A new study says that online couples are more likely to break up than those who met offline.
The research used data from a 2009 study called “How Couples Meet and Stay Together”, which asked 4,002 couples where they met, and whether they were still together after one, two and three years.
Aditi Paul from Michigan State University analysed this data and found that the respondents who met online were less likely to still be together.
He found that online couples were more likely to have split within the first year, and times more likely to divorce.
Around 32% of the couples who met online had broken up after a year, compared to 23% of those who met offline.
This stands in opposition to a study funded by eHarmony, which found that online relationships were stronger and less likely to lead to divorce.
The paper, called “Is Online Better Than Offline for Meeting Partners? Depends: Are You Looking to Marry Or to Date?”, gives a few hypothesis as to why this could be.
One possible reason is the availability of choice with online dating – the theory that daters have so many options that they don’t fear ending a relationship, because they know they can find someone else online.
Another is that online relationships take longer to mature, as users spend more time messaging, and gaining someone’s trust.
“Online daters have also shown to take more time to develop relationships purposefully in order to increase the level of trust with their partners, given some of the negative stigma associated with online dating,” Paul said.
Around 86% of online daters said they were concerned that users falsely represented themselves when using dating sites.
“Hence, online daters invest more time in getting to know their partners to increase the odds of revealing any discrepant information before getting too emotionally involved. Since exclusivity, commitment, and trust are some of the important determining factors of starting a marital relationship, the lack of these can explain the lower percentage of marriages compared to romantic relationships among online daters.”
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