Before online dating

Thankfully, the window isn’t too terrifying (no one is saying that you have to slurp coffee in the first 24 hours).

No, according to American researchers, the tipping point comes between 17 and 23 days after the first message is sent.

But it’s a thorny issue - and one that must be tackled, as more and more of us turn to the online dating.

No longer do we see tabloid headlines screaming ‘meet the couple who found love ON THE INTERNET!

Now, I’m not for a moment hinting at any sinister goings-on.

But a recent study by the University of South Florida suggests that – while a short period of messaging is fine – we actually shouldn’t wait too long to arrange a meeting.But in all likelihood, you’re probably going to have a drink with someone who just doesn’t do it for you. I recall a friend excitedly going off for a first date with a chap - ‘I just have a good feeling about this one, he’s an academic you know’ - only to discover he was a librarian who spent the entire meal talking about dust jackets.The sooner you can assess whether those online sparks translate into real-life chemistry, the better.What’s more, a study by dating site e Harmony, estimated that seven in ten couples will have done so by 2040 – with 55 to 64-year-olds experiencing the biggest boom (an expected 30 per cent rise between 20).Of course, exchanging a barrage of emails – even phone calls or Skyping– can seem more secure.

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