Sunday, May 3, 2009

On-line Dating II

Internet dating is proving a much more successful way to find long-term romance and friendship for thousands of people than was previously thought, new research shows. A new 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 per cent went on to see each other again.

Old-fashioned romance isn’t dead, however: among the survey’s findings were that exchanging gifts was the best way to ensure commitment in the relationship.

Dr Gavin, with Dr Adrian Scott of the University of Bath and Dr Jill Duffield of the University of the West of England, carried out an online survey of 229 people, aged 18 to 65, who have used UK internet dating sites, asking them about their main relationship that they had had online. Dr Gavin’s paper will be read at an international psychology conference next month.

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.

• the more the couple talked on the telephone before they met, the deeper the relationship.

Dr Gavin, of the University of Bath's Psychology Department, and his co-authors, found that people using the internet rarely used webcams, which allow computer users to see one another, because they preferred the greater anonymity of writing and using the telephone.

“This study shows that online dating can work for many people, leading to a successful meeting for almost everyone we surveyed,” said Dr Gavin.

“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.

“We found that men tend to be more committed to the online relationships than women, possibly because the anonymity of writing gives them a chance to express their emotions more readily than in real life.

“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.”

Dr Gavin believes that the reason that using the telephone and online chatting indicates a deeper relationship is that these are methods of simultaneous communication, whereas e-mails are more formal.

Of the relationships, 39 per cent were still going on at the time of the survey, and of these 24 per cent had been going for at least a year, and eight per cent for at least two years. Of the relationships that had already ended at the time of the survey, 14 per cent had lasted over a year, and four per cent had lasted over two years.

PD: Thanks to taxi driver for his post re-on-line-dating


Protervo said...

online sex sucks, though.

Mariana Soffer said...

I do not like it either, but evidentely not everybody hates it, so if they enojoy it better for them.

Mariana Soffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I feel there is an interesting aspect of online dating that is being ignored. Online dating has been a wonderful social resource for shut ins and disabled people. An entire segment of society has been liberated by the technology of computers and the internet. perhaps someone will do a study as it pertains the the success of online relationships between disabled people and then compare the results with those of able bodied adults.

Mariana Soffer said...

I thought and wrote exactely the same idea about the web acting as an enabler for disable or extremy shy people, to form part of the society.

They can take advantage of the tools that technological progress created, such as social networks, in order to meet new people and also to overcome their social dificulties by being exposed to an environment similar to the real one, but less stresfull for them.

It is like exposing a cat phobic to a toy cat, where he can still feel exposed but the stress is not as high as to be able to paralize the patient there is a change to overcome the phobia.
Txs Varbusell

Paul said...

In a way a relationship that starts online is like an old fashioned courtship, with the emphasis on talking, understanding and the lack of emphasis on the physical. Just like the olden days. It would be interesting to compare those numbers with similar data on relationships that didn't start online. You don't get many online one night stands.

Uncle Tree said...

Sorry, I didn't get in on part one, Mariana. I wasn't sure if I should share my personal experiences, or not. Paranoid is not exactly the word I would use, but hey! There it is. Tough! No fear! Right? No, really. I may have some wish to be followed. Anyway...

There has to be something said concerning the mileage between daters. How close were these people from each other? Isn't there safety in long-distance relationships? I mean, how can one expect to ever meet someone on the other side of the world? The rich do that anyway. They never needed the internet. For the rest of us, my guess is that they live within 60 miles of their soon-to-be partners. The rest of, if they (we) happen to have any dusty notions about falling in love over the wire...well, now, their story is my story.

I won't argue with the statement that men are the more committed. The problem is getting us to admit it.

The chatting part? No experience in that regard. Gifts? I fess up. She started it, and I followed suit. She also sent gifts for my kids, bless her heart.

The phone thingy? It was tempting me, so I sent her my number. It may have tempted her, but so far she has fought that devil back. I've known her for three years now. (And K, dear, if you're reading this, please laugh along with me.)

That's enough for now, sweet niece. How has it gone for you, if we may ask?

Mariana Soffer said...

Thanks Paul, you are right that is another interesting experiment to be done, I am going to look if some similar research has been done, you can check if yo find something too. If not we are need to do it ourselves.

Mariana Soffer said...

Uncle:I think you should share this kind of think publicly only
if you feel comfortable with it, your private life has
al the right to be kept ptivate.

I am not sure if it is safe a long-distance repationsip.
Maybe yes, maybe know, it could be even less safe that close
distance relationship. You never know what could happend
with human beings.

My life has been pretty good, well too much party, litttle sleep,
but I feel happy, just getting ready for another long week.
I am also learning new stuff, that I would like to share with you
oncce I get it .

Tree hugs

BeachComber said...

I think there are many advantages to online dating. I'm busy running my business and have no time to hang out on the town in hopes of meeting the person of my dreams... I've tried general sites like and speciality sites like that focus on the Entrepreneur market, people are just too busy these days, there's no downside to using the tools that are out there.

