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Middle-aged lead rush for internet romance

ONLINE: Quest for love

Middle-aged men and women are the age group most likely to turn to the internet to look for love.

An Oxford Internet Institute study shows that those aged between 40 and 69 were the most likely to use online dating sites, with 36pc of those questioned in that age group revealing that they had found their current partner on the net.

And the findings show that almost one in three internet-users admitted to having visiting online dating websites at some point in their lives.

The international survey of 12,000 couples found that just 6pc had gone to dating websites in 1997, but by 2009, 30pc of the sample had tried them with 15pc finding their current partner that way.

The study also reveals to what extent chat rooms and social networking sites have helped play cupid.

Less than 10pc of those who began their relationship before 2000 said they had met through such means but by 2005 it had doubled to 21pc.

The findings dispel the myth that social networking and online dating is for the young, with just 23pc of 18- to 40-year-olds saying they started a relationship through the internet.


Meanwhile, only two people in the sample said they had started a relationship in their 70s and neither did this through the internet. The online questionnaire, which quizzed couples from 18 countries, asked a series of questions about whether they had visited dating websites, other online services and where else they might go looking for a partner.

But despite the recent spike in online dating, most said they had met their partner through traditional offline channels - through friends of friends (67pc) or meeting at clubs or bars (69pc).