But can something as nebulous as everlasting love really be found via a computer chip?Yes, according to psychologists at Chicago University who last week reported that marriages that begin online – whether on an online dating site or via social networking sites like Facebook – stood a greater chance of success than those that began in the “real world”.The researchers interviewed 20,000 people who had married between 20.Just over a third had met their spouse online – and their marriages were 25 per cent more likely to last than those of couples who’d met via traditional routes – in a bar, at work, or via family and friends.One in five relationships in the UK starts online, according to recent surveys, and almost half of all British singles have searched for love on the internet.Just today, nine million Britons will log on looking for love.Others employ dozens of scientists to create sophisticated, top-secret algorithms to match customers with similar personality traits (as opposed to shared interests, which are a far less significant predictor of compatibility), ignoring the adage “opposites attract”. “One suspects a lot of their claims are hype,” says Professor Dunbar.“Do they really know what the criteria are that make a successful long-term relationship, when it’s not something that the scientists still know that much about?
“Any relationship that forms is more likely to be based on a shared value system, the same interests, the same legwork as opposed to a relationship based on chemistry alone, which, as we all know, is the quality that tends to fade first in a relationship.” The cheapest dating sites offer a smorgasbord for customers to browse, with thousands of men and women claiming a GSOH and posting out-of-date photos.
But in the 20th century this all changed, with young people deciding they wanted to be in charge of their own domestic destinies.
Matchmakers were viewed as hook-nosed crones from Fiddler on the Roof or pushy Mrs Bennet at the Pemberley ball.
“I only wish I’d signed up years earlier, then Mark and I might have met sooner.
Nobody’s perfect, but for me, he’s as close as it comes.” Follow Telegraph World News on Twitter The Big Short, the film adaptation of Michael Lewis' book of the same name about the causes of the financial crisis, opens in UK cinemas this weekend.
Anna Wilkinson has been married for seven years, has two young children, and – although exhausted – is delighted with her lot.