A new study published by the University of Chicago found that a large percentage of Americans are now meeting their spouses online, and that spouses who meet online are generally happier and less likely to divorce than those who meet “offline.” In particular, the study found that “more than a third of marriages between 2005 and 2012 began online,” compared to just nineteen percent, as measured in 2008. The study determined that the longevity and satisfaction rate of “online” marriages was also higher than those resulting from off-line encounters. Interestingly, marriages that resulted from meetings at bars or blind dates faired the worst with regards to longevity and rate of satisfaction.
According to the study, the reasons for the success of online marriages may be due to a number of factors. People who date online are able to quickly meet and evaluate a larger number of potential mates, than people who meet offline. Further, online daters enjoy the benefit of interacting with pre-screened individuals, who have specific characteristics desirable to the online dater. The study noted that misrepresentation or deception were frequent concerns of online daters. However, participants in online dating services tended to be honest about important information, with the exception of the odd embellishment about height or weight.
Another reason for the success of online marriages may be found in the people themselves. On the whole, the study noted, the people engaging in online encounters are older than couples who meet off-line in bars or at social events. As a result, online daters often have more prior relationship experience, including prior divorces, and may have more realistic expectations about marriage. Addititionally, for the same reasons, older online daters may also be motivated to form and maintain long-term relationships than their younger and less-experienced off-line counterparts.
The study confims that the internet has not only become a primary catalyst for commerce and communication, but also for love and relationships. In tandem with this trend, and as reported in a prior February 21, 2013, posting on the ShounBach Divorce Blog, online dating website profiles have become a new frontier for incriminating evidence in some contested divorce cases. However, if the University of Chicago study is any measure of future trends, the incidence of such cases may be far less prevalent than divorces of spouses who meet off-line.
Hayden O. Lee, Esquire
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