Internet daters beware - witty emails don't lead to love, an Australian researcher says.
Too many people, particularly women, who go online in search of relationships fall for a clever line, said Queensland University of Technology (QUT) relationships psychologist Matthew Bambling.
They quickly formed emotional attachments to unsuitable people they had not even met in real life.
And when they did meet, reality could fall far short of expectations.
Women were particularly at risk of disappointment after receiving hundreds of hits a day on their internet site from prospective dates.
"It's easy to forget what is it about other people that really attracts us," Dr Bambling said today.
"If you've got 300 people wanting to know you, the one who makes you laugh the most, the one who's the cleverest and wittiest in their response, often makes the connection.
"It doesn't mean they are the right person by any stretch of the imagination.
"It just means they've got some great opening lines on an email."
Dr Bambling said he had interviewed more than 100 internet daters and hoped to carry out a large-scale Australian-based survey in the future.
In the meantime, he cautioned people to look before they leap into cyber dating.
"It's kind of like walking into a supermarket and you are surrounded by all these pictures of people."
People who posted their biographies on internet dating sites often sought to present themselves in a flattering, even deceptive light.
"We just basically create a fantasy about what that person might be like.
"But sometimes when people actually meet, I've had quite a few people say to me, `a little voice in my head said I didn't think this is what they would actually be like'.
"But because they had already made an emotional investment in the person they started going out anyway and it's ended disastrously, of course."
Dr Bambling says daters should meet sooner rather than later to avoid a build-up of expectations and emotional investment.
They should also keep the rendezvous low-key, such as a chat over coffee, rather than an obligation-charged expensive dinner, he said.