If you’re looking for love online, you could be looking for love in all the wrong places. As it turns out, online dating may not be quite the way to go if you want to find love and companionship. Numerous success stories appear every now and then, with online dating sites touting their special “matching” algorithms and showing pictures of happy smiling partners.
However, according to a new study by Michigan State University‘s Department of Communication entitled “Is Online Better Than Offline for Meeting Partners? Depends: Are You Looking to Marry or to Date?“, couples who meet online are less likely to get married and more likely to break up. The study analysed data from a 2009 publication titled “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” by Stanford University to see whether couples who met online had better outcomes, romantically, than those who met through the more conventional offline method.
The author of the study, Aditi Paul, is a doctoral candidate at the university. Her work contradicts the claims of many online dating sites, as well as heaps of studies that have come before it. Paul found that online lovebirds were less likely to get hitched than their offline counterparts, and both married and dating couples had higher break-up rates to boot. Scary!
But if OKCupid and Tinder are boasting of such successful matches, why isn’t online dating really working? Paul notes that the abundance of choice in online dating makes it less likely for people to work hard at a relationship. In other words, if you’ve got access to a plethora of possible partners, why stick around when the going gets tough in your current relationship? Online daters find it difficult to be committed to a relationship when they know they’ve got hundreds of other potential dating partners available at the swipe of a thumb.
Online daters have also shown to take more time in developing their relationships because they are aware that many users lie on dating sites. Given some of the stigma associated with online dating, those who look for love online take time to increase levels of trust with their partners before making an actual commitment.
Paul also makes a rather interesting observation in her study; “…looking for partners online may potentially suppress the desire for getting married.” Huh. Who would’ve thought?
The study suggests that not many people hear wedding bells ringing simply because they’re having way too much fun dating everyone and anyone. We know online dating can create fun and exciting situations for you to meet new people. Plus they don’t call it the “honeymoon phase” of dating for nothing. So why not just quit, refresh, and restart a relationship, so to speak.
In theory, online dating does seem promising. But given this study, we’re not too sure any more.
If you’ve got a success story for online dating, or even if you’re a serial online dater, we’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments!