One third of American marriages now originate online, demonstrate a higher level of marital satisfaction and are less likely to end in divorce than those that begin through other means.
A study published today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) surveyed more than 19,000 individuals who married between 2005 – 2012 and found the following results:
- A third of marriages in America now begin online
- Respondents in marriages that originated online report a higher level of marital satisfaction
- These marriages are less likely to end in divorce than marriages that originate from other means
What are the most common origins?
Nearly 35% of these marriages originate online, with work contributing to nearly 22% of the marriages of those surveyed and school being the next greatest contributor at 11%. Marriages initiated in a bar / club were significantly lower at less than 9%.
This brings online dating firmly into the mainstream making it the most common way to meet a marriage partner and demonstrates the tremendous potential for online dating success as measured by a relationship that translates to marriage.
Marriages that originated via online dating websites reported a higher level of satisfaction than all other means of meeting a partner.
The study does not delve deeply into why that may be the case, but references other work that suggests that the semi-anonymous nature of online dating interactions allow for greater disclosure and affiliation between participants than relationships that begin face to face. Another likely factor is that online dating provides access to greater pool of potential partners and the ability to be more selective than the opportunities provided by other venues.
The next most satisfactory marriages originated from categories such as school, church and social circles, which is consistent with these groups being centred around a common theme or source of compatibility. The least satisfied groups were those marriages that originated from work, bars/clubs and blind dates.
The study covered marriages of 6-7 years duration and those that originated from online dating websites were less likely to end in divorce than those of any other origin.
Not all online venues are equal
45% of the marriages that originated from an online source came from online dating websites, with social networks being the next most common source at less than 21%. This is unsurprising given this is the specific intent of online dating websites, but does highlight the large gap between it and any other online source which includes social media, blogs, chatrooms and games.
Why does this mean for you?
If you weren’t convinced that online dating is now mainstream, successful and able to provide long term satisfying marriages, then this survey provides solid evidence that it does. Still not sure? Check out our posting: is online dating for you?
Read the full study