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Online love is often blind, brief: Report

Matches made over the Internet often do not last because people end up choosing unsuitable partners and forming emotional bonds before meeting face-to-face, an Australian university researcher has found.

sex and relationships Updated: May 22, 2008 20:01 IST
James Grubel

Matches made over the Internet often do not last because people end up choosing unsuitable partners and forming emotional bonds before meeting face-to-face, an Australian university researcher has found.

Women were especially susceptible to finding Mr Wrong, as they tend to be attracted by witty comments or clever emails, said psychologist Matthew Bambling from the Queensland University of Technology. "You can never assume things are the way they seem online," Bambling told Reuters on Thursday. Just because they can write a clever comment or a witty email, doesn't mean they will be Mr. Right, that's for sure," he said, adding some men use the concept of "netting", sending emails to dozens of women and hoping one might respond.

Bambling said you can find a partner online, but warned those using the Web to find love to be aware of the pitfalls.

"There's definitely a dis-inhibition affect online," he said, with people more likely to exaggerate their good points while hiding anything negative. Few guys for example would say 'look, I'm a middle aged alcoholic who's been married five times, pick me'. They're going to present themselves as a good catch."

He said it was easy for people to quickly invest too much emotionally in an online relationship because they don't see the full picture of the person they are emailing.

He said some people can also become addicted to the rush of replies they receive on dating websites, which can lead to future disappointment.

Bambling said people can avoid many of the problems by meeting early in the virtual relationship, rather than by getting to know each other only by email.

He suggests couples arrange to meet over coffee after a few emails, which will help people from building up a fantasy image of their match. "The main thing to remember is to make real life contact as soon as possible if you are too interested in someone, because then you will know if a relationship is a possibility," he said.