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Love on Internet
by Colleen Moulding

Margaret, 38, a divorcee from Hereford was shown how to use the Internet by her teenage daughter. She met Alan, 44, a chemist from New York in a gardening chat room.

"He asked me a question about Albertine roses," laughed Margaret. "We chatted quite often after that, mainly about our gardens at first.

Then Alan sent some photos of his garden with him in it, and I straight away thought how handsome he was.

I sent photos back, half thinking that I wouldn't hear from him again, but the e-mails kept on coming and one day after we'd been corresponding for about nine months Alan got the chance to come to England on business.

We met up in London last November and we got on really well together. I'm going to see him in New York in two months time, so who knows what will come of it?"

Lizzie Bell was only sixteen when she started chatting to Mark on the

Internet and found that they didn't live far apart from each other in North London. They even knew some of the same people!

After chatting every day for about a month Mark suggested that they meet in a cafe one Saturday morning.

"We decided to both carry a copy of a certain computer magazine," said Mark, "but I knew she was the one the minute she walked in the door."

"I had already told him what I looked like anyway," said Lizzie, "and I made sure I liked the look of him before I got my magazine out of my bag."

Over a year later Lizzie and Mark are still together and planning an engagement on Lizzie's eighteenth birthday.

Things don't always work out quite so well though as Rebecca 42, from Leeds found out.

Rebecca joined an Internet dating service. When she first met William he seemed like her ideal man, smart, handsome and sophisticated. At first they had a good time together with trips to the theatre and the races, even a weekend in Paris, until Rebecca began to suspect his motives.

William was increasingly "just a little short of cash" until a business deal went through. Eventually Rebecca realized that the deal he was waiting for was marrying her for her not inconsiderable money.

"I later found out this was not the first time he'd tried it either" said a disillusioned Rebecca.

There certainly are precautions you must take to keep yourself safe if you intend to meet people in this way.

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