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The advent of the Internet and inception of in 1995 prompted a sea change.For a few years, online dating seemed like the bastion of the geeky and desperate, but the stigma passed. couples who formed relationships between 20, 22 percent of them met online, one academic study found.Finkel’s “second original sin” of online dating is the promotion of scientific algorithms for compatibility.Some sites, such as e Harmony, match people based on similarities.When people exchanged e-mails for three weeks before meeting, the study says, they had a stronger attraction to their date in person, but if the correspondence went on for six weeks, the attraction level fell when they met.“When it goes on too long you get too lofty an impression of what a person is like, or too particular,” Finkel says. “In the beginning, I had these long, flowery e-mail relationships, and then I met the person and it was like, ‘Oh, my God. ’ ” Now she meets men in person as soon as she can.And the average online dater spends 12 hours a week at the endeavor.“It really feels like a full-time job sometimes,” says Frances Correa, a 24-year-old reporter, who lives in Northwest Washington and stopped online dating after four years.

“You get people online who think they know what they want in a partner, but that’s not going to dovetail with what actually inspires their attraction when they meet a flesh-and-blood person,” Finkel says.Monika Lupean, a 54-year-old yoga instructor from Maryland, has experienced that problem repeatedly in her four years of online dating.“It seems like the more I have in common with someone on paper, the less I actually have in common with them in person,” she says.Social scientists have confirmed what most singletons have known for years: Online dating is a crapshoot. But the sites also reduce daters into two-dimensional profiles and often overwhelms them with potential choices. It gives opportunities to singles who otherwise wouldn’t have them,” says Eli J.A new analysis of 400 academic studies explores whether online dating represents a dramatic shift in the way people seek mates (it does) and whether it is ultimately a good thing for daters (eh . Some sites claim to have developed scientific algorithms that can help people find soul mates, an assertion the study’s five authors say is not possible and could be damaging. Finkel, an associate professor of social psychology at Northwestern University and the study’s lead author.