New Study Shows that Online Relationships Fare Worse than Others

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Wondering if you should try online dating? Before you craft your profile, a new study by Michigan State University and Stanford found that people who met online weren’t as likely to stay together for the long-haul as those couples who met offline.

As it turns out, online dating sites who have been touting their matching success rates may not be telling the whole story. Many couples have successfully gotten together thanks to online dating, but that doesn’t mean they have lasted. The separation and divorce rates for folks who paired up online was much higher than for those who met their partners offline in more traditional ways.

According to the report, 8% of married couples who met their spouses online reported to have ended their marriage in separation or divorce, compared to approximately 2% of married couples who met their spouses offline. And compared to 23% couples who had met offline, 32% of couples who had met online had broken up in the following year of the survey.

The study also showed that more than 60% of couples who met online were in non-marital relationships, and were not likely to get married, which might be a deterrent for those looking for more serious relationships. While Tinder has certainly played a role in the casual online dating perception, the study shows that this pattern is also true for more traditional online dating.

The study does offer some reasons for the disappointing results of their survey. For one, there is the perception of endless options when it comes to online dating. The more people are participating, the more online daters tend to look at other options for romance, to see what they might be missing. This leads to a more casual dating and relationship trajectory. Also, online daters tend to take more time to develop the relationship. Because there are no mutual friends or other connections between two daters, there is a level of comfort and trust that needs to be built for online daters, which can take longer than the average offline relationship where two people were introduced through friends.

There is hope for online daters however, according to the study. Researchers’ advice: put more time into your relationships instead of looking around at other options or dating with a more casual attitude. When two people are really getting to know each other, both with the goal of finding a long-term relationship, the quality and potential of the relationship drastically improve.

Don’t write off online dating altogether. Instead, give it a real chance, like you would a relationship with someone you met in real life.