One In Three Americans Now Meet Spouse Online
By Quentin Fottrell // January 1, 2015
INTERNET ALTERING DYNAMICS, OUTCOMES OF MARRIAGE
ABOVE VIDEO: TheYoungTurks take a look at new research that suggests one in three Americans now meet their spouses online, and that those marriages are more satisfying and less likely to end in divorce than those that begin in traditional, offline venues.
EDITOR’S NOTE — I am not familiar with contemporary “pick-up” and “chat up” lines that are the hallmark of singles banter at venues, like bars, night clubs, health clubs, schools and even in the workplace, where the opportunity presents itself to display an interest in and engage an unfamiliar person for romance, or dating, but I suspect things fundamentally haven’t changed much in the 35 years since I’ve been out of circulation.
Of course, there’ll always be a place for direct social interaction, but more and more people are avoiding the “meat market” of the popular watering holes and going online for a variety of reasons to find a compatible mate through opportunities ranging from social networking, email exchange, instant messaging, multi-player gaming and participation in more conventional “dating sites” like eHarmony.com.
In fact, according to a new study recently published in the journal, Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences, more than 30 percent of American marriages began online, and those couples were more likely to have higher marital satisfaction and had a 23 percent lower rate of marital breakups over the study period 2005-2012 than relationships that began with a face-to-face social interaction.
The study was funded by online-dating site eHarmony.com, but an agreement with the popular online dating service prior to data analysis ensured the company would not influence the results of the study. Also, to ensure integrity, the data was overseen by independent statisticians and statistically controlled for marriage duration and other demographic factors such as education.
The Wall Street Journal report excerpted below goes into more study detail pointing out that relationships that start online may benefit from selectivity and the focused nature of online dating. The study authors admit that, although the differences in marital outcomes from online and offline meetings persisted after controlling for demographic differences, it is possible that individuals who met their spouse online may be different in personality, motivation to form a long-term marital relationship, or other factors.
The researchers believe that the results of this study are encouraging, given the paradigm shift in terms of how Americans are meeting their spouses, and the the bottom line conclusion from the study is that (like so many other aspects of our lives), “the Internet may be altering the dynamics and outcomes of marriage itself.”
WSJ MARKET WATCH — The late film critic Roger Ebert once gave this advice to those looking for love: “Never marry someone who doesn’t love the movies you love. Sooner or later, that person will not love you.” If that’s true, dating sites — which frequently subject lovelorn members to hundreds of questions about their hobbies, aspirations and values — may be on to something.
In fact, new academic research claims that couples who meet on the Internet actually have a better chance of staying together long-term than those who meet in the real world.
Around one-third of American marriages now begin online. And those marriages are less likely to break down and are associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction rates than those of couples who met offline, according to a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Of couples who got together online, 5.9% broke up, versus 7.6% of those who met offline, the study found. Of 19,131 couples who met online and got married, only around 7% were either separated or divorced (the overall U.S. divorce rate is 40% to 50%, experts say).
CLICK HERE to read the complete story on the Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch.com.