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.But other sites, which can cost up to £3,000 a year to join, offer their clients a bespoke selection of potential partners to share your love of sushi, dachshunds or The Apprentice.

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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”.

These algorithms can probably pick up some key things – for example, it’s true we’re more likely to be friends with people with the same values as us, who share our cultural milieu.

“But you can’t predict what googlies life’s going to throw at a relationship, for example one of the biggest predictors of being divorced is being made redundant and no one knows if that is going to happen to them or not.” “Overall,” he adds.

Moreover, couples who’d first met face-to-face reported slightly less satisfaction with their relationships than their online counterparts.

Professor John Cacioppo, who led the study, said the sheer number of available potential partners online could be among the reasons for the results.“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 As the internet plays an ever greater part in our social lives, with sites such as Facebook helping us to keep in touch with our friends, it's inevitable that we also use it to help us run our love lives as well. Anna Wilkinson has been married for seven years, has two young children, and – although exhausted – is delighted with her lot.“I was 33, had just broken up with my boyfriend and was beginning to think I’d never have a family life.Cash-rich, time-poor professionals who already do everything from shop to socialise online, now see a search engine as the obvious gateway to love.