How Online Dating Affects Divorce Rates


Online dating apps have been accused of fueling connection culture, and kill the romance and even the dinner date, but their effects on society run deeper than originally thought.

The good news: They might not be that bad after all.

The rise of internet dating services could be the source of stronger marriages, an increase in interracial partnerships, and more connections between people well outside our social circles, according to a new study by economics professors Josue Ortega at the University of Essex and Philipp Hergovich at the University of Vienna in Austria. Today, more than a third of marriages start online.

Online dating is the second most popular way to meet partners for heterosexual couples and by far the most popular form of dating for same-sex partners. Sites like OKCupid, Match.com and Tinder, all owned by InterActiveCorp IAC,
-3.67%,
and other sites, from eHarmony to the location-based application Grindr, are dramatically changing the way our company works. Dating apps have exploded in popularity since the launch of Apple’s AAPL,
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first iPhone in 2007.

In the past, according to the study, we relied heavily on real social media to meet our friends – friends of friends, co-workers and neighbors – which meant that we mostly dated people like us. Now, as we open up our dating pool to strangers, the pool of potential partners has become more diverse and the online dating world is “profiting exponentially,” said dating coach Meredith Golden.

“We don’t always fall in love with our clone, so a wider dating network, whether it’s outside of race and ethnicity or tapping into a large LGBTQ pool creates happy unions,” he said. she declared.

These unions could also lead to a more harmonious society, according to the study of Ortega and Hergovich. The researchers created more than 10,000 randomly generated company simulations and added social links to them.

When bonds were made between a few people of different races, “full racial integration” would be almost inevitable, meaning that the majority of couples would be interracial. An increase in interracial couples may reduce prejudice and racism in society, studies show, and usher in a multiracial future.

What’s more, online dating can also lead to happier couples. “Our model predicts that, on average, marriages created when online dating becomes available last longer than those created in societies without this technology,” they wrote.

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There is also other research that supports this notion. Online daters who marry are less likely to break down and are associated with slightly higher marital satisfaction rates than couples who met offline, according to a 2013 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National. Academy of Sciences. Among couples who met online, 5.9% broke up, compared with 7.6% of those who met offline, according to the study. Of 19,131 couples who met online and got married, only around 7% were separated or divorced. The overall divorce rate in the United States is 40 to 50 percent, according to experts.

Dating site questionnaires and matchmaking algorithms might play a role in finding a more suitable partner, but people who sign up on dating sites are also likely to be ready to marry. , Jeffrey A. Hall, Associate Professor of Communication at the University. from Kansas, previously told MarketWatch. Moreover, the seemingly endless choice also leads people to not follow any swipes or messages, and continue to treat these apps like an endless carousel of romantic and sexual promises.

About 30 million unique users, or about 10% of the US population, visit dating sites each month, according to the Nielsen market research. And many of them pay a hefty sum for the chance to meet their perfect match. At the two largest subscription sites in the US, Match.com ($ 42 per month) and eHarmony ($ 60 per month), users can save by signing up, for example, for a six-month plan ( $ 24 per month and $ 40 per month). months, respectively).

And some sites, like PlentyofFish.com and OkCupid, offer a free basic membership. But most subscription sites renew automatically until the customer cancels, and those fees can add up. The dating industry is worth around $ 3 billion, with revenues split between advertising and subscription services, up about 5% per year, according to a report by research firm IBISWorld. Of that, about half comes from online dating.

However, Chelsea Reynolds, assistant professor of communications at California State University, Fullerton, who studies dating behavior, said some of the effects of online dating are less desirable. Being able to search by demographics and specific characteristics makes it easier to fall into what she calls the “McDonaldization” of dating, narrowing down potential mates and eliminating people who are different from us.

“Young people today are more prone to serial dating and tend to marry later, if they marry,” she said. “Online dating could introduce an insatiable appetite for variety and novelty – a constant desire for the next best partner, the next quick sex date.”

(Quentin Fottrell contributed to this story.)


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