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It has long been seen as a less romantic way of meeting Mr Right. But finding love over the internet is a good way of meeting a marriage partner, research has showed.

It has long been seen as a less romantic way of meeting Mr Right.

But finding love over the internet is a good way of meeting a marriage partner, research has showed.

It found that one in five of those who have used dating sites to find their perfect partner have gone on to marry someone they met over the web.

The study, by consumer group Which?, also revealed that more than half of the 1,504 people questioned had been on a date with someone they met in cyberspace.

Sixty-two per cent agreed that it was easier to meet someone on a dating site than in other ways, such as in a pub or club, or through friends.

At the same time, the under-35s were more likely to know someone who had been on a date or had a long-term relationship with someone they met through online dating.

The survey also found that Match.com and Dating Direct were the most popular dating websites.

Jess Ross, editor of which.co.uk, said: ‘Online dating is revolutionising the way people meet each other. Switching the computer on could be the first step to success.’

According to industry surveys, more than 22million people visited dating websites in 2007, and more than two million Britons are signed up to singles sites.

Previous research has shown that couples who get to know each other via emails are more likely to see each other again after their first date.

Two years ago, a study by Bath University revealed that those who met on dating websites were 94 per cent more likely to see each other after their first meeting than other couples.

The researchers studied relationships formed on online dating website Match.com over a six-month period.

They found that consummate love  -  described as a balance of passion, intimacy and commitment  -  was evident at around 12 months into a relationship.

Of the 147 couples who took part in the study, 61 per cent said their relationships had high levels of these three components. The researchers also found that men were more likely to find true love on the internet than women.
Some 67 per cent of men but just 57 per cent of women said they had experienced consummate love with an online partner.

However, women were more likely to experience ‘liking’ compared to men (9 per cent and 2 per cent respectively), they found.

Companionate love  -  a relationship with high levels of intimacy and commitment, but lower levels of passion  -  was the next most frequently experienced form of love, exhibited by 16 per cent of the study group.

Dr Jeff Gavin, who led the team, said: ‘To date, there has been no systematic study of love in the context-of relationships formed via online dating sites.

‘But with the popularity of online dating, it is imperative we understand the factors that influence satisfaction in relationships formed in this way.’

Charlotte Harper, of Match.com, said: ‘We were thrilled to find so many of our former members have found love.

‘It supports our belief that the internet does in fact encourage old-fashioned courtship.’

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