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What’s more, a study by dating site e Harmony, estimated that seven in ten couples will have done so by 2040 – with 55 to 64-year-olds experiencing the biggest boom (an expected 30 per cent rise between 20).
Of course, exchanging a barrage of emails – even phone calls or Skyping– can seem more secure.
But in all likelihood, you’re probably going to have a drink with someone who just doesn’t do it for you. I recall a friend excitedly going off for a first date with a chap - ‘I just have a good feeling about this one, he’s an academic you know’ - only to discover he was a librarian who spent the entire meal talking about dust jackets.
The sooner you can assess whether those online sparks translate into real-life chemistry, the better.
Baldly, without meeting someone, there’s only so much information you can glean about them – knowing someone’s taste in films, music, food does not a personality make. There’s a danger of idealising them and imagining your future together before you’ve exchanged a single smile.
Go to parties, meet new friends and force yourself to speak to strangers – romantic potential, or not.
You can ‘get to know’ someone from behind the safety of a screen.
But a recent study by the University of South Florida suggests that – while a short period of messaging is fine – we actually shouldn’t wait too long to arrange a meeting.
But the simple truth is that messaging on the internet is nothing more than a fact-finding mission.
You can gather information about the other person, but until you meet them you won’t know if ‘I love to laugh’ means Fawlty Towers or fart jokes. It’s easy to think you know a person better than you really do.