Online dating is, by all measurements, mainstream. As such, it is no surprise that by 2035, most people will meet their significant other online, at least according to one 2019 study. Though, could there be a downside to not meeting face-to-face? According to a recently released study, yes.
What did the study find?
Simply put, according to that 2021 study, at three years of marriage, the divorce rate is about 12% for those that met online. But, for those that were introduced by their friends, the divorce rate is only 2%, and for those that met in school or at work, the rates are around 7%. This is a starling difference between meeting one’s spouse online or in person, but it is also a starling difference between those that were introduced by friends.
Researchers believe that a big reason why there is such a stark difference between online and in-person meetings is that, when couples get married, they know much less about their spouses when they met online. After all, for those that met face-to-face, there was introductions from friends, including time together spent as friends, or background experiences at work and school. This means that, by the time, the couple became romantic, there was already knowledge, and when the marriage happened, they knew much more about their spouse and their spouse’s friends and family. This meant there was very little surprises during that three-year period.
Social and familial equity
The research revealed a big difference between being introduced by friends and meeting at school or work. Researchers believe this is because couples that are introduced by friends have much more built-in social and familial equity. That is, since their friends and family already approved of the relationship and the spouse, they had equity in the relationship, which created a marriage support system that likely was not available to those that met as strangers.
What can we learn?
For Bingham Farms, Michigan, couples that are already contemplating divorce, there really is not a takeaway from this. But, for those couples still in the “courting” phase of the relationship, this study really drives home how important one’s friends and family become once the couple marries. Often, we focus so much on our relationship that we forget how important that marriage support system will be when things get bumpy in a marriage.