“We were working with a couple of online dating companies who were finding that their users got very unhappy very quickly with online dating. To find out, they showed each of 304 online daters, average age 34, a grab-bag of anywhere from one to 10 traits randomly culled from more than 200 characteristics gathered from real online daters.

Women put more stock in the virtual dating world because they seek a soul mate, he said, whereas men are typically after a more casual relationship.

It's not that familiarity always breeds contempt, the researchers say.

But on average, as you learn more about any lover, the less likely it is that you will click and get along with them, Norton explained.

Online dating 101 Norton and his colleagues, including Dan Ariely of MIT and Jeana Frost of Boston University, initiated the study with the help of online dating services like e Harmony and Match.com, though he refused to say which specific ones.

More evidence Two additional experiments backed up this finding.

In one, scientists asked each of 190 students to complete a Web-based survey in which they were shown 10 traits, one at a time.

After seeing each trait, subjects would indicate whether that trait also described them.

The next time you log onto a dating site, you might want to add “mysterious” to your list of desired traits, because the less you know about a potential mate the better.

A new study of romantic relationships finds that as online daters got to know another person over time, their initially sweet notions turned sour.