Finding a lover online is more likely to lead to a happier and longer marriage than getting together through more traditional means, a study has found.
A relationship started in cyberspace is 25 per cent less likely to end in divorce or separation than those that began through friends or chance.
The success could be down to a higher motivation to find love among internet daters and the efforts that websites put in to match partners, say researchers.
Chicago University psychologists studied almost 20,000 people who had married between 2005 and 2012 and asked them a series of questions about their happiness.
Just over a third had met their spouse online, with around half of these using internet dating and the rest via chat rooms and social networking sites. Those who were still married were happier if they had met online. However, relationships that began through work, in a bar or club or on a blind date were 25 per cent more likely to end - and those couples were among the least satisfied, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.
Professor John Cacioppo, who led the study, said the sheer number of available potential partners online could be among the reasons for the results. Previous research has shown that online daters are more likely to see each other again after a first meeting because they share more information about themselves online.
And while the relative anonymity of online dating does allow for prospective partners to lie about their attributes, studies suggest this mostly takes the form of white lies about weight and height.
The findings of the US study, commissioned by matchmaking company eHarmony, could also apply elsewhere, said Prof Cacioppo.
Dating websites were most popular among the 25 to 34 age group, but they are becoming increasingly attractive to the older generation.
- DAILY MAIL