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Another 21 percent met on social networks, while the rest got to know each other from a mixture of blogs, gaming sites, chat rooms, discussion groups and other online communities.

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Meetings matter To find out whether meeting place influences the marriage in the long term, Cacioppo and his colleagues analyzed divorces, separations and marital satisfaction among their participants.They found that divorce and separation were slightly higher in those who met offline, with 7.6 percent of that group split up compared with 5.9 percent of those who met online.Online couples also scored slightly higher on a scale of marital satisfaction than couples who met offline, though the difference was small.Couples who meet online and get married are slightly less likely to divorce than couples who first meet face-to-face, new research finds.The study, a generally representative look at American couples married between 20, found that virtual meetings are becoming more of a norm: More than a third of married couples in that time met on the Internet.

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."Moreover, analyses of breakups indicated that marriages that began in an online meeting were less likely to end in separation or divorce than marriages that began in an offline venue." [6 Scientific Tips for a Successful Marriage] The study was funded by the dating site e Harmony.Independent statisticians oversaw the data, and e Harmony agreed that the results could be published regardless of how the data reflected on the website.Online romance In their survey of 19,131 people (just one person from each married couple participated), Cacioppo and his colleagues found 92 percent were still married in 2012, 7.44 percent were separated or divorced and about 0.5 percent were widowed.Of the approximately one-third of married couples who met online, 45 percent met on online dating sites (the most popular were e Harmony and Match.com, which were responsible for half of the dating-site matches).