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Couples who meet online are 'happier'

A new study indicates that people who met their spouses online rated their marriages as “more satisfying” than those whose relationship began in an offline setting.

Image: Preto Perola via Shutterstock

COUPLES WHO MEET online and go on to marry are happier – and slightly less likely to get a divorce – than couples who meet face-to-face, according to new research.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, studies US couples that married between 2005 and 2012 – more than a third of which had met online.

The results indicated that, of the continuing marriages, those in which respondents met their spouses online were rated as “more satisfying” than marriages that began in an offline meeting, said researcher John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago.

“Moreover, analyses of breakups indicated that marriages that began in an online meeting were less likely to end in separation or divorce than marriages that began in an offline venue,” Cacioppo added.

The survey started in 2005 and involved 19,131 people, with just one of the partners in each marriage taking part. Ninety-two per cent of the couples were still married in 2012, with 7.44 per cent separated/divorced and about 0.5 percent widowed.

Just under half (45 per cent) of the couples who met via the internet had done so through dating sites, while 21 per cent met on social networks. The remainder met on blogs, gaming sites, chat rooms, discussion groups or other online communities.

Work was the most popular place to find a spouse among those who had met face-to-face(21 per cent), while 19 per cent met through friends and 11 per cent cent in school. Less-frequent meeting places included bars, places of worship, blind dates or growing up together.

Researchers found that divorce and separation were slightly higher in those who met offline, with 7.6 per cent of that group partning ways compared with 5.9 percent of those who met online.

Cacioppo and his team suggested several possible explanations for the results of their study, including the large pool of potential mates offered in online dating/communication – or the possibility that people open up more online than they do in face-to-face meetings.

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