After uncovering some interesting tidbits about the history of online dating (did you know that the founder of Match.com got dumped…for a man his girlfriend met on…Match.com? The bitter irony!), I came across another surprising fact about meeting your potential partner virtually:
Marriages that start with online dating sites may actually last longer than those that don’t.
According to The New York Daily News, a whopping one-third of all marriages in the United States started with an online love connection–and that number is only growing.
Because online dating is changing virtually (ha! get it?) everything about the dating scene, researchers wanted to know just what kind of long-term impact these virtual relationships are having. So, matchmaking giant eHarmony.com hired researchers to investigate and published their findings in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Human Sciences of the United States of America.
“The advent of the Internet, social networking, and online dating has affected how people meet future spouses, but little is known about the prevalence or outcomes of these marriages or the demographics of those involved,” study leaders commented.
The study looked at a “national representative” sample of 19,131 respondents who married between 2005 and 2012. What that means is broken down here, but the average responder was a white, college-educated Christian-oriented female in her mid 30’s who earned between $50,00-$75,000 a year income. (Actually, in looking at the results, there was a significantly higher amount of college-educated people using online dating for marriage than compared nationally).
Overall, the study found that marriages that begin online are looking better and better. The study states,
“Marriages that began online, when compared with those that began through traditional off-line venues, were slightly less likely to result in a marital break-up (separation or divorce) and were associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction among those respondents who remained married.”
So not only do marriages stemming from online dating sites fare better in longevity, but the study also found that spouses were more happily married than their stuck-in-the-dark-ages-of-dating counterparts.
One major problem with the study?
The research was designed by the former Director of the eHarmony laboratories, and the couple who analyzed the date? A husband-and-wife team who works for–you guessed it–eHarmony. There is a footnote at the bottom of the study that states that independent statisticians were used to ensure nothing fishy went on, although one still has to wonder about the obvious benefits of an online dating company funding a study that finds that online dating leads to superior marriages…
Researchers also admitted that within the study, the demographics of people who used online dating versus those who didn’t were different. For instance, the study found that Hispanics, working individuals, men, people 30-49 years old, and those in higher income brackets were more likely to use online dating. However, they maintained that even after controlling for those kinds of factors, it’s still a safe claim that online marriages may be taking the lead in the race to the altar.
Image via Adrian Serghie/Flickr
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