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Does meeting online lower the chances of divorce?

A recent study suggests a slight difference in divorce rates among people who met online compared to those who met in person through friends, work, or in a social setting. The study surveyed 19,000 people who were married, about one-third of whom had met their spouse online through either a dating website or Facebook or other social media sites. The difference was slight, with just over 7 percent of couples who met offline getting a divorce compared with almost 6 percent of those who met online.

Researchers say that the slight difference may not hold up over time – these marriages began between 2005 and 2012. Still, the study shows that there may be an increased compatibility or level of commitment among couples who met online.

One human behavior expert commented on the study saying that these couples may have a lower divorce rate because they initially sought out long term partners online and met someone with similar expectations and goals, whereas offline couples may have met casually and fallen into a relationship.

While the findings of the survey may not be dispositive proof that relationships that start on a dating website or on Facebook are more successful, it does show that these couples are at least on equal footing with those who meet elsewhere. The findings should encourage people not to think of online dating as an inferior way of meeting someone. One of the lead authors of the study said that people shouldn’t be afraid to use dating websites and that they can be successful online as their authentic selves.

Source: US News & World Report, “Marriages Forged on the Internet May Last Longer,” Randy Dotinga, June 3, 2013.

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