Cupid's arrow hitting home on the Internet
Tech-savvy singletons take heart — research shows looking for love in cyberspace is one of the most successful ways to find a partner.
Nearly all would-be Romeos and Juliets who used dating Web sites found someone to hook up with, says Dr. Jeff Gavin, an expert on cyber dating who has conducted a poll into finding partners online.
"Ninety-four percent of those surveyed saw their 'e-partners' again after first meeting them, and the relationships lasted for an average of at least seven months," he said.
For 18 percent of the 229 people who took part in the survey, the pairing lasted over a year or longer.
"It seems relationships that start online have a similar level of success as ones formed in more conventional ways," he said. The findings have been submitted to Britain's Journal of Personal and Social Relationships.
Gavin, a psychology lecturer at the University of Bath, said the research threw up some other interesting pointers.
"Online chatting was, as one of the most successful means of communicating, better even than e-mailing," he said, adding simultaneous online chatting in real time allowed less chance of "impression management" compared with e-mailing.
But for all the gadgets and wizardry available to cyber lovers there was still a place for old-fashioned romancing.
"Exchanging gifts, writing letters and chatting on the telephone were important in building a relationship," he said.
And for all those people who say looks are paramount, that does not seem to be the case for online lovers. Only 9 percent used Web cams.
Gavin said the research also found that many lovers who
began online relationships would often celebrate their anniversaries by
exchanging sweet nothings on the Internet.