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Study: Does Online Dating Lead to a Stronger Marriage?

Study: Does Online Dating Lead to a Stronger Marriage?

I remember attending a wedding about thirteen years ago in which the newlyweds had met on an online dating site. Back then, it was a little hush-hush—the couple had made up a fake “how we met” story, and were a little embarrassed about their online connection. Now, that scenario sounds ridiculous to me. Even if you yourself haven’t tried dating online, you almost certainly know someone who has… you may even know someone who’s gotten hitched after sending flirtatious tweets back and forth. In fact, it kind of seems like everyone you know is dating online in one way or another.

Well, not everyone—but plenty, according to a new study. The study, which surveyed almost 20,000 people who married between 2005 and 2012, found that 35 percent of marriages started online. Almost half of those began on dating websites, while the rest met through social networking, chat rooms (people are still using those?!), and other online forums.

There’s even some evidence to suggest that those couples who met online might be happier and less likely to end in divorce than the general population. Nearly 8 percent of marriages that were initiated offline ended in separation and divorce; for couples who met online, that rate dropped to 6 percent.

The researchers who carried out the study pointed to past research to explain why that may be—previous studies have found, for example, that people may be more honest interacting online than off. The pool of possible partners is also often larger online…especially for those of us out of school or at jobs that either discourage inter-office dating or don’t have a big/great pool to choose from.

Finally, online dating sites are for just that…dating. And if you’re serious about finding a relationship, it’s reasonable to expect you’ll have better luck finding someone similarly relationship-minded on a site designed to make a match rather than your local bar.

Online dating sites also make it easier to narrow your pool of options by possibly important factors like hobbies or religion—which explains why people who meet at social gatherings, school, or places of worship also reported greater marital satisfaction than people who met at a bar or on a blind date.

Read more: Dating, Love, Relationships

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Diana Vilibert

Diana Vilibert is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. You can be blog-friends with her at dianavilibert.com, or tweet her at @dianavilibert.

114 comments

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11:47PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Your dazzling work has won my heart. I’ll come soon to your site with new hope.

Seduction Wolf

1:48PM PDT on Aug 10, 2013

I dare say this is right for many people, but I've always found myself making too many compromises - pushing my interests to one side - from the start. It never really worked.

8:26AM PDT on Aug 2, 2013

my guy and I met in highschool, barely. He was a close friends older brother, so I never really looked at him as anything other than the quiet kid who ignored us. When my son and I were forced outof our home due to a bad marriage situation, we had no place to go. I tried contacting my old friend, as her mother had passed when we were in 8th grade, leaving her and her brother a 5 bedroom, 3 bath house. I was hoping she still lived there, so I'd have a safe place for my son and I to sleep. I couldn't find here. no number, no facebook. So I contacted Josh, her brother. He informed me she had moved on, but that he did still live there on his own, and we were welcome. All of our contact was via facebook, so I guess for two weeks or so we "dated online", although at the time it wasn't dating, just friendship. Within two or three weeks we just clicked, and we have been together for 2.5 years. My son is 3.5 and calls him daddy, and we are expecting a new addition in oct. The computer made that possible

3:44PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

I know several happily married couples that meet through online dating. If you are not into the bar scene there does not seem to be very many options anymore especially for shy people like myself. One of these days I'll get around to joining an online dating site.

Great stories Diane C N., Lynn C., Karla C., Theresa K., Cyrille D., and Claudia O.

5:43AM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

Grazie

2:48AM PDT on Jun 27, 2013

thank you

2:08PM PDT on Jun 25, 2013

I thank God every day I'm not in the dating world.

8:14AM PDT on Jun 23, 2013

"dating", in the non-internet world, is bad enough these days. in the virtual world, where at some point you are going to have to meet someone who may or may not be anything like what they represented themselves to be ... just seems to me outright ridiculous. People need to learn how to connect, how to converse, how to vet the wierdos for themselves ... IMO.

OTOH, this article is as empty as amything I have ever read - an outright waste of time and space

12:30AM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

Interesting..

4:12AM PDT on Jun 17, 2013

Thanks.

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