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“And when they finally meet in person, they find out it’s just a regular person like everybody else.

“We were working with a couple of online dating companies who were finding that their users got very unhappy very quickly with online dating. To find out, they showed each of 304 online daters, average age 34, a grab-bag of anywhere from one to 10 traits randomly culled from more than 200 characteristics gathered from real online daters.

Each online participant rated how much they liked their potential date, as well as which traits they would also use to describe themselves.

The next time you log onto a dating site, you might want to add “mysterious” to your list of desired traits, because the less you know about a potential mate the better.

A new study of romantic relationships finds that as online daters got to know another person over time, their initially sweet notions turned sour.

Match tips Norton and his colleagues are developing ways for online daters to stay grounded in reality as they navigate the virtual world of romance.

In one study, Frost, the MIT researcher, designed an online interface in which people meet for “virtual dates.” For instance, you and a prospective date would each play an avatar and wander through an art gallery together.

Women put more stock in the virtual dating world because they seek a soul mate, he said, whereas men are typically after a more casual relationship.

It's not that familiarity always breeds contempt, the researchers say.

If subjects said the first trait failed to describe them, they were more likely to say the same of subsequent traits presented to them.

The opposite was found if the first trait got a positive score.

The researchers suggest that inflated expectations can lead to major disappointments when daters meet in person. The Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love Love is More Powerful than Sex Men and Women Really Do Think Differently Loss of Loved One Really Can Cause Broken Heart Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages Why Some Old Lovers Look Alike Fantasies vanishing with knowledge is a process that hits women harder than men, said Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and one of the study's authors.

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