by Amanda MacMillan
Thayer Allyson Gowdy If you're still skeptical about thematchmaking power of the Internet, here's something that may change your mind. In a new University of Chicago study, couples who met online had a lower divorce rate and rated their marriages as more satisfactory than those who met by more traditional means. The research also found that online dating (and even mobile dating) has quickly become the norm: Almost half of marriages between 2005 and 2012 began this way!
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Full disclosure, though: The study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was commissioned by online dating site eHarmony.com, and the lead author is a paid advisor for the aforementioned online dating company. Still, that doesn't change the outcome of the research -- it basically just means that eHarmony was confident enough in what they expected to find that they were willing to invest in it.
The research team surveyed more than 19,000 people about their marriages, including how they met their spouses (or, in some cases, ex-spouses), and how satisfied they were with their relationships. They found that about 45 percent of people met via theironline dating profiles; other popular meeting sites included work, school, church, social gatherings and bars.
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When it comes to everlasting love, the online daters came out on top -- reporting only about a 6 percent breakup rate, compared to a 7.6 percent breakup rate of those who met offline. Online daters also reported an average higher satisfaction rate within their relationships than those who've met offline. The study didn't look at why these relationships fared better, but the authors suspect that it may be because (1) more online daters actually want to get married, (2) the online daters benefit from an "advanced" screening process, and (3) there are way more opportunities online than, say, at your local watering hole.
And speaking of your local watering hole, guess where the least successful couples met? Yup, at bars and clubs; also in "virtual worlds" (where people can hide their true selves behind avatars) and on blind dates. That's not to say that you shouldn't go out with that cute guy your friends have been dying to set you up with, of course ... just know that you'll have to defy the odds to make it work!
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by Amanda MacMillan