When someone asks how you met your spouse, do you hesitate to admit it was online? Well, hold your head up high. Research on how people meet has discovered that folks who marry after meeting online divorce less often and report higher levels of marital satisfaction, while some traditional places where people meet don’t fare very well. Who knew?
Background Information on Marriage, Divorce, and Cohabitation
In the United States, there were fewer marriages and fewer divorces per thousand people in 2009 than in 2000, and fewer in 2000 than in 1990. Many reasons exist for these trends, including the aging of the population in general and, as a new CDC study indicates, the growing dis-inclination to marry at all; 32% of couples who move in together do not move on to marriage, but continue cohabitating.
Where Did You Meet Your Spouse? The Survey
Dr. John Cacioppo and colleagues, in conjunction with eHarmony, Harris Interactive, and independent statisticians, reviewed the responses of 19,131 people to an online survey. The individuals responding were compared to the U.S. Census data to ensure the results were representative.
The survey revealed that in the period from 2005 to 2012, one third of marriages in America began online. This included people who met via an online dating site, a chat room, on social media sites or email. According to our exclusive interview with Dr. Cacioppo, this is a ” dramatic increase compared to the figures reported earlier this millennia.”
Those individuals who met their spouses online reported slightly higher rates of marital satisfaction and slightly lower rates of divorce compared with individuals who met through more traditional, offline sources such as school, places of worship, work, bars/clubs and family. Of the nearly two thirds of individuals who met in an offline venue, those “who met their spouse through work, family, bar or club, blind date, or other expressed the lowest levels of marital satisfaction.”
The authors note that these differences remain even after statistically “adjusting for year of marriage, sex, age, educational background, household income, ethnicity, religious affiliation and employment status.”