to a successful meeting for almost everyone we surveyed. Given that the most successful relationships lasted at least seven months, and in some case over a year, it seems that these relationships have a similar level of success as ones formed in more conventional ways," said Gavin.
Dr Gavin believes that the reason that using online chatting indicates a deeper relationship is that it is a method of simultaneous communication, whereas e-mails are more formal. "We also found that people are shying away from using webcams because they feel it's important not see their partners for some time, there is something special about text-based relationships," he said.