Mariana Soffer said...

Beachcomber: You are right, there is no downside of taking advantage of the on-line dating system, indeed, as you said before, it saves you a lor of rime.
To tell you the truth I envy you, I can not go to an on-line dating place without feeling uncomfortable, I know it is my own limitation, but I can not get over it yet.

jambuku said...

Hi Mariana - An interesting pair of of posts. Did the study clarify from when it measured the start point of the relationship? ie from the first face to face meeting or from first internet contact?

Mariana Soffer said...

Thank Jambuku, I was not planning to post 2 writings about dating, but taxi cab, posted his own thoughts in his web,and made me think that there where still things worth saying about the subject.
For what I understood the study did not specify/clarified when is that the relationship is considered started.
I was wondering why do you mind about knowing those "rules", what will be the difference in one case or in the other? Is it just curiosity, or you have a theory that you want to justify?

If you want the survey I can happily send it to you, just let me know, so you can dig deeper.

Anonymous said...

Considering that I've never entered a chat room, believe it or not, and based on your data, I'm going to have to reassess my earlier comments. You are truly a researcher, effective in generating information, aren't you? I like the order and presented the two posts. It was pretty interesting reading all the diverse opinions.

And so, I leave you with a sweet quote by John Donne:

"More than kisses, letters mingle souls."


~otto~ said...


Mariana Soffer said...

Perceptionist: thank you very much you comment encourages me, that is what I want to be, a researcher. Great quote by the way

otto:Hi, I like the name of your blog, also your blog. Just a suggestion, why don't you try to change the black background color, is makes it pretty hard for me to read.

jambuku said...

I misunderstood the study, Mariana. I initially thought it was looking at predominantly online relationships and I was curious about how quickly people can really know each other through in a mainly text based relationship.

I was going to comment that an online relationship may last longer than it otherwise would in the "real world" because it takes longer to get to know someone via written chat/communication.

Likewise, online relationships may end prematurely for the same reason.

On rereading just now, I believe the study may be referring to just the initial introduction interval before the first date. Interesting subject matter nonetheless!

Anibal said...

To me on-line spaces are a complementary form to a more "fleshy" ways of dating, and they offer us a medium in which is even more easy to disclosure yourself.

On-line dating is not the residual niche for socially unadapted or shyness people... it´s an alternative approach in which the mechanics of conventional forms of dating, and doing things, are transported digitally, but remain the same.

Mariana Soffer said...

Jambaktu:I know it is kind of confussing, but yes this study refers to internet mediated interation with a dating/mating objective. This mediation happens at the start of the relation, while getting to know each other. It is intresting to think what makes one person attractive using this kind of communication.

PD: Why do you say it might end prematurelly? I do not understand.

Mariana Soffer said...


1. Agree with the first paragraph, except that it is easier the disclosure probably because we are now showing us in flesh un blood.

2. Second paragraph: is not necesarily for socially unadapted people, this is true. It is an alternative approach to dating, but I do not think things remain the same (I do not agree with McLuchlan media and message idea here, but I do not think it remains exactely the same either).

Mariana Soffer said...

Jambuku and Anibal thanks a lot for your opinions. They help make this post more intresting.

Juanjo said...

While flirting is a relatively under researched area within psychology, even less is
known about how people cyber-flirt. This paper explores how often individuals flirt offline compared to online. Moreover, it attempts to examine how men and women flirt within these different spaces. Five thousand, six hundred and ninety seven individuals, of which 3554 (62%) were women and 2143 (38%) were men, completed a survey about their flirting behavior both in face-to-face interactions and in chatrooms. The first hypothesis, which stated that the body would be used to flirt with as frequently online as offline, was partly supported. However, it was
found that individuals downplayed the importance of physical attractiveness online. Women flirted by displaying nonverbal signals (offline) or substitutes for
nonverbal cues (online), to a greater extent than men. In chat rooms men were more likely than women to initiate contact. It is concluded that cyber-flirting is
more than simply a meeting of minds and that future research needs to consider the role of the body in online interactions.

Alina Farace said...

Internet dating is proving a convenient way to find long-term romance and friendship.The advantage of internet dating is that you can do all from your comfort from your own home without fear of possible introductions, conversations and rejections hurting your feeling since all of that done on internet.

Mariana Soffer said...

Juanjo: Thanks a lot for stating the facts of that cyber-flirt research. I had read it, and found it extremely interesting.
it makes me wonder obsessively about the fact that we can be evolving towards a human being that
evaluates attractiveness according to the other person brain only (not body). If this is true then
we would probably have a less detailed perception of other peoples bodies, smells and faces. Therefore our sensory apparatus will be degraded in some aspects.

Mariana Soffer said...

Alina: You are a great seller, I will start internet dating right now.