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The most-satisfied married couples who met offline got to know each other through school, church, social gatherings or by growing up together.The least-satisfied offline couples met through work, family, at bars or on blind dates.Online romance In their survey of 19,131 people (just one person from each married couple participated), Cacioppo and his colleagues found 92 percent were still married in 2012, 7.44 percent were separated or divorced and about 0.5 percent were widowed.

These couples tended to be happier in their relationships than couples who met offline, the researchers report this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."Our results indicate that of the continuing marriages, those in which respondents met their spouses online were rated as more satisfying than marriages that began in an offline meeting," said study researcher John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago.For instance, people who meet online may be different from people who meet offline in some way not measured, such as motivation to find a spouse or impulse control.Or perhaps the large pool of potential mates online allows people to be more selective in finding a compatible spouse, Cacioppo said."The observed differences in marital outcomes may not simply be the result of selection biases based on demographics," Cacioppo told Live Science.

The explanation for the differences remains a mystery.

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science.

She covers the world of human and animal behavior, as well as paleontology and other science topics.

Stephanie has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

She has ducked under a glacier in Switzerland and poked hot lava with a stick in Hawaii.

This self-disclosure is linked to greater appeal and to firmer friendships in these studies.