Home Dating apps Marriages are falling apart at a much faster rate for couples who meet online, study finds

Marriages are falling apart at a much faster rate for couples who meet online, study finds

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Spouses who met online divorced at a rate six times higher than those who met through friends and family, according to a UK study.

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Does finding love online flirt with disaster? A study seems to say so.

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Spouses who met online divorce at a rate six times higher than those who met through friends and family, according to a UK-based study.

The report found that married couples who meet online are 12% more likely to divorce within the first three years of a marriage, compared to just 2% who found their partner through friends and family.

The study, commissioned by the Marriage Foundation, was prepared by survey firm Savanta ComRes. The researchers interviewed more than 2,000 people who were at least 30 years old and married at least once. The data was adjusted for the decade in which the couples met, age, gender, and occupation, and consistently found divorces more likely among online daters in the early years.

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“These numbers are disturbing given the growing popularity of online dating for couples,” Harry Benson, director of research for the Marriage Foundation, said in a statement on Sunday. “This suggests that in the early years of marriage, couples who meet this way may lack sufficient social capital or close support networks around them to deal with any challenges they face.”

Seventeen percent of married couples who met online divorced in the first decade, compared to ten percent of those who found love through conventional dating. A bumpier road awaited those with less “social capital,” which the study defines as the support network of friends and family that can help them overcome the pressures of the early years.

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“For couples online, broader social bonds between families and friends need to be formed from scratch rather than being firmly established over years or even decades.

“It is therefore not entirely surprising that the contribution of family, friends or colleagues reduces the risk of making a hasty mistake.”

The results showed that eight percent of spouses who met at school and seven percent who met at work had divorced within the first three years.

However, once couples get past the initial rough patch encountered in a marriage, how the couples met doesn’t seem to matter much. Whether they met through friends and family, in a bar or online, the divorce rate has dropped by almost 20%.

“The fact that the additional risk disappears after the first three years of marriage underscores the importance of social capital established over the long term through families, friendships and communities,” according to the study.

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So there’s no need to stand out from dating apps just yet, urges Benson.

“Our discovery does not in any way undermine or diminish the vital role of online dating,” he says. “But this highlights the greater risks and difficulties of getting to know a relative stranger where reliable sources of general information and subsequent social support are less readily available.”

A separate study by eHarmony and the Imperial College Business School found that by 2037, most babies in the UK will be born to parents who meet on the internet. Currently, studies indicate that almost a third of relationships have been formed online.

“The digital world has streamlined the online dating process, making it easier to find someone while making sure they match your criteria,” said Dr Paolo Taticchi, professor at Imperial College, in the study, adding that a revolution in online dating is yet to come.

“2035 will be a defining year for finding love and starting a new era of dating in the 21st century.”

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