New research finds not only are more and more couples finding one another online, they also appear to enjoy happier and longer marriages.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and funded by eHarmony, the research involved more than 19,000 respondents who had met their spouse through an online interaction or a face-to-face meeting.
The results show more than one-third of marriages in the U.S. now begin online. Also, those who met online reported higher satisfaction in their marriage and were less likely to experience breakups compared to those who met in person.
“Marital outcomes are influenced by a variety of factors,” said University of Chicago professor John Cacioppo. “Where one meets their spouse is only one contributing factor, and the effects of where one meets one’s spouse are understandably quite small and do not hold for everyone.”
“Surprisingly, we found marriages that started online were associated with better outcomes,” he added. “The data suggests the Internet may be altering the dynamics and outcomes of marriage itself.”
“Those who met online reported higher satisfaction in their marriage.”
The divorce rate among respondents who met in person was 7.6 percent compared with 6 percent for couples who first met online. Cacioppo and his team found online couples also scored about one percent higher on a satisfaction survey.
Those who met online were also found to be earning a higher income and were typically slightly older.
The study pinpointed two specific scenarios common in the least successful (or shortest) marriages: blind dates and meeting at a bar.