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They’re happily married, just moved into a new house, and are now talking about starting a family.When I asked her if she thought online matchmaking was a better way than offline dating to find guys who were more compatible with her — and, therefore, better husband material — she laughed.“No, because I couldn’t stand him when I first met him,” she says of her husband.She thought he was full of himself and rude during their first encounter.That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as profiles can help quickly weed out the obviously inappropriate or incompatible partners (who hasn’t wished for such a skip button on those disastrous real-life blind dates?), but it also means that some of the pleasure of dating, and building a relationship by learning to like a person, is also diluted.

That leaves a) less mystery and surprise when singles meet face to face.“A partner is another human being, who has his or her own needs, wishes and priorities, and interacting with them can be a very, very complex process for which going through a list of characteristics isn’t useful.” The authors also found that the sheer number of candidates that some sites provide their love-seeking singles — which can range from dozens to hundreds — can actually undermine the process of finding a suitable mate.The fact that candidates are screened via their profiles already sets up a judgmental, “shopping” mentality that can lead people to objectify their potential partners.These observations have been borne out in a new study by social psychologists collaborating across the country.The extensive new study published in the journal sought to answer some critical questions about online dating, an increasingly popular trend that may now account for 1 out of every 5 new relationships formed: fundamentally, how does online dating differ from traditional, face-to-face encounters?

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