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  • Vjekoslav Cerovina

Are the couples who met online at a bigger risk of divorce?

The study of the Marriage Foundation from the UK showed that 12% of couples who meet online get divorced within the first three years of marriage but the number of divorced people is still higher among some other groups.

Young lovers are increasingly shunning traditional avenues for meeting a future spouse in favor of meeting online.

However, the risk of divorce during the early years of marriage is significantly higher when couples have met online, the Marriage Foundation states, but the study emphasizes that the number of divorced people is still higher among those who met in the usual way, and the highest among those who met at work.

This research included 2,000 married adults aged 30.

Until the 2000s, two-thirds of married couples met either through family and friends or through social settings such as bars or parties. That proportion has now dropped below half, replaced mainly by the surge in online meetings.

The interesting fact is that 28% of couples who married since 2017 had met online, overtaking family and friends as the most popular way to meet prior to marriage.

The couples who met online had the highest risk of divorce during their first three years of marriage (the blue columns) at 12%, compared to just 2% for those who met via family, friends, or neighbors.

Anyway, the stats are on the side of "online dating"!

However, by ten years of marriage, those meeting through the workplace appear to have the highest rate of divorce at 24%, compared to 20% of those who met online, 19% who met in a bar or restaurant, and 15% of those who met via family, friends or neighbors.

In regression analyses, the only differences of statistical significance were between those who met online who were more likely to divorce in the first three years of marriage, but only when compared to those who met through family or friends or who met socially in a bar or restaurant.

Taking into account gender, age, and occupation, the odds of divorce within the first three years of marriage were 6 times higher among those who met online compared to those who met through family, friends, or neighbors.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, study showed that meeting online is now a popular way for couples to meet. In recent years, this has largely displaced meeting socially in bars and restaurants.

The most significant finding is that couples who married after the year 2000 having met online experienced a significantly higher risk of divorce during the first three years of marriage, even after taking into account gender, age, and occupation. This higher risk had disappeared within the first five years of marriage.

Why might this be the case?

Bearing in mind that this higher risk compares those who meet online with those who meet through family, friends, or neighbors, one strong possibility is that couples are marrying as relative strangers.

Gathering reliable information about the long-term character of the person you are dating or marrying is quite obviously more difficult for couples who meet online without input from mutual friends or family or other communities.

For online couples, wider social bonds between families and friends have to form from scratch rather than being well-established over years or even decades.

It is therefore not entirely unsurprising that the input of family, friends, or co-workers reduces the risk of making a hasty mistake.

The fact that the added risk disappears after the first three years of marriage points to the importance of social capital established over the long term through families and friendships and communities.

But social capital not only gives couples access to reliable information from which to make a good decision about a life partner. It also gives couples access to a social support network on whom to lean both for affirmation of them as a couple and support when they need it.

Does this undermine online dating? No.

But it does highlight the greater risks and difficulties of getting to know a relative stranger where reliable sources of background information and subsequent social support are less readily available. And it does make the case for attending a marriage preparation course where an established body of evidence has shown the greatest benefits in the first few years, the Marriage Foundation concluded.

And what we have concluded reading this study? Go to Bumpy App, you never know... there's maybe a love of your life and there is no reason not to meet her/him via app!

BIU (Bumpy Intelligence Unit)

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