Contributed by: ElyseRomano Thursday, July 18 2013 @ 08:50 am
If you've been on the Internet in the last week - and seeing as this is 2013, there's no way you haven't - you've probably come across an article proclaiming that online dating has scientifically been proven to be better than traditional dating.
Every feed I follow has been blowing up with the news that 1 in 3 Americans now meet their spouses online, and that a new study has found that marriages born out of online dating are more satisfying and less likely to end in divorce. The study's results were published in a paper called "Marital Satisfaction and Breakups Differ Across Online and Offline Meeting Venues"[*1] in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"These data suggest that the Internet may be altering the dynamics and outcomes of marriage itself," said the study's lead author John Cacioppo, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago.
Before you vow never to meet people in person again, it's important to note that the study was funded by eHarmony.com and Cacioppo is paid as a scientific advisor for eHarmony. Of course, everyone involved promises that eHarmony's backing did not affect the outcomes of the study in any way, but...
I know I'm not the only one looking at this new data with a healthy dose of skepticism.
I am, however, not so skeptical about a few of Cacioppo's claims. Online dating clearly has changed the face of relationships forever, and there's no going back. Cacioppo's research found that nearly 8% of marriages initiated offline end in breakups, while couples who meet online report divorce and separation rates of only 6%.
I'll be holding firmly onto my grains of salt until further studies - ones that aren't in any way connected to online dating sites - confirm his data, but I'm willing to admit that Cacioppo may have a point. Online dating may indeed lead to greater marriage satisfaction for a few key reasons:
"It is possible that individuals who met their spouse online may be different in personality, motivation to form a long-term marital relationship, or some other factor," Cacioppo said in a press release.
That sounds like the perfect opportunity for another study - one that isn't funded by an online dating giant.
Related Article: The Secret To A Happy Marriage Is…Online Dating?