Online dating has become ubiquitous in our society. Especially in the last year or two, online dating is seems to be more common than meeting someone in person for the first time. Indeed, by 2035, more couples will first meet online than in person, according to eHarmony. And, for years, we have all assumed that it really did not matter how one met their spouse. However, as it turns out, according to recent studies, meeting one’s spouse leads to higher divorce rates.
The study itself
The recent study was done by the Marriage Foundation and Savanta ComRes, a UK-based polling company. They polled adults (30-years-old and older) that have been married at least once in their life. They looked at whether they divorced in three or seven years and how they met their spouse: online or met through friends, school or work.
For those couples that met through their friends, within three years, they only had a 2% divorce rate, and at seven years, that rate increased to 10%. Conversely, for those that met online, those numbers are 12% and 17%. This is a huge increase. At three years, that is basically, five times more likely to get a divorce, and at seven years, almost twice as likely. This increase bears out with those that met through school and work at 8% and 7%, respectively. And, according to the researchers, they did account for demographics.
What can we learn?
For Saint Cloud, Minnesota, residents, what can we learn? Well, it is not to erase our dating apps, or run to a divorce attorney when we are in a happy marriage, “just in case.” Instead, as the researches note, the disparity in divorce rates is likely because people that meet online often do not know as much about their spouse as people who meet in more traditional ways. In addition, since they are not already part of one’s social circle, there is no built-in social equity or relationship support for the bumps that pop up in marriage.
As such, a good way to mitigate online dating issues that lead to marriage is to build up that social equity. This can be done by dating for a longer period of time, meeting friends and family multiple times and spending more time with them and maybe, drafting a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage to really talk about what we want out of the marriage.