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These couples tended to be happier in their relationships than couples who met offline, the researchers report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Our results indicate that of the continuing marriages, those in which respondents met their spouses online were rated as more satisfying than marriages that began in an offline meeting," said study researcher John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago.

According to research by Rosenfeld and Thomas (2012), internet dating steadily increased reaching a plateau in 2009.

At that time, 22% of heterosexual couples reported meeting online.

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The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

So while online dating is on the rise, most online relationships do not lead to long-term committed relationships. (2013), a higher percentage, 30%, of married couples in their sample met online, and those that did were slightly but significantly more likely to stay together and report greater marital satisfaction.

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Meeting online was the third most common way of meeting, after introduction by friends, and close behind meeting randomly in public settings (bars, restaurants, parties, etc.).

According to the Pew Research Center, 15% of Americans recently reported using online dating sites to meet people, and online dating is gaining wider acceptance across most age ranges, notably tripling among people age 18-24 from 10% to 27% between 20.

Online dating has, for many, become a mainstay of meeting new potential romantic partners, whether looking for casual dating, serious dating or even a marital partner.

Until relatively recently, people met potential partners through friends, family, school and other shared activities.