Friend Me … Now Put a Ring on It: A Third of Recently Married Folks Met Online, Study Says
Nearly 35 percent of recently hitched people in the U.S. met their spouse online, according to research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Nearly half (45 percent) of those who married after meeting online met through a dating site (with about a quarter of those meeting on eHarmony and another quarter on Match.com), the study found. Another 20 percent met on social networks.
Now for the one big caveat to take into account: eHarmony, the dating site that pitches itself as a marriage matchmaker, paid research company Harris Interactive to conduct the survey, though the dating company said it committed to having the study published no matter the results. Add to that the fact that it was published in PNAS as well as that it had a legit sample size (19,000+ people in the U.S. who married between 2005 and 2012) and there’s enough credibility to at least make it worth a look.
With that out of the way, here are a few more top-line findings that eHarmony will use to make the company’s case for online dating. The study found that married people who met online were slightly more satisfied with their marriage than those who met offline and slightly less likely to have a marriage fall apart.
In an interview, eHarmony CEO Dr. Neil Clark Warren gave me some sort of plausible hypotheses for why the findings turned out the way they did. He thinks people looking for a future spouse online take more time getting to know each other before getting serious than real-world suitors do. There’s no real way to know if that’s the case.
But his second point seems to make more sense. “The pool of applicants on the Internet is so much greater than the pool of applicants at your church or favorite bar … or through friends of friends,” he said. I can buy that.
So what about those old-school suitors among us who didn’t find our soulmates on Snapchat or in other digital environs? The workplace is still the most likely offline starting point for future marriages.
The great thing about the Web is there’s something for everyone. If marriage isn’t your thing, and you’re simply looking for more casual relations, you can always keep on clicking. Just remember to buy an iPhone first.