Finding love online?
Discussion to follow!
About two million Americans met their spouses online. Now the divorces are starting...
by Ellen Gamerman for the Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2006
While many happily married couples say they may never have found a mate offline, there are indications that meeting a spouse on the Web comes with its own set of potential pitfalls.
Some divorce cases, for example, highlight false claims made in the online profiles that led to the initial attraction.
Eric Spevak, a New Jersey divorce lawyer, says that as many as one in five of his clients now comes from marriages that started on the Internet. "There's no consequences online -- people can promise you anything, so engagements are shorter and people are rushing in," says Mr. Spevak.
New York divorce lawyer Raoul Felder says he is also seeing more Internet daters splitting up in his practice: "It's usually a relationship based on fantasy or desperation, which doesn't bode well."
Marriage counselors and divorce attorneys say they are often struck by how much of what brings people together online ultimately contributes to the undoing of the relationship.
One of the hallmarks of online dating, for example, is the quick intimacy driven by heartfelt profiles that can go on for pages and reveal everything from a person's favorite food to a weakness for tattoos. Focusing on these attributes, some psychologists say, makes potential suitors more likely to overlook someone's downsides. A 2004 Match study said 11% of its married couples were "in love prior to ever meeting face-to-face."
Online courtships also take place initially via email, a notably misleading way of communicating that doesn't take into account tone of voice or facial expressions. And experts say online daters as a group tend to be more interested in marriage and therefore more inclined to jump the gun.
Anna Murray, a 39-year-old New York technology executive, knows the pitfalls of online dating. Her solution: She ran her Match suitors by her therapist. "She'd read between the lines as only a good personality profiler can do," says Ms. Murray, now married. When presented with her future husband's profile, she recalls, her therapist delivered the verdict: "She said, 'He's not a creep.'"